Yes, gratefulness is what I am feeling, as I write, as I treasure those memories of past and present. My heart was strangely warmed when I listened to how John Cheah patiently taught his little ones (his write-up here) how to pray “our Father” to our Father. Angels must have pricked their ears at the sound of those sweet voices, and Papa would have been more than touched!
I remembered my first prayer taught by the nun and teachers at Tarcisian Convent Ipoh, when I was seven and in Primary One. It was “Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee..”, and when I reached Primary Three, we “graduated” to learning the “Our Father”! I would recite these “love messages” I call them, on my way to school in the school bus and sometimes on the handle-bar carrier of my Aunt’s bicycle. Heart-felt messages which I am sure my eternal Father heard and was/is well pleased! And how my heart was strangely warmed by those prayers, even then at that tender raw age of seven, particularly after that horrific first-day-of-school trauma, when I felt so scared, alone and ashamed because I could not recite my ABCs when asked to do so (never attended Kindergarten).
Yes, gratitude is indeed the memory of the heart, as I remember my adopted family, my grand-uncle, grand-aunt, three aunts (like older sisters) and my uncle, who together raised me up (to more than I could be), during those hard, lean years, before they raised up their own families. Grateful that they agreed to take that tiny bundle of pearl (that’s my name) when my mum dropped me off one fine night. It wasn’t easy trying to soothe a crying baby – I was told that I would start wailing every evening at nightfall, for almost a year. I must have been missing the sun (wink!).
My uncle has passed on now. It was he who took my childhood pictures, without which I would have no memory of what I looked like growing up, how that mischievous look came about, and the fashion then, six decades ago! For him to get hold of a camera must have be a rare and treasured thing then (not Nikon B700 haha), recalling that photos then need to be ‘washed’ i.e. developed from film!!
It was a miracle how I ended up in an English Convent School, which was farther away from my home as compared to many other Chinese schools nearby. On top of that, English was foreign to everyone except to that one uncle. This Catholic Convent has helped shape and form me in so many different ways. I would name just one blessing here – it was the songs that were etched deep in my heart and memory all these decades, now surfacing. Songs learnt during Mass and Mass practice, now singing in my heart as I watch the skies at dawn.
- Spirit of God in the clear running waters (link here )
I saw the scar of a year that lie dying
Heard the lament of a lone whip-poor-will
Spirit of God, see the clouds that are crying
Fill the Earth, bring it to birth
And blow where you will
Blow, blow, blow ’til I be
But the breath of the Spirit blowing in me
- Let us break bread together on our knees (link here)
Let us drink wine together on our knees (2)
When I fall on my knees
with my face to the rising sun
O Lord have mercy on me!
This becomes ever more meaningful when I literally kneel to take pictures of the sun rising, resting my camera on the wall-ledge for stability.
To literally see the Mercies of God rising every morning is a real sacred moment!
To receive the Grace of Communion, to receive freely His Peace, we/I dare to utter, a prayer learnt five decades ago:
Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy Will be done as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread and
Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil…
For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory,
forever and ever.