It’s Valentine’s Day, and it has been our yearly tradition to ignore it. Flowers are waaaay overpriced, eating places are packed to the max and there’s this tinge of capitalism in every street corner. There are two things that we always have at home: love and chocolate. And both don’t need a special day on the calendar to be shared and enjoyed.
But I promised the bunch of Dads that I’d contribute to this synchronised expression of appreciation to our wives.
We have spent almost two thirds of our lives together. I need only close my eyes and remember the things God has brought us through, and I’m thankful that you have been a constant encouragement all these years.
You were there when I:
- sat for my ‘O’ Levels with trepidation because I wasn’t a very good all-round student. You believed in me and told me I was smart no matter what the report card said.
- saw my universe shatter because I didn’t do well enough to go to a junior college - any junior college. All I wanted to do was to teach English literature. It was my life’s goal till then, and I didn’t have a plan B. You prayed with me.
- found education at a polytechnic practical and applicable. You rejoiced with me.
- went through the two and a half year rite of passage that is National Service, where I learned to proudly fulfill my duty to God, family and country. You were so proud of me. When I put on the uniform for my annual in-camp training, you still smile that same smile: half sad that we have to be apart, but so quietly beaming with pride.
- had to choose an overseas university to attend because I didn’t think I could make the local universities. You went to Bestway building with me to help chart my next few years which I would spend away from you. You hoped with me even at great cost to yourself.
- saw everything from so many different perspectives, in a university halfway round the globe. You listened as I waxed lyrical about astronomy, philosophy, science, mathematics, medieval literature and modern poetry. You stood in awe with me, as effusive as I was at how amazing God must be to have put all this in place.
- came home, intent on marrying the girl who had patiently waited for me. You married me; became my bride, an inseparable part of who I was - no - who we are. That we might pursue the Lord together.
- went broke trying to start my own business. You comforted me, lifting my spirits up by reminding me that I was working hard despite not having much, or anything, to show for it.
- thought I had totally lost my sanity because of my battle with hyperthroidism. You prayed for me and strengthened me.
- became a first-time father. You sat beside me in the dark of night, trying to figure out this parenting thing.
- chose to make Singapore better by working inside the bureaucracy of bureaucracies. You were - and still are - my constant companion down this sometimes lonely road and helped lighten the enormous weight of public service that sometimes gets me down.
I thank God for you, my sweetest companion as we continually learn how to place Christ at the centre of all of life’s seasons and events. These days we remind each other that even if all this ended here and now, we have been recipients of a gift so infinitely more than we deserved.
My prayer for us both is that we be faithful to that which has been entrusted to us. For everyone who has been given much, much will be required. We have been given plenty, that we might serve all the more joyfully. I am truly blessed to have you by my side.