Faith when you lose your parents

    Faith when you lose your parents

    By Robin Thomson . Published 2020-10-23

    BOLD-Living

    Shoko Thomson, who died living with Alzheimers, wrote this account in 2012, the year she was diagnosed


    Everybody lives by faith. Shoko’s background was very different from mine, growing up in Japan: She wrote this account in 2012, the year she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's:I was brought up in a loving and strict Buddhist home. Every morning, after waking up and washing my face I would kneel in front of the family altar in the guest room. My prayer was
    1. to be a good girl throughout the day
    2. to be kind to others and not to face any danger or illness, which would be the consequences of any bad actions, a punishment by Buddha.
    Everything went well at home and school until I was 12. That year, in March I lost my mother after her long illness with TB. Then in October my father had a heart attack and died. Our daily life continued as usual, because we were living with my grandparents, according to Japanese custom, as my father was the eldest son. But I suffered with the question: "What have I done to cause this tragedy? What did I do wrong?" When I asked the priest, who visited us very often, he spoke about karma from a previous life. Every night I used to look at the stars and talk to my parents with tears: “Where have you gone, Mother and Father?” I didn’t talk much to others and sank into my own shell. I lost motivation at school and quarrelled very often with my sister at home. There was an English missionary, Miss Dorothy Parr, who lived just opposite our house. She had been very kind to our family during my mother’s long illness and now she showed me a lot of affection. She also invited me to come to church. As she kept on asking me, my grandmother said, "Why don't you go to be polite, as she is so kind?" There I had a chance to read the Bible for the first time. I learned about Jesus, a sinless person who died on the cross to take the punishment for my sin and deal with my karma. I was aware of my wrong attitudes to my family. After some months I gladly prayed to Jesus to come into my life.When I woke next morning I had such peace which I could not explain. My behaviour changed: now I became more helpful in the housework, which I had quarrelled about with my sister. My grandmother saw the difference and welcomed it, even though it was a 'foreign' belief. When I was 18, I remember praying and telling God that I was willing to go anywhere to serve him. After leaving school I worked for some time in an office in Tokyo. Then I was given the opportunity to study the Bible in Chicago and London.On my way back to Japan, travelling the cheapest way on a French ship from Marseilles, I was introduced to a young man who had also studied theology and was going to India. We wrote letters and two years later we got engaged. We were married in 1969 and spent most of the next 20 years in India. I had not expected God to answer my prayer to go anywhere in the world in this way. It wasn’t always easy: I found the climate tiring and I hated dust. Sometimes Robin and I had quarrels and misunderstandings over our different languages and cultures, and as we related to India’s culture. But we made very deep friendships and always felt connected to India.Today I realise that I have lots of faults and do not do plenty of things that I should be doing. But my experience of Jesus is not just in the past. I can experience his forgiveness every day. Sometimes it can be a struggle. It's not something automatic. But it's real.

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