A Blessing

December 17, 1992

This editorial was published in The Ridge (17 December 1992).

When I learn to name my blessings each day, I find it hard not to believe in God. Each day has brought with it a new vigour for life, new promises, and a magical silver lining I could always expect. Each day has always begun and closed with a blessing of good health.

So when I eventually did fall ill last night, I found it most comfortable to believe that I probably had need for a good rest. Much living had its toll on life, I thought. So, for a night, the bed became my world, and around it spun my thoughts and songs as I waited to fall asleep.

However, it soon became clear that, toss as I might in my little world, I could not sleep. Something, it seemed, was eating away at my being, and I could not sleep. In the quiet hours of night, I got up and stared through deep darkness.

Then, in that short magic of a breath, I thought the words of Jesus like a dream flashed in my consciousness. My Kingdom is not of this world, they rang. I started. Those were curious words to have echoed within, and I pressed my ears against my soul to hear.

What I heard that moment instead were Noises, horrible Noises twirled in a whirlpool. I heard the voices of discontent, all like my own voice, screaming for attention. I heard the voices of my likes and my dislikes, telling me who I should spend time with and who I should by all means avoid, the things to indulge in and the matters of least good to myself that I should shove aside. I heard the honks of cars, the music on the radio, and the sound of a stampede, and all these sounds bore strangely an affinity, a mark, to a piece of my soul. They were nothing like that soft voice I heard earlier. They were the cries of a certain death.

I know my own voice, and I knew these voices were not mine. They had come not from within but from without, and somehow they had found their way into me. Somehow, in taking away some pieces of myself, I had made ready doors for them. I had tried to fit through the doors of this world and, in the attempt, thrown off bits of myself. I had cut off my ears to those who cried in the streets and in their homes, in buildings’ silent corners, and I had stopped to hear. I had cut off my eyes and had stopped seeing. I had cut off my mouth and had stopped speaking comfort, speaking Truth. In trying to fit through the doors of this world, I had cut myself into a block like the buildings we stay and work in. I had buried myself in my own business, and I had buried myself.

It was something horrible that had been unearthed. How it had grown so quietly to affect me, I did not know.

Last night, I heard the cry of another Kingdom call to me. It was soft, but it was one I could find strength and tears to respond to. With that little piece left of my heart, I began to grope and pick up all the human I had lost, piece by piece.

Today, I awake to a new day’s sunlight bathing my eyelids. The pigeons are cooing outside the window, and the clouds have already risen to sport in the sky. A freshness in things tells me that I am well again. Yet, much more than this, my inner self also feels well once more, as it had used to feel a long time ago. There is strength to face a new term.

I know now I have been blessed.

Can I not believe in God?

Gwee Li Sui

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