by Rev. James Wong
My mother is 74 years old and she has not changed much through the years. Not that she is not looking older but the person that I know of her has not changed very much.
1. The five of us brothers and sisters were making a lot of demands on my parents. There was virtually nothing at home except some essentials and we stayed in a rented house. One of the rooms was sublet to another family to help pay the rent. My father’s mergers income was insufficient to provide for what we need so he borrowed some money and started a mobile hawker stall , going around with a car selling food and drinks. All of us were assigned a job in the house. But my parents had to wake up at 2am in the morning to prepare the food and after which my father would go out and sell them in the housing estates at 5am.
I often saw my mother rushing into her bedroom to catch a few minutes of sleep and then rushed back to the kitchen to continue her work. I later understood that due to overwork she became sick. Work was not an option to keep the family alive. From very young I learned the value of hard work from my mother. Nothing gets done without hard work and there will be no reward without sacrifice—no pain no gain. I learn to welcome hard work as part of positive living and I never heard my mum complain having to work so hard even at the expense of her health. The Bible teaches that ‘if a man will not work, he shall not eat’ (2 Thess 3:10). I learn what ‘work’ means from my mother.
2. My mum struggled for a long time when my father passed away. From the way she mourn for my father’s passing her heart must have been shredded to a thousand pieces. She was a faithful partner to my father. Through thick and thin she had labored with him—for better or for worse, a reminiscence of what the marriage vow says. I remember she told me a number of times that during her younger days she made a decision to marry my father not because of his ability to gain wealth but for her love for him. It was a decision she made and it was a commitment she kept to the end of her married life.
I learn about the importance of faithfulness in marriage from the Bible but I see the real meaning of faithfulness in my mother’s marriage. God has given me the opportunity and I have made a decision to love a woman in my life and my mother’s commitment to her marriage reminds me that it is a commitment I need to keep for a meaningful marriage. Her tears at the end of her married life tells a lot about her love for my father. Love will bring much tears to our eyes because we love much. But what is love if there will be no tears in the eyes? Tears can tell us much about what love is. I want to love like my mother did.