Apr 17, 2012

Worthwhile, because of Him

I’ve been struggling with this post for the fourth month now. I wanted to share about my trip last November to Shenzhen China for the international Taichi competition, and about my short but wonderful trip to Hong Kong right after that. However, every time I read through my own writing which I reedited for the umpteenth time, I still found it not able to bring out the point I wanted to convey. Finally, here it is...

Undoubtedly, it was an eye-opening experience.
I never liked competitions as such, but I went anyway – for the sake of a friend who wanted to fulfil her dream. I put my responsibilities behind and missed two Sunday Masses. If I knew what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have gone. Well, our team did win quite a few trophies and medals, and so did I. My friend had her dream fulfilled – thank God! But in return, I was accused of being a disgrace to the team for some ridiculous reasons by the incompetent team leader (I really didn’t mean to judge, but he didn’t do anything and yet claimed all the credit. I've never heard even a word of encouragement from him to our team. Worse still, he’s a Catholic).

For all the sacrifices I’ve made, what did I get? Nothing. Even when I was accused, that friend of mine didn’t even stand up to defend me (after all I’ve done for her!). Was the trip worthwhile? Definitely a big NO. Till today, I still refused to talk about it with anyone. Why should I recall those heart-breaking moments??

Nevertheless, there’s still a reason for me to remember -- because Christ walked with me throughout the trip.

On the night before the competition, I saw something I didn’t expect to see in a place like China: a huge billboard that read “Jesus loves you” (in Chinese). It so touched my heart that I had to control my tears.

I took every opportunity to stay in the hotel room while my friend went out with the others. There was no fear or loneliness at all, only peace and plenty of space for me to reflect and think of the Lord.

After the competition, we had a short trip to Hong Kong. It was such a blessing from the Lord – my non-Christian friends took every trouble to help me find the way to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception where the relic of Pope John Paul II was.

It was a special “meeting”. I finally met John Paul II, the Pope whom I loved so much! The relic was a few strands of hair of JPII, and it was placed quite a distance away. That was the closest I could get to the relic, what else could I ask for? :-)

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Hong Kong, where the relic of Blessed John Paul II was.
We also visited St Theresa’s Church. Although I didn’t have the chance to attend Mass (as planned), at least I had the chance to spend some time before the Blessed Sacrament.

St Theresa's Church, Hong Kong. Thank you, friends.
Perhaps, those were the only times I was truly happy during the whole trip.

Every time I reflected on all that happened during this trip, I was very thankful to God that I could see beyond the sufferings I’ve endured. Thankful that I made the journey. Thankful for the truthful friends in Hong Kong. I’m even more thankful for those moments when I was at the verge of breaking down. Otherwise, would I have experienced the presence of God? Would I have noticed Him if the trip was a delightful one throughout? "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Ps 34:18).

But you had the opportunity to meet so many people from all around the world! It was an international event, wasn’t it? You may ask.

Of course I met a lot of people. People, who, in their eyes I was a nobody. People who would do anything to grab as many medals as they could. People who prefer to be in the company of the judges and those with some kind of status.

But it was worth it. It worth every penny spent, every tear shed, every discriminating word heard. It was worthwhile because He proved Himself a faithful friend. It was worthwhile when He made visiting Him in the Blessed Sacrament possible.

Every time someone mentioned about the competition, I couldn’t stop the pain from surfacing. Then again, the best part of the trip -- the joy of visiting the churches and meeting my Hong Kong friends -- always warm my heart. Thanks to this trip, I’m in love with Him even more today.

Every cloud has a silver lining... because He is present.

Thank you, Lord!

[This trip taught me to be humble and always put God into account in everything I do. "If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are." ~ Mother Teresa. I wasn't bothered about the competition, or about the people who looked down on me. My initial intention was to help my friend, besides visiting the churches in Hong Kong. It was rather sad when I found out that I was just being used. Anyway, I'm really glad that I was of help to her. My mission, to see the relic of Blessed John Paul II, was accomplished!]