Time and Eternity

Last year, I remembered my mother with the warmth of home. Today, still very much at home, both the present experience and also in anticipation of the coming experience of at home with the Lord. In time and eternity, I remember my mother, I also remember another great mother whom I have never met. But, I caught a glimpse of this mother’s greatness in her child, mGf in Sing-Land. Who could have raised such a big-hearted and loving child? A great mother! Both our mothers are at home with the Lord. Because of his great mother, he is my grEAT friend (for today only), in addition to GOoD on usual days.

On 19th June, 2000, my mother returned into the arms of the Lord. It was her birthday. It was two weeks after I lost my third child, 8-week only baby, terminated because it was an ectopic pregnancy. When I returned from Singapore after the surgery, my mother asked, “Is it painful?” There she was, her frail body lay there, ravaged by the disease, she still asked her darling daughter whether it was painful.

She slipped back into semi-consciousness as her spent body continued to battle the disease that was to take her to meet her master in heaven. The only word that could aptly describe her was PEACE. It was a peace that transcended understanding.

The last words she said was she was in her Church when I sang hymns and said prayers at her bed side.

My heart broke though I knew she had given her hands to Jesus …

My mother left a watch for me. It was the watch that I bought for her as a gift on Mothers’ Day in 1989 while we were in Singapore. It was the most decent watch she had ever owned. She treasured it. When it was passed to me, it was as shiny as new. But the watch stopped working just within days that I put it on. It just went dead. I was desperate. I visited shops after shops, the answer – beyond repair.

I was very, very upset and even angry. I cried to the Lord. Lord, why did you give and then take away? You gave me a baby in an answered prayer, you took the baby back. You gave me a loving mother, you took her back when I had just lost my baby. And now even a watch to remember my mother, you took it back!

The Lord spoke, my child, I know exactly the grief that is in your heart. Remember that like you, I too lost My Son!

It was at that moment I seemed to see my mother celebrated her birthday in heaven. At the glimpse of heavenly birthday party, I knew my mother was in a better home that there would be no more pain, no more sufferings and no more tears. I knew my baby was in the best home and in the best pairs of hands.

I wiped my tears and moved on, but never quite get over with the “timeless piece”, the watch. I began to shop for watches. Everywhere I travelled, every magazine I got hold of, I looked for watches. Until, I found this watch that resembled the one I gave to my mother …

I fell in love with it immediately. I seemed to see the image of my mother through it. I bought it – the most expensive watch I have ever owned. My mother left with her children a treasured legacy of “living within means”. She is a living example of a wonderful chorus that I still hum to myself –

This world is not my home
I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up
Somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me
From heavens open door
And I can’t feel at home
in this world anymore.

But, this watch is like a time machine that I would buy for my mother if there is one and no matter how much it costs me – to help me travel back to the times of joys and tears with her.

Those times of tapping rubber and collecting latex in the rubber garden. Those times of tending the vegetable garden. Those times of washing and cleaning along the magnificent Betang Rejang. Those times of sitting at the wharf during sunset at Balingian. Those times in Sarikei. Those times when she read the Chinese Bible and would ask me the meaning (My mother had never been to school, but she could read the Chinese Bible!) Those times in Singapore. Those times in Singapore General Hospital when I waited in anticipation every morning. Those times walking down Paterson Road to Scotts Road to Orchard Road. Even that fateful night we went to buy a burger that landed me in SGH for 99 days. ….

This watch reminds me the Present. This moment I am in where I looked into the past joys and tears with my mother. This moment I am in where I look into the Future, the unseen and unknown, yet I know my mother is there waiting for me.

This watch reminds me of something that lies beyond time. Something so beautiful and vast and breathtaking that only eternity is big enough to contain it.

This watch will be with me to travel into future – a destination called eternity.

For my mother, I bought the timeless piece in gold. I have since stopped shopping for watches. Then, why two watches? Two weeks ago, I was shopping for a watch for my daughter and saw this silver one. I could not resist buying it because I remember another great mother! I know my mother is well pleased with me and say, my child, I am proud that you have learnt to find good in others…. Keep it up!

I am early this year. Because I am standing tiptoe at Present looking into the Future while remembering the past.

You may like to read my other memories of my mother which I posted last year. It’s here.
Updated – Here’s a poem written for my mother (with much help from a friend) –

I know you’ve found a place,
much better than where,
we lived as family in warm embrace –
so why is my heart still bleeding to care?

 

I know you’ve found new friends there,
whose company you gladly share,
like those days when we stood for each other –
so why do I still yearn for you hither?

 

I know happy memories should suffice,
and I’ve them aplenty,
of moments you touched me deeply –
so why for more do I still crave and insist?

 

I know you lived a good life of seventy-three,
as a mother and teacher you nurtured me,
you were my clutch to trudge over difficulties –
so am I selfish to wish you live seventy-four or more?

 

I know you still love me – deep and tender,
but deeper and tenderer is my love for you, my mother,
I wish I had said it many times over when I should –
tell me mother, it’s not too late – show me how I could.

Updated on Mothers’ Day (14 May at 6:45 pm)

Dear friends, please allow me to re-post all your words into the main story. Your words are so beautiful that a big space in the main story is well deserved –

joepsc says,| jp-sijun.blogspot.com |
Hi, Yan,

That was a poignant piece of writing that must have touched many hearts – this one is no exception, and he is still in nostalgic daze.

We all experience sadness and grief, but we still have to trudge on in this journey; so it may serve us well to heed the advice of R. Tagore in these words:

“Say not in grief that she is no more but say in thankfulness that she was
A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.”

I find some comfort in those words; I hope you do too.

May 12, 7:28 AM

Yan says,

Thanks, Joe, we all have stories to tell about the great love of our mothers. The difference is just some write it, some keep it in heart, some express it in other ways.

I am blessed to always have words at my finger tips, and tears ever-ready like the magnificent Batang Rejang, ever-flowing.

My mother’s enormous capacity for sacrifice held her in constant peace in Christ through all kinds of circumstances. For me, only Jesus surpasses her. I am sure many children feel the same way about their mothers!

No matter how much I wish my mother would be there forever for us, I have to believe that in the infinitely infathomable scheme of God’s plans, everything is perfectly timed – no longer, no shorter.

Thanks for sharing, Joe. Yes, the poem brings much hope, remember I am on tiptoe to journey into future.

May 12, 10:09 AM

Lynnx01 says, lynnx01.blogspot.com |

Touching piece. So touching I feel tears in my own eyes now.

May 12, 2:27 PM

Yan says,| yantouch.wordpress.com

Lynnx01,

Thank you for visiting. Visited your blog and read some of your shared thoughts. Well, it’s Mothers’ Day – it’s ok to let tears flow!

May 14, 6:12 AM

dobbs says,| dobbs.wordpress.com |

Lovely post Yan — and lovely watch as well. Happy Mother’s Day to you too.

May 12, 9:37 PM

Yan says,| yantouch.wordpress.com

Dobbs,

Happy Mothers’ Day. God chose a mother for us, and He also chose us to the mother of our children! How blessed we are!

May 14, 6:16 AM

st says,

Touching piece. My dear friend, mom are always dear to us.

I have the same watch (the non-silver). My mum owned something similar in the 40’s. When I was a teen I found it in the drawer but the watch was “dead”. I was not a watch lover or collector then. The watch collection hobby nurtures along the way. When I wanted it, it was long gone. However, that “watch” stayed vivid in my memory. I regretted not keeping “that mum’s watch” as my antique collection.

In search of that watch I found, something similar from Oris many many years back. I love it too. I own it in memory of my mum’s old watch beside collections. Yes, at the same time reminding me to treasure and spend quality time with mom when there is still TIME.

You are a GREAT mom too. God Bless! Happy mom’s Day my dear friend.

May 13, 4:28 AM

Yan says,| yantouch.wordpress.com
st,

Thanks for sharing. Thanks for shopping with me to find that timely treasures!

We are blessed – all our mothers are carefully chosen by the Lord Himself. If we are to search the whole world ourselves, we would choose the same mother, right?

Happy Mothers’ Day, say in one accord to a great and loving mum like you from your good friend, her Rach and Chris and 4 times for your own, Caleb, Joash, Daryl and Sarah!

Lim says,

Yan,

Yes, I remember your mother too. She was definitely a loving mother. But having raised such an inspiring person like you, I think she had been a great mother.

Thanks for sharing.

The watches are really, really beautiful.

Collect some advertising fee from Oris, and share with all your esteemed readers and friends here. You can do it, right?

May 13, 9:19 AM

Yan says, | yantouch.wordpress.com

lim,

How nice of you to remember my mum.

Have a blessed day.

May 14, 6:22 AM

PJoseph says,

Hi, dear friend,

Now I know behind that iron lady(?), there is such softness, gentleness and lovingkindness. Well, you always surprise us, and never fail to inspire us too.

The place where we used to have coffee is closed. Any chance of this iron lady taking over and turned the place into a coffee connection for good, old friends? You can display your watches collection there too.

Thank you.

May 13, 9:30 AM

Yan says,| yantouch.wordpress.com

PJoseph,

Yes, the shop is closed. I think I miss the traditional Chinese red-wine noodles more than the coffee. Oh yes, the hot chocolate!

That sounds great – a coffee connection. Before that, go and find other place where we can have coffee and “gossip” – the ministry of gossip for better connection and fellowship.

May 14, 6:25 AM

ylchong says,| desiderata2000.blogspot.com

mGf:

Mum is the Word Mum is always the WORLD
She’s always there
She’s all thy spirit thy sould
You’re another in her mould
Happy Mum’s Day
Chris&Rachel&others by
Adoption/adaptation
Allowed, Aloud or Mum…

May 13, 2:59 PM

Yan says,| yantouch.wordpress.com

ylchong aka Desi,

Whenever I read your words, it’s always a delight. I am always made speechless – because I can’t find better choice words!

But, I remember, sometimes, friends do not need to hear our words, when we can’t find the right ones to say, the spirit sighs, replete with meaning, much deeper than words can convey!

Thank you, for the “think aloud”.

May 14, 6:32 AM

Bkworm says,| bkworm.blogspot.com

What beautiful piece of sharing! )
May 13, 9:44 PM

Yan says,| yantouch.wordpress.com

BKWorm,

This SMS comes in at 6:30 am on Mothers’ Day, share with you, the great mother –

A mother is God’s love in action. She looks with her heart and feels with her eyes.
A mother is the bank where her children deposits all their
worries and hurt.
A mother is the cement that keeps her family together
and her love lasts a life time.
But faith is seeing a rainbow in every tear.
No matter your age or size I believe in you.
Merry Mum’s Day!

May 14, 6:35 AM

pt says, |

Hi, friend,

I like that expression of “standing tiptoe at Present looking into the Future while remembering the past”. Standing tiptoe – it really paints a picture of hope! Your words talk, your words paint pictures.

Thank you for the inspiration.

May 13, 11:13 PM

Yan says, |yantouch.wordpress.com

pt,

Yes, I confess when I used that “tiptoe” I have my mum in action. Always want to have a peep at what the children are doing. Especially when you started dating. She would be standing “tiptoe” to see who was coming to fetch her daughters out!

That was the tenderest associations gather around the word “care and concern”. It’s irritable at times, yet when we aged, it is associated with the feeling of relaxed, at ease and natural!

It’s about time that I stand “tiptoe” to see what’s on in my darling daughter’s life!

May 14, 6:39 AM

fishtail says,| julyfishtail.blogspot.com

O what a touching tribute. Tear jerking and heart wrenching. Ditto Lynnx’s comment: I feel a strange lump welling at my throat too.

May 14, 4:49 PM

Yan says, | yantouch.wordpress.com

fishtail,

Words, words are only I have that can take your soul away! Today, the word is MOTHER.

I am now reading the book called A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer. Here is one wisdom about soul –

The soul is generous: it takes in the needs of the world. The soul is wise: it suffers without shutting down.
The soul is hopeful: it engages the world in ways that keep opening our hearts.
The soul is creative: it finds its way between realities that might defeat us and fantasies that are mere escapes.
All we need to do is to bring down the wall that seperates us from our own souls and deprives the world of the soul’s regenerative powers.

Food for thoughts

Yan says,

Other greetings received through emails –

pc says,

Thanks, mGF. That was very nice and warm. It’s never easy to let go however hard one tries. I know, I have tried. You write well indeed and it’s very nice watch.

WardR says,

I enjoyed reading about your mother. It was very moving and you write beautifully. Love and best wishes to you and your family.

Patrick says,

Thank you very much for the moving piece. It makes me realize how rarely I see my own mother, half the world away. It can be tough.

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24 Responses to “Time and Eternity”

  1. joepsc Says:

    Hi, Yan,

    That was a poignant piece of writing that must have touched many hearts – this one is no exception, and he is still in nostalgic daze!

    We all experience sadness and grief, but we still have to trudge on in this journey; so it may serve us well to heed the advice of R. Tagore in these words:

    “Say not in grief that she is no more
    but say in thankfulness that she was
    A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
    but the putting out of the lamp
    because the dawn has come.”

    I find some comfort in those words; I hope you do too.

  2. Yan Says:

    Thanks, Joe, we all have stories to tell about the great love of our mothers. The difference is just some write it, some keep it in heart, some express it in other ways.

    I am blessed to always have words at my finger tips, and tears ever-ready like the magnificent Batang Rejang, ever-flowing!

    My mother’s enormous capacity for sacrifice held her in constant peace in Christ through all kinds of circumstances. For me, only Jesus surpasses her. I am sure many children feel the same way about their mothers!

    No matter how much I wish my mother would be there forever for us, I have to believe that in the infinitely infathomable schme of God’s plans, everything is perfectly timed – no longer, no shorter.

    Thanks for sharing, Joe. Yes, the poem brings much hope, remember I am on tiptoe to journey into future.

    Yan

  3. Lynnx01 Says:

    Touching piece. So touching I feel tears in my own eyes now.

  4. dobbs Says:

    Lovely post Yan — and lovely watch as well.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you too.

  5. st Says:

    Touching piece. My dear friend, mom are always dear to us.

    I have the same watch (the non-silver). My mum owned something similar in the 40’s. When I was a teen I found it in the drawer but the watch was “dead”. I was not a watch lover or collector then. The watch collection hobby nurtures along the way. When I wanted it, it was long gone. However, that “watch” stayed vivid in my memory. I regretted not keeping “that mum’s watch” as my antique collection.

    In search of that watch I found, something similar from Oris many many years back. I love it too. I own it in memory of my mum’s old watch beside collections. Yes, at the same time reminding me to treasure and spend quality time with mom when there is still TIME.

    You are a GREAT mom too. God Bless! Happy mom’s Day my dear friend.

  6. lim Says:

    Yan,

    Yes, I remember your mother too. She was definitely a loving mother. But having raised such an inspiring person like you, I think she had been a great mother.

    Thanks for sharing.

    The watches are really, really beautiful.

    Collect some advertising fee from Oris, and share with all your esteemed readers and friends here. You can do it, right?

    lim

  7. PJoseph Says:

    Hi, dear friend,

    Now I know behind that iron lady(?), there is such softness, gentleness and lovingkindness. Well, you always surprise us, and never fail to inspire us too.

    The place where we used to have coffee is closed. Any chance of this iron lady taking over and turned the place into a coffee connection for good, old friends? You can display your watches collection there too.

    Thank you.

    PJoe

  8. ylchong Says:

    mGf:

    Mum is the Word
    Mum is always the WORLD
    She’s always there
    She’s all thy spirit thy sould
    You’re another in her mould
    Happy Mum’s Day
    Chris&Rachel&others by
    Adoption/adaptation
    Allowed, Aloud or Mum…

  9. Bkworm Says:

    What beautiful piece of sharing! 🙂

  10. pt Says:

    Hi, friend,

    I like that expression of “standing tiptoe at Present looking into the Future while remembering the past”. Standing tiptoe – it really paints a picture of hope! Your words talk, your words paint pictures.

    Thank you for the inspiration.

    pt

  11. Yan Says:

    Lynnx01,

    Thank you for visiting. Visited your blog and read some of your shared thoughts. Well, it’s Mothers’ Day – it’s ok to let tears flow!

    Yan

  12. Yan Says:

    Dobbs,

    Happy Mothers’ Day. God chose a mother for us, and He also chose us to the mother of our children! How blessed we are!

    Yan

  13. Yan Says:

    st,

    Thanks for sharing. Thanks for shopping with me to find that timely treasures!

    We are blessed – all our mothers are carefully chosen by the Lord Himself. If we are to search the whole world ourselves, we would choose the same mother, right?

    Happy Mothers’ Day, say in one accord to a great and loving mum like you from your good friend, her Rach and Chris and 4 times for your own, Caleb, Joash, Daryl and Sarah!

    Yan

  14. Yan Says:

    lim,

    How nice of you to remember my mum.

    Have a blessed day.

    Yan

  15. Yan Says:

    PJoseph,

    Yes, the shop is closed. I think I miss the traditional Chinese red-wine noodles more than the coffee. Oh yes, the hot chocolate!

    That sounds great – a coffee connection. Before that, go and find other place where we can have coffee and “gossip” – the ministry of gossip for better connection and fellowship.

    Yan

  16. Yan Says:

    ylchong aka Desi,

    Whenever I read your words, it’s always a delight. I am always made speechless – because I can’t find better choice words!

    But, I remember, sometimes, friends do not need to hear our words, when we can’t find the right ones to say, the spirit sighs, replete with meaning, much deeper than words can convey!

    Thank you, for the “think aloud”.

    Yan

  17. Yan Says:

    BKWorm,

    This SMS comes in at 6:30 am on Mothers’ Day, share with you, the great mother –

    A mother is God’s lvoe in action.
    She looks with her heart and feels with her eyes.
    A mother is the bank where her children deposits all their
    worries and hurt.
    A mother is the cement that keeps her family together
    and her love lasts a life time.
    But faith is seeing a rainbow in every tear.
    No matter your age or size I believe in you.
    Merry Mum’s Day!

    Yan

  18. Yan Says:

    pt,

    Yes, I confess when I used that “tiptoe” I have my mum in action. Always want to have a peep at what the children are doing. Especially when you started dating. She would be standing “tiptoe” to see who was coming to fetch her daughters out!

    That was the tenderest associations gather around the word “care and concern”. It’s irritable at times, yet when we aged, it is associated with the feeling of relaxed, at ease and natural!

    It’s about time that I stand “tiptoe” to see what’s on in my darling daughter’s life!

    Yan

  19. fishtail Says:

    O what a touching tribute. Tear jerking and heart wrenching. Ditto Lynnx’s comment: I feel a strange lump welling at my throat too.

  20. Yan Says:

    fishtail,

    Words, words are only I have that can take your soul away! Today, the word is MOTHER.

    I am now reading the book called A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer. Here is one wisdom about soul –

    The soul is generous: it takes in the needs of the world.
    The soul is wise: it suffers without shutting down.
    The soul is hopeful: it engages the world in ways that keep opening our hearts.
    The soul is creative: it finds its way between realities that might defeat us and fantasies that are mere escapes.
    All we need to do is to bring down the wall that seperates us from our own souls and deprives the world of the soul’s regenerative powers.

    Food for thoughts!

    Yan

  21. Why Time and Eternity « Yan’s Corner - In Touch Says:

    […] My mum has travelled through time and is now in the destination called eternity. The watches on my blog header are my collections. These watches, or in particular, the one on the left side of the blog header, is something I hold tightly on to remember the times I had with my mother. Read the story here. […]

  22. Gail Hoyos Says:

    I have enjoyed your blog. Please take a look at mine about gardening

  23. Still on Time « Yan’s Corner - In Touch Says:

    […] (Story behind the two watches in the picture above can be found here.) […]

  24. A Love that Mends and Heals « Yan’s Corner - In Touch Says:

    […] this for my mothers’ day post. The poem talks much of my mother. From the warmth of home to time and eternity and to love that mends and heals – it’s mother, mother, still mother, still it brings so much […]


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