I am an atheist but a believer of filial piety, a concept put forth by Confucius, the Chinese philosopher. I was very close to my grandmother and I believe when she died I earned myself a god. You may think I am nuts but I truly believe that she keeps an eye on me at all times and whenever I need her, consciously or otherwise, she is there. Here’s what happened this evening.
An unusual Saturday evening, alone at home with no plans, I decided to curl up in bed with a book. Approached the bookshelf in my bedroom to pull out a book that I had started reading a while ago but had not finished reading. As I tugged at the book, another book which was tucked away somewhere on another shelf, came tumbling down. Since I had already read this book a couple of times, I mindlessly picked it up and was about to dust it and put it away when something told me to flip through it again. I thought why not? The book, Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, would be perfect to kill an hour before bedtime.
Those of you who have read it know that it’s a small book of about a hundred odd pages. Took me less than an hour to finish. But coincidently, I found the answer to a challenge I have been struggling with for over a month. I have been going nuts looking for the right answer. Without going into details, all I would like to say is that the book simply reaffirmed that in life, it is essential to trust one’s self and it is critical to be true to one’s self. It is perfectly all right not to lead the life others expect you to.
Suddenly, I remembered every word of the book. I remembered reading it on a train ride back from town after work over a decade ago. I remembered finding the answer when I was faced with a similar dilemma back then. It was also reassuring to remember that even then I had chosen to do what my heart wanted me to do over what was expected of me and I had survived. I had been happy. Ruffled feathers had smoothened out overtime.
How is my grandmother or heaven related to this little episode? Of the many bookshelves that line the walls of my tiny apartment, this is the one where I keep her photograph and it’s a mini shrine. The books on this bookshelf are mostly work related and not one I would approach on a Saturday evening to dig out something to read. Strangely, today I did. Well, if this is not serendipity, I don’t know what is.