Thursday, July 4, 2013

Love Before It's Too Late

When I wrote about the things I don't want to forget to remember a while back, I realized that life is short and we need to live life purposefully. Love while you can. Build memories and capture them while you can. Leave behind meaningful legacies for generations to come. And so we will depart from this earth with no regrets.

My maternal grandfather passed away when I was young. My Mom tells me that my maternal grandmother loved him very much, but she used to fight a lot with her late husband, and then missed him so much after he passed away. I'm sure if she could, she would do anything to turn back time. Like many of us, we take our loved ones for granted when they are around, without realizing that God may take their lives before we know it. Some of us only realize that we miss someone after that person is gone. 

I would love to be like this happy couple in their old age. This picture may not mean much to you but they mean the whole world to me, because they are my (paternal) grandparents. My grandfather passed away a year ago and we miss him so dearly. My grandmother still grieves for him til this day. The void and sorrow is so deep you can see it on her face and unfortunately is showing through her rapid decline in health. Every time she comes home, she would stand for a few minutes and stare at her late husband's photo in the living room as if she was talking to him. Yes, the legacy he left behind is so profound that the people he left behind is deeply impacted and we can all feel his absence. He was a man after God's own heart. He was someone that all of us love, care, and respect. Even though God blessed him physically and financially, he was kind-hearted, humble, and generous. He was someone who will sit with the poor and talk to them. He's someone who always has small change in his pockets to give to the homeless and beggars on the streets of Jakarta. He loved his wife (my grandmother) more than anything in the world. After fifty years of marriage, he still called onto his wife for everything and called her his beautiful bride. He cared for all her extended family back in China. He supported them financially and shared his knowledge and resources to building a better community for the people and villagers that my grandmother came from. He paid for a relative's wedding celebration (I found this worthy of noting, because I don't know many people who would do this?). He built a school and a swimming pool for the community to enjoy. He built a nice house for his mother in law to live in. He's someone who would finish everything on his plate so none goes to waste. He was proud to be an Indonesian because he lived there, even though his origin is Chinese. He told his grandchildren to study hard so that one day we can be the president of Indonesia (it was very silly to us that he kept saying this over and over, but he taught us to dream high, whether achieving or not, it's a different story). He even taught us some very practical things that are valuable to our health

One of the last times my grandpa 
carried Elin (3 months old)

The legacy he left behind is more than we can count. And words cannot describe the kind of person that he was. He has touched many lives. And I'm certain that's the reason God blessed him with a wonderful family and a long, healthy life until he passed away at 87 years old. But that doesn't mean that life was easy for him. The Bible says:

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. - John 15:18-19

At the time when he tried to help those in it, tried to spend time with the poor, tried to be generous and kind, there were people who criticized and disapproved of him. People asked him why waste his time, energy, and money for people who couldn't give him anything back in return. People asked what's the point of him sitting among the poor outside his home. But he did it anyway. Even our driver shared with me how my grandfather shared his food with him one day because he had not eaten all day. It's that small, unnoticed act of kindness that is pleasing to God.

"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Matthew 5:46-48

I'm truly humbled and reminded to be more Christ-like, to show compassion to the less fortunate, to be generous, to love others, before it's too late. Thank you, Akong (Grandpa), for being a Godly role model we can all look up to. Your treasure must be great in heaven with you now. Til' we meet again.