Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Halmunee's Beads

Let me tell you about my Halmunee (grandma in Korean). She was this tiny little old woman who by looks can deceive you at how fast and strong she really was. She lived with us until she passed away. I remember she used to pray every day to Buddha. Every morning she would wake and pray for an hour with her prayer beads. Now, we grew up in a Catholic home, and though she never forced her faith upon us, neither did we try to force our faith upon her. She was strong in her faith all her life.

Halmunee passed away December 14, 1984. She was 71. At that time, I didn’t realize she left behind testimony that HE does exist. I didn’t realize that, until the anger and pain of losing her faded, quite a few years later. It was going to be my 13th birthday that month, so I was still very young and had faith that only God can move mountains.

I remember Halmunee had a seizure and was rushed to the hospital. We were told she had a stroke. She was in a coma for 7 days. Mom and I stayed at the hospital all day long only going home to sleep. The morning of the 8th day, the hospital called and said Halmunee was awake and asking for us! We rushed right over. She was awake and it seemed all would be right. She was weak but alert, speaking to Mom, my sister, brother and myself. She told us she loved us and we told her to get well, so she could hurry home. I remember telling her not to forget it would be my birthday soon and I was going to be a teenager finally! We all stood around her talking to her and letting her know how much we all loved her and wanted her to get well and come home.

It wasn’t an odd request, I mean, we didn’t think much of it at the time….but she asked to be baptized. She wanted to be saved. Mom called her friend and asked her to bring a priest. When he came, we all prayed. He baptized her and prayed over her. The day was going well. Everything was going to be okay. Halmunee was awake and alert and talking and now she was saved! We all kissed her and said our good byes and went home to let her rest. She passed away the following morning.

I remember the anger I felt, God betrayed me! I had bargained with Him! I asked him to save her! And I thought everything was going to be
okay! But he let her die! I couldn’t believe he lied to me! I was so angry I turned away from Him for so many years. I didn’t want to believe in Him anymore. Halmunee was my mother’s mother and she was as good as a second mom to us. We needed her and now she was gone. Her garden was right outside my window and some nights I could swear I could hear her out there. I missed her so much!

As years passed, I continued to be mad at God. Thinking if there was one, He
wouldn’t have let Halmunee die. And I thought of her often. One day it hit me though… like a ton of bricks. HE exists!

We never found her prayer beads when we packed up all her things. It simply disappeared… How can a little old lady who all her 71 years of life, who prayed to Buddha every day, devout in her faith, wake up one day and ask to be baptized and saved? She came back for one day. That alone was message enough. HE exists! I’m not a “holy roller” or a “bible
thumper” I still have a long road ahead of me and I’m still not right with God. But I know he’s there.

I had a hard time writing this. I share this epiphany with very few people because of how deep and personal this story means to me. But when Kevin asked me to write a true story, I knew it was time to share. To all those who believe and especially to all those who don’t… HE exists.

he exists


Pamee said...

AMEN! Thanks for sharing. It is hard to understand why people we love die. But I am so glad you realized He saved her from an eternity without Him and took her to heaven to be with Him. Nothing can lessen the pain of losing a loved one, but I appreciate you sharing your heart and your epiphany. May God continue to bless you!!

Kev said...

Ineed he does! Thanks for sharing.