Monthly Archives: April 2009

Happy Kartini Day. Mom.

A song by Potret

Kubuka album biru
Penuh debu dan usang
Kupandangi seragam berdiri
Kecil bersih belum ternoda

Pikirku pun melayang
Dahulu penuh kasih
Teringat semua cerita orang
Tentang riwayatku

Kata mereka diriku s’lalu dimanja
Kata mereka diriku s’lalu ditimang

Nada-nada yang indah
S’lalu terurai darimu
Tangisan nakal bibirku
Tak ‘kan jadi deritamu

Tangan halus dan suci
T’lah menangkap tubuh ini
Jiwa raga dan seluruh hidup
Rela dia berikan

Kata mereka diriku s’lalu dimanja
Kata mereka diriku s’lalu ditimang

Oh Bunda ada dan tiada
Dirimu ‘kan selalu ada di dalam hatiku

Pikirku pun melayang
Dahulu penuh kasih
Teringat semua cerita orang
Tentang riwayatku

Kata mereka diriku s’lalu dimanja
Kata mereka diriku s’lalu ditimang

Oh Bunda ada dan tiada
Dirimu ‘kan selalu ada di dalam hatiku…

To Mom. The best Kartini there is. And to all the mothers in the world.

Happy Kartini Day.

*) Kartini is an Indonesian heroine known to be a woman ahead of her time and a thought leader in woman’s rights (read: gender mainstreaming). Today (21st April) is her birthday and is commemorated as Kartini Day in Indonesia.

*) Liberal translation of the lyrics:

I open my blue album
All wasted away and full of dust
I ponder upon that uniform standing
Tiny, clean, without a stain

My thoughts are transported
Back when there was an abundance of compassions
I remember stories told by the many
About my past

They say I was always spoiled
They say I was always cuddled

Beautiful melody
Always flows from you
The wicked cry coming from my lips
Was never a burden to you

The soft and pure hands
Have captured this body
Body, soul and all of her life
She is willing to give

They say, I was always spoiled
They say, I was always cuddled

Oh mother whether you are here or away
You are always in my heart

speechless – a friend’s story

[Bahasa Indonesia]
I wanted to share this story of a friend of mine with all of you.

I could not think of a better way of sharing this than to simply copy and paste my friend’s story and leave it at that. Her story says it all.

It is rather long, but definitely worth the time. So please, do read on.

Shared today at 1:11am by Ida

It all started with a very trivial matter: a scratch on the side of the car.

Mum, Dad and I were 5 minutes away from getting home, driving slowly on a bumpy road, when something scratched the left side of the car. Just to make sure everything was ok, Dad pulled over and got down the car with Mum. A motorcycle also pulled over.

Romi Sondakh, the young man who drove it, walked over to Dad with an annoyed look on his face. After denying having anything to do with the scratch, he rudely swore on Dad’s face and walked away. Instinctively, Dad wrote down the motorcycle’s license number.

That was when Romi went out of control. He suddenly turned around and started hitting Dad. Mum impulsively went between Dad and Romi to stop the assault. Instead, he also assaulted Mum, even when another guy had tried to pull him away.

Dad is in his early sixties, with white hair and non-aggressive body language. Mum is in her late fifties with a naturally mumsy figure. So I really did not expect this lean, muscular young man to assault both my parents over something very trivial.

It all happened so fast. In an attempt to evade Romi’s assault, Mum and Dad kept on stepping back… until they hit a large pan full of boiling oil behind them.

The next thing I knew, Dad was on the floor, writhing, and Mum was shouting on top of her voice – both from her own pain and from seeing Dad. Romi then ran away, but only after taking several seconds to hit me too.

It was amazing how Dad had the strength to stand up, give suggestions of what to do next and after around 30 minutes with no first aid, hopped into a taxi with Mum to go to the hospital. Dad had serious burn wounds on his chest, stomach, thighs and arms. Mum was burned on her bottom, thighs and calves, some reaching third degree.

So, life totally changed for our family. For the next three weeks we all lived in the hospital. Mum and Dad would spend their days and nights in pain, but also being very strong and, amazingly, very loving. Little did I know that life will change even more. Permanently.

Dad’s wounds were healing satisfactorily. He might even make it to my brother’s graduation ceremony on 18 April 2009. That was what the doctor said on Friday, 3 April 2009. Although from the beginning the doctors had warned that Dad’s burns could affect his vulnerable heart, Dad’s heart showed strength.

So it really came as a surprise when he had trouble breathing on the evening of that same Friday. He then went into a coma the morning after and passed away the next day, 5 April 2009, on a Palm Sunday one week before Easter.

Witnessing one of the worst sides of humanity made me realize even more how fallen our world is and how grievous sin is. Everyone has sinned and falls short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).

Ida and fam

It does not take much for humans to hurt other human beings. By dying on the cross, Jesus paid for the sins of the world and secured an everlasting life for us. It really is amazing that God gave himself for us, even when we do not deserve it.

It is not easy for our family to cope. Sometimes I wish this is all a bad dream that will soon end. We all miss Dad so much, yet we have to be strong for each other. Especially for Mum who is still in the hospital, doing her best to recover soon. We are also really thankful for family and friends who provide endless prayers and support.

Knowing that one day I will be reunited with Dad in a world free of hurt, free of sorrow and free of violence gives me hope. This is possible because Jesus’ death and resurrection mean that those who live and those who died in Christ will be reconciled with the Holy God in a perfect world (Thes 4:13-18).

Easter reminds me the price Jesus had to pay to give us eternal life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).”

Hope you and your loved ones are coping well. He loves you. *hugs*

strengthening the root

[Bahasa Indonesia]
“So when will you arrive in Jakarta?” asked a friend.
“Insya Allah, God willing, mid April, “ I said.

He chuckled and said, “Insya Allah. So you are still a Moslem, uh?”

I smiled and said, “Of course.” The education has not (and never had the intention to) change my religion. If anything, it has strengthened and deepened (god willing) my understanding of my religion.

So, no worries 😉

do you think you will be different?

[Bahasa Indonesia]
What a question.

My first response was, “I don’t know. You need to ask the people around me back home and see whether they notice any difference in me.”

Second response was, “But I tell you what the theme that is so strong for me during this last months. It is “fix thy mind on Me” and “be still.” So if I can go home with this way of being, if I can fix my mind on Him and be still, allow myself to be educated, I think I shall be fine.” God willing.

During our last conversation as a group, there was a kind reminder how these last six months have helped us to have ‘a taste’, and the taste shall remain with us. We were reminded to keep returning (to Him) and keep asking (Him), especially to ask Him to keep increasing us in knowledge.

And keep companions in the Path with you, they said. It helps to have companions. I sat there and realized how blessed I am, having all those companions here and back home. So blessed.

Towards the end of my stay, I went up the hill to do my usual thing of sitting and conversing with self (or Self?). I asked: “What now? What else do I need to do?” The response was clear and simple: “Good deeper. Fly higher. And Love. Just love.” I smiled. It was the same old thing, but not really.

I knew the education would continue on. I am still learning to leave all the space in my heart to God, preparing it to receive the full impact of the weight the meaning represents and to be a mirror of God’s vision of Himself.

And if all praises belong to Him, then I shall be praising Him every time I look at you—my friends in Beshara and everywhere else in this world—and remember you.

watch the endings

[Bahasa Indonesia]
On the last day of the course, a friend approached me and shared what she had heard in the morning meeting that day. Two things, she said.

One.This is the last day of the course, which means that the course has not ended yet. Even if the actual course has ended, be certain that the education shall continue on.

Two. Watch the endings. Whatever that may mean. Just watch the endings.

So I watched my endings. A rays of feeling—sad that this precious course will ‘end’ soon and we all will go our own way, happy to go home soon, thankful for the opportunity, etc. The day went on as normal—packing, abluting/cleaning rooms, preparing for the end-of-course feast. Chatted and ate during the feast. Cleaning up after that.

My moods fluctuated at that day/evening. Towards the end of the evening, I could not understand my own state. I grew more and more silent. It was time to go.

I left the party early (so sorry to not join the after-dinner occasion. It would have been great if I could come. But it would not be kind to myself.) I found myself walking around outside when I encountered a friend walking towards the dorm.

She made the kindest invitation. “Would you like to go to the monument up in the hill?” she offered. So at midnight, I found myself there, on top of the hill by the monument, pouring my heart out.

This is my ending. What it means, I don’t know. But I am thankful.


[Bahasa Indonesia]
If there is one form of art to master, it would be the art of following.

Even a leader is a follower. He listens intently to his environment and follows its movement, while ensuring that the principles are forever in tact. He does not become the guide and follows the source of all guidance, the real Guide. He follows his pure heart.

To really look. To be still. To be educated. To love. To know. To follow. To be.

All this to help us prepare “a receptivity of the heart pre-ordained where meanings will filter in until the receptacle is so attuned to this meaning that it will lay itself open and ready to receive the full impact of the weight the meaning represents.

This condition is not obtainable either be it by resolve, application or fortitude. It is a gift, directly given by the Giver of all gifts for whatever reason He alone knows why”. A quote from Bulent’s forward in the white Fusus. I hope I have not taken it out of context.

If there is one form of art to master, it would be the art of following.

“We should talk about this problem”

[Bahasa Indonesia]
A(nother) poem by Hafiz. To a beautiful friend.

There is a Beautiful Creature
Living in a hole you have dug

So at night
I set fruit and grains
And little pots of wine and mil
Beside your soft earthen mounds

And I often sing

But still, my dear,
You do not come out

I have fallen in love with Someone
Who hides inside you

We should talk about this problem

I will never leave you alone.

My beautiful friend.

true friendship

[Bahasa Indonesia]
“Hold on to the rope of God in collectivity. Don’t let yourself fall apart.”

It is quoted from Al Qur’an (note to self: must get the reference on the exact chapter and verse).

We think we are in this together. Well, not really. At least, not the way we think it is.

How about this approach: Each of us holds on to the rope of God. We face God individually. Then let Him arrange how we interact between us and how relate to one another. Trust that He is the Best Arranger.

The friendship that grows from there would, God willing, be true friendship, through Him. We would be companions to one another in the path of God. How sweet is that.

By this time, some of you might be wondering what the h*ll has happened to her (meaning, me) with all this talk. Chill out, I’d say. Give me another two minutes and my wit and sarcasm would be back before you know it. Then you’ll be sorry :p

a private affair

[Bahasa Indonesia]
I cannot remember when exactly but we had a day of silence during our course, and it was a wonderful experience. I got to spend the day with myself. And Him.

That day I realized how this affair between Him and me—between this particular servant and her Lord—was very private. This is a private affair. The way He wants me to lead my life, the way He wants me to face Him is specific to me. This is my private religion.

I can feel how strongly this privacy is respected here as well. I—as with each of my friends—was given space to travel my path and to face whatever I needed to face. Sometimes I got lonely and felt that I was left alone, but I really was not. The support was always there, but I need to realize that each of us travels individually in our specific path.

It is not easy. Well, it is easy enough to see that for ourselves, in my opinion. It was not so easy to see that when it comes to other people, especially for a person such as I am who has this tendency of saving the world. Often my natural inclination is to extend help to the people around me, especially those whom I care so much.

I am sure we have experienced this. We think that we are strong enough. But when it comes to our partners, to our children, to our best friends, somehow we do not have the same confidence in them.

We think that they need our help. We extend our hands too soon, not realizing that they are much stronger than we think they are, not realizing that the help might jeopardize the education that they are undergoing.

So lesson of the day for me: Give people space. Give myself the space I need. Respect the process. And have a little more trust in Him. It is all a very private affair.

A private affair was also an important lesson I learned from you.