Who here loves to be in a situation where there are just too many fuzzy variables that can significantly affect the outcome of the situation? I bet none of you raises your hand. Well, I won’t blame you. Ever since we were in school, we were trained to not settle with the unknown. In algebra class, we were always asked to find the unknown variable, x. In physics, we were constantly asked to find the correct values of variable after variable in order for us to derive the final answer to the problem. And so, I won’t blame you for being so restless as you step into a situation with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of different possibilities, in which you have no idea how it will turn out. Our natural tendency is to worry and panic when we don’t have it all together, and it spikes up when we are not in control of it all.
Using the same analogy as above, I just got far enough into the algebra exam where I am not only faced with an unknown x, but also an unknown y and z. To say the least, I have no idea what to expect. Though many of you may have known already, this might be news to your ears today. With my recent graduation in May, I left Vancouver for good, but have not gone back to Indonesia for good. At least just yet. I will be continuing my studies, in pursuit of a master’s degree, in London Business School. I am looking forward to this new journey, yet, the thought of being in a whole new city with only a few familiar faces scares me. To start, I don’t have the slightest idea of how London looks like as I have never been there. And just to make things a little bit more interesting, I am flying out solo. Sure, it can be exciting meeting new people and living in a new environment where I can so easily travel around Europe, but I can never guarantee that everything will turn out just fine. Can I adapt well in London? Can I cope with the different learning style in graduate business school? Would I find a positive community where I can grow in? Would Tim be strong enough to resist any temptation as we go through this long-distance relationship once again? (Hahahah just kidding, I’m sure he will. Bool, if you are reading this, just know that I’ve got eyes everywhere spying on you :p)
And then, there is this question that might possibly linger in the minds of my family and close friends. Would I be safe? With all that has been going on around the world, especially in London and EU, such question is undeniably disturbing. As I tell people about my plans for London, I almost get the same look and comment every time. Ooohh, that’s good for you, but why London? Did you hear about the latest tragedy that happened there and in Europe? Oddly, as concerns after concerns come my way, I did not feel worried or fearful. In fact, I felt a sense of peace. Of course, I care a great deal about my safety and well-being, but aren’t we living in a sea of uncertainties all the time? Where anything can happen whenever and wherever.
As I prepare myself for my journey to London these past few days, I am reminded of the time in Vancouver when I went for a sunrise hike at 4 AM in the morning. It was dark. Really dark. All we have for lighting were flashlights and our phones. I could recall the anxiety and worry I felt as we take step after step into the pitch-black woods, into the unknown. Every sudden noise was followed by a thought that runs in my mind. Could that be a bear? Every pathway that we choose to take was followed by a dilemma and doubt. Could this be the wrong way? After 90 minutes of dread and being lost on the trail and finding our way back to the right path, we were able to make it to the top to enjoy the beautiful morning view. We were able to reach our destination in the dark with just one flashlight. You see, often in life, we don’t have it all figured out. The future might seem dark and fuzzy and so full of uncertainties, but maybe we don’t need to have a clear vision of everything in order to take that next step. As long as you carry a flashlight, you will be able to navigate through it all until you reach your destination.
And so, here I find myself sitting on the plane to Bangkok before I set for London feeling thankful for the ‘flashlight’ I carry. The ‘flashlight’ that has directed me through all these years of uncertainties. The ‘flashlight’ that has kept me at peace in times where fear comes knocking. The ‘flashlight’ that has exposed the wrong direction and led me to the right one as I make decision after decision. The ‘flashlight’ that will never fail in guiding me as I embark this whole new adventure. That sounds like an out-of-the-world kinda flashlight, eh? For me, that ‘flashlight’ has been the Holy Spirit. Yours could be different – it could be your very own instinct, a mentor’s advice, you name it. But whatever it is, know that what makes a good flashlight good is that it drives out darkness and it remains certain in the midst of uncertainties.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Friends, facing the unknowns in life is inevitable. After all, is it any fun to know it all? Maybe today you find yourself in a place of total darkness, and you have no idea which step to take. Maybe for some of you, you are on the brink of taking a step, but there is an immense fear of not knowing what the outcome will be after you take that step. Or maybe you are like me, overwhelmed by the numerous different possibilities that could happen and restless knowing that you are not in control. Why don’t we together take our flashlight and let it guide us through the dark. One step at a time.
Written on the plane to Bangkok en route to London // 28 Aug 2017