she looked so happy to see me the first time she met me, that’s what I remember. not the fake kind of “I need to be smiling and appear eager to know you” kind of happy, but the genuineness of her smile was what first caught me.
2009: I was 13 and childish, she was 18. where do you find 18 year olds who are truly interested in the life of a 13 year old? furthermore, she was having her A-levels. every sms and every meet-up, she never let the stress of her circumstances spill onto me, but instead focused on growing me, building me and loving me.
the day she appeared at the gate of my school all the way in Ang Mo Kio with sashimi sushi (tgt with Fungqi), I knew there had to be something different. she also gave me follow-up. people were pouring themselves into their notes and books for A-levels – and there she was pouring herself into an insignificant life like mine.
This picture though not the most glam, depicts just one of the countless times she sat with me and talked to me about issues that I needed someone to talk through with in my life. there were times when she was the one who noticed something was wrong even though I myself did not – that’s when I realised what it meant for someone to “know you better than you know yourself”. there were times when I desperately needed someone and the first person I would always turn to was her. even though there were moments when it was the same old problem, the same old issue, she never failed to patiently tell me what I needed to hear, give me the advice I needed to follow.
at the Alfresco.
at the corner of the auditorium after service.
at the area behind with the vending machine.
at the cafe at the back of the audi.
at the art gallery.
at the MRT station platform.
at a random eatery in Bedok Point.
at a food court.
all these places, she has spoken right into my life and proved that she means it when she says she believes in me.
one of the hardest things to give and the epitome of love is when someone disciples you and cares enough to tell you where you have gone wrong in your life. and she has done that for me. my character 5 years ago and my character today is vastly different – and she plays a large role behind it. in the most positive way I can express. because she was never concerned about how much favour she could gain with me, but she was always concerned about whether I was at the best that I could be.
she takes the time to read the longest, wordiest emails that I send, encouraging me from time to time. words of affirmation is my best love language and she has always loved me with her words.
she gave me a bookmark with my name (tgt with Peijun) when she barely knew me. it wasn’t just the gift, but that she thought of me when she saw the bookmark when my name is typically more significant as a word than when referring to the person.
she gave me a screen protector when she realised that I didn’t have one and didn’t buy one because I didn’t have the money.
she called me the moment she knew I was in a car accident and told me not to cry even though I wasn’t even crying yet because she could tell through the phone that I was on the brink of tears. the day itself, she appeared at my house with a sunflower. (that’s why I really love sunflowers up till today.)
when I was an insecure girl with crazy thoughts, my leader did all that she could for me to encounter God. every single follow-up, worship session and connect group meeting, my leader gave, gives and is still giving her best. even when situations were the most discouraging, she gave me, gave us, all that she could.
when I was an achievement-oriented over-achiever with superficial goals in life, my leader believed that my life could be significant. she saw something more in a girl who had a dream to go to Oxford as one of the most important things in her life.
when I was careless with my words and made mistakes, my leader showed me how I could walk again.
today is the day a very important person was born.
important people are not always, usually not, the ones you can google or find a wikipedia page on.
truly important people are the ones that make a difference in lives, even if it’s just one life.
Zhilin is one of the most important people in my life. thank you, and I love you Zhilin. happy birthday! (: