Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving which commemorates the day some Indian pilgrims got lost searching for their pet turkeys and ended up eating some English mayflowers with corn for dinner ... or something like that.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not rich, not by a very, very, very long shot. But I have had a great and wonderful life, a terrific and loving childhood (I was not only happy, but ecstatic through most of it) courtesy of my late grandfather of beloved memory and my grandmother and breezed through a great schooling life, the marching band and numerous clubs and societies at a wonderful institution where tradition still meant something.
God save the Penang Free School! [cos only He can, now]
In Church, I was privileged enough to lead the Youth for a couple of years, lead the novena once a month and occasionally, even take a few Catechism classes as a substitute teacher. I now teach bible study and I’m supposed to be teaching the confirmation year kids next year besides directing our garage schola which was officially invited to sing for Masses starting this Advent. I now have a comfy job which is flexible enough to give me the time I need to carry out my various activities. For all this, I give thanks.
Things were not hunky dory all the time. Life was hard too. We were a rather poor family and sometimes, we had to scrape through with very little. Of course, I was shielded from this by my grandparents and their heroic sacrifice. I never went hungry but neither did I ask for the latest toys or for stuff that caught my fancy. And believe you me, as an inquisitive young lad, many things did but I learned early on never to ask. I grew up on TV (black and white, only 2 channels) and learned loads from Sesame Street. I had to take 2 buses to school and 2 buses back with a long wait at a smoke infested, dirty terminal in between. And this continued through college though it was 1 bus each way by then (Yay!) and only got my own transportation when I started working.
I did win many prizes and awards throughout my academic career but this joy was tempered by the fact that often, there was no family there to witness these triumphs. I would be the idiot standing with prizes under his arms while waiting for the bus alone. But my grandmother was able to witness both my graduations and for this I am extremely grateful.
I had only one meal a day throughout my secondary school years, but on the bright side, it kept me fit as a fiddle. When my grandfather passed away, my grandmother had to babysit so that I could eat and buy books. And most of my earliest books were Penguin Classics. They were cheap and thick and lasted me until I could raise the funds for another book. Thanks, Tolstoy!!
Money isn’t everything, not by a long shot. But it does fund your college education and I’m thankful and grateful for the scholarships I received that allowed me to complete my studies.
But hard though it was, everything was good, very good and through even the darkest moments and especially at the greatest triumphs, God was there always. I give thanks.
Oh, yeah, and I have a wonderful dog! Will the blessings never cease?
Like the LFO song says:
Life is good,
Life is great,
Life is unbelievable
Life is hard,
Life is cruel
Life is so beautiful!
These are some of the great and marvellous blessings which the Lord has bestowed on me though I am His most unworthy servant. For that and for all else, I give thanks. As long as God is with me, I am content. God is great and greatly to be praised. To Him alone be all glory and honour and power, forever and ever.