My Dad has not always been an easy person to deal with. He can be extremely senstitive and has difficulty letting go of old grudges. He particularly takes issue with relatives who have wronged him in the past. Whenever our family has a reunion, there will be a retelling of old bitter stories of betrayals and wrong doings from so and so, so much so that it became a sort of sacred family ritual whenever the family meets. We have all grown used to it and will just listen. Luckily we, the younger generation, did not let our father’s unforgiveness carry on to the next generation. Surprisingly Dad did not expect us to either. He can be both wise and foolish like that.

There is an uncle of ours (our Mom’s sister’s husband) whom Dad had refused to fellowship with in more than a decade. Dad refused to attend any family events, from Lunar New Year visits to wedding dinners, if that uncle was present. You can imagine the awkwardness we had to deal with trying to juggle between them. It’s hardest on Mom because that sister is the closest to her since they both live in the same town. I have never been sure how that uncle and aunt felt about the whole issue. I don’t know if that uncle held the same grudge towards my Dad, or if he felt justified or remorseful in whatever wrong my Dad felt he did him, or if he had been hoping for a reconciliation all these years, I have no idea. If I had to go by my childhood experiences, I can only say that both my uncle and aunt were not exactly easy-going people either. Basically, they all (our elders) have their hang-ups.

Then earlier this year, Dad fell ill. Not gravely ill but the symptoms persisted long enough to worry him. Mom had to leave him to take care of her own ailing mother in another state. Dad was all alone. Worried upon hearing of Dad’s persistent condition, Mom called her sister up and asked her to look-out for my Dad. Imagine the awkwardness. I do not know how exactly things unfolded but it appeared that my aunt called Dad regularly to show her concern and support during those uncertain days. All these I did not know until Dad called up one evening, over a week ago, and said that he will be reconciling with my aunt and uncle and that they had arranged to meet up over dinner the following night for that purpose, to put aside old wounds and start anew.

It came so unexpectedly that it did not register with me at first. As he went on to explain how my aunt put aside her pride to reach out to him during the period that he was ill, it began to dawn on me that Dad is finally able to reach forgiveness. When that thought hit me, all I could hear was my own inner voice silently giving praise to God for doing what the family had deemed close to impossible. When I came around, Dad was just finishing off his account of what he thought of the whole situation.

“….and I tell you Ling, I truly believe God has a hand in this.”

That was such a precious thing to hear from my Dad. I understand a little better now what was meant when people say that it is only on hindsight that we are able to see the hand of God behind the arbitrariness of life. Nothing is random anymore when we give our life to God.

All praise and glory to Jesus, the Master Redeemer.