We do have much to be thankful for. Our country is at peace. Compared to fleeing Syrians, Singaporeans are preoccupied with kacang putih concerns such as small classes. I know. I know. I know that I am obsessed with small classes of 15 in Primary school but the fact still is that we do have schools with too large classes to obsess about. The Syrian refugee children study in makeshift schools under tarpaulins. We worry about living children who have to breathe bad haze. Too many Syrian children are dead. They don't breathe, so the question of whether there are enough air purifiers in school is not even relevant. The Syrian children have no books and I worry about why the schools will not allow basic Kindle books (with no tablet features).
In the larger scheme of things, our problems are not so bad. Thank God for them.
Love. Love. Love.
I am thankful for a peaceful year. Smelly Boy did his PSLE 3 years ago. His PSLE burdened me. He was so young that he had not the wisdom to manage himself. I had to organise and supervise every thing, leaving him to work independently only under certain planned conditions. Even if I pretended not to be involved in every detail, I watched every detail like a hawk in order to step in to catch him before he fell short.
This year, I am thankful that he has matured into a tall (taller than his Father) youth of ever greater wisdom and stature. He finds favour with man. I hope that he finds favour with God too. My son is quiet and retiring... a youth of few words and quiet action. At the AirBnB apartments that we rented, I was so pleased at how he would quietly move to help me dry the clothes the moment I took them out of the washing machine. When hiking, I noted how he would squat at the top of the climb waiting to see if his sister needed a hand up. She usually did not, but my son was there for her anyway.
I am thankful that The Daughter made it back from her internship in Tel Aviv (during Israel's Operation Protective Edge) in one piece. There, she learnt to keep her head even as her Mother was losing hers. I rely increasingly on her calm and her good sense. My daughter is chatty and outgoing... a woman of happy words and a whirlwind of action. Throughout our Spain trip from start to finish, my daughter was thoughtful of her brother (and her parents) in a million ways. The last bite of some dish would be pushed to the one of us who particularly liked that dish. Smelly Boy was made to navigate us through the Iberian countryside. He made mistakes and was upset. I noted how The Daughter quickly gave him comfort with gracious words.
I am deeply thankful that my children treat each other well and do not take each other for granted. Not once, in Spain, did I see my children fight for their own rights vis-à-vis each other. I saw them willingly and spontaneously give up their own rights, to please the other. I saw, in action, right before my eyes, God's measure of love come alive in my children. I was amazed because I had spent my entire life trying to love as God wishes, and I had failed again and again. How does a Mother teach her children to love in a way that she herself is incapable of? If such a rare and difficult thing came to pass, it must surely be God's grace, no?
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I am thankful too that The Husband has a job, and I have gainful employment too. 3 years ago, we had both steeled ourselves for early retirement (i.e., unemployment). We had prepared for that day, watching every cent. It has been a lifetime of discipline to not just stay within budget but 10% below budget. By grace of God, early retirement did not happen. The Husband now has a stressful job but he finds it full of meaning. My own work too, has meaning and brings me joy. I worry less about money now. I still worry, but less. This too, is God's grace. God's grace is good fortune undeserved. It was nothing we did. It was unexpected. Yet, it happened.
I am thankful for good health. 3 years ago, I was so inexplicably weak that I thought I might die for reasons doctors could not fathom. Since then, God has taught me much about how to regain health and vitality through natural ways. This year, my health grows from strength to strength. Improvements were small at first. Small improvements snowball and the difference this year, with 3 years ago, is now stark. There is still some way to go, but there is hope. There was a time, when I had lost all hope. This too, is God's grace. Doctor after doctor claimed there was nothing wrong with me so how can healing come about if not by God's grace?
In its own quiet way, this year has been a resounding success indeed. I am most content.