Once a Spanish priest said, “La vida es una fiesta1”. How true!
This year my school is celebrating its 60th anniversary, my parents are celebrating their 55th anniversary and the HKCLMA the 25th anniversary. And this is my 14th year in Cambodia.
Still remember my first year here, how envious I was at the Mexican and Thai lay missionaries who had been in Cambodia for 5 years. Now I am one of the few who have been here for more than 10 years. Yet, it is just like yesterday.
Looking back, I have to thank God and all the people who have walked with me all these years while I thought at the very beginning that I was here to accompany and walk with them.
It is never easy to walk with them. And, nor they with me. We have to adjust to each other’s paces. There is no way to walk for them, no matter how much I love to. Fortunately, I see it eventually and that is why we always prioritize our ‘being’ over our ‘doing’.
One night while I was having dinner, I got a call from a former student. We met at the 10th anniversary of the Catholic Church Student Centre ‘fund-raising’ dinner last December. It was four years after we met at a wedding of another former student. His call caught me by surprise as he never called. Usually, most former students call when they are in trouble. Thus, no news is good news. However, I didn’t detect any sadness in his voice.
‘Bon Srey2, how are you?’
‘I’m good and you?’
‘I am fine. Where are you?’
‘In Kompong Chhnang’
‘What are you doing?’
‘Having dinner, and you?’
‘So early, and what do you have for dinner?’
‘Noodles,’ paused and waited for him to continue. Hearing nothing from the other end, I started feeling a bit concerned, ‘Deth, what’s up?’
‘Bon Srey, I miss you.’
He found the letter I wrote him in the book I bought for him from HK long ago when we were staying at CCSC3. He read again after all these years and thought of me. I totally forgot what I had written. How could I? I have written so many ‘letters’ to my students. I was so moved that tears welled up in my eyes. We are walking together still. Each of us has a unique path to journey, though.
His call, as well as many others, has given me courage, strength and faith to keep walking, especially in times when I think I am trapped or heading nowhere.
It is a long road to freedom, a winding, steep and high but when you walk in love with the wind on your wings and cover the earth with the songs you sing, the miles fly by.4
Blessed are the ones who keep walking with God and all those sent by Him!
1 Life is a feast
3 Catholic Church Student Centre
4 Lyrics of “It is a long road to freedom”