Excerpts – Chapter 7
Mother loved Father with all her strength, all her might, and all her will.
She became a Catholic after giving birth to me.
She said it was because miracles happened in her “moments”, due to a visitation from a Catholic Father.
I heard from Nai-Nai that the reason she became a Catholic was because divorce was not allowed...
Of course she made father and all of us become Catholic.
It was actually a fashionable thing to do.
The Catholics in the East was very much like the Buddhists in the West.
-It showed that you had an open mind to comprehend a foreign God, while the "main-stream" people would only believe the "local" Gods.
In China there is a saying that " The monks from foreign lands recite more powerful sutras! "
Those foreign monks and nuns were so interesting to look at.
Once in a while, a brave kid among us would go up to them saying something like— “HELLO---HOW---ARE ---YOU.“
--while others hid behind the legs of those adults, giggling.
Going to church was a little different than going to the market.
In the market - you understood what people were saying, and there were lots of things to look at.
In the church - you did not understand what people were saying, still, there were lots of things to look at.
I was growing up in the Catholic Church in the Far East.
Unlike most ex-Catholics in the West, I don’t have complaints about the way I grew up as a Catholic.
It was actually quite fascinating.
Every Sunday we got dressed up.
Mom had a white veil covering her hair. She looked just like the paintings inside the church.
Father had to put on a nicer suite that made him sweat more.
My brothers and I suddenly became angelically well behaved.
It was like having Halloween or some kind of festival every Sunday.
From the music to the preaching, the air was just exotic.
Nobody understood the preaching, for it was mostly recited in Latin.
If not in Latin we would hear the heavy accents from different priests who came from different provinces with different dialects.
Once in a while, a foreign priest might speak a little “ foreign Chinese “ to us.
That would make the whole room even more exotic.
I did not even realize that we had been preached to...
It was also like a dance theater performance---
we stood up, then knelt down, then sat, then stood up, uttering some mysterious words.
I used to think that was like ----- "O-p-e-n! S-e-s-a-m-e!"----
Some door with the highest magic would just open for me.
The music was made of invisible feathers… It took me right out of the island from which I would fly away in some future days.
All neighbors and friends were nice and kind even though I heard their gossip just the other night...
For this special day everybody looked saintly bright.
I would love to have this everyday!
As a little child you could easily have out-of-body experiences after all those mysterious chants and dance-like movements
--kneeling, standing, walking, and kneeling again.
At times, I could see everybody from the ceiling...
-The baby behind me was sleeping with his legs dangling right above his mom's belly;
some older woman was weeping and the man next to her was nodding his head...
Everybody in the room looked different than what they used to look like.
I did not know if they were sleepy or sad or just serious...
Floating toward the altar entering the sacred shrine where the Body of the Christ resides,
I was dancing in the air with those angels from the paintings...
There was no difference among the shrine and the ceiling and the paintings on the wall…
It was all dancing veils...like many dreams intertwined.
Everything was like a dream, there were good dreams and there were dreams not that good.
I had the best dreams in those days.
From a little bottle of dark liquid and from another of transparent liquid, the Priest would pour the drink onto his shining cup.
I did not know that was the Blood of the Christ and the Water of Life.
I thought those were soy sauce and vinegar, just like what we used for Chinese dumplings.
When I was old enough to receive the Body of Christ, there was no flavor in the "food".
I just assumed that the priest forgot put some soy sauce and vinegar for me.
Since he forgot about this every time,
finally I realized that it was the privilege of the Catholic priests to have the Body of Christ with soy sauce and vinegar,
ordinary people would only have the Body of the Christ with a plain taste...
I thought that I could be a nun, having better taste for the Body of Christ, and having this wonderful dance-theater experience everyday.
Marrying God seemed like a really smart thing to do.
Father would snore in his seat.
I was embarrassed again and prayed to God to forgive him.
He and my brothers sat on one side of the room; mom and I sat on the other side of the room.
This was a really fun experience.
You see, when you entered the church, you had to kneel down to put the sacred water on your forehead, marking the sign of the cross.
Then, father and brothers went to the right side of the room, mom and I went to the left side of the room.
It was again like dancing…
one group of people went this way, another group of people went that way; and later they would all meet again...
And mom, father, my brothers and I--all of us-- should all meet again after the Mass.
Children lined up for cookies and candies; adults lined up to receive the western style clothing and canned-food.
One of my favorite pieces of clothing was a laced sky-blue long dress with ribbons on my back.
As soon as I put that dress on I was a different child.
I was older, taller, somewhere sitting next to a lake with adults who were foreigners.
And I could read the fairy-tale book in a foreign language.
You see, fairy tales are quantum tales---
First, they start with "ONCE UPON A TIME...
" It already sets up a timeline in the quantum reality.
They only tell you the lovers were happily living together forever and ever and ever...
They do not mention if they were ever fighting like my parents or not---
because that was a different timeline.
That sky-blue dress was one of the most magic clothes I have ever had...
many fairy tales became reality for me in that dress.
I shall tell you more latter.
Now, let us get back to the church...
That garden outside the church was just like the Garden of Eden.
How did I know this?
--- Because I was there.
Once a newly arrived Father -Father Hoo, who could speak clear understandable Mandarin.
I was sitting in a room full of children who were older than me.
Since I could understand what he was telling, I could sit on my seat long enough without leaving my body floating around.
As soon as he talked about the Garden of Eden, I became extremely happy--
yes, I could hear the birds singing…
Yes, I was eating fruits with exotic fragrances mixed with honey and milk...
Yes, I saw Adam and Eve, and animals, singing flowers and fruit-trees…
I saw the Serpent on the tree that was quite like the golden beams of the sunshine, I would like to have that Serpent to be my pet someday.
Oh, yes, the fruit was blinding red and delicious--
and where was I?
I was the ether that dancing among that Adam, and that Eve, and the animals, singing flowers and fruit-trees…
I was also Adam,
the singing flowers,
the Tree of Life
and the Serpent…
I Was Garden of Eden.
Then I was me-the little Chinese girl...
I saw God…
- What did God look like?
- God looked just like Father Hoo.
- And God picked me up to sit on his lap.
- God also told me that I was so precious to all that was in the Garden...
When the class was over I was blissfully sitting on the lap of Father Hoo with cookies in my hands.
They tasted just like honey and milk.
...Then, I went to that garden,
picking the most beautiful flowers from the trees,
and made a cake for God...
The cake was made with earth and sand, flowers and seeds…
because God made us with the earth and sand;
and God gives us the Garden with flowers and seeds.
All was enchanting and silent…
Every bird was lovingly watching me making a cake for God.
I could taste that spicy red,
and those sour-sweet yellow.
God might also like to taste some flower-dews,
I must get them just for God...
Suddenly the garden was filled with those police-like--bigger—kids
"She is picking the flowers from the trees, let us report this to our teachers."
Oh, no, did I make a mistake to be kicked out of the garden?
That enchanted silence in the air was gone.
I was waiting for the “punishment.”
Mom showed up unexpectedly.
She simply picked me up from the flowers,
and that unfinished cake.
I did not know that mom was one of the teachers.
Father Hoo told mom that I was a blessed child.
This time he looked different than what he looked like in the Garden of Eden.
I did not realize that he wore heavy glasses.
Father went to church mainly for mom.
He did not believe in anything like the virgin birth.
Only when there was a beautiful woman around,
he would say:
" Gee! She looks just like the Virgin Mary! "
Mom would tell father to be careful with his words.
I always thought that mom would love to be the Virgin Mary herself, but it was too late for her
... And I had a whole life ahead of me to be the Virgin Mary.
Mom was somewhat--
How should I say this
about her marriage.
She had her reasons.
First, she was still a young girl.
I did not realize this at all -mom was mom.
Second, father was extremely attractive for many women.
Again, I did not realize this either -father was father.
There was something I did understand
-when mom told me that her heart was broken after giving birth to me.
Well, father had been insensitive again.
He told mom that his ex-girlfriend was giving birth to a baby boy just a few doors away from mom's room
--in the same hospital.
He said if he knew that mom was giving birth to a girl, he would rather marry his ex-girlfriend....
This was a story mom repeated often to me so I would study hard-
and would win all kind of awards-
just to prove that a girl could be better.
Father and mother truly loved each other.
They did not love like what we saw in the movies.
They were loud when they were arguing.
I would pray for them to be happy with each other.
Then they were happy together…
I was too happy to pray more,
the storms came again...
I did not know if they truly loved each other or not
…until I had my own cats, watching how they slept together, licked and kissed each other---
When they fight, they are loud.
With all my mom's tears and laughter, cursing and story telling, I realized it was my job to protect her.
Father did not need me to protect him at that point, mom did.
I knew her feelings before I knew mine.
Her laughter sounded more beautiful than the birds in Eden.
To make her laugh more, I must win, and win, and win more…
Every mother was a little girl with colorful dreams until we showed up.
Mom said that she had sacrificed her life for us especially for me.
Since I had a whole life ahead of me,
if I could be like Virgin Mary or be like Jesus the Christ,
mom would be very happy and laugh everyday.
...I loved my mom with all my strength, all my might and all my will...
Music Credit: PACHELBEL Canon