Core

Yosh Mel,” said a 2.5-years-and-3-days-younger-self to present-day-self. “Maybe you’ll have a girlfriend by this time; maybe you won’t. I just hope it matters much less to you than it does to me now.”

I think my concerns got transferred to my parents. It matters a lot more to them than it does to me now. Lawl.

We opened a Time Capsule today. We were supposed to be open it in 2012, but we forgot about it until now. The nearing core elections triggered Swee’s memory of having predicted this current core team (2011-2013) in the Time Capsule; hence, its opening.

When I told my brother that I had been elected to Core in 2011, he congratulated me and told me that I would lead LOG to greater heights. I believed that would.

(As I shared today, Pride is an everlasting struggle for me.)

In the past 2 years, I’ve come to realize that I am not the visionary that I thought I would be when I first got elected into Core. Greg is much more gifted than I am in that regard. If I were to be reductionist about our roles, Greg would be the Dreamer, Liver would be the Extrovert, Von would be the Lady, Soo would be the Authoritarian and I would be the Administrator.

But we never intended these roles for ourselves. We just gradually slid into them. God is the one with the Plan; He constitutes the team. We just offer what we have, and make it up as we go along.

The truth is, Core was a morass of responsibilities. But it was also good fun.

As our term comes to an end, I feel a need to immortalize such a defining experience in my community life. So here’s a stereotypical core meeting.

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We usually begin our meetings when Greg arrives, because he’s usually late the last. Soo then arrows Greg to say the opening prayer because Greg was latest. We argue a bit over who should take minutes. I’ve since learnt to leave my laptop at home.

We have an agenda by the time we meet, so we just go down that list. Sometimes, the first thing we discuss is something tangible, urgent and impending (read: last minute) – like the coming Sunday’s session. Other times, we begin with something more proactive and prophetic – like culture or needs or Sojourn.

Along the way, Greg enters his possessed-by-Jude-mode, Von says something insightful, Liver talks about P&W, Soo goes on (and on) about accountability, and I argue with Soo. Or Greg.

We share also, sometimes. It’s seldom on the agenda, but it happens anyway. Then we digress and/or we eat. The intensity of our discussions always merits a break. If we’re in Soo’s house, I’ll end up pacing around and lying on his sofa. Or say hi to Chola. The last (I mean both ‘previous’ and ‘final’) meeting we had at Liver’s house, Estelle, Eunice and Bao cooked maggi mee for us <3

The final (and quite possibly the most important, though rarely the most urgent) item on our agenda is always ‘People Updates’. This, essentially, is official gossip. If we have time, we go down the contact list. If not, we talk about whoever comes to our minds. It is said that big-minded people talk about ideas, medium-minded people talk about events, small-minded people talk about people. I would invert that order, and replace “-minded” with “-hearted” (cue Dietrich quote on loving brethren).

Then, after the 3-hour-on-average meeting comes to an end, we close with prayer – usually led by the person who most needs to leave.

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“In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.”

I can safely say that this was one of my best experiences working in a long-term team. At a fundamental level, we shared the same values and harboured the same dreams. Yet, we were so willing to challenge each other’s views on things that mattered. So many of our decisions arose from the creative tensions among the 5 of us. And maybe the best parts were the things that were left unsaid – covering for each other, understanding each other’s commitments, working together towards a vision that we deeply appreciate but often could not articulate.

We must not give the impression that we were a success. We failed often. We instituted a ‘secret journeying’ system that totally crashed and burned (or maybe didn’t even take off). We dehumanized our members into various colors (blue for good; red for critical). We forgot about our canteen duty (zomg). These are all experiences that I will look back fondly on and marvel at our silliness, as I marvel at what God has done for us and through us.

Whether or not I am in the next Core, I am going to miss this team. But I say this with more hope and more nostalgia than any sense of loss. Because the time has come for the mantle to pass. And I deeply wish such a blessed and wonderful experience for the next Core.

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About Mel

I dreamt I was a whale. https://melvynfoo.wordpress.com/about-mel/