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Life and its ebbs and flows

Many, many years ago, at a small group meeting of one of the previous churches I attended before I was married, the group leader called out the usual invitation for people to ‘share’ any personal testimonies or words of encouragement with the group. As each person jumped in to share one after another, each sharing was received with applause or jubilant ‘hallelujahs’. God is good. Life is good. So-and-so were having a tough time recently but their prayers were answered and life is fantastic now.

I was still very new to the group, but that evening I plucked up my courage and raised my hand. “Yes, sister? What would you like to share?” the leader piped up exuberantly. All eyes were upon me, looking at me expectantly. I took a deep breath and decided to go out on a limb and share something a bit different – a personal difficulty I was going through in my life at that time. I cannot recall the details exactly, but I knew it had something to do with work. And I was going through a really tough time. After all, this was a church group. A support network, right? The best way to connect with others is to open up and be yourself.

Wrong move.

As I ended my short monologue. All I received was dead silence. Not even the sound of crickets singing in the background.

“Errrrr… ooooookie… thank you, sister… let’s move on shall we?” the group leader finally chimed in awkwardly.

I have never forgotten that very awkward and stinging episode.

But over the years. I grew to learn the truth.

People rarely open up.

People rarely share the truth.

They rarely share bad news. Even if they do. Its often cushioned and cloaked in positivity. Or it is shared only after the worst is over and they can look back in retrospect over what they learnt or gained from the experience.

Bottom line. No one likes being vulnerable.

On the other hand…

We are often encouraged to ‘be authentic’… ‘keep it real’… ‘be yourself’…

Of course there are many versions of ‘self’ you can have. Especially as adults. With kids, you pretty much get just the one version, until the complexities of adolescence emerge. The trick is knowing and deciding which version to display at what time and where and with who... read more »


Anyway, going off on a slightly different tangent…

This little space I keep on the blogosphere has many manifestations. I talk about parenting. motherhood. family. my kids. my interests. my business. day to day activities.

The tone I believe (and hope) is usually nice. Sweet. Endearing. Clever. Funny?--maybe. Inspiring?—occasionally, perhaps. And generally positive--I think.

But behind the scenes, what’s really going on?

What goes on in between all those sparsely spread out blog updates and Instagram moments?

Often, nothing much.

Sometimes a lot.

But I can’t and don’t always choose to share them here.

Mainly because a lot of it is private stuff that affects people beyond just myself.

Also because it’s hard work putting them into easily digestible and coherent words that make sense.

And because personal stuff takes a lot of time to process internally first. More so the older you get. And by the time it’s processed, the stuff that comes out is very different from what you started out with. And it’s pretty complex stuff to share and explain in black and white. And this is not the kind of space I usually use to keep that sort of stuff on record.

But sometimes during one of my more reminiscent moods, I go down a rabbit hole and start going through old posts. Smiling and chuckling to myself over the sweet and endearing moments. Pausing over the occasional deep personal stuff I sometimes share. And also cringing over my terrible writing--especially in my early years of blogging.

So in the spirit of keeping it real. And choosing to remember that life has it’s ups and downs, ebbs and flows… here’s a little roundup of some of the tough stuff happening right now at my end…

  • Late last year, hubby was made redundant from his job. I am aware he is not the only one as things are bad for everyone all around, especially in the mining industry now. Which means there are probably hundreds of other applicants for every job role in the industry these days. So we’re not in the best place financially and things are pretty tight all around, especially with various commitments we have on our plate. We have heard and told ourselves every positive spin on this every single day. The bottom line is still simply… work… money.
  • Nathan started pre-primary in a new class this year. I was very unhappy with the new class allocations which resulted in him being isolated from the majority of his old classmates from kindy. There’s a long backstory to this which I shall not go into because it makes me want to cry every time I think about it. It was rather tough going, especially in the early weeks. Not that Nathan complained in any way. He is the most emotionally resilient kid ever. But as a mother I could sometimes see through the cracks. And every now and then he would happen to say something in passing that would break my heart. I would probe him gently about it, but I think he could see my concern showing through, so he would always tell me in his most cheerful voice“I’m okay, mum! I’m really okay”. I’ve even gone so far as to speak with the school principal though I felt that it would likely be a lost battle from the start because of the way the school system is set up. But I had to try anyway. I think he’ll do okay. But the thing that stings me the most is the lack of transparency and ambiguity of the whole thing. The mama bear in me cannot rest.
  • A couple of weeks ago I dropped my phone and damaged the screen. Very badly. The damage was so bad that the touch screen function was completely kaput. So I could not even continue using the phone even if I didn’t mind the crack across the screen. It was very disheartening as I was still a few months off from the end of my contract and we weren’t in the best place financially. It was definitely a bit of pinch having to pay out the contract and be forced to upgrade to a more expensive plan to get a new phone. Yes, getting a new phone was a nice bonus. But I could still have done without the pinch.
  • On a deeply personal matter (which is very complex to explain in any way) I am in a place right now where I realise I am not able to identify with the Christian religion. It seems very cold and raw to type that down here. But I can’t think of a better way to put it. I am not sad or angry about the whole thing. It has all been really just a matter-of-fact kind of thing. And it has nothing to do with any of the aforementioned points above. This has been a long personal journey of my own for some time now. The toughest part to navigate this whole thing is the people I know from church. I avoided telling people for a while because I didn’t want to be flooded with a rush of platitudes and clich├ęs. But I decided to share it because it’s not really something I am hiding or trying to keep a secret. I am not shouting it from the mountaintops or anything like that. It’s just an FYI kind of thing so I can get on with my daily business.

That’s life.

Ups and downs.

Ebbs and flows.


  1. Hope everything works out for you cuz x

  2. Hie Serene,

    Life is tough. Like u said, i face the similar situation like u. Life seems a bliss in our social media, but nobody knows the chaotic messiness behind it all.
    But like u, life goes on and we hope for the best.

    And dont worry, life can only get better from now on. Hugz and lotsa love,

    From your friend in Penang,

  3. Hang in there. Yes, life has its ebb and flow.


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