There is a Jewish proverb that goes something like this: “When parents give something to a child, the child smiles; but when children give their parents something, the parents cry.”
In our life, often the only people who can do everything for us without asking for anything in return are our parents. In return for everything that we receive from our parents, we should take diligent care of them. We should cherish every moment with our parents because we do not know how long we will be blessed with having them with us.
When your parents are still alive, take care of them; do not let them get tired of waiting to see you; do not let them fear they won’t be able to see you again.
Those of us blessed to have loving parents remember that when we were toddlers, our parents were the ones who held our little hands and guided us in taking our very first steps in life. When we cried, our parents were the ones who happily cradled us in their arms, and were there to nurse us day and night, taking care of us and putting us to sleep. When we were sick, our parents were the ones who couldn’t eat or sleep, standing by the bed day and night to make sure we were safe and well. When we are in trouble, or when the entire world turns against us, our parents are always there to protect us and to comfort us.
Time can change people’s hearts, but we cannot change the love our parents have for us. One day, when our parents are gone, there will not be a chance to say goodbye or to farewell us in person. They will not be there to call us by name or eat one last meal with us or show love and care to us anymore. By then we may have regrets and a few “if only’s”.
If only I had watched one less movie or played one less game and visited my parents instead.
If only I had spent one less dinner with friends and shared a meal with my parents and enjoyed their company instead.
Therefore, while our parents are still living and eager to spend time with us, let’s give them comfort, spend more quality time with them, try to fulfil their wishes, so that we will not have regrets about the way we treated them later. Love your parents as you would love yourself because they need to be loved too.
Then one day, when they do depart from this world, we will be comforted by the knowledge that we gave them our best.
Fr Quyen Vu SJ
Photo by Radhika Studio.