Years from now, would “Instagram moment” replace the “Kodak moment”, the latter being relegated as a relic in the darkroom?
A long, long time ago, I used to buy rolls and rolls of Kodak films for long holidays. Returning home, one of the first things was to hurry to the photo lab to develop the films. That was a rather costly exercise with no certain results, unlike what we could do now, take copious number of digital photos and load them into cyberspace. And if we really want to have a print copy, we can easily choose the best pictures.
Despite the transition to the digital age, I have developed a habit of internalising holiday memories. There was a line from an old Japanese series where the protagonist talked about capturing an important memory, “with all my might, I clicked the shutter in my heart”. And this was exactly what I did on the last nights of holidays… peered out of the hotel room and just took in the night skies and cityscape so that these became imprinted in my memory. Sometimes, I would just keep staring till the lights went off one by one in the surrounding buildings.
I could recall how I dreaded leaving Singapore on our first trip back home from Perth. On that last night, there was incessant clicking in my heart as I sought to capture and cling on to as many memories as I could. And so it was, for the second trip home, the third… and then the most recent trip…
Surprise… I didn’t do the usual lingering and longing shots of the last night. Sure, I was rapt by the magnificent panoramic view atop the Sands Skypark observation deck. But at the end of the holidays, I was longing to return home. Home… as in Perth…
Don’t get me wrong… Singapore will always be home. At this stage of my life, though, Perth is more of a home to me. It caused me to wonder… what has caused this transition? Maybe…
Home is where the eart is. I have grown to love my current city, embracing all its beauty and shortcomings. Yes, it is not exactly a “happening” place; the restricted shopping hours are ridiculous; it gets unbearably hot in summer (40+ degrees anyone?); the cost of living is rocketing skyward… but this is a landscape and lifestyle that I now cherish and enjoy… where I have built new relationships and where going to work amidst lovely people is more of a pleasure than pressure.
Home is where one has wnership. Travelling may be fun, but after a protracted period of living out of a suitcase, I just long to be back to my very own lot in this world, where all my belongings can be found. I can make as many clothing changes as I like simply because they are all there… everything is familiar, and arranged according to my needs and lifestyle.
Home is where aintenance is required of us. When we have a stake in something, we have the responsibility to carefully, conscientiously and consistently upkeep its condition. This may sound ironical, but I really hate housework. I would rather someone do this on my behalf. But then again, there is nothing like the satisfaction that one gets from accomplishing a gleaming mirror, a clean floor and a tidy house.
- Hmmm, this painting will go well on the feature wall.
- Oh, I’ve just found the perfect ornament to dress up this corner!
- Maybe it’s time for some renovations and home improvements?
I am quite sure that my conflicting desire, to either linger longer at a holiday destination or to return home, is nowhere as strong as the dilemma Paul faced:
I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far
I just can’t say this in as much passion. Of course, I want to be homeward bound towards Heaven. But compare this to the excitement when one is planning towards a holiday? Or to the gladness in returning home for the real holiday, (i.e. rest)?
So where exactly is our spiritual home? Our spiritual address is actually determined by where we choose to reside on earth. Lot chose to set up his tents in Sodom (Genesis 13: 10 to 13), a land which appeared to be well irrigated and the better choice. But he ignored the fact that the people living in that land were wicked. A closer examination of our heart will help determine the latitude and longitude of where we have chosen set up home.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
Matthew 22:37 to 39
If our lives are cluttered with the affairs of this world, what we have actually inherited would be kept outside the door to our heart. When we do begin to grasp a little of what God has in store for us, the goals we have or the way we live will change very drastically.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:2 to 3
so that, having been justified by his grace,
we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13 to 14
When we take on a vested stake in Heaven, we will be compelled to stick to the strict regime and discipline of maintaining our course and spiritual life. It is like how one would fork out the money to join a gym, in the hope that with that bit of ownership, there will be an impetus to continue with the program.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Philippians 2:12 to 13
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
And not forgetting the most important thing… we are the very house where God dwells!
As you come to him, the living Stone
—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood,
offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:4 to 5
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them,
and we will come to them and make our home with them.”
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”
2 Corinthians 6:16b
Is God at home in us?