Gracious Words

A Letter to You

Margaret Song

On the morning of July 20, 2017 the doctors and nurses informed me about your inauspiciously low blood pressure. They had worked relentlessly the night before with no signs of promising improvement.  Fear overcame me.  I wanted to believe that they were wrong.  There had to be something more that could be done. I lower myself to hear your whisper.  “It doesn’t feel like I can last much longer after this round of hospital stay…” Teardrops fell on your pillow as I lost control and in my defiant reply, I protested.  “No!  Who will take care of me if you’re not here?” “God will.” You assured me.  With that, you left me that afternoon. We knew this day would come.  Nevertheless, when our rationale became reality, I found myself utterly ill-prepared.

I’ve known you for nearly 28 years, but I’m only beginning to know the life without you right next to me. I miss everything we shared and did together—watching our kids grow up, serving God in church and fellowship groups, visiting places we’ve never been, tasting food we’ve never tried, drinking coffee, growing old together in laughter and tears.

letterI could always be myself around you for you know me very well and you had always been there through thick and thin. I would not call you a romantic, but you had never forgotten those special birthdays and anniversaries. Flowers and gifts were usually preordered to be delivered to Hong Kong when I was aboard with the kids without fail. When we celebrated our anniversary this year, I jokingly asked that you make up for the missed gift by next year. Wisely, you didn’t make a promise you knew you couldn’t keep.

I’ve always admired your wisdom and your vision–the way you see through people into the very heart of them. I could always rely on you to help me interact with people. When I was but a baby in Christ many years ago, there was a bit of conflict within the church that we attended. It was unimaginable to me that this perfect, Godly environment would actually have such worldly problems! When I called you up to see if you knew about the situation, you calmly said that you did, but reminded me that I needed to fix my eyes on God. Men will always cause us to stumble and fall, but the sovereign God is faithful, everlasting, and never changing.

I miss your humor and wit, and the way you made me laugh only you know how. Do you remember that time when the kids were young and we were both tired? I dreaded the approaching dinnertime, and timidly asked you, “Do you love me?” Your response were better than “I love you.” You answered, “Let’s dine out tonight!”

I miss being your student in Sunday School and Bible study classes. I knew I needed to pay extra attention and take good note for you would quiz me afterwards every time! You also wanted to know if I had any suggestions about what you shared.

You loved sharing world news with me though I was disinterested most of the time. I miss how you would shake your head with continuous sighs at my ignorance but continued to “educate” me.

I miss also driving next to you—my only job was to keep you company and chat with you. I did not need to worry about where we were going or what is the fastest route since it was all in your brain.

stringsI admit that I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life up until this year. In the darkest storm when even breathing seemed hard and tears wouldn’t stop, I experienced God and a renewed spirit all over again not alone, but alongside you! God was ever present during the half a year you were bed bound and we’ve experienced His mercy, grace and peace like never before. Countless visits, prayers, meals, and extended help from family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ moved us to tears every time. You must have had a deeper understanding of the meaning of your favorite Chinese hymn when it says, “When You take away something, You replace it with Yourself.” I think I’m slowly beginning to understand what the lyrics mean now. God’s love had never parted me, and He will see me through this valley of shadow where it will flow with His abundant joy again.

It’s been a few months now, and most would say that our family had adjusted relatively well. I think we are. We are trying really hard to face our days with joy and respond to all the questions from everyone with smiles. However, sadness does overtake us sometimes when we’re not looking, and there were many moments where words cannot express the heartache we experienced. Nonetheless, we will rejoice in the Lord for He is good, and we were able to be with you for the past for so many years. You pampered, loved, and protected us, and we are thankful for all that we shared together. Most of all, I’m thankful for the assurance that we will meet again. I’m reminded again of your beloved Bible verse in Job 1:21 “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” You wanted us to face every day with a smile and a grateful heart so that God receives all the glory. He said we are to be strong and courageous, and not be afraid or terrified because He will go with us and will never leave nor forsake us!

p.s. I dreamed of you in the night I accepted the invitation to write for the Gracious Words magazine. You held my hands walking in a summer day, seemingly a Sunday or some special day, and we were met with two dear sisters we’d known for a long time. We greeted each other when suddenly I realized that you looked just like your old self again. I asked, “What happened? You gained back all the weight you lost?” You didn’t answer but smiled like you always do with those deep dimples. You  looked exactly like you did before and I was thrilled to see that you were just as handsome, tall, and warm. That was such as vivid and wonderful dream. I feel Jesus is letting me know that you’re with Him and are doing very well.

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians s 2:9

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