Friday, December 28, 2007

Something to share...

Received an email from Mr Khoo Kheng Hor. He wrote an article and requested me to share with friends and people, and here is the article. Please share with your friends too. Happy reading.

HOW JUDY AND I ENJOY GOD’S BLESSINGS

To my late wife’s wonder, I have long been known to be a most blessed man from enjoying God’s endless blessings (undeserving as I am, I hasten to say) so much so that I seem to feature somehow in His plan:

EARLIEST BLESSINGS

I wasn’t even a Christian when I witnessed His first miracle (and blessing for me). Like the way, He parted the Red Sea for Moses and the Jewish people to escape Pharaoh’s army, the Lord removed all opposition against me from the administration and so opened the door of the University of Stirling for me to read for my Master’s despite my not holding any first degree. In doing so, He gave my wife and I, a most beautiful and memorable year in Scotland…something I would give thanks for in later years.

In 1991 after bagging my MBA (God permitted me nothing less than one with distinction), He led me, a Malaysian, to Singapore (as I later discovered to fit His plan for me) where he first taught me humility by letting me wander in the employment wilderness for some four months before permitting me, to my wife’s immense relief and joy, to secure a job as director of operations with KFC in Singapore.

Towards the end of 1993, notice of my imminent retrenchment hung over my head like the fabled sword over Damocles’ head. It was a trying time for both my wife and I until I told her about a wonderful dream I had.

One night in early 1994, I cried piteously in my sleep as I dreamt myself begging my boss not to retrench me since I had delivered sales targets and profit objective. After he had told me there was nothing he could do, pushing the responsibility to the Asia Pacific office, as I saw the futility in approaching men, I turned to God. Though I didn’t see the Lord, I heard His voice, “Why are you crying? Why are you so afraid? The Lord shall provide.”

After sharing this dream with my wife, we formed Stirling Training & Management Consultants Pte Ltd on February 24, 1994. Since then, we haven’t looked back because the Lord truly provided. By October 1999, we were comfortable enough to move to the Cameron Highlands where we live happily without excesses albeit comfortably in semi-retirement.

RECENT TIMES

Towards the end of September 2007, my wife suffered body aches which we thought to be arthritis, and so she was treated by the local GP with painkillers. After the initial painkillers lost effect, she was treated with stronger drugs like Arcoxia, etc.

After I read in the Internet that Arcoxia shouldn’t be given for more than eight days, I decided to talk to one of my “pupils”, a pharmacist at Pantai Mutiara Hospital. He had, together with some of his colleagues, attended one of my seminars previously. I took his advice to bring my wife to see an orthopedic surgeon, who was dissatisfied with the lump in her neck, had the lymph node removed for a biopsy. My wife was hence diagnosed with cancer which was found to originate in her rectum.

Both she and I fought a good “battle” from end October till December 19, 2007 when she was called home by the Lord to rest. I thus lost Judy, my personal “guardian angel” of 26 years, 1 month and 18 days. Did I blame God for my loss? No, instead I chose to count my blessings:

(1) Quality life.

The two cycles of chemotherapy (on November 1, 2007 and November 22, 2007) caused Judy to be very weak but fortunately, thanks to my sister (a former nursing sister who, at time of incident, works as a hospice nurse) gave my wife palliative care and so relieved most of her pain, and hence she was still able to eat (indeed had good appetite) and moved her bowel.

As the opening story has told you, the Lord has provided so well that we were able to buy two lots of land, on which we built two houses – one for my sister and brother-in-law (who looked after our mother) with the other house for us – and so Judy was able to receive palliative care on hand at any hour and also live comfortably. I must point out here that my sister is also a great cook and thus Judy had enjoyed delicious chicken rendang, Hainanese chicken rice, and her favorites, fried vegetarian beehoon and sar hor fun in the weeks prior to her demise.

Thanks to our mate from University of Stirling, I carried home a SG-2000 Home SPA unit from Singapore to install and set up the first SPA bath for her on November 24, 2007 which she enjoyed tremendously. Making her baths gave me much pleasure as it was one more opportunity for me to show her how much I love her and she also enjoyed the bubbling water in the bath.

On December 18 at around 5:15 p.m., she sat in the bath tub, smiling so sweetly at me, saying, “Thank you…it’s so nice.”

(2) A wonderful life together.

In retrospect, ever since marrying me, Judy had never been in want for anything.

Though I hadn’t started off wealthy (Judy helped paid for our first car’s down-payment) and my career had its fair share of bumps and hiccups, it was still great sailing throughout, and Judy was together with me in “riding out the occasional storms” and most times, either “sunbathing on deck” or “sightseeing at the ports of call”.

Indeed, we had been to most places in the world, stayed in lovely five-star hotels (even the six-star ones, e.g. the world’s tallest – Grand Hyatt in Shanghai), and she was given carte blanc to buy anything she fancied. She had even been to university with me as I’d spent a year reading for my MBA at the University of Stirling in Scotland in 1990/1991. How we love the memories of skiing at the Cairngorms, worshiping at Iona Abbey, and monster-watching in Loch Ness, apart from our lovely campus ground. And from October 1999, I’d taken her to live for slightly more than eight lovely years in the Cameron Highlands where she enjoyed our lovely little home and took pleasure in the 5 km or so morning walks through green, twisting, country roads.

The albums with photographs of her smiling face and at times, mischievous poses, could testify to all that I have written here.

On her part, her devotion towards me has been total as she would give me the sweetest part of any fruit she personally cut out, and at times, even spoon-feeding me when she found me busy at work on my PC. I too would never forget those times when I was hospitalized for nose (sinusitis) surgery and she nursed me faithfully back to health. Only God knows why He has caused to lose my personal “guardian angel” He had given me on November 2, 1981.

(3) She went in peace and with beauty and dignity

Although she woke up in her favorite home in Cameron Highlands at around 6:45 a.m. on December 19, complaining of severe pain in her right eye and rubbing it furiously, it was only for less than a minute because the Lord mercifully sent her into a coma after I called to Lord Jesus to “please save my sheep”. By 7:31 a.m., she was pronounced dead by the doctor.

But dead, she isn’t because in Luke 21:36, our Lord Jesus Christ said, “And they never die again; in these respects, they are like angels, and are children of God, for they are raised up in new life from the dead.”

Those who came to bid farewell to her were surprised. They couldn’t believe she had been called home by the Lord because they said words like, “She looks so peaceful…”, “She looks like she’s deep asleep…”, and “She’s so beautiful…”

Yes, at the time when I brought Judy’s body to our Jawi home, she looked very peaceful, without any grimace of pain etched into her beautiful face, and she certainly looked like she was sleeping. This is how she would like to be remembered.

As my sister had warned me, the 3.5 cm tumor that had crept unnoticed into her brain (until a MRI scan on December 4, a host of complications ranging from coma (as in her case), paralysis, to distortions of facial features or limbs, blindness, or memory loss. It would be so sad (and worrisome) if she had lost her memory prior to going. But God had mercifully spared us such exacerbated grief.

And what if she had gone into coma while having any of her SPA baths, and so drowned. Had that occurred and I happened to be away attending to something instead of minding her (even though I would poke my head into the bathroom now and then), I would nonetheless go insane from guiltily believing myself to be the cause of her demise. But again, God had seen to it that no such a tragedy had taken place.

Instead, Judy was given the merciful departure via coma to stop the severe pain in her right eye, and from then onwards to the Lord. .

(4) The Lord has answered most of my questions

God had been most merciful to me, and so far, still is merciful.

For one, He answered my doubt as to whether Judy is safely in Heaven by His side. Though in the early hours prior to Judy’s cremation on December 21, I had pleaded in vain to be allowed the grace of Judy coming to my dream to assure me herself, God still gave me an answer.

That came after I had gone to the lawn to sing a song, praising the Lord’s great mercy, and then again got my son and daughter-in-law to dance for Him as I sang yet another song of praise. Not long after honoring God in this way, He sent a VIP and his wife to come along to pay respect to Judy (though I had earlier told him that the funeral is a close family affair) and unknown to me, even arranged for police outriders and escorts to lead the convoy to the crematorium.

I believe that was God’s answer to me: The Lord loves Judy and James and so shall gives honor to them.

Even the service by Pastor Ng Kok Aun told me as much. Pastor Ng selected Amazing Grace as the opening hymn – it was Judy’s favorite – and Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd – was most appropriate since Judy and I had a long-standing joke that she is my sheep while I am her shepherd dog, with Jesus Christ as our Shepherd. Needless to say, Pastor Ng succeeded in comforting me of my loss with his sermon.

When I regretfully lamented that I should have spent some time going over the photo albums for a stroll down memory lane with Judy prior to her departure from this world, God’s words came to me via Apostle Paul’s writing in Philippians 4:13-14: “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to Heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.”

Ever since her diagnosis of cancer, both of us had returned to the fold as I read Bible to her almost every night and sometimes in the day as well. Reading Bible to her had prepared her for the journey back to God, and also me to cope with this unexpected separation and thus could be considered even more meaningful than taking her on a journey back down memory lane. Are we not blessed?

Then early on December 24 as I was still grieving from missing my sheep, I took out my Bible and promptly came across the following passage in Philippians 1:15-26 whereby Apostle Paul declares:

"I am going to keep on being glad, for I know that as you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is all going to turn out for my good. For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that will cause me to be ashamed of myself but that I will always be ready to speak out boldly for Christ while I am going through all these trials here, just as I have been in the past; and that I will always be an honor to Christ, whether I live or I must die. For to me, living means opportunities for Christ, and dying - well, that's better yet! But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don't know which is better, to live or die! SOMETIMES I WANT TO LIVE AND AT OTHER TIMES, I DON'T, for I long to go and be with Christ (and Judy). How much happier for me than being here! But the fact is that I can be of more help to you by staying! Yes, I am still needed down here and so I feel certain I will be staying on earth A LITTLE LONGER, to help you grow and become happy in your faith; my staying will make you glad and give you reason to glorify Christ Jesus for keeping me safe, when I return to visit you again."

His words had more or less summed up my feelings and position. I feel so much cheered by "A LITTLE LONGER" which is definitely NOT same as A LOT LONGER. This, I think, is God's promise to me...and the Lord always keeps his promises. How I yearn to be with God, to see Him (provided I keep myself pure), my Master, the Shepherd, and of course, my sheep!!!

So for now, I won’t allow myself to despair but shall endure because there is the promise of everlasting life for Judy and also the promise of reunion for Judy and I later on. How I look forward to joining Judy and Bandit to worship God, and Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven. Besides, I still have unfinished work to do, e.g. see to Bandit, and whatever else that God wants me to do. Maybe this shepherd dog has got to round up some other stray sheep?

And so come what may, with such a loving, merciful God by my side, I need not fear or despair as I can do no less but endure. Apostle James writes: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3).

Ultimately, I also thank God for allowing me – the stronger and more resourceful – to be the one left behind because for any loving couple, the one left behind usually suffer the most. If Christ Jesus can endure suffering on the cross for mankind, surely I can bear my share of suffering for my sheep who I love so much. As it was her who inspired me to become a Christian, Judy’s demise mustn’t be in vain – it must draw me closer to God rather than chase me away! And I must carry on doing God’s bidding.

I am really grateful to our one and only God for His mercy, wisdom, peace, courage and strength.

PRAISE THE LORD!!!

khoo kheng-hor
author
http://www.khookhenghor.com

18 comments:

Mystery LadyBird said...

tat is so wonderful story 2 share, thanks 4 sharing it...i hope it reach out 2 those who takes life 4 granted n cheerish every second of our lives while we still can..

smallee said...

nightwing...

the article is base on how he feel i believe... and it is very touching....

*man..speechless now*..

sting said...

that's indeed a very touching letter by Mr Khoo.. here's a couple everyone of us wished to be like..

went to his website and found he has decided to stop his teachings (?)

here's another tag for you once you have finished the cartoon tag :-)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi NightWing,

Well, well...Looks like Mr Khor is taking it well, and is passing on a gem...Good to know! Happy New Year to you...

Nightwing said...

Hi Ladybird,

Thanks for popping by, agree with what u have mentioned.

U have a great weekend ahead.

Nightwing said...

Hi Smallee,

Thanks for the kind words..i know what u mean abt being speechless.

U take care now....:)

Nightwing said...

Hi Sting,

Ya, maybe he stop for the time being..i am sure if he is not teaching...he will continue to write books.

Thanks for the tag..will do so after the cartoon one..:)

U have great weekend ahead.

Nightwing said...

Hi Daphne,

Am glad u like the article.

Happy New year to you and your family too.

U.Lee said...

Hi Nightwing, this is really a moving and touching story of love, of a husband for his wife and she to him.
I am not a Christian nor a good Buddhist, though I do say some prayers every morning at my alter, but I believe, the day we were born it was also written when we will depart.
Thus with my wife whom I love dearly, I treat her, love her like we just met.
I do not want should anything happens to her, or me to say or think, "i should have been better', then its too late.
Better to love now then regret later.
I wish Mr Khoo good health and strength as he carries on with his good life. UL.

Nightwing said...

Helo Uncle Lee,

Thank you for the kind words.

Yes u r right about loving now rather then regret later.

I m sure Mrs Lee knows that very much about your love for her.

Take care now...Cheers...

Zawi said...

Nightwing,
I am a moslem and that doesn't deter me from being moved by a man's grief upon the demise of his loved ones.
Thanks for sharing.

Nightwing said...

Pak Zawi,

Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.

U have a great weekend ahead.

Sweetiepie said...

this is so touching to read..this post is sure to remind us to appreaciate every moment with our family members.It's a miracle.

winniethepooh said...

Am glad that Mr and the late Mrs Khoo has found love which most people might never find in their life time.

To hv loved and lost is better than never to hv love/loved before. Always count our blessings and be thankful for everything that had happen.

take care nightwing and happy new year!

Nightwing said...

Hi Sweetiepie,

Thanks for popping by. U have have a great weekend now and a Happy New Year to you and your love ones.

Nightwing said...

Hi Winnie,

Thanks for the kind words and a very spot on the love part.

You have a great weekend and Happy New Year to you and your love ones.

Akmal said...

NightWing,
Mr Khoo have a strong heart, and he chosed to look forward, which, I am pretty sure, what his demised love would like him too. Being living being, we are just fragile. But strong heart can endure all the sadness, and I am glad Mr Khoo has one. Typically, we miss things we lost, and what left with us are questions and regrets. But Mr Khoo, you have nothing to regret. You loved her more than anything.
Thanks for sharing this story. Like Pak Zawi, me myself is a moslem. But we human, we have the same heart; to love, to be loved. That is just the nature of human, and I am moved with this story.
Good day.

Nightwing said...

Helo Akmal,

Thank you for dropping by and for your kind words.

Hope u had a great weekend.

Keep well now.

Cheers.