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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Your Life...Truly Raised Me Up...

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”- Thich Nhat Hanh

A day has past and many are mourning your sudden departure...suddenly ending this journey without a single word of warnings.  Life is indeed very fragile.

Tan Chee Wee, my funeral arrangements are being made for tomorrow and you continue to simply lie quietly on the cold stainless steel autopsy table at the hospital last night, I recalled you once shared of your favorite song, entitled, You Raised Me Up.  This was right after you attended a live concert with your spouse, one by British tenor, Russell Watson.

You mentioned that the every word of this song was especially meaningful to you.  As a simple tribute to celebrate your short but meaningful and simple life, here is a more solemn version by Celtic Woman...for your now-lonely spouse and 3 young children who must surely miss your fatherly presence but must still persevere on with the journey, ageing parents who mourn the loss of their little boy, your siblings, friends...everyone who met you on this journey through life...indeed, you too have raised many of us up in many, many simple and quiet ways.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up: To more than I can be.

Chee Wee, you know that life belongs only to is not to be lived selfishly but to be given away...  Lingering in our minds will be your simple smile and open heart.  Your life have touched many...  May your soul rest in peace, my dear friend!  You will always be in our hearts...never ever be forgotten...

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.

...To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Adieu...Simply a Great Companion!

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 heart is pierced with pain and 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, 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 is 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...

God of hope and compassion,
we come to you in utter shock, grief and confusion of heart.
Help us to find peace in the knowledge
of your loving mercy to all your children,
and give us Light to guide us out of this sudden darkness
into the assurance of your faithful love,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord, as we mourn the sudden death of my good buddy Tan Chee Wee, show us the immense power of Your goodness and strengthen our belief that he has entered into Your Presence.

Almighty Father, eternal God, hear our prayers for him whom You have called from this life to Yourself.  Grant him light, happiness, and peace.  Let him pass in safety through the gates of death, and live forever with all Your saints in the light You promised to Abraham and to all his descendants in faith.

Guard him from all harm and on that great day of resurrection and reward raise him up with all Your saints.  Pardon his sins and give him eternal life in Your kingdom.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May his soul rest in peace,

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace,

May the love of God and the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ bless us and console us and gently wipe every tear from our eyes:

in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


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 have finished this have touched many lives...  Until the next will always be in our hearts!  You keep watch of your family and friends from up there, ok?  You are free on...