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Too blessed to be stressed

An article by Soo Ewe Jin that appeared in The Star today.

Sometimes, spending quiet moments alone in the garden can offer lessons that remind us to put things in perspective.

WE all go through moments when everything is totally meaningless. There are days when nothing seems to go right, and we are overwhelmed by circumstances that we cannot control.

On Friday morning, I woke up early, put the laundry to wash, and prepared my regular breakfast of two half-boiled eggs. I made myself a cup of coffee and remembered that the coffee had been sent to me specially by a friend in Kuantan.

She is a cancer survivor and the road for her is not easy. She has to travel by bus once every few weeks to continue her treatment in another state but she never complains. She shares about how she takes morning walks on the beach front and the amazing views of sunrise bring her much cheer.

I took my cup of coffee and sat on the swing in the garden. This swing was given to us by my brother-in-law years ago when he moved house. It has wonderful memories because I courted my wife on this swing when she stayed with her brother in Petaling Jaya.

As I surveyed the patch of green, with a few pots of plants that have been part of the scenery for many years, I recall how my mother, even in her 80s, would potter about to keep the garden neat and tidy.
I have seen gardens that are “picture-perfect” but the owners are often too busy to appreciate them.
In one of the cracks on the concrete wall, a small plant with one flower in full bloom reminds me that even in the toughest of situations, it is possible to be a beacon of hope.

The sun was slowly rising. It had rained earlier and the air was fresh. The dark clouds were shifting away, and I was treated to a kaleidoscope of colour in the morning sky. As I have written before, the most brilliant sunrises and sunsets are not only those by the beach or in the hills.

They are often in our own backyard, if we wake up early enough, and are able to look beyond the trials of life, and lift up our eyes. Many years back, a friend sent me a card that said, “If the outlook is grim, try looking up.”

And that is really true. What are the problems in this world compared to the majesty of creation? We can walk into the office and feel trapped by the “same-old, same-old” feeling, yet if we look at our garden, or up to the sky, we realise that we have new blessings every morning.

And it is also the same with our relationships with people. Every encounter, if our heart is in the right place, will yield blessings that we may not even anticipate.

I had much to reflect on this Friday morning on the swing, in the garden alone. And you know what, the load of cares that was upon me just disappeared. I am simply too blessed to be stressed.
  
Soo Ewe Jin (ewejin@thestar.com.my) is in Penang this weekend to have a quiet celebration with his mother who turns 90 on Monday.

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