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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Last Lecture

When I was at secondary school, we used to have this pastor who came to our Friday assemblies to give talks. His first name was John, his last name probably Chin, Chan or Chong (don't remember off my head). Religious sermons can be pretty dull to listen at times. However, this pastor was pretty good at making his interesting. There were quite a few good ones that I can still remember.

One time, he told us a story about a Qantas airline that was caught in a turbulent storm on its way to or from (don't remember which way) Australia. There was yelling and screaming as the passengers on the flight panicked for their lives. Then, a woman got up, pleaded everyone to calm down and urged them to pray along with her. It went something like - Jesus calmed the winds and waves in His time, He would lead us out of this danger. Then the miracle happened. The plane stopped shaking. Everyone was alive.

Back in the town, one of the passengers took her camera to a shop to have its film developed. When she returned to collect the photos later, the shop attendant asked her about her experience and the photos. There was a particular photo that was disturbing. It was taken from her seat window.

At this point, the pastor took out duplicates of the photo and asked us to pass around. What I saw in the photo was the image of a huge, sinister-looking cloud in the night sky and superimposed onto the cloud was the figure of a man. You could make out that it was an apparition of Jesus Christ. I have kept this photo with me till this day but it is in Malaysia.

That was an awesome sermon. In another sermon, he lectured us about the importance of living the present day. Living as if today is your last. 'Carpe Diem' or 'Seize the day' as prompted by the movie "Dead Poets Society". When you realized that you do not have much time to live, I think you begin to see your own life and your relationship with others in a different perspective.

Today, I received an email from a good friend of mine in Singapore who wanted to share a touching story about a professor from Carnegie-Mellon University who found out that he had pancreatic cancer and not much time to live. Two things from the video that I found enlightening was "Experience is what you gained when you don't get what you wanted" and "Live your life right, and your dreams will come to you".

Watch Prof. Randy Pausch deliver his last lecture in these links:
Sonny Radio
Oprah Winfrey

or just watch it on youtube here:

On searching the internet for images, I found the photo I was talking about from this website. See, I wasn't bluffing you. Not sure which version of the story is correct though. Here's the photo.