Gratefulness is a skill

I’m thinking out loud, and this is gonna be me waxing lyrical about my life right now. Hopefully, you’ll find a nugget of gold from these words, or thoughts that eventually echo with you.

I’m grateful that the sun is shining today. Grateful that I’m able to sit at Starbucks and write. Grateful that I have clothes on my back, and food on the table. Grateful that I had a place to lie my head at night. Grateful that I have the luxury of riding my bicycle.

Standing in the midst of this depression, being grateful is one skill that I have seemingly lost. All I feel is the pain, all I see is the struggle, all I think about is the standstill that I’m in.

A queer thing happened this morning. I woke up late, at 10 am. My parents didn’t make a fuss that I was still in bed at 10 when I should be at work. They bid they farewells and left the house a little bit after, leaving me alone. I poured the coffee from the coffee machine, flipping through the usual blog websites I frequent looking for new news to occupy my mind with. I sat in my chair, nauseated at the thought of going into the office, staying at home wasn’t a palatable thought either. I’ll just get changed, head out and then decide what to do.

Exiting the train station heading for the office, I turned around and entered the Starbucks that I sometimes sit at to think and write. I’ll do something different today. Bought myself some food. As exorbitant as it is, it’s a break from routine. So far, nauseating feelings kept at bay.

I had saved a sermon on my “Watch Later” YouTube playlist. I guess I’ll get to that. God of my gaps was the title. Steven Furtick was the preacher. As I sat in Starbucks watching the world go by, the sunlight pouring in the full-length glass windows and spilling onto my computer’s keyboard, the message came to a point where Furtick illustrates that we all have two gaps: the gap between where you started, your current situation, and where God is leading you.

I haven’t been grateful for the journey that God has walked with me since I was a child. How he brought me to the campus of Dover Road, and met me there. How God opened the coffers of the government and covered my education, giving me the security to pursue this intellectual interest of mine without hindrance. How he put people in my life to help me get the grades that I needed for the next step. What I received in grace, I’d insist was never an abundance, but just what I needed. 256 points at PSLE to get me to ACS. 40 points for IB to get me to Imperial. 2:1 for BSc to get me to NTU. To others this might be an abundance already, an enviable position. But for the greedy me, I have had a hard time being grateful for the provision. Always seeing the gap between myself and my peers, those that got a 1:1, those that got more than 40 points, those that have more money in the bank account… The rational me keeps saying, “that’s not the gap that matters.” But no matter, the voice doesn’t shut up.

Grace created the gap between my past and me now, and that same grace will bring me through this pain. But why does God want to show me my purpose through my pain? So that I’ll do science the way that He intended it to be? Perhaps that’s the case, I’ll never truly know. It’s not like in the past where there’s a finite date and the nightmare will be over. With depression, there’s no end in sight. The target keeps moving, the dates keep shifting backwards.

I rarely ever feel alright these days. It’s tough to remember God’s faithfulness in the midst of pain. It’s impossible to think that God’s grace is with me when I’m going through this absolutely pitch black section of my life.

But I’m trying. I’m still fighting. Tough as it may be, I’m trying to see the good. I’m trying to see the grace.

Need that bit of grace for the exam on the 18th. God help me.

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