I remember how dramatic (or haunted might be a more apt word) the last few days of my maternal grandfather were. His nurse would tell me that he couldn't sleep at night out of fear. Sometimes he would lift both his arms and wave them like he was shooing invisible swarms of flies away. He'd point to the holes of the exhaust and murmur some intelligible words of panic. He was seeing some things. "Dark shadows," he said, pulling him off his hospital bed.
Then, last night, during the Joint Cellgroup Christmas party, Rev. Eugene Hao was also sharing that his 82-year-old ahma (grandmother) couldn't sleep for nights because of those ugly black forms trying to get hold of her. "Wow, those things are really real," I told my friend. He told me his grandfather also experienced the same things.
So one day, at an unholy hour of 12 midnight, Rev. Eugene was asked to go to his ahma's room. He found her seated at the edge of her bed sweating profusely. When she saw him, she signaled him to cover over quickly and then asked him to pray for her. "Really ahma? But you don't believe in Jesus naman e," he lovingly kidded his ahma. "Stop joking around!" she snapped, "Come on." He then prayed for her and bid her goodnight. The next day, he found her smiling with such a big smile that would almost reach the ear. "I've never slept soundly all my life!" the octogenarian lady told him. "That's great!" Rev. Eugene said. "So now, I pray to Kuanima, and you pray to Jesus for me, okay?" his ahma replied.
So what happened to ahma?
This ahma had a bestfriend of the same age. Both had probably played mahjong together, gone wet-market shopping together and prayed in temples together. This friend of hers knocked at her doors one day and divulged a big news to her, "I'm already a believer of Jesus!" "What?!" ahma shouted in disbelief, "you've believed in Kuanima all your life, and now you're just letting her go? Letting me go?" Ahma felt betrayed. Then this friend told her, "You know, I've never felt so much peace in my life until I found Jesus." That day, ahma also accepted Jesus Christ in her life. Now, she's probably feasting with Abraham and Peter and Paul, or resting in her lavishly prepared room in heaven.
There is hope.
Dark shadows and other things that resemble "death" have become a taboo to most people older than me. Like, when I was telling an older relative about this story, she grew quiet and then said, "hmm.. maybe I shouldn't use sky or clouds as my log-in name."
Many busy themselves here by studying to earn some money, having a family then making even more money to sustain this new family. Then what? What's the point of all these when the ending would just be an infinite number of years DEAD? This is the life and the mindset with no hope. There's nothing to look forward to. There is no point in living.
Christmas reminds us that life can be meaningful and beautiful, that life can be filled with hope.
Once upon a time in an island oceans away, a baby was born in a humble manger meant for sheep and goats. He grew to be a very wise child, asking questions and conversing with teachers and religious leaders at the temple courts. Later on, he put on several hats, such as that of a doctor, a teacher, a pastor, an evangelist and a spirit quester (I'm not sure how you call the person casting out spirits). He did all these not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the people and for the glory of the Father.
He lived out the purpose set above. His kind of lifestyle may seem like a waste of time (since he was more often doing stuff for people). But I guess he lived this way because he knew that life on earth is just a dot in eternity. There's so much more to look forward to. There is being with God, the Father, in Heaven. There is bringing people like you and me there with Him too. His life has proven that death is not the final ending.. that dark shadows can be overcome.
Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life. I guess, it's not your nurse, or your spouse, or your money that can save you. Don't waste your expectations on them. Hope in Jesus.
In which area of your life are you losing hope in?