I remember having the same dilemma when I was a teenager, and more recently, an aunt died last year. She had cancer for a while, but it was said that things were looking up. Her younger sister, who was also single like her, stayed with her in their own house and was her partner in their beauty business. She doted on us a lot since she was unmarried and we often returned to Ipoh.
I have another cousin on the same side (paternal) who’s also a Christian. I remember struggling slightly about it. In the past, those deceased relatives were not close to me, and I could get out of it by acting like a spoilt brat, all the while feeling guilty. But this time..
I remember a long long time ago, after my grandpa died, I was back in Ipoh and I was at the old kampung house. Someone told me to 上香 and I did. The only reason was because I thought that the good man deserved some rememberance in the mortal world amongst his offsprings, and if this is the only way to do it in the tradition, it was something I had to do. Would God send me to hell for doing that?
It is said that you shall keep no gods other Yahweh, and truly there isn’t another ‘god’ in my life. If the motive was purely for rememberance, would God punish me? I think He sees your heart. It is also said that you shall not stumble another in doing whatever you do, and I truly believe that it is the one sin that is the most punishing of all.. if you steal something, you can put it back. If you kill someone, the life cannot be replaced. If you stumble someone, and is part of the cause of that someone’s backsliding.. if you believe in God, this man will not go to heaven, and his blood will be in your hands. You’re talking about eternity here.
Back to my aunt. Her funeral shook many, including my father, who was the same age as her. This is the first time I saw my old man cry. Actually, he sobbed. This is my father, the man who’ll walk ahead of his family when we go shopping because it’s so boring (well, he mellowed with age, not that bad now.. lol). He used to sign off his name as Bapa to us when he wrote a rare email to my brother when he was in UK. Of course, I was rattled. We had a really elaborate possession for her, since my 小叔 跟了 a famous 师傅。I couldn’t be bothered with the religious stuff inside, and was really very irritated with how long it was. But if this was the only way that the family wanted to ‘send her off’, in rememberance of this aunt who had loved us so much, I am sure that God would not be furious. Before I joined it I prayed, “God, forgive me if I am sinning, for I know that You’ll understand that this is what I need to do.. You see my heart and know where I stand in this.” My christian, when she passed me, said that we needed to pray after that, and I could see in her heart that this was something she needed to do also.
Of course, many would argue that what I’ve done is wrong and so on and so forth. But I believe in the principle over form.
Then this brings me to the fact that there are some (I’m not saying that I’m not) Christians that are so narrow-minded. They are truly living for Christ, but they cannot fathom outside the box, and doing so, they become accidentally self-righteous and judgemental. I pray I am not like that. I have my blindspots too (and I don’t know what they are, since they are blindspots) and there are times that I’ll become automatically defensive. We all have our flaws..
Maybe someone out there reading my blog or comments I wrote on his/her blog is irritated with me.
Misfit – the RationalNeurotic definition.
Someone that cannot follow the social thinking or customs of all the groups that he or she belongs to. End result is he or she sticking out like a sore thumb, neither here or there.