The certainty of death and uncertainties of life were themes that run through my mind as I read the book of Ecclesiastes and Dr Leong's online commentary. Only this week, I watched the bitter-sweet Japanese movie The Departures, after reading the review on Kairos magazine. A few weeks back, I drove a seminary classmate around Klang, looking for food and took a wrong turn that ended up at a funeral parlour. Cursing my mistake, I sensed at that moment a 'premonition' that death is near someone close to me.
7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
Than to the house of feasting,
Because this is the end of every man,
And the living will take it to heart.
7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when the face is sad the heart may be glad.
7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the heart of the fool is in the house of pleasure.
None of that prepared me for Tuesday when I received news that our dear friend and sister in Christ, Carol Rasiah, has been called home to be with the Lord. She was in coma after a road accident.
I count it a privilege to know Carol personally as a friend. She has a burning zest for life, fiercely independent and never afraid to speak her mind (Mom says she has a sharp and quick tongue). I didn't know she has touched many lives in this USJ forum until after she has passed on...
“Every man dies - Not every man really lives.”
(William Wallace in the movie Braveheart)
At the funeral at Klang Gospel Hall on Wednesday, Pastor Caleb shared that every physical move she made (getting down from wheel chair, cook, get on bed) is a veritable stunt act. He asked her "How did you do it?" (Her bones were brittle, and she suffered from painful multiple breaks on her arms before)
Her reply was, "Before I make any move, I pray"...
We miss her dearly and look forward to the day when she will be rejoicing in her brand new resurrected body in a renewed heaven/earth.
When I see her presence in CDPC, I thought something is just so right when the church reflects an inclusiveness that warmly embraces weak-but-precious persons like Carol to worship together with us.
She is a fighter since birth. Despite the many challenges she faces on a daily basis, pity is not a word in her lexicon. She lived life to the hilt and seemed to be everywhere as an activist for disabled people (check out her last email to YB Hannah Yeoh), care for animals, attending seminars/forums, writing, teaching English to children=neighbors at Angsana flats... last Christmas, my wife and I were at her apartment where she lived mostly on her own. She asked Grace to buy her a Chinese dictionary to pick up Mandarin! She has a vociferous appetite for books and often asked for my suggestions... She is a constant cheerleader for what the Agora tried to stand for.
I have never heard her complained about her lot in life. Never. She requested for prayers via sms when the pain is unbearable. She argued with God about cockroaches but deep down there exudes a confident and intimate trust in the goodness of a Father who took care of her. "Father, If I fall down flat, it's all Your fault". Some of us never lived as beautifully as that.
Here is a recent blog post Carol wrote: "
Sixth of November was a phenomenal day for me. I never realized it until I was with a group of people that night."
That day marked a significant assurance that though I’m appallingly disable and inadequately equipped to meet the challenges ahead single-handedly, my biblical knowledge assured me that God’s collateral was solid. This day marked my two years stay in Angsana alone.
As I laid alone on my new bed in Angsana flats on the first night, with unlocked wooden door. All kinds of asinine & impractical questions zoomed into my mind; it kept me awake for a few hours. I imagine that the biblical characters too must have experience this psychological phobia. They were human being too & God took care of it.
My past reflection are not totally eclipsed, they are fresh on my mind. As I type these words, scenes of it are rekindled, some are like a comedy and some are quite spectacle, like learning to kill a cockroach, how I loathed these crawlies, in fact God & I had a argument over it as I made a lot of fuss over it. The good news is I’ve have learned not to scream or hide in my bed when I see one!!!
Yes, it was not a smooth sailing; there was the emotional turmoil, the social fiasco & personal calamity. It was a unique way of appreciating the God given life.
Another prayer of hers was read out at her funeral
I did not go to church today. I do not feel guilty about it. There is something very ‘special’ in spending time alone with God who is my Heavenly Father, on a Sunday. It is too awesome for words!
God You are amazing. You have taken care of all my needs. I lack nothing at the moment, You have not deprived me of anything, neither have You starved me since the day I have decided to live alone. That why I say You are phenomenal, incredibly & influential.
Your ubiquitous Presence truly comforts me in my time of loneness. Even though it pains me sometimes – I am consoled from memory of Your word & biblical characters. You refresh my memory & soothe my emotions. I have no qualms of Your predominance. The past & present phenomenon’s displays the singularity of Your signature in my life.
Your indulgent to my shortcoming never fail to inspire me to do better in the future. Thank you for Your amazing perceptive.