Tag Archives: death

Lola at Midnight (A Case Study)

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There have been so many deaths – too many deaths – in my community recently. It seems like we were just recovering from news of someone’s death when we hear of another dreaded event.

It is because of this, and for other personal reasons, that I am so interested and invested in my Eschatology class. One of our tasks is to come up with a case study, and lead the class in a discussion. This week, it was our group’s turn.

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LOLA AT MIDNIGHT

1998. Eight year old Mary trudges behind her mother as men carry the make-shift coffin up the hill to the Catholic cemetery. They had just had the funeral service at the Catholic church. Everyone is wearing white shirts and tops, including the ten children who joined the procession. Before the coffin is laid to rest, the adults carry the children over the coffin.

white-lady-csb

When the funeral ends, Mary walks back home with her family, purposely looking straight ahead and resisting the urge to look back, just as her parents taught her. Do that, and her lola will visit her. She also resists the urge to pick the flowers and leaves along the way. Do that, and someone else in the family might prematurely die. So she walks resolutely forward. Back home, she proceeds to change out of her clothes.

“All clothes in one pile on the floor immediately,” mother reminds the family, just as Mary throws her clothes on top of the bed. When mother sees this, she scolds Mary. “Do you want your lola to visit you?”

Two weeks later. It is the 9th day after the burial, and Mary sleeps with her sisters. Suddenly, Mary jerks awake. Her eyes instantly shoot to the clock positioned above the door. It is past midnight.

The door then opens, and Mary waits, expecting her tita to enter. “Maybe she’d just gone to the toilet,” Mary thinks.

But a white, translucent figure enters in. The first thing Mary notices is the face of this white figure, and she recognizes it. It is her lola! It is unmistakably her lola, with her short hair, and wearing the same clothes they had buried her in. And she is hovering about ten inches above the floor.

Lola proceeds to the couch near the bed, and Mary realizes that her tita is on the couch, sleeping soundly. The figure leans over her tita, and Mary finally shuts her eyes. The next thing Mary knows it that it is morning.

Two days later, the same thing happens to her cousin.

Seven years later, Mary becomes a Christian. She never experiences the same thing. She still cannot interpret these events, and now that she is in IGSL, she hopes that more light would be shed on this matter.

What would you tell Mary? How would you explain the presence or appearances of the “soul” of the dead persons that can still be seen by their loved ones?

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Death and Peace

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 [Missionartist’s Note: I am privileged to write this amazing true story of my colleague and fellow missionary, Katrinna. As can be observed, I wrote it in the first person in an effort to stay true to Katrinna’s voice.]

I started dreaming of death when I was fifteen.

death

It happened several times a week… I would drift off to sleep, and then the screaming would begin. Women screaming. I would feel someone, or something pulling my legs… someone, or something strangling my neck. And all around me I could see evil spirits, phantoms of huge ominous shapes.

No fifteen year-old should have to fear going to bed, but I did. For years, I experienced these nightmares and sensations.

I tried to tell my mom about this, but when she replied, “Oh, you’re just tired. Drink more water. Sleep earlier”, I realized telling her would not help.

So I tried to help myself.

I tried to muster all the powers on earth available to me by praying hard to my gods. I learned certain enchantments, oral mantras I was instructed to chant before bed. I wore an amulet  and kept it with me everywhere I went. I acquired a written charm from a friend and put it under my pillow, hoping against hope that it would help me sleep.

None of these worked.

It was one of those nights – I was so tired, my body inevitably exhausted from the psychological trauma and the lack of sleep. My mind desperately tried to grab on to any happy, peaceful memory I had, and a single memory from my earlier childhood flickered.

It was a memory from my happier days as a child, almost seemingly random. I was in grade school, and we were singing a song…

A song! It was a simple tune, and as I recalled it, I realized I still had the lyrics memorized.

“As the deer panteth for the waters, so my soul longeth after Thee.

You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship Thee.”

THEN the most amazing thing happened — I fell asleep.

Without any nightmares, with no hint of death. No women screaming, no strangling. Just sweet, restful sleep. And I was aware of a great steady peace embracing me. I felt secure, as if someone almighty and trustworthy was giving the peace I so coveted.

heavenly light

I wondered then about this song. That songs and chants are written and dedicated to gods, I knew as much. All I knew about this song was that it was written and dedicated to the Christian God.

Then I went to college.

It was in my first year in UKM when I met a senior who happened to be a Christian. Because of my previous experience with the song, I listened intently when she shared to me about this God, and about this God’s love and salvation.

For three months, I struggled with the concept of other gods. See, I believed in a lot of things, like incarnation and karma—concepts obviously incompatible with Christianity.

I researched and compared – this Christian God seemed insufficient compared to all my other gods combined. Why should I give them up?

Still, I kept one foot in Christianity because I had experienced, first hand, the power of their God. When I mentioned the name “Jesus”, I felt peace; His name literally was the source of my peace.

And so my curiosity of this God kept growing and nagging at me that I was forced to look back at Christianity and this time, really look. What I found out astounded me… And finally, I decided to trust this Jesus Christ and let Him take control of my life.

After receiving Christ, a great, wonderful, peace came over me.

This peace was slightly familiar – I had a taste of it when I first sang the song, but this? This was at a whole new level, as if a banquet was now opened to me, whereas I was only allowed a spoonful of it before. It was the most satisfying thing in the world.

I have never regretted my decision since.

And to this day, none of these spiritual attacks have happened again.