This is the blog I prepared for my office propose but would love to share it with all of you. These are my emotions and feelings and learning.
Last night I got a call from my dad, he called to let me know about my aunt’s death. She was fighting lungs cancer. We never knew she was suffering from cancer, until it was really late. I didn’t really know how to react to the news. I don’t have special memories with her but YES she was my mother’s sister. And I knew that she loved me a lot and was worried as well as proud of me when I decided to come to Indonesia but I didn’t get to meet her before I came here. I prayed for her during her last days hoping that I could make memories with her after I go back home. But I guess now that is not happening. I feel atrocious for her family and my mother as well. My mother was already in grief for not having me around her when there were matters from my home and the church that’s been stressful for her. And after this abrupt demise of my aunt, she is feeling truly down. I feel awful for not being able to be with her, I might’ve been a great support for her. I remember I was always there when she was in grief when both of her parents passed away. The next morning though confused and sad I eagerly awaited to hear the news from my country. We have been having lot of political issues in our country and it was the day we hoped to get the new constitution of our country. We have been patiently waiting for our new constitution that the members of constituent assembly promised to prepare for about 9 years ago and yet again once again they failed. I was going through this weird emotional phase where I was extremely sad and helpless for about some time, but not being able to express out. After this news I suddenly broke down and I still found it hard for me to shed tears. I didn’t know whom shall I tell my story to. My host parents and a family I’m close to from the village knew the news about my aunty. But there were still so many things around my head and I questioned myself, now who else should I tell my story to? Then I realized I in fact don’t have any friends or closed ones here. And to be honest I just didn’t want to talk to anyone I just wanted to stay alone. Instead, I chose to talk to God about everything.
Suddenly I remembered Mas Dian’s mother. Mas Dian is one of the very few youth members of the church that I attend. He is usually jolly and kind of hyper, especially around me and I am not surprised. It was one of the Sundays during my first few days after the language school in Salatiga. We have pemuda or youth fellowship every Sunday. That Sunday we had fellowship at one of the youth’s house. Mas Dian was as usual jolly and was eagerly participating in the fellowship. Later while people were sharing their prayer requests Mas Dian asked prayers for his mother who had been ill for some time. The next morning, after I was back from my school my host mom told me that someone from the church had died. I couldn’t reckon who was dead and what had happened. Later I came to know that it was Mas Dians mother. We went to his house, I felt bad for him maybe he had never imagined losing his mom. We went to his house; there were lots of people gathered there. Usually in Nepal when somebody dies there’s silence everywhere, everyone is super sad and It is strictly prohibited to smile or engage in any sort of group chatting and usually everyone is sad but even if you’re not, you have to put on a super sad and frustrated face. But I was surprised, when I went to his house; I saw people were acting very normal. There were people smiling, chatting and laughing. I was puzzled and couldn’t understand what was happening. So, the funeral service was over and I could still see people laughing and acting more than normal. The Next evening we went to his house for the memorial service. After the service was over there were some people from the church who were laughing and asking me to sing. It was an awkward moment for me because someone had died and we were at her house and they actually wanted to hear me sing. Later they gave us some snacks but I felt really sorry for the family because they had lost their mother, wife and a family member. Despite of their loss they put a smile on their face and were serving food to the people who were at their house.
About a month later, after finishing my classes in of the elementary school I teach, my host mom who also teaches there told me that we have to go to Jogja. I was like wow! Jogja? Okay sure let’s do it. But sadly we had to go to Jogja to meet a family who recently lost a family member. They were the in laws of a member from the church who now lives in Jakarta. So we left around 12 in a small car with no AC and the windows couldn’t be open. The car was full and we brought extra seat for extra space for people. We travelled around 5 hours, reached Jogja, gave our sympathy and condolence and prayed for the family which took about 30 minutes and then we returned back again. I felt crazy cause we had just travelled 10 hours just to spend 30 minutes. But later I realized how thoughtful of my host family and host community was that, they went all the way to Jogja for a family they barely knew.
I saw two different side of Javanese community with these two incidents. First, I felt very sorry for Mas Dian’s family. Javanese people prefer not to show their misery even when they lose a loved one. Rather they chose to remain still and be thankful for the concern of the other friends and families. The other is they are thoughtful enough to show their concern and would do anything to to make them feel loved and cared. One story tells how Javanese people remain calm and do not let out of their feelings even when they lose a loved one but rather engage in hospitality and Javanese people are cultural and believe in showing their care and concern to someone they know . I’m blessed to be a part of this experience. Though at times I find it hard to process things about what is happening around me, I’m blessed to see and experience this culture. The stories of the two families give me happiness and hope.
Once one of my students asked me why I chose to live in the rural part of Indonesia and not in the city area despite of the fact that I belong from an urban area, I didn’t have any answers to her question because I didn’t chose my placement and I had no idea about where I was being placed. Sometimes it gets hard for me because I am living a tremendously different life, I feel vulnerable and angry and extremely depressed. It takes me weeks and months to hear my parent’s voice, because there isn’t a nice coverage of network, there aren’t so much people in my village and none of my age group so I have no company. But I know one thing for sure, I am here for a purpose and I am doing my best for God and for the people here so that gives me joy. On the Christmas Program I sang a Nepali Christmas song. Everyone was quite happy But I saw Aunty kiky (who is the wife of an elder from the church and whom I’m close to) tearing up, she told me she cried because she could feel how much I was missing my mom and she imagined how much my mom might have been missing me during Christmas, also because my aunty was fighting for life. That was in fact true I was missing my mom and wished I could be there for her this time. But God put joy in heart, and I realized I now have lots of mothers here in Indonesia who cares for me. Aunty kiky told me that she was proud of me. When she told me that she had a spark on her eyes, it warmed my heart and I thanked God for that. She told me she was really proud of me cause regardless of being away from home and being in a different community, she saw me enjoying, serving and participating.
Now putting it altogether I have learnt that our Life is God’s most precious gift and we don’t know when it’s going to end. But until we’re breathing we have to be thankful for everything He has given as well as planned for us. Now, I have the answer to my student’s question, I was chosen by God to be here to Share my gifts and to praise God with this community here. But Yes, I still am not quite fine and yet not in a normal phase regarding the fact that my aunty passed away and my family is in sorrow so is my country and I’m away from them. But I know my prayers and concern is the only help for me as well as my family and my country. I believe and hope that God has His hands upon me and He will make all things right in His time. And I will trust him and I will seek his grace in times of sorrow and joy.