Called

Dearest Melvyn.

Always work hard and be honest in life. Help the less fortunate. Wishing you sucess in your future. God bless you always.

Love Mum + Dad

I can imagine a Disney fairytale opening with advice like this.

Many people have asked me how it feels like to be called. I tell them that, apart from being able to sign my own letters, there really isn’t much difference.

The more appropriate question is: what am being I called to?

__________________________

My track record in court so far is not a good omen. I had costs ordered against me for a simple application of which the standard order is costs in the cause, I drew completely against an opposing counsel who did not prepare written submissions, and I lost my first High Court application.

These are not results for which I will hang my head in shame. But if I stop to dwell upon it, as an ex-ILP-mooter, I guess I am a little embarrassed.

At badminton last Sunday, while on a losing streak, I stopped to dwell on it. And the momentary thought crossed my mind: I am quite the loser, aren’t I?

A ‘loser’! I laughed a little to myself at that thought. When was the last time I had been humble enough to think I was anything other than the opposite? When was the last time that so much pride had condescended to so much vanity? Screwtape has truly lost his touch if he now tempts with failure rather than success.

I am a child of God! My playing small does not serve the world.

There now, it takes little for pride to rear its maw again. For every virtue has its vice, and every sinner reflects a saint.

________________________

I visited Boys’ Town last Saturday, as part of a Caritas Young Adults Awareness program. As expected, the stark contrast between their poverty and my privilege strummed my heartstrings, echoing the lifesongs of the Red Cross Museum witnesses.

This time, also, perhaps because of the close proximity between the soulless weekday and the soulful weekend, I noticed much more lucidly the two vastly different personas that each called me to be. The former demands vigilance, confrontation, and swiftness. The latter demands vulnerability, conciliation, and slowness. Even casting the principles aside, upon a simple introspection, I can feel two wholly different aspects of me being activated.

There is so much disintegration.

Who am I? Fr Chris Soh reframes the question against the backdrop of Aristotelean virtue ethics: What kind of person do I want to be? The answer to the next question of what we should do then comes easily: we do the things that make us who we want to be.

I have always had the nagging fear that litigation would turn me into a person that I did not wish to become. But with such sterling counterexamples so close by, these fears must arise more from sloth than from sense.

Between a path of integration and a path of worldliness, I never got to ask Fr Chris whether a third path – a path of tension, of living in the world but not of the world – exists, and if so, whether it is lesser in any way, compared to a fully integrated life.

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______________________

“If Jesus were to appear right now, what would your heart say to Him?”

That was one question in PFL that really struck me last week. I would tell Him that I was having a really rough week. I would tell Him that I just wanted to do His will. I would tell Him that I wanted to say ‘yes’ to His plan, even if His plan meant just being gentle and slow and living with the tension. I would tell Him that I really missed waking up in the morning excited about the day because I loved what I was doing in the day. I would tell Him that I also remembered the despair of resenting what I once wanted so much. I would tell Him that I know how blessed I am to be where I am right now.

I don’t really know what I would tell Him.

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About Mel

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