You matter to God

You matter to God

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On Life and Love

          Had my father been alive today, my parents would have celebrated their 55th Anniversary last month.   I was talking to my mother who's in the Philippines over the phone  and I felt a splash of sadness knowing that she misses my father especially on that very special day.  She candidly told me how she felt and how they could have celebrated the big day. But I admire my mother's inner strength that comes out of her strong faith and love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

          In honoring my parents and in time for Valentine's Day, I want to share some of life and love lessons I've learned from them:

On Life:

We are all capable of social mobility with God's grace.

          I love having conversations with my parents about their own life stories.  When my father was still alive,  I would ask him to tell me the story of his life and it inspired me when he enthusiastically related to me the events of his past that were important to him.  He came from an economically challenged family who lived dependently on fishing and a little farming.  He was the eldest and bore more responsibilities in helping their family.  There were days he couldn't go to school because he had to catch fish first to put food on their table.  He recounted how he went to school barefooted when he was in grade school because they couldn't afford to buy slippers.  But poverty didn't weigh him down.  I admired my father's brilliant mind and strong determination.  He left the little town and went to Manila, the economic center of the country, looked for a job and went to take a vocational course as a mechanic.  He landed a job in a commercial fishing business and gained favor from the owner who became like a father to him.  He eventually became the main man and managed the whole business.

         My mother also came from a family where she had to work hard to have food in their mouth.  She grew up planting vegetables.  Her mother made beautiful crocheted curtains, bedspreads, table covers, pillowcases, clothing and earned some income from them.  In order to help, my mother sold root crops in the neighborhood and even to her classmates.  My mother was and still is very entrepreneurial and people person.  She was my father's support and as the saying goes, behind every man's success is a woman.

         It always inspires me how my parents lived a life characterized with hard work and discipline.  I've never seen them waking up late.  They always rose up early and were never lazy.  This lifestyle reminds me of a verse in Proverbs 6:10-11 "A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber." Moreover, what I remember hearing from both of my parents were their recognition of the power higher than them.  I could still hear the phrases "Sa awa ng Diyos" (By God's Mercy/Grace) or "Awa ng Diyos" (God's Mercy/Grace) echoing in my memory.  It was God's hand of blessing and grace that brought them where God had planned them to be.

On Love.

Humility. Forgiveness. And a morning cup of coffee.

          It was not a perfect marriage.  It was so flawed, actually.  But what I saw was a tough love that endured the test and trials of heartaches and pain and the triumph of humility,  forgiveness, and love.  We all fall short and in our weaknesses we make choices that hurt the people we love. But because love is higher and tougher to conquer the pain, my parents victoriously passed the test and kept their love for each other stronger.  And I will always remember the image of my parents having their cups of coffee every morning, sipping, talking, connecting. Love.