No Fear of Death..!

One of the most powerful influences in my life was that of the late Dr Sam Kamaleson! I remember as a twelve-year old, sitting on mats which were provided to kids and listening to his powerful oratory, awed by both magnificent voice and his deep faith. As I grew older his sermons touched a deep chord within my very rebellious heart and his words stirred deep within me.

Many years later, after he had moved to Canada, I received a letter from him. He had read my column in a newspaper there, but not recognizing me, emailed me saying he loved what I had written, and then mentioned something in the next line I will never forget, “Journalists,“  he said, “are the prophets of old! So, it is your duty to warn people, like those ancient prophets did, of  the perils and pitfalls of following any disastrous path or wrong leader.”

That, he told me, was my job, to be done fearlessly. 

Something else I remember was that as a youngster I was part of a choir, which practiced in his sitting room. Ever so often, his three little children, Mano, all of five or six years, Nimmi and Sundar would walk in, attracted by the singing, or peep through the curtains. We grew to love the tiny tots.

I heard a few years ago the terrible news that Mano, working for an NGO, was killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.

My heart cried for the father, Dr Sam, all of ninety-two at that time. He had lost his wife a few years ago, and so she was not there to grieve with him. Distraught, I watched a video of the funeral service and then watched with tears streaming down my eyes as three grandsons slowly helped Dr Sam onto the pulpit to speak, and I wondered whether he would break down in grief.

How mistaken I was. His aged, yet still incredible voice rang out speaking about the certainty of where his son was now. He spoke of forgiving those who were behind the bomb blast and in his old eyes was absolute hope, and in his still powerful voice, conviction. He knew his son had just walked over to the very God, he’d spent his whole life telling people about.

I remembered little Mano, my own eyes were brimming with tears, but Dr Sam Kamaleson’s stared straight into mine and those of the mourners saying silently, “I know where he’s gone, he’s fine!”

As I felt his strength at his own son’s funeral, as I saw his even more resolute conviction and unshaken faith I had no doubts he had led me years ago to the One true, living God he believed in, who, in conquering death, had taken away all fear of it..!

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at bobsbanter@gmail.com