While mom and I were on our way to the grocery, we passed by a number of colorful food stalls. I'm not much of a siomai eater, but at that particular time, my stomach (or perhaps my tongue) was craving for a bitable meat drenched in sweet and spicy sauce. So there I was lining up in front of this 2x2 meter kiosk, named Siomai House, that was selling 4pcs. pork and shrimp Siomai for Php25.
I poked a piece with a toothpick, and took a bite. Surprisingly, there were no irritating tendon-like bits or yucky big fat unchewable pork. The pork and shrimp Siomai was soft and tasty and it blended perfectly with the chili with crispy garlic bits sauce. This reminded me of the Siomai I had tasted some years back when I was still in college and had not been exposed yet to "the real world."
Let me rewind back to the good ol' days when I was still wearing my bell bottom jeans and rubber shoes. I was hanging out with my group of friends, the ego-boosters, at ZZ canteen for lunch. A friend bought a foot-long hotdog in a bun, other friends opted for rice meals, while I was in the mood for Siomai. The Siomai then was a bit smaller and paler. The skin was quite dry and flaky. But I didn't mind. I sat with my group of friends, and took a bite. As my teeth cut through the meat, I stumbled upon an odd pea-sized bit that was difficult to chew. With the help of water, I swallowed it in a gulp.
Despite the odd siomai, I laughed heartily and joined the chorus. We were young with high hopes and big dreams. We were thirsty for new experiences and new lessons. Young and naive as we were, we were filled with joy and excitement, hopes and dreams.
Now, with a better tasting Siomai laid in front of me and a few bowls of wisdom saved in my wisdom bank, I can't help but wonder, where has the young cheery Mitzi gone? Isn't it odd that the older we get, the less joyful we become? Is this part of growing up?
Perhaps growing up does not necessarily lead to an evergreen life. As I devoured each of the four Siomai, I unearthed some great lessons the child within can teach us about life:
1. Hakuna Matata
When I was younger, I could survive without worrying. And this is one of God's commands that I have mastered less and less, as I grow older. I could laugh and play and let my cares be carried off by the wind then. But now, I worry for the upcoming deadlines and financial pressures among others. I do not think it is necessary to worry when our responsibilities increase. It's a waste of energy. The Lion King's Hakuna Matata principle is something you and I have to learn from our younger counterparts.
Some questions we can ask ourselves are: Why worry when God loves us more than the birds that He feeds and the lilies that He clothes? Why worry when the God who has given us life through Jesus Christ, can sustain us through and through? Why worry when He has called us for a reason? Why worry when we can get nothing out of the very act of worrying? Why worry and ignore God's faithfulness in our lives?
2. High Hopes
I remember being a girl with big dreams. Great visions colored my mind. However, entering and moving about in the real world isn't as easy as I thought it would be. It was filled with discouraging competitions and disappointing pursuits. Later on, I realize that we can retain high hopes, if and only if, we are participating in God's bigger plan. When we are on His side.
Despite our imperfections, we can have high hopes that God can use us mightily for the glory of His name. We can dream big for the advancement of His Kingdom, since this is God's same desire. Our extraordinary God can work wonders through an ordinary weakling like you and me. On the other hand, if we live our lives outside this purpose, perhaps for our selfish gains, then know by now that God will pop those 'high hopes' bubbles for us sooner or later.
3. Naive Faith
When I had my first job, I remember telling my superior, "If any problem arises, we should pray about it. God could work if we just believe in Him." My boss found it childlike and told me to just do my job well. As we grow older, we tend to depend on our own strength in fulfilling our duties.
The childlike faith is pure and straightforward. When God says He can move mountains, when God says He can make the lame walk, children can believe the word wholeheartedly; while adults will have to evaluate His word based on scientific facts and other empirical data. Our rational 'adult' mind simply cannot comprehend an extraordinary, out-of-the-box, God -- the God of Moses who has parted the red sea; and the God who can move mountains when we just call on to Him in faith.
Let us remember that God is the One who created science. He can work over and above it. Let us go back to this childlike 'naive' faith, and become bolder in living for God. Let us not be content with the certain, comfortable tried and tested ways that completely rob us of experiencing God and the joys that come along with it.
4. Blank Slate
My MA professor debriefed us in our last meeting, "It is best to enter my class in a blank slate -- when you know that you do not know. It is only in this way are you willing and ready to learn." As we grow older, we tend to pride ourselves with the knowledge and the wisdom that we have gained over the years. We think that we know everything there is (that we need) to know.
Many of us who may have read the Bible from cover to cover, or have listened to various preachings, have stopped reading the Bible because we think we know what it has to say. We hinder ourselves from learning and being changed for the better. We shy away from new experiences that would provide rich life lessons. Are we just proud? Or are we too much of a coward to admit that we do not know everything? Let us open our minds in wonder like a child.
As I closed the memories of my younger years, I swallowed the last portion of my tasty Siomai. I threw away the paper plate with the remaining chili sauce and toothpicks... and kept to myself the wisdom from this bitable snack.