Opposites – part one

I thought again about dealing with medical folks today, but the rest of that post can wait until I have a little more energy for writing.

Conversations from earlier this year, before our engagement, on love and relationships:

On “爱我的人和我爱的人”
“That’s so sad, like a sad story. I don’t know if I prefer to be the one you’re in love with or the one you’re with…”
“If I were you I’d prefer the first one, of course.”
“I think I prefer the second.”
“What, really? Why?”
“I’ll be the one you’re with, then I can be both!”

On being young
“Too bad I didn’t see how up yourself you were in first year because you hid it so well.”
“Lucky, because now you get to be with me!”
“Yeah lucky, I’d never be with someone like that now. But then again, I probably thought it was fun because I was childish as well.”

On growing
“Tell me how to lead better. And what you admire about other guys… so that you can admire me! Haha.”

On chasing
“What happened?” The movie was A Dog’s Purpose. “I don’t get it, why does he break up with her?”
“You know this sort of thing happens all the time. Girl goes to college and boy can’t go with her, so he lets her go. It’s for her good, because he loves her, get it?”
“What, that’s crazy. You can’t let your favourite get away!”

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Its own bitterness

“The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.” – Proverbs 14:11

I wish I was in my 40s or 50s. Or older. I can’t wait to have more friends to talk about sickness, ageing parents, hospital admissions, clinic appointments and growing teenage children. After a certain age it seems that funerals are more talked about than weddings.

As it is, for most people my age life up here is a bit of an extended adventure (that never ends). It’s about making rounds round and round every day and night market, or any other festival or event that’s on. The biggest decision is whether to take up yoga or pilates. The most pressing drama is disputing a refund with a vendor you’re unhappy with. Or working out whether you have the finances for that premium item (or car, or house). No one is ever far from the airport, but packing everything within the luggage limits for that next trip or maintaining platinum status on your frequent flyer card is really hard.

Okay, I’m being rather sarcastic. I go to the airport just as often and frivolously spend a lot of weekends rounding on cafes rather than patients.

I’m not sure if I’m just noticing this more because I’m tired from the “caring and listening” roles in my two jobs, at home, at church… but there seems to be more venters than listeners in my social circles. Work and ministry are one thing, but did this happen with friends by nature or by nurture? I’m inclined to either roll my eyes or stop catching up with people altogether. But oh well, who’s to say that these relationship, job, money and exam worries are any less significant than my concerns? And who’s to say that I’m any better at relating to stages of life that I know nothing about?

Each heart knows its bitterness and joys.

 

Rainbow banner

WordPress

This is the post I wasn’t going to write since there are countless pieces all over the web, but here we go…

wordpress.png

Visually, I like the decorative rainbow. However, I don’t appreciate wordpress.com making a political statement with a compulsory banner, making it look as if I elected to make it so, similar to how people would choose to colour their Facebook display pictures.

“Thanks for getting in touch!

Australia will be holding a national survey on marriage equality over the next two months. To show our support for marriage equality, we’re showing the rainbow bar to all our Australian visitors. You can read more about the marriage equality campaign here: http://www.equalitycampaign.org.au/

We cannot remove this banner for individual sites. We understand it looks a bit different to what you’re used to, but it’s here for everyone. We absolutely respect your right to publish the content you choose to your site, but the navigation bar styling reflects WordPress.com’s brand.

Best regards,

Adeline Y. – Happiness Engineer
WordPress.com | http://support.wordpress.com

Medical association

LGBT individuals comprised of a large proportion of our patient load at the sexual health clinic. I was glad to be part of a team that worked hard to provide clinical care in a friendly environment, regardless of how people identified themselves in terms of gender and sexual orientation.

However, I am angry that the medical association speaks to the public on behalf of all doctors on the issue of marriage and sexuality, whether we are members of the association or not (membership is <30% of all doctors in the country and has been declining over the years). They misrepresent my views and claim expertise on a matter outside the realm of our core work. Health is broad and almost any aspect of life can be framed as a wellbeing issue – whilst this is a useful concept in clinical practice, as a profession, are we saying that we can have an expert opinion on all things?

I was going to write part two of the last series on the perils of pride in medicine. Can we acknowledge how little we know, even if we consider life under the sun to be all there is to know (Ecclesiastes)? As I’ve described previously, the medical framework is limited for spiritual aspects of life and death, or in comprehending something as commonplace as sleep. Similarly, studying medicine and biology, being academically gifted, the ability to conduct and critically appraise research, being respected and even having good clinical sense, does not mean that doctors are most qualified to lead society on matters of marriage and sexuality.

Friends

Over the years I’ve really wrestled with what it means to be a friend whilst being true to my identity as a Christian. I have a special affection and thankfulness for good friends who remain so despite big differences in culture, religion or views on controversial topics. More than once I’ve been questioned on why I regularly eat and spend time with “ungodly” people. Aren’t we all unholy except through the one who makes us holy (Hebrews 10:10).

Yet I accept some friendships will shatter despite the best intentions. Even with mutual love and respect, truth is a sword that divides (Matthew 10:34). The message of our individual sinfulness and a holy God who judges is offensive.

Christians

Here onward I’ll directly address some worrying arguments I’ve heard from Christian leaders.

Christians have various views on how to or whether to be involved in the political debate on marriage equality. Each of us should seek God for wisdom. However, we are being untruthful if we say the Bible is silent on marriage and sexuality. When asked about divorce, Jesus takes his listeners back to God’s original intent for marriage –

“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'” (Mark 10:6-7)

Jesus

I trust doctors and others who argue for social acceptance (in the form of marriage equality) and tell people that they need to do what’s right for them do so out of goodwill. However, Christian leaders are preaching a false gospel when they agree that human love and self-love, rather than Jesus, are most important in saving a person from brokenness and pain.

Jesus said he is the only way, truth and life (John 14:6). LGBT or not, Jesus offends our society’s unspoken belief that we are the way, the truth and life – that is, right and wrong is relative, to ourselves as the reference point for truth. Claiming to be wise, we become fools (Romans 1:22). We fall into the age-old trap of wanting to know like God and be like God.

“‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” (Genesis 3:5-6)

Thinking thirteen

Sisterly love

“But where are you going to live? Are you going to buy a place or rent? Or move into your apartment?” That’s a lot of forward thinking for a thirteen year old! “And I just wonder, what are you going to eat?”

“What! Mum, did you hear that?! I can cook.” I protested.

“Don’t worry! Your sister is big enough to look after herself.”

Coconuts

I’ve been half-heartedly looking at the real estate pull-outs and she knows exactly what I want. As we’re driving along in the car…

“Let me see. No, this one is too expensive. You can’t afford it. And this one… the suburb is fine right?” She even knows which suburbs I don’t want to live in without knowing where lots of the suburbs are. “Oh this one, this one!”

“Why’s that?”

“It has a coconut tree.” She beams. For awhile whenever we went to the beach, she’d look longingly and circle every coconut tree we passed – especially the ones with coconuts that could almost be reached with a long stick, but not quite.

The house next door to one of her classmates is on sale. “No,” she tells her friend, “it’s an elevated house but has a swimming pool and my sister can’t handle pools.”

Elevated house

We’ve been talking about elevated houses because our art teacher has an elevated house. She and her husband both have a studio downstairs and we think it’s a good setup.

“Oh that’d be convenient. I can sleep downstairs and be your maid. Just don’t call me out too often.”

“Huh,” I laugh incredulously, “you’re happy to be my maid?” We joke about it from time to time because she’s so apt at doing things around the house. She even randomly inspects the dishes I wash to check whether they are still greasy or not.

“Yeah, you’d probably pay better than McDonalds. Anyway, make sure there’s a sink downstairs too… unless you want me to wash my paint in your kitchen.” I shot her a dirty look. “What! It’s true.”