the last 10 weeks have been kind of crazy. sometimes, i enjoy my work and the people i get to work with (students and colleagues alike) so much that i forget that it's not always a bed of roses. the stresses of working, the burden that i carry whenever i get reminded that my work deals with the lives of young people, that nagging need to strive for perfection and acceptance, that want to bring glory to the Lord and live my life as a testimony to the grace that i've been given.
sometimes, i'm glad i have a (physical) place to turn to in the middle of the work day. to reflect. think. cry out. pray. whenever a silly mistake was made. whenever big mistakes were made. whenever.
watching the whole slew of season and series finales the past few weeks to destress from work. thankful. 4 outstanding finales ought to be mentioned here.
1. house - just because it was shot entirely with a DSLR in HD. the canon 5d mkII was used, together with a mix of canon primes (i suspect they are below f1.4) and zeiss zooms (24-70mm, 70-200mm, if memory serves me well). the result was no different from the regular tv shows, but with an added bonus. the tremendous f-stops used ensured amazing an array of depths of field. and even though some scenes may seem out of focus, it fit into the storyline well. and did i mention cuddy and house are finally trying to make it work? :)
2. flashforward - went out with a cliffhanger-open-to-interpretation. the practicalities and business of broadcast media in america led to the axing of a once-promising show. and i'm still quite sad. the show was bouncing back from a few episodes of bad writing and script, but got axed way too soon. farewell flashforward.
3. lost - went out with a poignant smile, fully redeemed. in the end, the important questions were answered. the flash-sideways world was explained. our characters got the redemption they needed. and they moved on, together, to whatever comes after.
after all the adventure, mythology, spirituality, science, faith, philosophy, history, and the countless lessons and knowledge i've picked up watching the series, there are no regrets, no yearning for more (like i usually do with series finales), no burning questions (just a few small ones to satisfy my science brain), but just a quiet, poignant smile as jack closed his eyes and step into the light.
it also reminds me of being redeemed by the blood of Christ, reconciled with God, justified by faith, and the life in Heaven that awaits after we are done in this life. i used to struggle with the reality of a Heavenly Kingdom where there are no tears and sorrow, no sadness and fears. but God, sitting on His throne, where the angels sing and i can find rest for all eternity. though i still struggle with this sometimes (thanks to my science brain), i'm glad for a tv show that can remind me of this fact.
4. grey's anatomy - the season finale left me at the edge of my seat as charles, alex and derek lay dying and a grieving man who lost his wife went on a 2-hr (unrealistic, yes. pumps up the drama equation, yes.) shooting rampage in the hospital before committing suicide.
after i finished the show and started to think about what i saw, i got these flashbacks to the time where i was on exchange in the US. sitting in my poli-sci class, reading breaking news off my classmate's laptops about a shooting that happened on campus. MY campus. and i was ON campus, not at home. without details, my mind started to go crazy. is the gun man still going around shooting people? is he going to walk into my classroom with that loaded gun? it was a crazy time and i hardly paid attention. when i finally got hold of the details, the gun man had shot himself after he shot his ex-girlfriend in the chest 5 times, an ex-girlfriend he had been stalking. i'll never forget those crazy minutes (40 or so minutes) of fearing for my life.
and a few weeks later, the virginia tech massacre happened across the country i was in. my nightmare. and it is a sobering wakeup call for america to rethink its gun and ammunition laws. and it's also a gentle prod to be thankful for singapore.
ETA: i'm shaking my head as i type this after i saw a CNN breaking news tweet about a man going on a shooting rampage in the cumbria region of the UK, killing 12 people. they just found the shooter's body. cumbria is the region where lake district is, a beautiful place i visited last year. it's unthinkable. seriously.
one more thing that caught my attention in the grey's finale. the shooter asked the people he met whether or not they were surgeons. if the answer is yes, he shoots. this closely mirrors the rumors that surfaced during the aftermath of the columbine shootings, that the shooters asked the people if they believed in God, and if yes, they shoot. the rumors proved to not be true.
however, i thought about if it were true, how do people face such situations with the tremendous amount of courage that is needed. would we all respond like how Peter did, bearing in mind that a positive response would mean suffering, pain and death. or would we stand up for our faith and take the bullet, like so many disciples and apostles and servants of God today did? would we have that courage?
and yet i know, there is still hope in prayer as i grow in my faith. as we studied from the book of Jeremiah during YAG retreat, i can't help but change my mind about Jeremiah. i used to think he was really whiny and emo (esp. after studying the book of Lamentations).
but looking at things from a bigger perspective, i can see why the tears came as he prayed. his people were deliberately rebelling against God and not heeding his advice or warnings. Judah was suffering and yet Jeremiah's words fell on deaf ears. what was so outstanding about Jeremiah was how faithful and persevering he was as he served God. despite all that he went through, he still remained a faithful servant, and he constantly went back to God in prayer. that, to me, was really special. and inspiring.