Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Week 18

Week eighteen is a clearer week. I met a few USA friends on holiday on the first day the week. One asked me why I prefer to stay in HK? I said, "Doris wants me here so that I can still have friends." She protested, "But we are your friends." I said, "I cannot return to the same church because your present pastor's ministry would be disrupted."

Tuesday was not a good day. A coworker prayed for me and the tears flowed. I was out of strength throughout the day until I slept at home and had dinner.

I was ok on Wednesday after my crying the day before wiped me out. Wednesday was a busy day as I had to preach again on Sunday. Praise the Lord as I managed two points.

On Thursday I had dinner with Doris alumni baby sister who is now in North America but was very close to Doris previously. She told me that one of Doris' worries was that I might not get my PR in time due her fading health, which I did November last year, her gift to me. Another alumni with her brought four packs of Kleenex, but I only used one piece. Alumni baby sister months ago told Doris she will visit her in September, but Doris said, "I don't think I can wait that long." God has His timing because alumni baby sister came just as her father celebrated his birthday but had a fall and had hip surgery when she was here.

On Friday I feverishly completed my 文法聖經 as I had to hand over the 393 pages of the New Testament grammar to the editing friend to complete the design. Self publishing is less than HK$40.

On Saturday morning dreams of Doris woke me up. There were three short sequences but the only thing I remember is her question in reply, "Wouldn't it be better  for us to go somewhere quiet?" I still treasure these dreams. At noon a coworker's father had a stroke but died shortly by evening. News of his sudden death brought instant tears to my eyes. It was that effective. I couldn't help but identify and empathize with death in the family.

Sundays preaching turned out fine. I was more like sniffing than sobbing this time. I shared from Ecclesiastes 7 (better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting) and included the sharing of Doris USA nephew who decided to attend her memorial service in HK instead of attending a wedding in Alaska, where he had bought tickets and arranged accommodation:
“So the wedding was some college friends from my college fellowship and it was in Alaska. I had already bought my plane tickets and planned some living arrangements with some people. But I felt that it was better to go to the memorial service and spend time with our family. And to support and encourage you and my mom and her sisters. I had to cancel my flight to Alaska. I got some of the money back but lost some of the change fee. I don't remember but i think a few hundred. I was encouraged to see all the support for our family and all the different people that she touched with her life. I also was blessed with seeing how the service was Christ centered and reminded us that we are not yet home. Hmm I helped to support the family and went in the hearse with Auntie Doris.”

September 27

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week 17

Week seventeen is better but not by much. Monday was a good day when I led a USA friend's father to Christ. The daughter in law told friends: 有好消息和大家分享。老公話葉牧昨日探訪其實時間很短,主要內客佢講師母離去的見証,(佢講時都眼濕濕),同分享福音的寶貴。之前,老爺都唔係第一次聽,而且我老爺個人都幾驕傲自負。但神的作為是不可解釋的,昨晚老爺做了決志,接受了主基督救恩。感謝神的慈愛和憐憫,也感激牧師的幫助,也多謝各弟兄姊妹的多方代禱,才能見証神的大能。將榮耀頌讃都歸於我主我神,Allelujeah! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

Tuesday at Men's Fellowship I was ok whole day until prayer time when the person to my left prayed for me. A brother from China said that in China family members usually paint their home or rearrange the furniture after the death of a family member, so I understand more why I cut my hair short to make a change. 

On Wednesday a coworker complimented me by saying I have everything (in ministry) but it only served to trigger tears in me because I do not have Doris anymore. After less than a years break I was aggrieved to know that I was left out of a study group. 

On Thursday I was invited to be the godfather to a friend of Doris who was expecting. I choked back tears knowing Doris requested It because of her love for children and her friends. It was also the event of midautumn holiday in Hong Kong. A coworker invited me to dinner. I declined his offer to give me a ride from the MTR and made my way to his home. There we had wonderful dinner with his family.

On Friday a former student asked me why my hair is so short and I told through sobs that I cut my hair two days after I got my wife's ashes back from the crematorium to reflect my grief. Otherwise I had a good lunch with a coworker to keep me occupied on a holiday. I also instinctively texted my wife, Baby how are you? 

On Saturday I wrote to our former Sunday school students if they wanted a copy of Doris memorial blog gift book. About fifteen said yes. At night I had dinner with Doris sisters at Faith's place. Walking there brought back plenty of memories of our frequent travel to Tai Koo.

On Sunday a parishioner cried looking at me when I should hand with her, which made me cry too. The pastor shared how he fought nonstop with his father after his mother committed suicide in China and he had to stow away to Hong Kong to reunite with his father. His mother had taken the then there year old boy and one year old daughter to China in hope of selling the family home but suffered like all in China and killed herself.The  father and son fights stopped when he found two books his father had stored, one我的前半生 talked of his earlier happier days with his wife. That made the pastor  wiped tears from his eyes, and so did I thinking of my beloved Doris. After worship we had marketplace Bible study with a patchwork of Doris old application questions, but praise God it worked. One of the questions 有那些人是你看不起或鄙視的?你在禱告中會提及他們嗎? worked so well that I have been praying for those who rejected me from the study group.

September 21, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 16

Week sixteen was an emotional one. On my Monday off-day tears rolled down my cheeks in the morning. Working on my 文法 Bible could not stop it. It only reminded me work cannot deny grief. Later I had lunch with Doris sisters. Walking the Central bridge reminds me of our many trips to the Macau ferry. Her sisters plan to take me to Doris' school St Paul Co-ed that day was canceled due heavy rain.

On Tuesday a coworker apologized publicly to me for neglecting me in my loss, but it only served to trigger an outburst from me. The fresh pain of losing Doris was more powerful than the neglect.

The next day I met a man from UK who was introduced by a BSF leader. He is a lawyer and he accepted Christ last year before his wife passed away recently in June and he wanted to connect with me. It was a good experience. Originally from HK, Ho shared, " Why and how do men exist ? What's the meaning of life ? How to face death  ? These questions had always been in my mind.  I had been searching for an answer.  I went to church. I studied books on philosophy and Buddhism. I thought that I could obtain the answer by knowledge and hard work.  I also thought that I could only have a religious belief only if I had fully understand and proved everything. My wife is  a devoted Christian. She also served in church. I accompany my wife to church but I doubted about the preaching. Once, my wife introduced Pastor So to me. He talked about gospel , but I'm doubtful.  Sometimes, I heard about witnesses and felt moved.  But I would tell myself I'm being too irrational and too haste. In 2015, we knew that wife had cancer. I felt worried and helpless.  I called a former running coach. I cried and said sorry to God. There had been too much pride in me.  I had been doing things in my own ways. I had rejected God. Now God had  forgiven me.  I confirmed my belief  before Pastor So."

The next day a friend revealed that he had suicidal thoughts when his mother passed away. The younger man complimented me for my rational thinking and emotional outlet.

Friday was a good day. It'd better be. My sermon was two days ahead, so i had to pick up speed and set my head straight. Praise the Lord it was almost done by day's end.

On Saturday I asked a member if i could have back Doris' journal questions from I Thessalonians to Jude that she had written in a book. She surprised me by saying she had typed all the notes. I sobbed. My plan is to preach through all the books after the current Ecclesiastes series ends. At fellowship night I was confronted by the questions Doris herself wrote in chapter three of 同作門徒:
寫下你在跟從主的路上還未能放下/撇下的人和事, 障礙是甚麼? 寫下它並為此禱告, 求神的幫助。

Sunday arrived and I ended my sermon right on time to join the annual meeting. I told the congregation of the peace I have with Doris' urn at home. The annual meeting on Sunday was inspiring. No wonder Doris was inspired last year, but I did not have same feeling then because I was not in the main hall. 

September 13

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Week 15

Week fifteen did not turn out better for me. Yesterday I counted my days without Doris to begin today, Monday. Tears streamed from my eyes morning and night thinking of my baby. At night I decided to cut my hair to reflect and reduce my grief. I asked the young barber, Is 3mm the shortest? He said, Can do 2mm. I said ok. After I sat down he said, Can do 0mm. I said, Next year.

I woke up next day and texted Doris, Happy 100th day in heaven! Since 100 days officially began 10pm last night I decided to skip  church buffet and eat quietly, but buddy Cheng went with me. At night a pastor's kid took me to dinner. I bought a Hong Kong soccer Jersey for myself and red lilies for Doris.

On Wednesday I sobbed receiving a text from Becky:
I can see how much you love her, who wouldn't ? God is love, we love cos God loves us. I miss her too. See her someday in heaven.

On Thursday night I rearranged Doris' urn desk and the tears unexpectedly came down. I still miss her a lot, 100 days won't do. The room smells good with lilies.

On Friday I went with Doris sister and brother in law to our big fellowship. Quite a few couldn't recognize me for my hair. It was good to say hi to those who did.

The next day my first pastor from Singapore came to Hong Kong and we had breakfast. Surprisingly I was most alert that morning. 76 year old John Chang offered to take moon cakes to my mother in Singapore. At noon I had to get cracking on my sermon next week. I had put it down for months. Going home I received a text from a Chinese group I had trained ten years ago in Rome that I had reconnected with at Taiwan CCCOWE last week. To a question about a restaurant lady Doris age who learned fastest among the class, one of the leaders replied, Except for that sister who died years ago all are well 除了秀聪姐妹多年前因病已归主怀其他人都好

Sunday was a big test. Not only was our worship relocated, I was invited to kick off a group's introduction to our book同作門徒. Unfortunately I came home 6pm, and so I bought can sardines from a smaller store for dinner because I was too tired to shop.

September 6

Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 14

Day one of week fourteen means saying goodbye to my brother as the 華福 conference starts today. David is happy to be in Taiwan, but his living habits are hard to bear, especially his long showers. However I was glad for him to be around for a change.

On Tuesday a song at the conference Doris loved 耶和華祝福满满 brought tears to my eyes as we sang it. I could remember the last time she was playing the song on her electric piano at home. At night two coworkers and I visited Shilin night market.

The next day I was asked by my retired predecessor what my plans were for the future. I reiterated I have no plans to leave Hong Kong because of my beloved Doris. I will continue with Putonghua and my predecessor's past work. Seems like the question is on people's minds more than mine.

Alum big brother paid me a visit at the conference and took me to lunch. While eating He shared that he still had tears thinking of her mother a year after she passed away and revealed that a seminary professor cried nonstop during their lunch half a year after his spouse's death. He encouraged me with the kindest words for the book同作門徒 Doris and I wrote together. Unfortunately I lost track of time and missed my coworker's speech. I couldn't kept back the tears with Paul Lai or Mike Shen, whom I bumped into during dinner time. They are my admired spiritual elders長輩, and I was glad to meet many in Taiwan, Including Gordon Siu, Felix Liu and Philemon Choi. Coworkers called me 集郵王 for my many selfies.

On Thursday the second last day of the conference I participated in a theological group to discuss how discipleship is relevant in seminary. I remarked seminaries have church growth and spiritual formation courses, but discipleship is an optional course at best. One answer drew a sharp response from me. A seminary lecturer says flippantly, No problem we can add more spiritual formation and spiritual direction, mentor and mentee groups, meet more often. I said all these is the shell, technique, skill chemistry and dynamics, but where is the meat, what is the content and where is Bible study? It seems we are substituting spirituality and therapy for discipleship, there was no reference to God's word.

Friday was the last day of the conference. The song The Longer I Serve Him the Sweeter He Grows caused me to cry hard and loud, so much that my coworker cried with me and Philemon gave me a hug. It was a long day and a long conference but I could finish my grammar Bible by day's end.

On Saturday I was glad to go home. Reaching home I kissed Doris' urn as tears welled up my eyes and I checked the barely opened lilies I bought on my birthday that was kept in the fridge for ten days. Praise God, amazingly it was still good! I rested an hour and dashed to church for night fellowship.

On Sunday morning my emotions got the better of me when I sang two songs, the same later at campus fellowship lunch with a guest and night too when I did my prayer walk. In the afternoon I attended prestudy to check if all was well with leading our new book 同作門徒. The response was good. They like the directness of the questions.

This week will be hard for me, so I covet your prayers.

Aug 29

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Week 13

Week thirteen was a down and up week because of my birthday and my coming  holiday in Taiwan with my brother David and his wife. On Monday I had cold feet handing the application for her internment at Lok Fu because deep in my heart I want her urn at home, which was partly her request.

The next day was my birthday, maybe that was why I could not sleep past 1 am. My emotions in the morning was rising but not raging. Many coworkers asked me why I wore black and I answered there is no joy despite my birthday. At night I had dinner with a USA churchgoer and bought Doris her favorite lilies. 

On Wednesday I had a short work breakfast with a missions group. At least I could recover after crying gently the night before I went to sleep at midnight. I also had to explain to others that the song I had uploaded to them the night before was a young twenty year old Doris singing, so I was not the backup male voice.

On Thursday I took my flight to Taiwan for a vacation with my brother before CCCOWE. Unfortunately the four and half hours turbulent flight from Malaysia and the direct mountain trip after disembarking was too much for my sister in-law, so she threw up and her body trembled, which made me think of Doris' suffering and pain.

On Friday my brother said to me, You look better with long hair. Next time do not cut it. Her wife and our Taiwan host supported me. I have been praying for their salvation.

On Saturday my sister in law still had not stop from vomiting for the third day. We rested at a convenience store for more than an hour, in Nantou but decided to risk the three hour trip to Taipei even when she was still sick. Praise God she survived the travel, sleeping throughout the trip. At night we had a decent Old Szechuan hot spot. 

On Sunday I took my brother and his wife to a famous Baptist Church but the sound system spoiled everything. At night we had dinner with Taiwan members back on holiday at the same time with us and a former Taiwan member from Hong Kong. Later we went to the night market but my gums were acting up again. My brother then gave my headache a good massage and miraculously it went away!

Pray for me as I hope to finish up my book titled Grammar Bible. Pray that my headache from gum inflammation to stay away because I do not want to see a local doctor. Pray I get a good retreat, a blessed fellowship and stirring message.

Aug 23, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Week 12

Week twelve was stable but for the weekend. On Monday morning I went to the Kowloon HK revival meeting, which was a helpful tonic to me because I try to go to the venue itself instead of the broadcast locations. I also met a lot of old friends who knew of my loss. After that I have lunch and dessert with two separate friends. 

On Tuesday I gave Doris' blog address to a stranger who was crying over the phone at a cafeteria to a friend talking about cancer that hit home, but then she said to me, “Thanks, but it's my dog!”

On Wednesday I helped a coworker brush up on his Putonghua, but it took lots of effort to learn how to pronounce Q, Z, X words. I find I have more patience, compassion and understanding than before, trying to learn from my wife.

On Thursday a coworker asked if I could speak to their fellowship next month to kick off their study of our book Fellow Disciples同作門徒. Pray that the book will catch fire. It was after all Doris last book, but I do have stock of her writings.

On Friday God answered my prayer for a Saturday night sermon in October in a wondrous way. I had no heart in me to preach on Jesus’ temptation from Matt 4 that I had started. I had too much going to bother about kingdom, power and glory issues. After searching for the subject of the greatest prayers in the Bible, the related passage of Psalms 91 popped up, so I reverted instead to Luke 4 where protection of God is the climax unlike Matt 4. My struggle with Doris death can be addressed!

On Saturday I had a dream of Doris where she was anxious about taking medication and we talked about returning to University. It was just a few scenes. I also had a good time with Putonghua fellowship on the first chapter of Fellow Disciples

On Sunday I was ok but the last song changed everything. I cried louder than previous month. Like my godly wife I persevered to attend church monthly prayer meeting. At night I celebrated my birthday with the same group from last year, eating at the same restaurant, buying the same mango cake and wearing the same shirt. Linkage with past comforts grieving folks.

Pray for my trip to Taiwan on Thursday. I need to hear from God, feel His presence and have spiritual intake. Also I need a break and to connect with my brother and his wife who are joining me. Best of all, if we can attend church together.

Aug 16

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 11

Week eleven was not an intended piece but things happen that was worth journaling, at the foremost was a dream. On Monday a  USA friend and another putonghua friend wanted to have seafood with me , but rain was in the way midway due an impeding strom, so we ate oysters in a mall.

On Tuesday the level 8  typhoon touched down trapped all at home until it was lifted at 1245pm, so I had to return for 3pm meeting. A song touched me in our prayer meeting. I could not pray and another cried with me. The alarmed pastor invited me to dinner.

Wednesday I woke up to a vivid dream of Doris sitting by our enclosed balcony window sitting in an upright position on our mattress with her back against the wall and her feet halfway raised to her chest. She looked scared as she retreated to the corner to pray. I related the dream to some coworkers. It was a warm dream and the real Doris I know. Each time she appears I gladly feel her again. There is no fear or fuss in love.

On Thursday I received a morning text from Doris' close friend telling me how much Doris was a blessing, a sister and a help to her when the friend was hospitalized, going to see the friend in need even when Doris was not well. Tears rolled down my eyes when I pictured the scene.

On Friday I had to work twice as hard as my Ecclesiastes 5 sermon was two days away. By 6pm I had finished the three points but was still short one illustration. At night I joined Couples Fellowship for the live broadcast of Revival Meeting.

On Saturday the illustration came to me, using Doris' final message to Couples prestudy group months ago:  "I still need you to be on watch (for me), as the passage reminds us today. I have previously shared with others to share, I'm very scared that in sickness and pain I would blame God, because sometimes you don’t think you would, but how would you actually respond? So this passage reminds us not to be like Peter to face it alone, it’s best with prayer and support from brothers and sisters, not only directed to me, but also for fellowship brothers and sisters to establish a watch group for all. My situation is that my pain has really increased. Because sometimes you know pain can diminish a person's will, make the person go downhill, but I will continue to rely on the Lord. Victor and I are daily praying, to commit ourselves to God s. No matter God's plan, I have to believe that God's plan is good. Thus, on the one hand I am positively readying myself to face God; but I still believe God can heal us, because the two is, like I shared with a friend yesterday, like a paradox, but I really think you need both, because God can always heal us even in a delay, because we remember in Lazarus story there to be a delay. But no matter what we must believe that the Lord can resurrect you, either in this life, or in the future, so we often pray in this manner, that is to be ready in both moods. I am happy I can be here today. If my mind is up to it, I will do my best to come to monitor you so you won’t be long-winded. (Sept 5, 2016)

On Sunday all's well that ends well. Ecclesiastes 5 was just about right. I gave the benediction the normal way after ten shaky ones. At night I accepted a dinner invitation from my neighbor for the first time in ten weeks. I also decided to preach on Jesus temptation in the wilderness after rejecting it as meaningless when Doris passed away, but then I read an article saying the related passage of Psalm 91 is one of ten great prayers in the Bible, so I reinstated it.

Praise the Lord for His goodness and guidance in grief and grievances!

Aug 9, 2016

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Week 10

Week ten ends with our wedding anniversary, the perfect day to end my journal. It coincides with the completion of the first English draft of Doris study questions in our book and reading the final chapter of a book In Doris' collection. The archives are on my blog http://etransplant.blogspot.com. 
I might share her devotions later. 

On Monday morning I finally completed the first draft translating Doris Bible study questions from Fellow Disciples 同作門徒, a task she had begun up to chapter eight, one third through the book. It was important to me to print it in as many languages because we both believed in discipleship, the book and multiplying resources. At noon I went in Doris' place to join her childhood schoolmates for monthly lunch. Doris was most comfortable with them, always remembering them as the kids they were. She would either try to join them for lunch before leaving for Macau or return on the day of lunch. After that I made my half hour speaking debut at the book fair to introduce our book 同作門徒. It was quite a big deal when I realized later we were the only invited book author featured by our publishers. At night I had dinner at a co-worker's place.

Tuesday was a busy day in a busy week as I began putting together Psalm 102 A Prayer of the Afflicted. I managed to wrap up two points on a sermon I began months ago. At night I was thrown off by a remark the local supermarket cashier said, "Haven't seen your wife for a long time." Recovering my composure I replied, "My wife passed away more than two months ago." She continued, "I saw she was getting better." The tears welled up to my eyeballs but held off from dropping. When I reached home, I told Doris, "I'm sorry I could not do better."

On Wednesday morning I was emotional thinking of a memorial to the "rest area" dream Doris had when she passed without fear through a long dark tunnel to find a rest area on the other side. I started translating my Sunday sermon to Chinese before my noon meeting. Work really can occupy one's mind.

On Thursday I met a USA friend for lunch before I put in more time on the sermon, thinking I could work from home next day, but I got a call to come in for work lunch the next day. I was happy this week for the third night in a row I got to do my 45 minutes prayer walk in contrast to one night last week.

On Friday I finished up my sermon by noon, and I was happy as a lark. This week I confessed to a coworker that I realized I am lost too. It happened when I realized I could not think of what to preach in October in place of the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 that I had planned to do but it was no longer meaningful to me. No wonder "loss" is close to "lost."

On Saturday, the Eve of our anniversary, the tears kept coming. It began when the Taiwan host who offered lodging to me and two other workers on Aug 22-26 asked if I need lodging before conference since I will be there five days earlier for a needed holiday. When I said my brother will be joining me and so I have booked a hotel, the answer sounded I was so alone to have need for my brother with me. I texted coworkers in my chat group and four cheered me up. After a drink I went to cut my hair for tomorrow's anniversary. I asked the barber, What mm can I cut to without going bald? He answered, 3, 6, 9, 12 . I chose 3. It was so short I could feel a breeze on my head, even two Putonghua fellowship members jumped on their feet and opened their arms to embrace their pastor. At night the tears returned to remind me it's not over.

On Sunday I finished reading the last chapter of Living Beyond Loss (Walsh), the most helpful book for me to understand more about death, loss, separation, religiosity, blame, shame and guilt. At noon I finally delivered my sermon with some tears, not overdone, which I am thankful. I prepared for the big day by asking our friend Dr Kwan, who previously took Doris and I for bird-watching, to take me bird-watching. Doris liked it so much she bought a pair of binoculars. Along with good friend Hartman we went to Tat Mun 塔門 to watch terns and later at Sai Kung to watch eagles near the pier and had dinner there. Thankful for friends. I had no time to pine that night.

Pray for my coming sermon on Ecclesiastes 5 this Sunday. The hardest chapters from one to four is over, but I have time constraints. A series like this is better so I do not have to rack my brain thinking what's next.

So ends ten weeks, no longer than Israel's mourning for Jacob (Gen 50:3). The death of a spouse is the biggest stressor in life, 100 points according to experts, more than divorce (73 points), jail or death of a close family member (both 63 points) and personal injury or illness (53 points).

It's not that I am ready to move on. I often tell others my hair cut only means I am changed (passive voice), not I have changed. I will never be the same. There is more to go and grow, by faith. It is a process I got to process. I have started memorizing a Psalm verse from anniversary day on. It is a good way to focus, not forget. After ten weeks I can work like normal, but that's not what I want. The best is to pray, like my dear wife always said. Also, pray for my bearing, landing and footing in this experience.

Below are seven new songs from Doris:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXFIJrIVtseVk5yKxmdgTzg

Truly, blessed are those who mourn!

Victor葉福成 Aug 2, 2016

第十個禮拜以我們的結婚週年作為終結,是這篇日誌告一段落的完美日子。很凑巧,我完成了我們書中的查經問題的英文版第一稿,也正好看完 Doris 藏書其中一本的最後一章。日誌存檔在我的博客上 http://etransplant.blogspot.hk
稍後我可能會分享她的靈修。

禮拜一早上,我終於完成了翻譯 Doris 的「同作門徒」查經問題的第一稿,這是她早前已經開始的一項工作,已經翻譯到第八章,是整本書的三分之一。對我來說,將這書翻譯成更多的語言非常重要,因為我們兩人都堅信門徒訓練、這本書以及資源倍增。中午,我去參加了 Doris 童年的校友每月一次的午餐聚會,Doris 和她們在一起的時候最自然,還一直記得她們都是兒童時的情景。以前她總是盡量去澳門之前,或者午餐那天回港參加。之後,我為介紹新書「同作門徒」的面世,在書展演講了半個小時,原來這是蠻大的一件事,後來我才知道,我是唯一被出版商從外邀請做新書介紹的作者。晚上我在一位同事家吃飯。

禮拜二,忙碌的一周中忙碌的一天,因為我要開始把詩篇102(困苦人的禱告)資料集中起來,基於我數月前開始準備的一篇講道內容,我總結出兩大點。晚上,我被家附近超級市場一位收銀員的話打亂了,「很久沒有見到你太太了。」 冷靜下來之後,我回答她:「我太太已經去世兩個多月了。」她繼續說:「 我看她好像慢慢好轉了。」眼淚充滿了我的眼睛,但沒有掉下來。回到家的時候,我告訴 Doris :「對不起,我沒能做得更好。」

禮拜三早上,當我想到 Doris 曾經做過的一個「休息處」的夢, 情緒開始起伏。在夢裡,她無懼地走過一條又黑又長的隧道,成功在隧道的另一端找到一個可以休息的地方 (rest area)。中午開會前,我開始將禮拜天的講章翻譯成中文。工作實在可以大大佔據一個人的精神。

禮拜四,我和一個美國來的朋友一起吃午飯,然後再準備講章,打算第二天可以在家工作,可是接到一個電話,通知我第二天回來有工作午餐。我很開心,這個禮拜連續三晚有45分鐘的禱告散步,對比上週只有一晚。

禮拜五中午,我完成了講道的準備工作,開心得像一隻小鳥。這個禮拜我向一位同工坦白承認,我覺得自己也迷失了 。當我意識到自己不知道十月講道要講什麼,去代替馬太福音第四章中有關耶穌受試探,本來我打算這樣做,但現在對我來說,那章信息不再有意義。難怪「損失 loss」 和「迷失lost」兩字是那麼接近。

禮拜六,我們結婚週年的前夕,我的眼淚繼續不斷地流。台灣那邊8月22-26日華福大會期間提供住宿給我和另外兩個同工的主辦者, 知道我會提早五天到台灣,問我會議之前需不需要住宿安排。當我告訴他們,我的哥哥會和我一起度假,所以我已經訂了酒店,這回答聽起來我極度孤獨,所以需要哥哥陪伴我。我發短信給同事的群組,有四位同事回覆了,想讓我打氣。喝了杯東西之後,我為明天的結婚週年去理髮。我問理髮師,除了剃光頭,我可以有什麼長度mm選擇。他回答3mm,6mm,9mm,12mm。我選了3。非常短,以至於我感到一陣風在頭上,甚至兩個普通話團友驚訝得跳起來,來擁抱他們的牧師。到了晚上,眼淚再一次提醒我,哀傷還沒有過去。

禮拜天,我看完了 Living Beyond Loss (Walsh) 的最後一章,這是一本對我極有幫助的書,令我更了解死亡、失去、分離、宗教、怪責、羞恥和內疚。中午,我最終在講道的時候掉了眼淚,但算不過分,我很感恩。為了準備這個大日子, 我請我們的朋友關醫生帶我去觀鳥,以前他曾經帶過 Doris 和我去觀鳥。 Doris 非常喜歡,還買了一副望遠鏡。加上好朋友 Hartman 一起,我們去了塔門看燕鷗,再去西貢碼頭附近看鷹,然後在那裡吃晚飯。感激朋友們,那天晚上我沒有時間去懷念。

請為我這個禮拜天講道「傳道書」第五章禱告。最難的第一章到第四章已經過了,但現在我有時間方面的限制,這種系列性的講道還好一點,我不必絞盡腦汁思想下一篇要講什麼。也請為我經歷的方向,途徑和落腳起到。

十個禮拜結束了,沒有以色列為雅各哀哭的時間長,「薰屍的常例是四十天;那四十天滿了,埃及人為他哀哭了七十天。」(創50:3)。配偶離世是人生中最大的壓力來源,根據專家,有100分,比離婚(73分),坐牢或者近親離世(63分),身體受傷或疾病(53分)都要大。

這不是說,我已經準備好繼續前進了。我告訴別人,剪短髮只是代表我被改變了(被動式),不代表我已經改變了,我將永遠不再一樣了。憑著信心,還將有更多的經歷和成長,這是我必須分析(process)的過程 (process)。從結婚紀念日起,我開始每天背一段詩篇, 這是一個很好的方法去集中精神,而不是去忘記事情。十個禮拜之後,我可以如常工作,可是那並非我所想要的。 「禱告才是最好的」, 正如我親愛的妻子時常說的。

以下有七首Doris分享的詩歌:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXFIJrIVtseVk5yKxmdgTzg

的確,哀慟的人有福了!

Victor葉福成 Aug 2, 2016

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Week 9

Week nine was marked by a stable turnaround and a shock tumble. A turnaround because I could focus on mornings and afternoons. I had no choice because work and talk were piling up. On Monday day off I had to return to office to finalize my night talk for Monday night couples fellowship. Doris and I did a talk for them last year and doing it alone brought memories and tears.

On Tuesday night a former Macau student came to pick up books from Doris collection to be given to former students for resources. Like Doris before, I prepared dinner for the student before sending him on the way after dinner that was served after 8pm. It was day one of meeting Doris' students or friends this week.

Wednesday morning was a disaster because I met an overseas-bound former coworker on a bus. The emotions could not be bottled up again. Now I found the fourth trigger besides familiar faces, religious services and public holidays- saying goodbye. Now I understand why children feel abandoned and vulnerable with divorce and death in the family. It was day two of meeting old friends as I took Doris' former USA Sunday school student on a mission trip to Hong Kong for dinner

On Thursday night I had dinner with Doris‘ sisters after a three weeks absence since eldest sister left. I suspect eldest sister made the dinner possible after understanding how sad I was last week. Thursday was a good day because I finally completed my travel arrangements for my mid-August Taiwan trip. Doris dearly wanted me to attend the CCCOWE conference there. My brother will join me a few days earlier for a needed holiday. On a happy note, my Putonghua colleagues will join me at the Conference. One of the four regular questions I faced recently was, "Are you taking a holiday?" (Others include Are you going to change ministry, Are you moving out of your house, and Are you returning to USA? ) It was also day one of three meetings with Doris’ students, childhood and college friends.

Friday I attended Couples Fellowship that Doris had led in Bible study that resulted in the book Fellow Disciples. I was roped into the praise team upon arrival and barely survived the lyrics of one song. It was good facing old friends, especially with my high crowd discomfort level nowadays. 

On Saturday, the occasion of Doris' second month of departure, my inflamed gums woke me up at 3 am. I immediately empathized with the pain, suffering and discomfort Doris felt since last year. I went to the doctor and got antibiotics that worked instantly. For lunch, it was day three joining this time Doris' Kingston friends. At night I boiled some barley with herbs that a friend on the way to a Chinese doctor bought for me.

Sunday was an unexpected meltdown when the last hymn was played:“ I know my Redeemer lives and on that latter day He will stand on the earth." I could not stop weeping thinking of the day to come. Nevertheless I helped the Putonghua fellowship pre-study to lead the first two chapters of the book. Now I am more experienced and can offer kickoff and lead two opening studies for other interested groups. After the study the feelings did not disappear, so I went up our local hilltop and then to the old pier to watch the sun set. When the last glimpse of the sun disappears I muttered, "No, don't go." It was another thing I could not let go. I really missed my baby.

Please pray for my coming Sunday noontime sermon. It will be an emotional one because I picked Psalm 102 Prayer of the Afflicted many months before. After that some friends will take me bird-watching to remember Doris on a sentimental date.

Here is a Doris favorite, Embrace the Cross
https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=kq8JW_7ZKos

Victor 葉福成 Jul 26

第九個禮拜可分為由穩步好轉到一個震驚。好轉是因為我可以在上下午都比較集中精神,我沒有其他選擇 - 工作和講座 漸漸堆積如山。禮拜一放假的日子,我需要回去工作,完成晚上的夫婦團契的講座。 Doris 和我去年曾為他們舉辦過一個講座,現在由我一個人來講,勾起不少回憶和眼淚。

禮拜二晚上,Doris 在澳門的一位學生過來拿書,帶回去給以前的學生們作為參考資源。正如以前 Doris 一樣,我為那位學生準備了晚餐,我們8點之後開始吃飯,之後送他離開。這個禮拜這是第一次見到 Doris 的學生或朋友。

禮拜三早上對我來說是個大禍 - 我在公車上遇見一位往國外的舊同工。情緒無法壓抑, 再次爆發了出來。除了熟悉的面孔、宗教儀式和節假日,我發現了第四個觸發情緒的因素, 那就是道別。現在我明白,為什麼當父母離異或者親人去世的時候,孩子們會覺得被遺棄,以及感到脆弱,容易受傷害。同一星期第二次遇見老朋友,Doris 以前在美國的主日學學生來香港短宣,我帶她去吃晚飯。

星期四晚上我和 Doris 的姐姐們一起吃晚飯,我們已經三個禮拜自從大姐回美國後沒有見面。我猜這是大姐安排的飯聚, 因為她知道上個禮拜我非常難過。禮拜四是不錯的一天,我終於完成了八月中台灣之行的安排。 Doris 希望我能參加在那裡所舉行的華福大會。我哥哥在會議之前會去台灣陪我幾天,我實在需要放一個假。令人開心的是,我的普通話同工們會和我一起參加會議。最近我經常面對四個問題, 其中一個是:「你會放假嗎?這一星期內分我別三次遇見Doris的學生、兒時朋友以及大學朋友。(其他三個問題包括,你會否做其他事工?你會否搬家?你會否回美國?)

禮拜五我參加了五伉夫婦團契的大組,Doris 曾經帶領他們查經,結果寫下了「同作門徒」這本書。一到團契我便被邀請參加敬拜隊。見到老朋友們真好,特別是如今我有高度的「人群不適」的感覺。

禮拜六,Doris 離開兩個月之際, 凌晨三點,牙齦發炎把我痛醒。我立即覺得與 Doris 自去年起所受的疼痛、苦楚和不適感同身受。我去看了醫生,吃了些抗生素,馬上見效。午餐和 Doris Kingston 的朋友們一起吃,是這禮拜第三次見到 Doris 的朋友。晚上我㷛了薏米和一些中藥喝,是一位朋友去看中醫的時候買給我的。

禮拜天崇拜, 當唱到最後一首詩歌時,我毫無預料地崩潰了: 「我知道我的救贖主活著,當號角響起的那一天,我將見祂榮光之面」,想著那一天的到來,我無法停止哭泣。我比一個月前並沒有好轉,但我還是幫助普通話團契準備預查「同作門徒」的第一、第二章。現在我多了經驗,包括星期六晚的同作門徒介紹,可以做開場白,並且帶領其他有興趣的大組介紹和小組頭兩章的查經。預查之後, 感覺還是沒有消失,於是我走去家附近的山頂,然後再走去舊碼頭看日落,當太陽的最後的一瞥消失的時候,我輕聲說:「不要,不要走。」這是另一件我無法放手的經驗。我真好想念我寶貝。

請為我這個禮拜天午堂的講道禱告,那將會是情緒化的一篇道,多個月之前我選了詩篇102篇(困苦人發昏的時候,在耶和華面前吐露苦情的禱告。)講完道之後,有朋友會帶我去觀鳥,在這傷感的日子紀念 Doris。

以下是Doris一首喜歡的歌 Embrace the Cross https://youtu.be/kq8JW_7ZKos