Christmas Eve is tomorrow… I have a tiny plastic tree with plastic shiny balls from years gone by dotting its outer layer. It’s just gonna be me and the two maids this Christmas, and hopefully I’ll get to spend Christmas Eve at church with my friend Irma. My folks have gone back to kampung with my nephew (he’s got to see his real mom at least twice a year!). My mom’s calling me with all these complaints on how my dead brother’s wife (the almighty doctor) taking his favorite grandson away from her house. This is our version of Thanksgiving break, thank goodness I stay out of it, even if it meant I got to spend Christmas alone.
2013 hasn’t been that good to us.
It’s the first time I realized that there’s an afterlife. I haven’t been much of a Christian, sad to say, but I believe, albeit halfheartedly, the line that goes “Jesus loves me because the Bible tells me so” (even if I hardly open my Bible..); I consider myself a born-again Christian, that’s deep enough for me. Since my late brother’s passing – his body encased in an extra-large coffin – I was hit hard with the reality that one day I am going to be called Home, to what my neighbors like to call ‘HEAVEN.’ Just a matter of time and place and how.
I can also reflect to the time I was flying back from Raleigh alone, with 4 loaded suitcases (half of which did not belong to me.) Shortly after I arrived, the nightmare began with my baby brother’s wife (that big Shrekky!) revealing her true ogre self. Long story short, she did not care about her mother-in-law’s feeling – never once did she ask how my mom cope with the funeral, only thing she kept pestering was whether my mom told her relatives that she’s going back from the State – you see, some people needs to keep the appearance of being American and all (never mind that she uses English like newly-arrived ESL student.) And my baby brother made it worse by telling us off – that we’re this bad family that has been doing them all these bad things. Well done, bro, so why don’t we just cut off the relationship and be done with it. Noooo… he has to call my aunt and told her that he’s been trying to do his best pleasing my mom, without mentioning how much money mom and me have spent on him and his wife and his mother-in-law (that witch!) on our last visit.
Enter my beloved mom, being amazed with how these lovely people finally ignoring her. She’s getting older, some of her friends have gone on to ‘better place’ and it’s a miracle she still looks 10 years younger than her peers. She wonders why my nephew wants to spend more time at her real mom’s house. She wonders why my only living brother is not calling her even though she’s been paying for his family’s insurance (which is slightly more than my teacher’s wages) for the past 2 years. She wonders why her husband is still treating her no better than 2 minutes and a lifetime ago. She wonders why I refuse to go back home with them this Christmas – at least to keep her sanity and to make her believe there’s still someone who cares about her. Hear me this: Mom, remember when I beg you not to give in too much, cut too deep, ask too many questions? Why don’t you just ignore these lousy people and do what you think best, instead of fearing what other people might think of you? I just want to say to her: “I told you so.”
I was reminded with one sermon, when my favorite pastor exhorted us to pray for the Lord to bless us with what He thinks best for us, instead of what we think is best for ourselves.
And God’s people say: AMEN!