Sandra was admitted to hospital in the early days of September last year. Sandra received the finest nursing care during her stay in the hospital, then she went into a rehabilitation centre and finally ended up in palliative care. She never returned to our home. I miss her greatly. I have not yet come to terms with the fact that she is with the Lord. Her passing away is still either “unreal” or “surreal” to me. At times in the night, I can still feel her breath around me. I wish I could speak to her and tell her that I treasured every moment that we were together during the past 43 years.
As I write this, the entire area of metropolitan Melbourne is under lockdown. For those who are living alone, the loneliness is deeply felt. Yet the love and care from brothers and sisters has freed me from feelings of isolation and offered me a sense of intimacy and belonging that is more than comforting.
One of the cruellest things during the pandemic is the separation from loved ones. This is particularly true with our fragile aged community and those that require critical care.
The loss of Sandra has made me the centre of nurture and love from the brothers and sisters of my close Christian community, and I am truly grateful for that.
The painful confrontation of loneliness reveals my inner emptiness and stretches the limit of spiritual resilience. At the same time, it brings me a step closer to solitude where I can lean into faith in Him and rejoice in suffering, understanding that God always has an assigned purpose for suffering – which, according to Romans 5:3-5, will eventually lead to perseverance, character and hope.
The apparent inactivity during the pandemic lockdown has actually given us ample opportunities to review our relationship with God. There are more than enough resources for Bible studies, seminars and small group meetings delivered online. A lot of us are taking advantage of that.
This movement of loneliness and solitude has enabled me to find a renewed self. The result is, “I am alone and yet not alone”.
With the help of the Holy Spirit and encouragement from my beloved close community, I trust that this love will surely rekindle my spirit with new stirrings that will allow me to re-enter our world with more purposeful engagement and joyful reconciliation of the past in times to come.
Over the past year, the fray of life hasn’t been kind and its vicissitudes have given us limited capacity to dream. We are all looking forward to the easing of the staged lock down and hopefully returning to our normal walks of life in the foreseeable future.
The good news is that there will be true liberation. True liberation both in the physical and spiritual sense can only be attained when we surrender ourselves totally before God. Putting our trust in Him helps us to see the light at the end of the tunnel. For our God is Elohim – He is the Creator of the earth and He is El Shaddai, as He reigns all mighty. Bless the Lord and God Bless you all.
This is an edited extract of Yunnin’s letter to friends, written in September 2020 during Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown.