Laughing Out Loud! Most of us will make out that is what LOL meant! Some older folks like me will remember that it was also Lots Of Love! Here, in this article, I will take it to mean Labour Of Love! LOL indeed!
This notion sparked off when a friend told me she slept only at 2am that morning, baking Lo-Pak-Ko (a radish cake dish) for her 92-year-old grand-aunt, a task which took her an awfully long time, painstakingly cutting up the ingredients into tiny pieces. A LOL indeed!
Then I recalled recently how BLC members’ LOL brought delicious lunches and juicy oranges to our homes during our September Virtual Camp, many thanks to purchaser, organisers and delivery team. I salute all those who have made our Father’s House a place of safety, serenity, of sacred worship – hence a shout-out to the maintenance folks, the media and worship team, the greeters, the education team, the food organisers and providers, the gardeners, decorators, preachers, writers and troubadours. I am particularly touched by this quilt, hung once at BLC during holy week 2019, a quilt in which every stitch of love matches the LOL of our Lord in His crown of thorns – a woven tapestry of sacrificial love.
Recently my friend’s son turned 33, his parents were so happy to celebrate this gift of life the Lord has given them as he is severely disabled. It was 33 years of patience and longsuffering, 33 years of endearing, labouring love.
Then I found out that birds too can display LOLs. I was sceptical at first, when Encik J (our Tamarind tree friend) related how he has witnessed over the last few years, a few big crows using their beaks to feed their buddy who was blind and deaf. Then I read this true story about this crow couple George and Mabel (link here), how Mabel patiently loved and fed George whose beak was broken due to some injury. Here is proof that compassion is not limited to humans, it is the DNA written in all creation.
13 years ago, I had the privilege of walking alongside an Indonesian lady called N, in the Tenaganita Shelter for Trafficked Survivors. N’s employer cheated her of 5-years of well-earned wages and tried to send her away via a boat off the coast, where she nearly drowned, and also where she saw (while unconscious) a vision of a man in white beckoning her to rise up. After some difficult yet timely arrangements, I had the privilege of witnessing her first phone call to her family, her elderly mother and her 2 children. It was a sacred emotional moment of reunion. Her LOL for her children brought her all the way to Malaysia to work, and as Polly Toynbee described, it is love draining from poor countries – the final depredation, exploiting the last resources the third world has left, to sell ‘motherhood and sex’.
For me, 2018 to 2020 has been difficult period of caregiving and grief. I remember caring for my aunt/mum who was warded for the first time ever in her 86 years of life, and also the first time going up an elevator to the 8th floor. To ensure that she will not be unduly afraid, I spent 3 nights sleeping on the floor beside her at General Hospital Ipoh. Incidentally, it happened to be holy week, so while I missed our Maundy Thursday service, it became a real opportunity for me to ‘wash the feet’ of my beloved aunt/mum, and to ponder over the Passion of our Lord and His Ultimate Labour of Love for us! And to think of Mary His mother, having to watch him die a cruel death, was yet another unspeakable pain that was derived out of 33 years of Labouring Love.
In November 2020, after my niece’s surgery and treatment for cancer, I drove her back to Johore, to head back to work in Singapore after 2 months of special leave. On return to KL, driving alone with “white-line fever” as they say, I was gazing at a vast span of shimmering clouds that often portrays the faithfulness of God. Then I received a phone message saying “You did it out of love, so love will accompany you back!”. What a reassurance of God’s relentless love!
These memories are still very raw, may I never forget to thank God for his ever Loving Kindness, His Steadfast Love, His Enduring Mercies, His Labour of Love for each of us that finally drove him to that cruel cross.
Let’s heed this advice, “Put in love and you will draw love”.
Let our labour be prompted by Love, and our endurance be inspired by hope in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 1:3).
Let us sow Love.