Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Precious Thing Called Friendship

30 years ago we graduated from the same university and on the night of Valentine we met at the Cricket Club in Hong Kong for a reunion. These are my friends since Dundee’s days. Some of us were even baptized in the same year by the same minister, Rev. Eric Watson. Edward, a dentist, pulled out a photo of Eric Watson and his letter, brought us back to the good old days. Eric Watson, if he knows that we are still keeping our Christian faith, will be beaming with pride. It’s all about God’s grace that has sustained us through thick and thin. I was a fresh convert in 1977, and I have been a pastor for 22 years. I never have imagined that one day I would become a pastor instead of being an engineer. Nothing in those days had prepared me for the ‘Full-Time Christian Ministry.’ Nobody in those times had any inkling or premonition that I would become a minister of the church.

I noticed that Edward, Peter and Yip’s hairs are greying. They insisted that I must have dyed my hair black. I told them that it’s the genes. But they finally concluded that it has to do with my vocation as a pastor – stress free. Pastoral ministry is not as easy as people think. They are many pastors whose hairs are white as snow and bald as a balding eagle (no offense to the pastors who are bald). The deduction is simply not full proof. I feel good after seeing their white hairs. We did let down our hair as the evening glided on. My friends were very generous in treating me with sumptuous meals. These are difficult times economically.

Edward remarked: “We may have lost financially during global economic crisis, what has not been lost is the precious 30 years friendship.” Something in life cannot be placed on the economic scale. I went back to YMCA hotel pondering over what he said about the preciousness of friendship. That night I offered my thanks to God for his grace. I randomly chose Dundee and met these friends in the Christian Fellowship when I became a Christian. I look back I know now that it is never by chance. God engineered the whole thing.

Our children are about the same age. Some of them are studying in the universities. We have common topics to talk and common worries to frown upon. Yip has one girl who just went to England to study. Edward’s two girls are also in England. Peter has three girls, all studying in England. Two of them have graduated. They all have girls and deduced that it has to do with Dundee’s water. I think it has to do with stress – a dentist, an engineer, and a microbiologist’s profession is more stressful than a pastor. I have a girl and a boy. So I conclude that my work is 50% less stressful than theirs. What has stress got to do with all these stuffs? Everything. Ask the doctors, there is medical reason for it. When you have stress, you get a girl!

I was particularly touched when I heard that James, an architect, rushed back from Beijing to attend the dinner function. The gesture speaks volume about his value system.
My friends are successful in their careers. They have raised wonderful families. They are also greying gracefully and with godly wisdom. I am glad for my friends. Who said Valentine Day is for the couples only. I had a good time with them.

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