I have not blogged for a couple of weeks and this was largely because I was not well; had a bad bout of laryngitis.! Even now, my voice is rather hoarse and husky. Perhaps the Lord wanted to remind me in a gentle way not to talk too much but instead, listen to him more.
The timing could not have been worst as I was between job interviews to get back into employment. In any case, I hope I have done enough, with lots of God’s grace and mercy, to get some good news soon.
Looking back, it has been a fulfilling sabbatical over the past, slightly more than, one year – one of the fruits was the birth of this blog, recording and sharing the simple reflections of my journey. Whatever happens, I will surely continue this journaling to share my thoughts with other pilgrims.
Today, August 9, 2011, I received shocking news about a very good and true friend of mine, Tan Chee Wee, a wonderful companion which I always shared many heartfelt thoughts with. Our friendship goes back many, many years... In fact, I just spoke to him last week and we were supposed to meet again next week. I have not received the full details but I understand that he simply passed away in his sleep quietly this morning. What a shock for someone whom I know was very healthy, running numerous full Marathons! I will surely miss him...my heart is pierced with pain and tears...my prayers goes out to his young family and 3 young kids.
“Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12, NIV)
Though he was a staunch Buddhist, we shared many things in common about life’s journey, living life simply and meaningfully. Many a times, when either of us feel down, we simply shared the load and motivated each other to persevere with the journey. I know that he is in a better place now but being human as I am, I feel sad that God took him away so soon...I will miss him...especially so, will his ageing parents, spouse and 3 young children.
I know that Tan will miss his children the most...always wanting to teach them about life, to love them, to grow old with them....now, these kids have lost a loving father. The journey for the surviving single mother will also not be easy...having to work and raise the children...playing the role of both parents. All these happened in a heartbeat this morning.
Because death can be so sudden, regardless of how prepared one is, there is bound to be many unspoken words, missed hugs and kisses, small regrets, etc.
Tan was a very simple, honest and humble guy...a man of utmost integrity, moral and principles. A graduate from City University of New York, USA, he worked hard for the family and loved his children very much. Deep inside, he always had a passion for charity works, and naturally, Yoga and Marathons. In his very own words...I run not to compete but to challenge myself...when I run, I find peace...I discover solitude...life is rich...live life simply always.
Ah, how does one confronted with such sudden circumstances find meaning in the words of Psalm 23? Why do such bad things happen to good people? The answer will never be easily forthcoming and we are asked to be obedient and trust God, who knows what is best for us. Amidst the suddenness of death, a simple prayer is all I have to offer...
So long, my good friend, I will surely miss you... Thank you for walking and sharing this simple journey with me. Farewell, till we meet again someday, pray for us as we too continue to pray for the repose of your soul. Adieu, my companion...you have finished this race...you have touched many lives... Until the next journey...you will always be in our hearts! You keep watch of your family and friends from up there, ok? You are free now...run on...