I know I haven’t written a lot lately – but let me assure you that I’m doing well.
I’m busy with thesis and other things to manage at work but I’m doing fine. It’s my birthday today, well at least for the next 17 minutes. So did I do anything fun or outrageous to celebrate my birthday? Sadly, I have to disappoint you – it is another lowkey birthday this year. Maybe next year I will celebrate with a party or something more festive, but it’s just another birthday this year. I am thankful to God that I have been given another year. I can’t take things for granted with so many news of sickness and death lately within my circle of friends.
I started the day by staying in bed a wee bit longer – I have a sore throat that refuses to go, I don’t know whether I’m having another cold or whether it’s hayfever now that spring is here. I got up at about 8.30ish at the end as I had to drop my car at the garage nearby. I accidentally clipped my left rearview mirror a couple of weeks ago when I drove Indy to the vet to get his desexing stitches out. He was whining in the backseat that made me lose my focus for a while. The next thing I knew, I heard a “CRACK” and saw that I had hit the fence with my left rearview mirror. 🙁 The mirror was still connected to the car, and it was still powered as well, but it was in a sorry state. I put some masking tape around it and then hunted for a replacement rearview mirror in eBay as I heard that it could cost as high as $1,500 officially! Whoa! :O I got it in eBay for about $95 from a company in the US. 🙂 I drove to the garage and left the car there and I did contemplate just staying at home, but I went to work anyway so I could attend the midday seminar.
For breakfast, I had a homemade Banoffi Pie – unbeknownst to me, Yani made one yesterday and hid it in the freezer so she could surprise me this morning. 🙂 Quite a different breakfast, having a slice of chocolate cake with strawberry and banana! Yummo. So after the seminar at the Institute, I had lunch with some workmates which was really nice as well – it was great for Patrick to gather two other folks from the Institute to join us for lunch. We went to Ajisen Ramen – a noodle joint in Leigh Street – where I ordered my usual Tofu Ramen and Cold Green tea. Afterwards I bought my coffee from Phat and then stayed at the office for a while.
I collected my car and then stayed at home to do some work – and chastised Indy for getting into our bedroom and messing with our bed *grin*. I couldn’t stay angry with him for too long – it’s like being mad with your own child, I suppose. You want to be angry and inflict a severe punishment but you realise that you can’t do that – you love the child – or in this case, a dog – too much. I took him for a walk around the neighbourhood and then fed him before I went to a church cell-group meeting. My friends bought a nice birthday cheesecake for me, which we had after the meeting. So all, in all, a good, low-key, intimate and comfy birthday. 🙂
My birthday made me reflect on my life – at my age, Dad had already got all eight of us, with my younger brother only about two-year old by then. I couldn’t imagine myself having to feed for eight children and insisting that all of them get good educations. He did really well with the children with all of us received good education and good upbringing. I know that to achieve that, Dad sacrificed a lot. He could’ve been a rich man with fewer children – or he could’ve taken the easier route by marrying off my sisters early. He did none of those and insisted that we all study well and aim high. From Dad’s life, now I also realise that God’s favour never left him even when Dad didn’t know Jesus at all.
Raising eight high-achieving children for a simple man with a junior-high education, assisted by his ex-teacher wife seems like an impossible task. My parents did it at the end. So many things could’ve gone wrong, but we avoided all of the hurdles somehow. All of us finished highschool and took different routes with our tertiary education. All of us are healthy and well-balanced (… well, I’m biased!) 🙂 I’m sure that all of this was achieved through God’s grace and favour as well. He blessed Mum and Dad even when they didn’t know him – even when Dad only made that crucial decision to accept Jesus in the last few years of his life, and made a new commitment in the last hours of his life, God had always blessed him. Even when God allowed my parents to experience the pain of losing their youngest son in 2008 – my younger brother – God has always been good. Through Handy’s early departure, the family had the chance to have a family retreat where I asked for Mum and Dad’s forgiveness for my faults and disobedience. Through God’s blessings on Mum and Dad’s life, all of his children are blessed as well. I know that I would probably not realise this if Dad is still around. Dad’s passing makes me evaluate his life and my life from a different angle.
I still miss him – I miss knowing that he is there for me, as I have written here before. The sadness of losing him is gone, but I still can’t help missing him. I wish I could have the conversation with him just to point out how much God had loved him, even when he didn’t know God in the first place.
While looking into my iPhoto, I came across a picture that I took on 7 February 2011 – around four months before Dad passed away. I was in Indonesia with Yani at that time, spending time with the family for Chinese New Year. On that day, I was at Mum and Dad’s – we had a blackout in the afternoon just when Mum and Dad were having lunch. Mum decided to light some candles and put them on the dining table and I remember making a joke that Mum and Dad were having a romantic dinner together and on a whim, I took a picture of them. I want to imprint this picture in my heart – that despite Mum and Dad’s differences and fights, they loved each other dearly. Tomorrow (or should I say today as it is past midnight already), Mum apparently wants to have a family gathering in Jakarta to commemorate Dad’s 100th day after his passing.
I know it’s not a coincidence that God reminds me again how much that I am blessed through his life.