Life Goes On

Friday, 28 December 2007

Ranty post. Be warned.

Christmas, with all its commercialised hype and retailers’ persistent efforts to make everyone part with their bonuses, has come and gone. Of course it’s okay to buy gifts for people who mean something to us—but I do find that (in the city, at least) we are prone to being excessive. Feasting after tightening your belt in your dieting efforts in previous weeks or months. Splurging on stuff you don’t really need, but think you can reward yourself with because you’ve worked your arse off all year.

I’m not a spotless dove when it comes to these kind of things. I do spend. And I can go overboard too.

Which is why it pays (literally) to bring our thoughts back to the true reason for Christmas. That God became man, to be born amongst His own creation for the purpose of their eventual redemption. To me, it’s about giving with unconditional love.

So now I tell myself, whenever I feel down, I’ll do something to (hopefully) bring joy to someone else.

For instance, my 25th of December this year started early in the morning with a phone call to my mom to wish the family. When I mentioned to her that I may not be able to make it to the church service because I would need some time to run around and prepare for our dinner together that night, she lambasted me for not having my priorities right and choosing to miss out on the most important event of the year for any Christian. She later sent me a text message saying, “Sorry I can’t come for a dinner the preparation of which took you away from an important event in any Christian’s life.” I was stunned—then got pissed off. Fine. So if me going to church would make her happy (she said that it wasn’t the point, but I know her better), I would go. And Han being the gentleman that he is, offered to accompany me with Brandon in tow.

I sent her a message in reply:

“And I’m sorry that you don’t see that the reason for Christmas is unconditional love. We can be with god anywhere, anytime. Time with family, on the other hand, is finite. Doesn’t that make sense? Would still like to have you all over for dinner.”

So off we went. Sure enough, she was all lovey dovey and fawning over Brandon after the service, whisking him off to meet her friends. Dad even said that she agreed to turn up for dinner after all. I relaxed a bit.

Then at about 4pm, this nasty thing arrived:

“One of the toughest act is to obey the Lord to love the unlovable. You ceased trying to please me ages ago. In fact I see you actively in a perverted way to go against good advice in many areas of your life. You want me to let you be you THEN let me be me. God is the one who gave me the role as your mother. Will you stop dictating how I should carry it out. I did it the only way I knew by God’s grace. I survived all your nonsense from the strength that God gave me. He will sustain me through all the storms. Please God and you will not need any special effort to please me.”

I was hurt.

With a prayer and Han’s comforting, we threw ourselves into preparing dinner that night. Only Lionel and Shea Fee came over—but we genuinely enjoyed ourselves in each other’s company. Then the next day I went for a facial and made cookies for all the neighbours on our floor as new year gifts.

It’s so liberating not to be encumbered by guilt. My conscience is clear, because I know the intentions behind my actions. I committed it to God the best way I knew how. I can only hope that my mother can truly find the peace that she so openly proclaims she finds in god—because through all these years, some things just haven’t changed.

4 Comments

#1Gravatar imageYen says:

I feel for you Mich.

God IS everywhere, in you, in Ngeow, in Baby Brandon, in that amazing dinner you made with love.

It is often very hard when other people impose their ideas on serving God on you, believing that their way is the best and right way.

For me it is easy. God is Love. And I find that love in spending time with my loved ones or giving/caring for others. I do not need to prove my love to anyone by visiting a building or an institution called a Church (which is often crowded, noisy and without air conditioning ANYWAY). :)

Christmas hugs and kisses.

#2Gravatar imageruach says:

i’m sure it can’t be easy dealing with all that, but posting about it took all the fruit of the spirit - plus a whopping helping of guts. good for you!

double bonus special points for han. :)

#3Gravatar imageMichelle says:

Thanks for your encouragement guys. It means a lot to me. I suppose it’s alright to have a not-so-nice incident happen once in a while that allows God to teach us the harder lessons in life.

#4Gravatar imagemindy says:

Michelle, I can most definitely relate to you!
I can only say Kudos to you because you still openly proclaim your love for Christ and I struggle to do so because I hated the superior “holier than thou” attitude of my mother.
In the end, our relationship with Christ is our own. No one should be allowed to tell you whether you’re a “good” Christian or a “bad” one.

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