Last time in Hanoi, I met a new dear friend, and I liked the girl a lot. She is young and an inspiring sign-language interpreter. I wanted to give her two good books that I contributed a little to the writing since the author of those books is my teacher and my friend. So we found a chance to meet in a coffee shop but to try a new kind of beer (with egg) that she suggested.
During our chat, she naturally confessed that she seriously lacks confidence about herself. I hardly believe hearing such thing from someone whom I thought showing much self-confidence. I then was excited to tell her what the books were about, Positive thinking and Life values, and they might help her to answer questions she has been asking herself.
Along the chat, we somehow talked about spiritual life and religion. My friend asked me, “Are you religious?” I said, “No, I’m not.” I told her, as I have told many others, that you don’t need to have any religion to live a deep spiritual life, and that’s who I am.
She said, she didn’t know much about religious or spiritual stuff, maybe someday she would understand more what I was saying. But for her spiritual was as simple as this: when she was to take her college-entrance exams, her Mom offered incense on their family altar to ask luck and for her to do well in the exams.
She continued, “I don’t know if it is because of the tradition or because my Mom simply has a courage to believe in her prayer, or both, never mind…”
I only added, “You’re right” then continued enjoying my drink.
Somehow the chat recollected my thoughts to my Mom.
Years ago, my Mom survived from a brain stroke when I already graduated from college, my sisters one married, one was working. The day when my Mom was able to get up from her bed, my sisters and I, we were there around her bed, my Mom said this, “If I died, I don’t know how you all could handle everything without me.” We had a long silence afterward.
Never before, I heard this from my Mom, a woman of her word, barely needed too much to talk her children out, or to talk down or up about things she did for her kids. Even at time, she deeply worried about something, she didn’t utter a lament word (or maybe I was just too carefree to notice) for she put her faith in the God Father (who is literally called Mr. Sky in Vietnamese).
I didn’t find too hard to understand what my Mom said but at that time, I truly didn’t know what to think because I had no glimpse even fleetingly of losing my Mom.
Five years later, my Mom suffered another massive brain stroke, she did survive with retained heavy physical disabilities. This time, when my Mom couldn’t even speak but her motherly caring thoughts still spilled out for her kids to feel (who’s going to take care of our 95 year-old grandma, who’s gonna cook for my grumpy Dad, who’s going wash our doggy Rocky, who’s gonna water the flowers…). We saw all of that.
At that time, while my Mom was hospitalized and still in critical condition, my eldest sister, mother of two, for one time couldn’t resist her frustration and exhaustion and said, “Damn it, Mom. Please try to hold on, then you go home, you rest, you live for yourself, you don’t have to care for any bloody things rather than yourself. Please hold on for your children’s sake.” I rarely saw my sister with such resentment.
Now then I know what to think. My Mom, an incredibly brave and kind woman, I sometimes called my Mom the home Zen master when mentioning her to my Buddhist friends, couldn’t help herself worrying and caring for her children and every thing else. Just like all mother, all parents who always worry and care for their children however grownup the children are.
To mommy, daddy, parents out there, if I would ever be a parent I might end up doing exactly like my Mom or any parent would do, that I don’t know. But I do know that it takes courage to stop worrying. I can’t tell you just stop worrying all the time. But I can tell you, it takes courage to believe, whoever your Lord might be, the courage to believe in Him will wash away your worries. It is the courage the Lord has given me, it is what He asks me to keep. And that courage has given me strength not to worry for that something the Lord makes.