I’ll be leaving Indonesia in two days’ time and I have some mixed feelings about leaving home this time round. Losing my own brother has made me realise that it is truly important to maintain good and close relationship with my parents, siblings and other relatives. Dad half pleaded with me to consider moving back to Indonesia so that I could work and live closer to the rest of the family. I used my usual line of ‘If my grandpa didn’t have the courage to leave his family and village in Xiamen, China, we wouldn’t have been here today’ – I used it once before when I told him that I wanted to migrate from Singapore down to Adelaide. At that time, I was strongly adamant that I wanted to move to Adelaide and I can remember Dad’s dejected comment which is something like ‘If it’s what you want, I can’t do anything about it, can I?’. This time round, I couldn’t say it with the same stubbornness and persistence that I had then. I said it with a slight regret in my heart, as I know that it would be preferable and advisable if I live closer to my parents in their old age. I have seen their sadness and tears while staying at their house during the last week – they still cry over Handy every morning. Even the smallest thing will trigger their sadness and tears. However, I do have a life that I have been leading in Adelaide – work’s also waiting for me, even though it will also finish soon. That got me thinking, is it selfishness or is it just a pioneering sojourning spirit that drives me to move away from home?
Where do I get this feeling of wanting to travel and explore more? Did I really get it from my late grandfather who I have never met? Maybe I had some vagabond or explorers as my ancestors?
What about those young villagers who left their families in China and got into boats and travelled down to Indonesia in the late 1880’s? Did they only think of themselves when they ventured out of their hometown, because they wanted a better life? Or were they thinking of bringing their loved ones all along? What about the millions of migrants all over the world who dared to leave their families for a better life? Are we driven by our thoughts and strategies rather than our hearts?
I don’t know if my late brother would have had the heart to leave the family to lead a better life elsewhere. He sacrificed a career he could’ve had because his wife couldn’t be left alone. He also chose to live closer to my parents so he could keep an eye on them regularly. It is not narrow-mindedness nor foolishness for some people to prefer to stay in their village or hometown for the rest of their lives. I suppose we are just driven by different things and put different weightings on the contributing factors.
I am still heading back to Adelaide on Tuesday but this week has got me thinking and has certainly pushed back my way of thinking closer to the ‘community path’. There’s a danger for me if I continue to live on my own and be as self-sufficient as I have been trying to be for the last five years – I will only think of me and focus on me and my needs. I am grateful that God continues to remind me that my family are important, and that I am truly blessed of having such a diverse group of individuals who I’m proud to call my siblings.
I can’t dampen my sojourning spirit for now – if I can pioneer a life in Australia, even for my own family and for one or more nieces or nephews, I know that I will be content. So am I driven out of selfishness or social and economic responsibility, I can’t really say. Maybe I will have a 1:1 in depth psycho-analysis discussion with God when I get to Heaven. 🙂