A flower and a mission

“This is your last chance to back out!” He wrote in his letter. I say the same to you if you rather hear this story in person. Milestones need to be documented, and some things are better expressed as words written down than saying it verbally. Here’s the story of our souls:

October 1st, 2014, we head for Mass together, it’s the feast day of St Therese of Liseux. She’s my favourite Saint and his too, hey we have a favourite Saint together! Let me talk about her for a bit, she’s simple yet at the same time deeply profound. She is a Carmelite nun from France (the kind that just stay indoors, never to be seen again). You have to read it for yourself, but the way she speaks and writes about her experiences is like listening to a child speaking with purity and wisdom. She always desired to be holy in the smallest of ways and that made her the champion of ‘the little way’. She is surrounded by images of flowers because she saw herself as the little flower of Jesus,” who gave glory to God by just being her beautiful little self among all the other flowers in God’s garden.

During that Mass, Shaun checks his calendar and exclaims, “HEY! Oct 1 2016 is a Saturday! Do you know what happens on Saturdays?”, I replied “I fetch my mom to the market?”

Oct 1, 2015, I can’t make it for Mass, I wish I took half day off to go, but my team was 2 people down. It feels like a second birthday almost, you would want to celebrate it, but you don’t want to tell people to celebrate it with you. Miscommunication happens and we don’t meet. I send a very annoyed text and he pops over. We end up placing the anger of miscomm aside and spent an hour with what it should have been. I took home a really valuable lesson that night, that when my needs are placed first, I almost always get angry or hurt.

Oct 3, 2015 was our day of recollection. We head over to a wake of a friend’s father in the morning before heading to the adoration room next door. Inevitably, I was reminded of my dad and just how grateful I am to have grown up in a household built on the love of my parents.

“It’s going to be a special day”, Shaun hands me a letter, and ushers me into the crowded prayer room. A crowd? I would have wanted a bit more personal space. I see my community members and that’s when I felt my heart drop a little because that meant ITS GOING DOWN, NOW.

“OH GOD…” was about all I could muster up during my reflection. I was as unprepared as my clothing. I was in slippers and skorts, he was in long sleeved shirt, long pants and shoes. If you know Shaun, he only wears that when he absolutely has to. And it’s hard to try and prepare an answer. The guy has weeks of planning that leads up to a question, and I felt like I only had 30 minutes to give a one-word answer that had so much weight. What am I committing myself to?!

“Prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear and never heard it”, I think my own anxiety came from placing myself first. The moment wasn’t so much of myself making a decision that would change my life, it was me answering yes to what I felt called to do, a call that God has been preparing me for the past 2 years. The pressure was off, I pack my stuff and head out of the room.

Shaun rushes out after me and asks me where I’m going, “to the toilet” I said. Friends that gathered around outside started to look confused as I went to the toilet. Haha.

He brought me to the front of the adoration room, a place we went to a lot before we got together. He knelt and I jumped back instinctively. He asked, “I have nothing to offer you except Jesus and a little flower”. I stood there as dumbfounded as a disciple being questioned by Jesus. “This is hard, wow it’s really hard”. Mind blanked, I characteristically said “okay!”, for some reason, “yes” just felt like a very flat answer. The moment was sealed in all our awkwardness.

Family and communities congratulate us and eventually pray for us. Internally, I knew it was a real joyous moment, but this was one of those moments so big that it becomes surreal, I almost felt detached.

Eventually, during the prayer, I felt relief and joy when ‘the stand’ arose.

Nothing like the feeling of standing there in awe on a mountains with arm wide and heart abandoned.

“… Sometimes I’m excited, and other times I realise the gravity of this day. A real formal tangible commitment to journey towards marriage. But as I lay prostrate in front of Jesus on Thursday, I realise how big God is and how His church, His Saints and Angels, are supporting us.”

– Shaun

I tell the story to be able to praise God and to share the journey. It sounds a lot better in words really because I think so much of what I experienced is difficult to explain verbally. Part of the anticipation was a very real possibility of saying no, but like rollercoasters, the fear makes it fun. I was super nervous then but I knew it’ll make a lovely reflection testifying to love, an infinite kind of love. WOOHOO!

The day started with death, and similarly, this journey starts with death, death to ourselves, our selfishness and pride. Our vocation is love, be it priest, religious, married or single, taking this concrete step forward together. We learn to die to ourselves more and more each day, like a little flower that is beautiful just as it is, but dies eventually and brings new life.

Okay, the end. (:

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