Change is inevitable, hope springs eternal

When the editor sent me a reminder on the deadline for this column, she said that I could change my mugshot too.

Jan 06, 2023

When the editor sent me a reminder on the deadline for this column, she said that I could change my mugshot too. I thought that if I decide to do so, I would be letting readers watch me age over time. But growing older and facing changes is something that everyone has to go through, especially if you are born early in the year, particularly in January.

A year older and nearing the end
January is my birthday month. The thing about being born towards the end of January is that, most of the time, my birthday falls during the Lunar New Year. When that happens, my family and friends will celebrate my birthday together with Chinese New Year. The beauty of a dual celebration is that I get to toss yee sang on my birthday, and that is something I look forward to. My birthday is also on Australia Day and because of this, my aunt in Australia and my Australian friends never fail to send me birthday wishes every year. It is like being born on Christmas Day or on Malaysia’s Independence Day – people tend to remember your birthday because it is a holiday and an easy date to remember.

Amidst the joy of celebrating birthdays, the reality is that we are growing older. Now that time seems to be passing by so quickly, the road towards the end of life seems to be drawing closer too. Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said that nothing in life is certain except death and taxes. Death is something that everyone has to face at some point and we must be prepared for it at all times. Financial institutions and insurance companies remind us about the importance of being financially prepared for retirement. But the Church provides spiritual nourishment and guidance to prepare us for our inevitable earthly death.

Change is inevitable
In his bestselling book released in 1998, Who Moved My Cheese?, Dr Spencer Johnson wrote that change is inevitable. Proactive people monitor change, anticipate it, adapt to it, learn to embrace it and enjoy it. If we resist change, we will be at the risk of becoming extinct. And if we do change, we will suffer less stress and unhappiness. We will also enjoy more success and fulfilment in every aspect of our lives.

However, many of us dislike change and resist it. We continue living in our comfort zones and carry on with our lives hoping that things will remain where they are in perpetuity. When life becomes difficult, we lose faith and hope in God and in our family and friends. Why do we lose hope and faith so easily? Shouldn’t our faith be anchored in Jesus Christ?
Hope springs eternal

As I was scrolling through social media towards the end of last year, I came across an image that described 2022 as the year for those who had been in waiting for a long time. The message referred to the ascension of Prince Charles as king of the United Kingdom, the election of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister of Malaysia and Lionel Messi as FIFA World Cup hero. I thought that image captured 2022 well, particularly the election of Anwar as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia.

Anwar’s political career had been nothing but turbulent. When I watched him hail shouts of Re-for-ma-si! after his first press conference as prime minister of Malaysia, it reminded me of 1998 when Anwar was sacked from the Malaysian cabinet and subsequently arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act. There were riots around Kuala Lumpur protesting his arrest. I was returning from college and travelling on the non-air-conditioned, rickety SJ Bus along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman when suddenly traffic came to a standstill for hours because of the riots. The Federal Reserve Unit deployed water cannons to dispel protestors who were shouting Re-for-ma-si! As people were running helter skelter, I watched from the bus, trying to figure out what was happening. There was no social media at the time and only later on did I get the full picture from mainstream media. When Anwar was finally sworn in as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia on November 24, 2022 at the ripe old age of 75, I thought that his journey to the premiership had been a ride of never-ending hope and faith.

As we step into 2023, analysts, economists and politicians have predicted that it is going to be a challenging year, with an impending recession and other uncertainties. But I say that come what may, we will journey on together in hope and faith because even though changes (and uncertainties) are inevitable, hope springs eternal.

The key is to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. We have survived three years of pandemic with varying degrees of outcome – some of us better than others, and some of us battered and bruised. But whatever life may throw at us, may we always place our hope and faith in God for brighter days ahead.

(Julie Lim Seet Yin believes that a satisfied life measured by one's heart, mind and soul is better than a successful life measured by worldly yardsticks. She works for a Japanese bank and is responsible for its Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. She serves in various church ministries and charities and can be reached at: [email protected])

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