Time flies! It was a quarter of a century ago when I graduated from high school. 25 years is not a short period, and indeed a period I dare not take for granted.
I always wonder will I be the same if I have never received the education I have received, or if I have never got the parents, family and friends I treasured. What actually hits me most is the question “Will I be the same if I have never got chosen to know the God who has created and loved me……?” And the warm feeling of heartfelt gratitude enfolds me.
Instead of thinking of myself getting old, I would rather say time and life experiences have given me the gift of wisdom and gratitude. I have learned to treasure learning processes more than the outcome, and got the enthusiasm to do things I want to do more than I want to be. I have learned to love to teach more than I want to be a teacher, love to heal more than I want to be a counselor, and love to write more than I want to be a writer. In short, I have learned life could not be sustained by external rewards and praises. The joy and the meaning of our BEING is in the process, and in particular the process of listening and serving others. I have also come to realize discipleship means joyfully willing to bear the cross and to bear criticism, even persecution, for the sake of Christ. I have learned to understand my life is not mine, it is His. I am chosen to be here, to be who I am and where I am, not because I am capable; instead, it is because I am not, and am thus blessed with the emptiness to learn, to share, to witness, and to experience the joy of learning, sharing, and witnessing.
I must admit there’s not much goodies I took along from my high school education. I only took with me the lyric of my school song “comfort the needy, uplift the weak”. I still keep this and its spirit deep in my heart every moment of my life. It has a ripple effect, and it goes on wherever I go, whatever I do, whomever I serve. It affects my education, my profession, and even my vocation. It helps me stand up for what I believe is right. In times when I feel like I don’t fit in the world, it reminds me God puts me here to build a better one, at least for those around me.
I would not say these past 25 years went by smoothly, and I may not be right to say I have the equal shares of joy and woe we all experienced. Instead, I am grateful I experienced more joy and love than sorrow and tears. Life has been fruitful and meaningful simply because GOD has been in it in every single tic-tac of the clock, and I trust deeply He will continue to be here with me. This is exactly what catholic education can do to someone’s life. It does not affect us for 15 years, it changes our whole lifetime. As many people of my age would say, we have experienced many ups and downs as we go up the hill. Now that we are over the hill, what we see face to face when we look back is actually God Himself carrying the cross for us in the past 50 some years. There were times I thought I would not be able to start over again. There were also long-standing and deep-seated problems I thought I would never be able to solve. And yet, kneeling finds all the answers and the strength to overcome everything. It is in kneeling that God’s grace and love overcome pride, and hopefulness replaces helplessness.
Because of the grace of God, I have miraculously become a more capable person than I could ever be. God has given me the courage and the strength to walk on His path and follow Him though I may not know what lies ahead. It is in prayer I find strength to trust and to follow; and in listening to God’s guidance, I find connected to the world and God’s people with compassion and love. It is also in prayer I find courage to step out from my comfort zone and leave the introvert behind me to become the extrovert of human service.
Day by day, I trust more and more we are all born to have a mission, the plan God has prepared for each one of us even before we were formed in our mothers’ womb. I may have to spend the rest of my lifetime finding this path to holiness. Be Thou my Vision! I believe I will actualize Your plan on me someday if I keep remembering You, and not me, is the boss of my life.
Life is wonderful! I remember when I was six, I told my mom I wanted to write a memoir, and she thought I was crazy. The idea of a memoir was probably a seed God has planted in the depth of my heart to drive me to live my life to the fullness so that someday I can write that memoir without apology.
Dearest God, My life is Yours, please make it a life of beauty! Thank you!
Mis Leong. July 2016