My mother, God bless her soul, always told me I was well loved because I had three mothers!  What she meant was that I was loved by not just her but also her two sisters, and I equally loved them back. The last of the sisters passed away a few months ago, and I know I felt alone and sad as her body was lowered into her grave, but it is not about her I write about today, nor about my mother who passed away last year in Baltimore, it is about the eldest of the three, who lived a spinster, alone in her little home and when she passed away in Bangalore, over a decade and a half ago, I went down for her funeral.

After the funeral rites I reluctantly went to her little room, where my cousin Aruna and I had set her up. We went through her meager belongings and gave away most of it to her maid who had looked after her faithfully, but there on her bed I came across an old book by Oswald Chambers, 'My Utmost for the Highest' which many of my friends and relatives have later seen next to my rocking chair in my home. It is a book of daily devotions written in the old fashioned English spoken in the early nineties. Inside the book there was a photo of me as a little boy, the way I must have remained in my aunt's heart.

But yesterday while opening the old and worn well book I found she had scribbled these lines inside the cover, it is obviously from an old hymn and the title is 'Be Strong'.

Here are the lines, read it and remember it when you need strength:


Be strong!

We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;

We have hard work to do and loads to lift;

Shun not the struggle, face it, ’tis God’s gift.

Be strong, be strong, be strong!


Be strong!

Say not the days are evil—who’s to blame?

And fold the hands and acquiesce—O shame!

Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God’s name.

Be strong, be strong, be strong!


Be strong!

It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,

How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;

Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song.

Be strong, be strong, be strong!

What lovely words they are. I wonder how often my dear aunt whispered these words to herself and derived strength as she struggled through life alone!

Be strong my dear friends, for tomorrow comes the song of victory..!

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