Three friends of Lillian put their money together to open a company after their graduation. Since the pollution of this city was alarming, they decided to invest in air purifiers – products that seemed to meet the need of many people. However, only after a year, they had to close down their business. One of the main causes of their failure was that they were weak in advertising their products. General experience has shown that being more known leads to easier success. But why did the Teacher forbid his disciples to tell no one about his great works? Lillian found it hard to understand. For example, a story speaks about his transfiguration on a mountain before their eyes with dazzling light, even with the testimony of God the Father about Him. The disciples all firmly believed in Him, they liked what they saw a lot, and they wanted to announce it to everyone so that people would know Him and come to Him to learn about the Father’s truthful love. They were all excited about making Him known as soon as possible. But He forbade them to do that. He told them to wait. Well, an excellent opportunity was here, why wait, until when? Lillian wondered, but it took her seven years to find out the answer.
Lillian left her hometown for her career. Since she had a strong character, she kept herself optimistic even in difficult situations. Furthermore, though hard working, Lillian still made time for prayer in order to be nourished. She felt that God ‘coddled’ her very much in giving her what she asked for. She told her friends that she only liked a decent life; otherwise, she would ask God to let her win a mega lottery program and become a millionaire. For her, God was both powerful and lovely. God was number one! Following Him was just wonderful.
After a few years of hard work, Lillian was able to buy a small beautiful house. She intended to invite some colleagues to come over for a housewarming party at the end of the month. She also bought a set of karaoke so her friends could enjoy singing together. Life was such a wonderful thing!
That morning, Lillian went to the market to buy food for the dinner party. She wanted to cook her special recipes. On the way home, she saw a crowd near her area. Having a hunch that something unusual had happened, she rode her bicycle quickly toward the crowd. A big cloud of black smoke was coming out of her little house. O God, her house was on fire. The merciless fire was engulfing the house. “Am I awake or in a nightmare? How could this ever happen?” Too panic, Lillian was dumbfounded.
Some people tried to extinguish the fire. Then the sound of something from the house woke Lillian up.
“O my God, Micky, Micky, Micky…!”
Her beloved dog was stuck in there. She heard its cry from the fire.
“Please help my Micky. Help! Micky, please, help, please, Micky, oh no, please, help, Micky…!”
Though her voice was unbroken because of panic, people around understood her. They tried to use water buckets to extinguish the fire. But it was too late. The roof of the house collapsed. Everyone watched helplessly. Lillian passed out.
Lillian was startled and woke up, finding herself in a strange room. It was dark outside, only the lamp on the desk gave some dim light. Seeing no one around, Lillian was about to call out, but then she stopped. She seemed to remember what had happened that morning. Her tears burst out again. She buried her face in the pillow weeping uncontrollably. Sad. Lonely. Disoriented. The image of her little dear house being burned out was so real in her eyes! All the fruit of her sweat and blood had vanished unexpectedly. The cry of Micky was hopeless in the fire. O God, my Micky! So painful a soul!
Lillian uttered bitter cries, choked in the chest. But it was the last time she cried.
From that day on, Lillian was numb. All her childhood had been spent in poverty. Her parents were so poor that she had to work far from home when she was still little. But as soon as she got a smile on her face, she lost everything, even the beloved dog that kept her company. Her friends came to console her, but for some reason, her heart was still heavy. Paradoxically, the more they tried to comfort her, the more she felt lonely. It seemed to her that no one understood her feeling. She just wanted to shout and yell out loud but her throat just choked. Lillian did not want to pray anymore. She angrily complained against God for not extinguishing the fire. She got mad at God for not rescuing her poor little Micky from the crazy flame.
Her depression lasted more than a year. She lived as if her soul had been dead. Fortunately, a kindhearted friend invited Lillian to come and live with her. She shared with Lillian what she had in her limited condition.
On a cold winter day, Lillian missed her Micky so much. Wounded memories were difficult to be erased. They were like debts sticking with people. Lillian did not want to do anything. She was just numbly sad.
Lillian then opened the main door to go outside as a reactionary way to release some tension inside her. The wind was blowing that increased the cold. The cold penetrated her soul which had already been frozen for a long time. The trees had no leaves left due to the low temperature. Unexpectedly, her eyes saw something hanging and moving on the fence. Lillian came closer to see.
“Oh dear, how could you stand this freezing cold? Can’t understand. Why are you here? Oh dear..”
She hurried to remove the little crucifix someone had tied to the fence.
“Oh no, your arms and legs are broken. Why do you have to suffer like this?”
While Lillian was lamenting, she suddenly stopped.
And, she cried.
Oh year, she was able to cry again!
She cried because she found a friend who could understand her. She had found it difficult to understand Him because she failed to understand that He had understood her long before. He understood her more profoundly than she understood Him because He had suffered more than her. Ultimately, Lillian was not as lonely as she had thought.
She hurriedly brought the crucifix inside to keep it warm. Her tears accompanied her steps. At this moment, Lillian understood why the Teacher forbade his disciples to speak about Him when opportunities of fame and success were near. They had to wait until He had undergone all sorts of suffering (poverty, misunderstanding, humiliation, betrayal, exclusion, and death) and had risen from the dead. Only then would it be fitting them to proclaim his identity. Only then could they truly understand Him. Only then could they have a complete picture about Him. He not only did all the great miracles but also understood everything of everyone since He had suffered more than them. God is not only the almighty Creator of this universe but also the most merciful Father, who cares for and shares with us our deepest sentiments. In God’s heart, we are his sons and daughters. Furthermore, Lillian also realized that the great thing most necessary for everyone on this earth was the victory over death. And Jesus had already given it to us when He rose again from the dead. Like Him, all will rise again.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.
Read in Vietnamese: https://only3minutes.wordpress.com/sao-lai-cam/