One thing I always remember and greatly indebted to my mother is her spirit of giving. Here is the woman who always gives. At times, she gave even more to other people than to her own. I do not want to question her motives in doing so but naturally, this makes her easy to be taken advantage to. She continues giving nonetheless. At the end, I see her survive life and by this has shown that, no matter what, goodness always triumphs and rewarded.
Two years ago she came to visit me in Jakarta. It was also her first time to come to any bigger cities than Manado, our provincial capital in North Sulawesi. Soon, I would learn something else about mother.
Inside a car crowded with people: mother, her sister, her sister’s two friends and the driver, she, matter-of-factly, asked me a question: “Julitra, I saw bridges (she meant flyovers) everywhere but I didn’t see any rivers run through! Where have all the rivers gone?”
I looked at mother, wondering whether she has asked me this type of question too soon. Whether we have swapped places too early. Deep down, however, I admired her for her courage to risk asking me such a question! All the ladies inside the car, I knew, wanted to ask the same question but they were afraid of being judged as silly. So I happily answered all her questions until we arrived at my place.
“How was the flight?” I asked her when she rested.
“Bumpy.” she answered shaking her shoulders and head.
“Were you scared?”
“I prayed a lot,” came her response.
“You prayed?” I genuinely surprised.
Mother was born Protestant but I could count on my fingers the number of times I saw her pray. Let alone went to church. It is not because she is bit skeptical about God but, I believe, because she feels she is not deserved to come to her God, despite the fact that she is one of the kindest human being I ever met.
I may be wrong in judging mother because after all we only shared, in total, about ten years about life together. But within those short ten years I was under her wings, I saw a woman who had fought harsh life bravely but yet at the same time remains gentle and kind at heart.
“Pray?” mother responded back to me, “Do you think whose prayers that have made you safe and healthy until now? Whose prayers that have made you such as fine young man you are now?
I turned my head. I hid my tears from her. Although I do not share her religious beliefs, it is the thoughts that count.
I thanked her for always remembering me in her prayers and this brave and courageous human being, a life survivor and a woman who happens to be my mother shall be forever close to my heart.
(Jakarta, December 11, 2006)