June nears its end and it is a month characterised by some tell-tale signs. Just as leaves turn orange and fall from trees during autumn, this is the month where the roads become less jammed, there will be more space in the MRTs and there will be church camps.
I recently attended one such church camp for secondary one catechism students. In the camp, they introduced the concept of Multiple Intelligences (MI). A psychology tool, it helped the participants to realise that they were indeed fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14). One of the MI tools used to test for the Logical-Mathematical intelligence was “Sudoku”; a puzzle where the rules help rather than limit the participant.
The objective of the game would be to complete every square within the 9×9 grid with the numbers 1 to 9 with no repeats within each column, row and smaller 3×3 section. Some numbers would already be provided with the puzzle, less numbers provided resulting in a more difficult time, while more numbers being provided would give more clues to the participant. The way that I approach a typical puzzle is through elimination. I would first pick a number and proceed to study the various rows and columns and try to find where I could place them in the 3×3 sections. After eliminating the number from the row and column, what would assist me would be the rule that there could not be no repeat the 3×3 section. For more tips, click here.
Like every other station, some of the participants were stuck while others breezed through the exercise, of course all of us have different strengths and weaknesses. What was heartening to see was that there were those who went to help others to overcome their weaknesses, either through hints or even discussing strategies of their own!
In light of this and reflecting on the past 6 months, I have come to appreciate that though I may sometimes be puzzled by rules and regulations, it is these rules that help to fulfil rather than limit my truest self. Just as how there can be no repeats in a Sudoku column, so too there can be no duplicity in the life that is led – thankfully there is time yet to become ever more configured into an alter Christus. After all, Jesus did not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfil them. (Mt 5:17)
Thankfully, we are not alone as we continue to be moulded by the Potter. The frustration that we feel when faced with situations we do not understand, nor desire, is lessen by those around us. Just as how the participants showed their humility and love for one another by asking and helping, I too have been doing more of the former than the latter during this half of the year. Truly, there is much to learn, and I am grateful for my brothers who constantly avail themselves despite the many challenges they face.
For me, the true puzzle comes in trying to live in a Spirit of Insecurity; “to live in a deliberately chosen spirit of risk, adventure, courage and openness. To embrace an unknown future in an attitude of honest questioning… after all, it is never easy to seek God, to be true in community life, and to accept others as they are – to forgive unceasingly, not hiding behind inner barriers.” (Jean Vanier, Becoming Human)
And so as I ask for your prayers as I rely on Christ and the brothers to help me to live, as Jean Vanier has so succinctly put it, Way of the Heart; “simple relationships that put people first, in a non-goal-orientated way. The sharing of weaknesses and needs that calls us together into ‘oneness’, welcoming those who love us into our heart.” Truly, a puzzling way in this day and age, but one that I would recommend to #challengeyourself to live in your community.