I have a name, a birth date, a family. I grew up in a mixed household… with my paternal grandparents, my paternal aunt’s family, my paternal uncle and adopted son, my parents and four siblings. But who am I? ….a question I grappled with growing up.
I started wondering from the point I started feeling lost. My lostness started from the death of my paternal grandmother who was the one person in the big household I felt a sense of belonging to, who gave me attention, interacted with me and gave me a sense of my personhood. I was 8 when I lost her to death, and I didn’t understand then why people die and what happens to them after that and where they go. I felt a great sense of loss and experienced grief… a pain which was inexplicable for a child.
When I lost the only person whom I felt loved by and who made me feel a special and significant part of her life, I lost myself. My world became a void. I became a number in the household, a product in the machinery of life… going through the motion of waking up, sleeping, play, homework and school. I spent much of my young days disconnected from what’s happening around me… watching people from a distance, doodling and daydreaming.
I was on a journey to nowhere and was not actively seeking for answers or purpose. I just existed! Nobody talked to me about where they were going or their purpose in life. People seemed generally to be just going about their own life and work and whatever. So I went to school, did what was necessary to pass and moved from grade to grade. But deep inside, I wondered “Who am I?”
How can I know? Why am I born? What am I living for? When I die, where do I go? Is there purpose in life? Is life more than just existing, doing and achieving…? I never articulated these thoughts but I think they were there in the deep recesses of my being.
My wondering days came to a point of diversion. One day, a classmate in school began connecting with me, one-on-one. Since my paternal grandmother died, no one had given me the same sense of self-importance or validation. I was jolted out of my self-absorbed aimless journey. I took a step out of my comfort zone to join her at meetings after school. I didn’t know then where she was taking me to but I wanted to know what made her different from so many others and so exuberant about life.
That was how and when my journey to knowing the existence of God started… through the care and persistent outreach of a Christian classmate and Youth for Christ (YFC) meetings. At first I went not because I was seeking for God. I went because I wanted this friendship that was meeting a need in me. But as days and weeks passed, there was a gradual shift of focus in my heart that I wasn’t even aware of as I heard about “GOD” — who He is, what He came to do, His great love and sacrifice.
For the first time, something like a wall in me came down. It then became important to me to know who I am, what I am here for, where do I go after death, is there really a God?
What is your journey so far? Have you encountered God whom I have come to know and love? I am so glad that we have this “Life Question Series” for the month of April. Important questions will be addressed. The answers to these questions have satisfied the deepest yearnings in my heart. Knowing God has given me a sense of identity, purpose and most of all, hope for living as physical death is not the end of our journey on earth. I pray that you too will find answers to your questions.
By Har Lee John, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 7&8 April 2018)