The One Who Loves, Cares and Shares

Posted by M ws On Wednesday, September 5, 2012 2 comments
In life, there are friends, acquaintances, enemies and then there are real friends. These are the ones who are sincere, honest and kind one to another. And I count myself lucky to have a friend in Sarah CML who now resides in Adelaide. This evening, I had such a long Skype chat with her over various matters and it was invigorating to connect again.

It was in 1987 when I first met her. Then, she was in the teachers' training college in Sungei Patani but she would faithfully join our activities in church during her vacation. Her daughter Isabel is my god-daughter. We worked together in one musical that I directed - The Word, The Song, The Person and she was one of the soloists.

Sarah is such an extraordinary person that it is no wonder her husband gave up a full scholarship for his Masters degree at M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) after graduating from one of the top universities in Japan - to marry her. When I learnt about this, I asked her husband if he ever regretted it. A definite resounding 'No' was the answer. Happily married, they have two boys and one daughter. Sarah and her husband are really godly Christians without being legalistic, fanatical or dogmatic about their faith. They are not the type to stuff the gospel down your throat or to preach the fire and brimstone kind of gospel that can turn people away from God. Nope. They LIVE their faith in such a way that people see the love of God shining in their eyes, from their hearts - effortlessly, because they have a faith that binds, builds and grows.

Sarah and her family at Mount Gambier  (Elisha was probably the photographer)

You know, it is very difficult to find good friends. A friendship that can last for decades needs nurturing, effort, much love and forgiveness. Sarah is one of the two close girlfriends I have and I was happiest when the three of us were together on my 50th birthday.

It is funny how the two of us get along. We never quite hit it off from the beginning but we grew into each other. The special element which really sealed the friendship for life is certainly her sweet and forgiving nature, not forgetting her strong faith and belief in God. Both of us are very honest with each other and speak our hearts when we relate to each other. I am aware there are some who think I am gentle and docile but I assure you I am not. The one thing I cannot stand in life would be hypocrites and/or liars and have always stayed clear of such connections once I know trust and honesty cannot be part of the foundation of a genuine friendship.

In Sarah, I can always be confident that what she says is what she means and feels in her heart. No masks. In all the twenty-five years I have known her, she has never been rude, sarcastic, mean or nasty to me or anyone. The same with Sek Suan. There are many who feel they have the license to lie or condemn or scold or insult others because they regard themselves as over and above others. And such persona breed destruction. Not Sarah. She exudes love and a calm feeling to those who know her. If something was wrong, she would say, we have to pray for etc etc so that etc etc will not/can etc etc. She never condemned anyone and has never ever been mean to me or anyone else for that matter.

Today, she was trying to convince yours truly to attend church and to serve in the music ministry again. Naturally, such exhortations turned philosophical as I shared my perspective of my faith, beliefs, findings from my readings and meditations. As always, she was attentive, understanding, non-judgemental, unpatronising and really listened to what I had to say regardless of how radical it sounded. In a nutshell, I believe in God etc but believe in their effort to 'control' the congregation, some churches may have just extended their hold on man by being legalistic and dogmatic on what one should do, eat, speak and what-nots. I do not believe that God can be compartmentalised into boxed doctrines or sweet sounding doctrinal proclamations of faith.

So on and on I went about how God is far beyond what our minds can fathom or dream and how God may not be what we imagine Him to be. She just listened to my bizarre beliefs, hypothetical assumptions and how I connected the dots in my endeavor to get to the bottom of religious conspiracies.  Patiently, she listened to me and gave me her full attention. Showing full consideration to me, she even carried her laptop as she walked around her home. I actually had motion sickness at that stage because the image was swaying and in all directions. And when I asked her why she was walking around, she told me it was to accompany Isabel to the toilet!

I was so touched that she did not excuse herself for a few minutes to help Isabel but went through the inconvenience of walking around, listening to me and responding spontaneously. Plainly, I believe she is the other stabilizing factor in my life (the main one being my husband). Sarah always has time for people in need and this evening, I told her that if ever I want to see the love of God in the world, all I have to think of is her life and how love is manifested in what she says, thinks and does. In this plastic world of fakes, hypocrites and liars, befriending Sarah and enjoying a deepening friendship with her beyond the sea is one of life's greatest blessings. When she migrated to Adelaide with her family, my heart broke and I did not see her off at the airport because I knew I would cry my eyes out.

Much to her horror, I shared some of the experiences I had of late and she was shocked when she realized what a recluse I have become. It is sad, I know. After I reinvented myself and ventured into the 'world', a few incidents totally pulled the carpet off my feet and once again, back to my coconut shell I went, my little haven of my home to cocoon myself from the rest of the world. Under such circumstances, blogging has been a therapeutic journey for me to make sense of the senseless world in which we live (my blog tag line) because it allows me the cathartic release of my pent-up emotions. When I am sad, I fill my blog with jokes. When I am in a deep meditative mood (like the past few days), I now..

After all the disappointments I have gone through, it is very painful to try to make friends. God is good and of late, the good friends I have made are people whom I have never met before. Some I have spoken to via phone or Skype but some, I have never spoken nor met - only via emails.

Some readers have written such beautiful responses/comments e.g. Walla, Achibong, CLY, Shadower...some hilarious ones e.g. cin2tan, some philosophical ones e.g. Joshua and UP41, some who read and occasionally share comments eg Cat-in-Sydney who has been a blessing in so many ways and others such as YK who shares health information and other moving observations about life. Another blog reader, Mr. Poh, wrote me such a wonderful email sharing about his son's experiences and encouraging Nick..that I was just so stunned at his kindness.

Truly, strangers can be kinder than people we know in real life, even those we may have known for ages. I always wonder how anyone can be cold, calculating, malicious or deliberately deceitful. I am grateful to blog readers who have taken the trouble and the time to reach out to me, to share their thoughts and experiences. You will never know how you have restored my faith in humans.

I told Sarah this evening that if I had the money, I would buy a small island, be self-sufficient and live like a hermit ala Robinson Crusoe...planting my own vegetables and fruit trees, rearing poultry, and enjoy Mother Nature from dawn till dusk. To that, Sarah reminded me that we were born to relate to others, not to be hermits.

In all honesty, I have always been a radical rebel. I may not look like one but from the time I was in primary school, perhaps even kindergarten, I would stand up for my rights even if it meant getting into trouble. When I was in Standard 5, I was not a librarian because my late mom disapproved of it. Along the way, the full-time librarian practised favoritism and discrimination. New and best books were reserved for librarians. As my school ambition was to devour the school library, I was stomping in anger at the injustice of it all.

Despite many complaints, protests and showing an unhappy face many times, the unfairness persisted. Had this happened in this day and age, I reckon there would have been demonstrations to protest the inequalities in such a scenario.

Of course I complained to the teachers but no one took much notice as I was the only one who complained. The librarians were happy in their elite group and the others were ambivalent because they were not avid readers like me.

And so, I turned vigilante. :-(

I did something nasty one day in the library and of course was sent to the Principal's Office. I had skipped a year in school and was in Std 5 then - a ten-year old disgruntled school girl unhappy with the fact that others were shown favour while the rest suffered in silence or were totally indifferent. Oh well, as expected I was sent to the HeadMistress' office and not caned. The thing that changed me was the way the Headmistress responded. Her gentle rebuke taught me that we cannot repay evil with evil and two wrongs do not make another right. Yes, I was repentant and I apologised to the librarian. My parents would have flipped if they had learnt about this episode. After that incident, there was no more preferential treatment for librarians and everyone had access to the books. Even as a ten-year old, I asked myself then if it was worth it? Previously, I said yes but now, older and wiser, I think not!

The heart of the matter is forgiveness - because it is that one thing which sets us free.

I am glad I have a friend in Sarah who constantly reminds me that while it is fine to withdraw from toxic  friends/acquaintances/groups, it is important to forgive them.

And I do.

Because God forgives me and I forgive myself for all the stupid things I did/said etc...

Above all else, may we always be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God has forgiven us...

Thank you, Sarah, for the 25 years of friendship, love and experiences we have shared and I *heart* you very much!!! God bless!!!

Here are some inspiring quotes...

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.
Paul Boose

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
Catherine Ponder

The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbour as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.
Eric Hoffer

Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.
Oscar Wilde

We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.
Sir. Francis Bacon

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
Mahatma Gandhi

Most of us can forgive and forget; we just don’t want the other person to forget that we forgave.
Ivern Ball

To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.
Robert Muller

True forgiveness is not an action after the fact, it is an attitude with which you enter each moment.
David Ridge

Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

2 comments to The One Who Loves, Cares and Shares

  1. says:

    Tiger To find that one friend who's compatible with you, that's the best challenge to win.
    I remember stealing a book from my school library, because I had already borrowed one book and wanted to read another.
    My English teacher caught me, and she also rebuked me gently but I will remember what she said for life, because it was soft advice and not hard punishment.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Dear Tiger

    My grateful thanks to you for sharing such a deep and meaningful experience.

    Thank you for reading my blog for so many years.

    I always treasure your responses and am thankful you do not take offense to my late responses and yet still share to bless.

    Take care and may God continue to bless you and your family!

    Best wishes

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