Today I was reminded how well God knows my heart, and how tenderly He holds it.
I vacillated for most of the early morning between going all out to pay my respects at Parliament House, and ‘settling’ at another tribute site. It’s almost silly to write this, but it felt as if it would be ungrateful of me if I didn’t do the wait-whatever-it-takes thing – that going to another site ‘doesn’t count’. (I know, it’s illogical. But I have lots of FB friends who make it sound like if you’re truly patriotic and thankful, you will head down to Parliament House.)
Another part of me said, “Look, be realistic. You’ve got BMD and bloodwork to do at the hospital today, and no idea how long that will take. You know how the results were the last time. You have no clue how long the queues will stretch today, and whether you’ll get to pay respects in time to then head over for your first class tonight at T College. You know how easily your energy flows out, and how you shouldn’t be out in the sun…” Lame excuses they appear to some, so I mentioned to no one, for fear of being hung out to dry.
Decided to have a look at the community tribute sites to see which places would be optimal for my energy store. Spotted ‘Botany Centre’ at the Botanic Gardens, and immediately felt drawn to it. Thought for a bit, and buzzed A to see if she would like/able to join me at lunchtime if I went there. She couldn’t. Never mind, I told myself. I’ll pack my stuff as if I might do a TTSH – Parliament House – T College route for the day, and just go (and if I feel too drained after the tests, I’ll go to the Botany Centre instead). And so I went. When I was done at the hospital and mentally preparing to go down to the Padang, SL came to mind strongly. I called her and found that she WAS actually thinking of heading to the Botany Centre! So we met there, and paid our respects and gave our tributes to Mr. Lee. (On the way there, I even met a pair of tourists and guided them to the Gardens; as we walked, we talked about Mr. Lee’s passing and how Singapore has changed since they last visited 27 years ago.)
Botany Centre was the best place for me to pay my respects to Mr. Lee, after all. It was fresh, beautiful, serene, quiet. I wrote in the condolences book for quite a while. There was enough space for each person to sit (as long/short as they needed), pen thoughts, get up and face a portrait of Mr. Lee respectfully; yet also enough closeness for collective grieving, and the strength that comes from standing side by side. We were alone together, and it was good.
We would have missed the Tribute lawn, if not for a friendly NParks staff who invited us to linger. Am glad we went in. For in the middle of that lawn was a little sign that read, “Thank You Mr. Lee, Our Chief Gardener”.
It was exactly what my heart needed, at that moment.
Beyond the huge grief of a great man’s passing, we must not forget we have a Chief Gardener who tirelessly sows in the soil of our hearts and lives. So that the fruit of His Spirit may be borne through our willingness to be tilled, watered, laid fallow, frozen over – according to season.
Faith, Hope and Love eternal.
Be Still My Soul (Ginny Owens)
How Can I Keep From Singing (Ginny Owens)
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation,
I hear the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?
What tho’ my joys and comforts die?
The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho’ the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?