The Day My Father Cried

My father and I don’t really have a mushy relationship. We rarely say ‘I love you’, we don’t exchange hugs and kisses, we don’t sit on the porch and talk about life. In fact, I rarely call him when I’m abroad. But, we have this special connection that only a father and a daughter have. A connection that assures me how much my father loves me beyond words, beyond actions. I wasn’t home for two and a half years. I am constantly in touch with my mother but never with my father. During those times, I felt that it is okay because my father never tried to reach out with me anyway.

After two and a half years of not being home, I finally was blessed with a chance to go home to be with my family again. I had the best time of my life. I have been going back and forth to places that I missed when I was away. But, I never really had enough time with my dad. All I had with him were random conversations whenever I will see him eating alone in the kitchen or when I will ask him to buy me something like “gatas ng kalabaw” (Carabao’s milk) for example. I remember one morning when I craved for it and he searched everywhere for it or that time when I got home from Singapore and arrived at three in the morning and he was the only one who woke up to pick me from the bus terminal. I didn’t appreciate little things like those. At that moment, I failed to see the beauty of it. How my dad will go anywhere to give me what I want and how much he is willing to sacrifice for me. I wish I did.

Thirty days passed. It’s time for me to leave again.  We were in the airport putting off goodbye. But, time is the worst enemy. I put goodbye off until I can’t put it off anymore. It’s time to turn my back to the country that I love the most and worse, to my parents who dropped me off the airport. I held back tears. I told them to go ahead and to not wait ’til I get inside the airport. I gave them a hug. Each of them. I hugged them as tight as I could hoping that I’ll be glued to them and I won’t be able to let go. But, reality sets in. It’s time to chase some pavements once again even if it leads nowhere because that’s the only way to grow. I kissed and hugged them goodbye for the nth time. I never wanted to look at them but the moment i let go of the hug, I saw dad’s eyes filled with tears, his nose red and he’s avoiding my stare. I told them “Go. Take care. Love you.” I watched them until they disappear from my sight. Then I thought to myself “If it’s hard for me to leave, it is harder to for my parents to go back home without their princess.” My father and I may not have shared precious moments but still find it hard to let me go is just a representation of true love.

The day my father cried was the day I regained my strength and the day I realized what my battle is all about. It’s not really about winning. It’s about making those tears count. I know God is with me and he is victoriously fighting whenever I couldn’t fight for myself.

I love you, daddy! <3 I love all your imperfections. You will always be the first man that I love and no one can ever take your place. I haven’t achieved much in life but having a father like you, though not perfect, is enough reason to celebrate God’s love not just for me but for our family. We are truly blessed to be loved by you.

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By God’s grace, I was once again blessed with a chance to go home in December. I bet my vacation will be full of hugs, conversations and love. <3 May God be praised!

Psalm 30:5

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I wasn’t in my best mood for a week. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss home. I miss my normal happy self. This whole ‘Me-Time’ thing is getting the best out of me. I never felt so lonely. I spent a couple of sleepless nights thinking about senseless thoughts and asking stupid questions to myself. But, there have also been nights when I overslept because sometimes sleep is the best antidote for trying times. In short, I just plainly exist.

During this time, I know it’s the best time to pray more but I find it hard to pray. I know we should pray the hardest when it is hardest to pray but I just can’t put myself in the mood for prayer (Sorry).  In the morning when I wake up, I just thank God for a brand new day and for the gift of life. That’s it. Very dry. When I get home, I throw my bag in the bed, remove the shoes from my feet, curl up under my blanket and get lost in my own little world. It was hard. Until one day, I said I don’t want to be like that anymore. If I want happiness, I should create it. I rushed to a nearby department store and got myself a colorful bed cover, put them on my bed and did my usual routine (throw bag, remove shoes, curl up under my blanket. Repeat daily.) For a time I was happy but it was a superficial kind of happiness. Eventually, my happy bed cover lost its magic. Worse, i became lonelier than I ever was before. I struggled until one day, I opened my “Daily Bread” and read I pray that meditations would draw us into His presence. Fellowship with Christ is the secret of happiness now and forever.” God also assured me with His words: “I have promised you my presence everywhere you go; I will never, never leave you…”

 For the first time in my life, I celebrated the mass alone and everything’s just perfect. That solitary moment with God is priceless. God really spoke to me in many ways. He spoke to me through songs. During the mass, Don Moen’s ‘I Will Sing’ played. “Lord, you seem so faraway and though I haven’t lost my faith I must confess right now that it’s hard for me to pray. But, as you give the grace with all that’s in my heart, I will sing, I will praise, even in my darkest hour.” I knelt before God, I let my heart talk and as tears rolled down my face, God hugged me so tightly I can’t even let go. When everyone left the church, I sat there alone. That moment of silence I know God hears my heart without me talking. The place was so solemn I can feel God everywhere. The chairs around me might be empty but I never felt alone. Then I realized, it was God who carried me all throughout the lonely week. It was God who made an effort to listen to my heart when I forget to pray. It was God who never left me when no one was there when I cried. It was God who lead me to Him. Then, things made sense the lonely week emptied me so I may receive more of God.

It was God all along.

That night, I came home, threw my bag in the bed, removed my shoes, curl up under my blanket and thanked God for finding me in my brokenness.

“Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30: 5