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My Time Traveling Companion

My dearest Faith,
How quickly the years go by. The day-by-day passing of time may quietly escape our notice, but we are reminded when we see our children take their steps into teenhood, and we are left futilely holding on to the last vestiges of babyness.
It has been a while since I wrote to you, but I've really really enjoyed our morning breakfasts together, or the late night chats after the lights go out in our children's rooms. We are aware of how few of these we might have left, and I'm desperately imprinting them into my heart and my mind that its taste might always be familiar to me should dementia attempt to steal these before death takes either one of us. Having you by my side has been a deep study to the manifold blessings of God. It is impossible to pen down how much these years have meant to me.
You, my beloved, are more beautiful today than you have ever been. The laughter we've shared over the decades has etched lines on the corners of your eyes, and the white streaks in your hair shine like shooting stars in a twilight sky.
I am so blessed to be the one beside you as we observe the sunset of our lives, and the sunrise of an eternity in Christ Jesus.

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Sand

My dearest Faith,
It has been some time since I've written to you here.
It continues to amaze me – how beautiful you are – when I look at you. Where we once beamed with the vitality of youth, there are now faint wrinkles and lines that chart the passing of time; and where I once marveled at how God could craft your face in such a manner that it attracted my heart so much, I now look upon his handiwork through the additional lens of experiences shared. I remember, you and I, such naive youths who had chosen to spend our lives together.
And by the grace of God here we are. We've braved so many sleepless nights together, cleaning soiled bed covers, sponging down fevers, or just being there because of our children's need to snuggle. We often talk about how we await the day when we would have time together, like we once did when we were dating, and how we'd spend that time wishing we had our babies with us.
Time is flitting by so quickly, and the shadow of the inevitable makes us treasure the moments even more. I am so thankful to have known you, loved you and be loved by you. There's this sense of helplessness as time slips out of our hands. I write on this blog to slow its passing, but there is little any of us can do, except to be thankful for the moment.
I thank God so much for you and how your presence in my life speaks of His goodness to me. I'm blessed to have shared this small finite slice of time in the sunshine with you.

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Timelines

Dearest Faith,
Where have the years gone? The last decade has been a blur of diaper changing and washing milk bottles. It is easy to forget that we started out on this adventure together, you and I, and in all the hustle and bustle of activity, that we were called to remember that "in all things, He might have the preeminence" (Col 1:18).
It was so good to hold your hand tonight and recount the years in prayer and thanksgiving as we walked up and across Benjamin Sheares.
Do you know that I've had the privilege of being in love with you almost three quarters of my life? Blessed man that I am! There are times when I hold your hand and know there will come a day when one of our hands will be cold and vacated of the person that dwelt within. A wistful pang fills my heart at the thought, but even now I have received far more blessing than I deserve. We need so much to share this abundance with everyone around in the same manner Christ gave Himself for us; that our children might see His handiwork in us and know Him to be true.
I'm blessed to have walked so much of this journey with you by my side. The years are evident in the lines on our faces. Lines etched by countless moments of divine joy.
Every Chinese New Year I am most thankful for how much you love my family and how much they love you. I've never brought home any grades worth bragging, but you are the best thing I have ever brought home to my parents. No husband could be prouder.
I love you, wife of my youth. You are a living parable of Christ and His bride to me.
<div class="img-center"><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/annegirl/16590664071" title="20150220-1.jpg by Lucian, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8670/16590664071_bec698564c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="20150220-1.jpg"></a></div>

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Help Meet

<blockquote>And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." <cite>Genesis 2:18</cite></blockquote>
As Faith cleared out the old mail, she looked at her old tax receipts, and a certain sadness came upon her. It has been almost a year since she stopped work to be with the children.
"Are you sad that you're not working?" I asked.
"You know, if we had my old income, we wouldn't have to worry so much about our finances, or we could feel less reluctant to go on overseas holidays, that sorta thing. And I feel bad that you have to work hard to support us all."
We talk, and we both agree that the additional income would have come at great cost: the time spent with the children in their formative years and the opportunities to build lifelong bonds with them. We thank God that we have enough. Not so little that we live in constant frustration that we might murmur against Him, or so much that we would lose sight of the Giver.
My dearest Faith, I do not mind working hard for you or for the family. Not one bit. As I remember how it was when we first started out: how you married me, broke and unemployed; how you supported us while I tried to build &mdash; and failed &mdash; my little web design studio; how you came home from work each day, encouraged me, and believed in me, that I was working my tail off even though our bank account had nothing to show for it.
It is for these, and a million other reasons &mdash; each one a beautiful fragment of our lives as together &mdash; that make me want to work hard for you. It is because of how you love me that I choose to jump out of bed to tend to all our children, if only to buy you a good night's sleep. I am reminded that I am truly blessed, that I may devote this earthly life to come into full realisation of the love of Christ for His church in our union.
It is my blessing to serve God alongside you.

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11

My dearest Faith, my best friend, my beautiful wife.
Thank you so much for the past 11 years of marriage. It still feels like we're still in our teens, holding hands and figuring God's will for our lives together.
I don't ever want to grow up. Let's stay right here. Always.

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A Decade of Empty Passports

My dearest Faith,
Our tenth wedding anniversary passed more than four months ago, quietly and without much fanfare. It wasn't how I had planned it in my head. It is a milestone worthy of champagne and chandeliers, ballroom dresses and fireworks, but reality reminds me that we do not live in the movie-set past of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
You sent me a text message this morning telling me of the notification we received that my passport was nearing its expiration date. I dug out our passports, chuckled at the children's baby ID photos, but noticed how new and empty our passports were. We haven't been anywhere.
I begin to wonder if I have treated you well in the ten years we've been married. Sunrise on the Eiffel Tower or sunset at the pyramids; or the smell of grass on Bali's rice terraces…all these remain figments of our imagination yet to materialise in reality. Truth be told, I can't promise you that they will.
But this is a time for thanksgiving, not envy-induced melancholy.
I am thankful to God for the journey; and the journey was made wonderful because I had you by my side.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/annegirl/10934612845" title="Our three kids"><img src="//farm8.staticflickr.com/7344/10934612845_8f89b84890.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="Our three kids" class="img-center"></a>
Through the sleep-deprived nights, the wonder of their first uttered words, the excitement and trepidation as they took their first steps, you were there with me. Every experience and moment was new and fraught with uncertainty, but you were there alongside me to pray, to hope and to persevere.
I would wish you all the happiness in the world, or for every imagined moment of globe-trotting to come true, but I wish most of all that I have given to you what you have given to me: a lifetime filled with divine joy, godsent contentment and blessed fellowship.
The best part in these ten years of marriage is never having to say goodbye at the end of a date.
You're my home.

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Joined as One

<blockquote><p>A wife of noble character who can find?<br />
She is worth far more than rubies.<br />
Her husband has full confidence in her<br />
and lacks nothing of value.<br />
<cite><a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2031&version=NIV1984">Proverbs 31:1-2</a></p></blockquote>
My dearest Faith,
It's nothing short of amazing to think that it's been twenty years since we first held hands, and in some jejune manner, made a choice to commit ourselves to each other. It's easy to think as adults do and deride childish notions of romance, but when I look at it closely, love is something intrinsically understood, and the young probably have a better grasp of what it is, untainted by the constraints of pragmatism. As we grow older we believe that our choices are shaped by circumstance, and even in design the better designers view and accept constraints as guiding principles rather than restrictions, but things of God &mdash; the eternal things, the ones that really matter &mdash; exist outside of these constraints. These are the things that overcome.
In our journey together we faced our fair share of obstacles. As I sit back and recall how we dealt with the difficulty of growing up and staying together, as we both sought our individual identities, I remember how it tore at our very hearts that things didn't seem to just stay "in a good place". As we graduated from school to school, environments changed, and my sense of security was shaken when you wondered aloud back then if you had foregone many opportunities by being with me.
You definitely have.
You waited for me through National Service. You shaved my head, and thanks to my brilliant advice to use the electric shaver without its plastic guard, gave me the shortest and most uneven haircut of my life. You waited while I queued up for 3 minute phone calls on the public telephone at nights just to hear your voice. It was hard to put on a nonchalant face, but there were 30 to 40 topless men waiting behind me to use the phone. For two and a half years you waited.
You waited for me through college. In a time before Skype and Facetime, we chatted daily on IRC. It was 5 in the morning in Arizona, and the end of the day for you here in Singapore. There were days when you were so tired but still hung on to find out how my previous day went.
There were many opportunities, many nice prospective men, and somehow you hung on to this shimmer of a relationship so far away. It's been one of God's greatest blessings in my life that you did.
The second decade (9 years now) spent as man and wife have been the sweetest years of my life. Even now, the thought that I no longer need to bid you goodbye, and that we're on an ongoing date thrills me to no end. The nights spent beside each other fills us both with the excitement of a sleepover, and I instinctively stick my toes out of our blanket, wiggle them and squeal at how blessed we are to be right here, right now.
Having you by my side as we admire the spectacular sunrise of our children's lives can only be described as having the joy in our cup overflowing past its brim. Even now Anne reads over my shoulder, asking why I'm writing you a letter when you're sleeping right in the next room. I tell her that like the storybooks she writes and illustrates, I write because I want to remember, and read this many years from now.
I thank God for you.

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How Can I Remember

My dearest Faith,
It is hard to imagine that we've been married for 7 years now. It is easy these days to be consumed by the presence of our two young ones and forget that while they will some day leave the nest, we are bound together as one for life. We have spent more than half our lives side by side – a state so wondrous I oftentimes keep secret to myself for fear of offending people undergoing more difficult periods in their lives.
But today I'd like to tell you that these years been nothing short of amazing. In the early, early years before love was requited I hung on to the song "How can I remember?" by Michael Dees.
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Thanks for eventually choosing me.
<blockquote><p>so I love you because I know no other way<br />
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,<br />
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,<br />
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.</p>
<cite>Pablo Neruda</cite></blockquote>

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Blink

Dearest Faith,
I opened my eyes, escaping slumber for that brief moment, comforted by the fact I lay beside you, a place better than any in my dreams.
I love you.

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The Path Taken

Dearest Faith,
It's been 6 years since you walked down the aisle; 6 years since we exchanged our vows and chose to live the rest of our lives together.
I know that deep inside, you live with the guilt of "making" me marry you so early in my career. I had barely stepped off the plane, and the ink on my bachelor's degree was still wet. I know that you feel bad that I had given up dreams of working abroad and the chance that my work would have made a difference in some global product of some sort. I know this because whenever I tell you of the wonderful people I've met in the States and the amazing work they're doing, there's the split second of a pained smile.
I do not mean for you to live with this guilt. It is unfair to compare the concreteness of reality to the fluffiness of dream scenarios where every little detail falls in place.
It is unfair because the last 6 years of being married to you has been an experience I can only describe as perfect, and all the other paths combined pale to a single moment shared with you. To have you beside me for the moments of laughter, tears, awe, uncertainty, good times and bad, and sharing the trenches of parenthood is the greatest blessing of my life.
Thank you for choosing to marry me.