Friday, October 09, 2009

Contemplation...

"Are you Catholic or Christian?" asked my client as she peeked at my gold cross pendant that hung gently at the groove of my neck. "Catholic" I smiled and peered away with slight trepidation and guilt... "please don't ask" I thought to myself... but she did..

"Which Church do you go to?"... and then excitedly went on to explaining that she was Catholic too and she got married in the church that I "used" to attend.. I say "used" to go to because I haven't been to church for a very long time indeed. I believe. Yes... but I have not followed...

After that meeting, I strolled slowly down the road thinking about what we had discussed in our meeting and I suddenly stopped and looked up. I was standing at the main gate of a church. Strangely, in all the times that I had ever passed that area, I never noticed that there was a Catholic church where I stood.

I peered around the grounds and peeked at my handphone to check the time. Hmm.. still had some time to spare so I walked into the Church. It was empty except for a lady sitting on the far left praying with her rosary. I walked down the pews as I swished my fingers over each wooden arm rest till I found a spot I liked in the middle of the Church. And I sat.

I sat there for a while with my feet on the bar where other church goers would kneel and exalt in prayer during mass. I sat and thought and talked to Him. With all that is going on in my life now, I needed direction and I wanted a sign. I want clarity and I want focus and so I spoke.. in my head as my eyes darted around observing the state of the church. It was dilapidated and windy.

For several moments, I stared at the stained glass windows behind the altar and marveled at its beauty. It was a huge shining splash of colour amongst the peeling walls and ceiling. It was quiet and peaceful.

Some moments later, a couple walked in past where I was sitting and graciously kneeled on one knee before stepping into a pew to pray. I did a mental head smack to myself. Akk!! How could I forget to kneel n bow before I stepped into the pew! For a while, I felt embarassed. How could I forget? Did I forget how to do the sign of the cross too? I tried it discreetly and felt relieved that I still remembered.

The couple left after a few minutes and all was silent again. I looked around and saw no one except the rosary praying lady sitting immobile except the swishing of her beads. I finished my "conversation", gathered my bag and stood up. This time.. I remembered to kneel n bow before I spun around to leave.

As I walked towards the main door, for a moment it alarmed me to see that I had not noticed a short, fairly fat old lady with a kind sweet face and a walking stick sitting by the door just after the entrance. I smiled and she smiled back with a gummy toothless smile.

I was just about to walk past her when she reached out for my arm and said "wait for me."

Wait for you? I wondered and blurted out a "huh?"...

"Wait for me" she said again.. and then she turned to face me. "Can you bring me home?" she asked. "I'm sorry. I don't drive and I'm off to another appointment" I said.

She squinted and winced as she bent over to move in her seat. "Doctor said it is terminal. I don't have very much time left..." she said softly with her voice trailing off as she pointed down to her feet. I looked down and saw her blackened, swollen and deformed foot with deep purple bruises. How did she even get all the way here? I wondered....

"Everyone has a sob story and everyone dies sometime" I thought to myself but quickly chided myself. I could not believe I was thinking so nasty and patted her arm and asked "how are you feeling today?"... she nodded.

"How much do you have?" she asked suddenly. I felt it was like she was asking a trick question.. How much money do I have or how MUCH do I have to be thankful for? I wondered....

I looked at her puzzled and she asked again.. "Do you have $10? Can I have it to take a taxi home?" For a few seconds, I contemplated while I stood there for a while, my natural reaction was to just say no and walk away.. brush her off like how we usually do with those who sell tissue or beg on the street corners..

$10. How outrageous and direct of her to ask for it without any qualms... I thought and knew that all I had in my wallet was $12. There I was, standing at the entrance of the church fighting a moral dilemma to be gracious. I looked around and found. There was still nobody but us. "Where do you live?" I asked. "Toa Payoh" she replied. And we were at Dhoby Ghaut... -.-'' I nodded and exhaled... and said "okay".

She looked to the altar whilst I reached into my bag and pulled out $10. And gave it to her.$10 is not alot of money but it is not little either. I had never given a stranger any more than $4 before that day. I opened her hands and placed it into her palm. "Take care okay?"...

Her eyes lit up and said quietly "Thank you... when I can, I will return this to you" nodding furiously and ernestly. My heart skipped a little as I shook my head. "No, you can have it". I reached out for one final touch on her arm and I walked out of the church....

The further I walked I contemplated.. and my phone rang "Pam! we want you to instruct on .... " I spoke into my phone.. and walked on smiling. HE has a plan and I stopped at the church for a reason. Perhaps this was the reason I spent those few minutes alone where I would not normally do on any other given day and for me to be there for her aid.

I asked for a sign didn't I?... it was a small one to show me how much I have to be thankful for and knowing that I am still...

BLESSED.

9 comments:

Karen Tan said...

nice pic! :) Hope you are doing great. miss you and your class.

kakakaboom said...

hey pam,

i'm not a christian, but i'm deeply touched by this post.. I do believe someone up there has a Purpose & Plan for us too. (:

take care *hugs*

<3, karen pooh

Aka Pamela S. said...

Wow! How uncanny both Karens I know happen to leave a comment on this post! :)

Karen Tan: I miss u in class too!! Do phenomenal in your marathon and come back okay! It just so happens I will be changing class day so perhaps I'll see you again soon!

Karen Pooh: Hey babe.. I haven't seen you since your birthday! Keep up a regular exercise regime okay! You're way too pretty to not be the best you can be... :)

ordinary guy said...

It was very touching of you to have shared a very personal encounter. If you reflect about this special encounter, you may realise that you have met Jesus....."you clothe me when I'm naked, you feed me when I'm hungry, you visited me when I'm in prison.". For we are all created in the image and likeness of Christ. He is always there for you.

Aka Pamela S. said...

Hey Ordinary guy, thanks for leaving me a message. :)

I know it wasn't much and I could have done more but I know if I didn't do ANYTHING that day, I would regret it now. So I'm glad I did.

Mark said...

Awesome stuff Pam, am catholic too and haven't been going to church. Nice story to push me back!

Anonymous said...

OMG! I finally get to meet u today at wellness infinity!!!! and i just to emphasize that ur photo DOES NT DO U JUSTICE!!!!!!

Aka Pamela S. said...

Hi! It was a pleasure meeting you too! :) Thank you *blush* Perhaps next time when I instruct there again, you can come join the class? :) (Thats if James decides to call me back that is... or theres a session on 13th Nov! Join in then!)

Aka Pamela S. said...

Hiya Mark..:) well perhaps its time to go to church for a little one on one time again eh? What do you think brought you to my blog? LOL... someone out there is watching.. and laying signs...