Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Love my Catholic Tradition

I just attended Catholic Mass today!

Ideally, that seems like a mere paltry event, but considering that I live in Wenzhou, (South East) China, which is relatively unknown to most foreigners, it is nothing short of amazing.

Not long ago I had mentioned my adventure with regards to tracking down the Catholic Church within my city. Well, since late last year, a number of like-minded Catholics have also tracked the Church down, and we now have a fledgling "English-Speaking" fellowship - which gets to have an English Mass on the 3rd Saturday of every month.

I love Catholic tradition, particularly its solemn tones; I always loved being able to sit back in Church and marvel at the work it took to put together a service, particularly the music section. I fondly remember Ms. Kioko from Our Lady Queen Church [based in Karen, Nairobi] - our Organist.
The time she devoted to the church and her meticulous understanding of her art form always impressed me, and examples like these urge me to share my gifts (musical or otherwise) with the rest of this world

I really love tradition, and I miss the Latin Mass. Haven't attended one in quite some time. I especially loved "The Missa de Angelis" - Latin Mass VIII.
We (international students) get to perform all the musical pieces during the Mass, and gladly, in a blessed happenstance,I got to perform a duet of "Sanctus".

It blesses my heart to be able to praise the Saviour in a manner that my predecessors initiated. And in all that time since, I can share in the richness of those traditions. The continuity is astounding, and it binds me more closely to a 2000 year old mystery (with all its antecedents) and everyone who played a special part in it.

And, as we sang it, I was delighted to hear the Chinese celebrants (most of whom barely spoke English) join in with their Mandarin version of the lyrics.
This universal loves binds us all. It reminds me that within Christ, we are one body - many parts, but one body nonetheless.

God Bless

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Advice for A Fledgling Parent.

Happy New Year!
Old habits really die hard, but I'm hoping to start this year by making more regular entries to the blog.

This past Sunday I was privileged to attend the naming ceremony of Baby Joshua Terry Allan Kommey, my classmate's son. Born in the glorious month of October, exactly one week after my birthday (mine - 11th, his - 18th), he's a welcome addition to the family.

Friends of the Kommey family contributed towards making it a special occasion with songs from our choir, a christening performed by Terry Sills, and lighthearted anecdotes. And then Emcee put us on the spot, asking us to give advice to the new parents.

To tell the truth I didn't exactly feel I was the one meant to impart wisdom to the parents. Being a lastborn (of sorts), I've never had to raise any of my siblings or younger cousins. And currently, being as single (content nonetheless) as I am right now, I didn't mean to make light of the obvious feats faced by my friends and their little bundle of Joy.

I just had to wax philosophical.
In learning about temperament recently - seeing it as the blessing that it is whether in the Brooding Melancholic, Controlling Choleric, Boisterous Sanguine or the Peaceable Phlegmatic - I can only imagine what parents have to deal with.

Each child is unique! Each is a gift that shows up without a manual (...and unfortunately the gift can't be returned!) And despite it all, the parents are expected to do a good job.
I think it would probably be easier on every parent if they had a Sanguine for a child, one with such outward expression of joy (and occasional mischief) such that the parents would be sure their child was FINE

Imagine having to deal with the quiet, overly shy child! I'm sure introversion from children sometimes causes parents to contemplate that their child might have some emotional deficits, or more likely be a candidate for Schizophrenia or social separation.

But with each child, their temperament is just as much a part of their destiny as any other integral part of them; a God-given eccentricity that enables them to perceive a unique set of colours in the vast palette with which God painted this world.

DESTINY! What it always comes down to! Terry reminded us that Children are basically 'on loan' from God to their parents.

When they're young they rely on their parents; when they grow older, they seek out INDEPENDENCE; when they grow even older, they learn to rely on their parents' wisdom once again and their community - INTERDEPENDENCE; finally, when we grow even older, our knowledge comes full circle and we learn to trust in God more fully as "the little children" that we'll always be to Him - MATURITY

I tend to think of the role of a parent in a rather crude way:
"A Parent's job is to train you well enough so that they can kick you outta the house!"

OK let's soften that punch. This is not meant to portray any insinuations of animosity between parent and child. A parent is only meant to train you to find God and to believe in yourself and your abilities.
The beauty of being 'Predestined' is that you can be assured that in as much as you have a plethora of talent that you may be clueless about, there is a SPECIFIC God-given use that it serves. As long as you're following God, author of your destiny, you can't go wrong.

So my advice to a new parent is short -
1. teach your child to seek after God, and the child will slowly inch his/her way towards that destiny [...the opposite path would be the for parent to decide the child's destiny - a massive mistake by all counts].

2. learn your child's temperament, and nurture its strengths and mildly embrace and smooth out its weaknesses

May God grant parents everywhere hearts full of abundant Love, Patience, and the Joy of achieving the impossible in a crazy world: raising us to be Loving, Responsible and God-fearing.

God Bless