by Rev. James Wong
My mother is 75 years old this year. I was able to know a lot about her younger days because my father was a photographer and the many volumes of family albums took me back to the days my father and my mother fell in love.
A faithful lover. She told me she had chosen to marry my father because she loved him and believed that my father was a good man. On the day of her marriage, my dad had very little money in his pocket. Love for her was not blind. It was love tested by time, sweat and separation. Job was scarce and my father had to move to Brunei for a job. My mother joined him after marriage and there I was born followed by two younger brothers. When I was six years old my father moved the family back to Kota Kinabalu.
Separation. Soon, my father had to move again because of a job opportunity in Tawau. He came home often but when he left, my mother was always in tears. I saw the sadness in my mother’s face during the parting moment. They would be separated for a number of months before they would meet again. Telephone was not available. Money was so scarce and we live almost at the brim of poverty. My mother often asked me to buy toufu (bean curd) from the old uncle who came by with his bicycle. She reminded me to ask for more soup so that we can have a better meal with rice mixed with toufu soup. My mother was a young woman taking care of three kids at home without the presence of my father. There were times I saw her cried, perhaps, due to the loneliness she had and the burden that was too heavy for her to shoulder.
Reunion. Things changed for the better when my dad had saved enough money to bring the family to Tawau. It was the most joyful journey of all, travelling by sea from KK to Tawau. After a week of sailing the ship docked and we were united as a family. My mother was overjoyed. My dad’s employer brought me and my brothers to the church. I was eager to learn and my mother helped me with the Sunday school homework. Eventually we all came to Christ.
Learning to trust. Some years later my father left his job and started a hawker business. My mum had to wake up at 3am in the morning and work through the day. She could not avoid the hard routine of life to feed the family. This eventually destroyed her health. I spend a lot of time beside my mother on her sick bed. There were nights we both knelt together and prayed. My mum cried to the Lord for healing and I asked for God’s mercy for her. Through the grace of God my mum recuperated. Though I was young, I learned from my mum to trust God in times of difficulties.
I will always remain as a young child in my mother’s world. Her concern and sacrifice will never fade with her growing years. When I think of my mother, I think of her faithfulness, love and her faith in God. I am so blessed to have such a mother.