daddy’s fish flower plate

“If  a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?  or if a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will offer him a scorpion?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:  how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Luke 11:11-13

when we were kids, my daddy manifested his love in the oddest way one could imagine.  whenever we had fish for our meal, he patiently removed the fishbones  and carefully rolled the fillet into small balls, then arranged them like petals on the edge of our plates so that they looked like huge flowers.

daddy is a relatively quiet and stiff kind of a man, especially when it comes to his way with us.  his kids.   we never heard him say anything nice to us.  well, that was if we hear anything at all.  he seldom spoke when he came home from work, and if he did, it was just to mommy. or to scold us because we sung during meal time.  or halt our non-stop kiddie  chatters. 

we were oftentimes, terrified to see him get angry,  because that would mean a date with the belt (and sometimes with the buckle too).  i remember how he used to slam me onto the bed and make my behind sore with spanking.  and boy! he spanked hard.  but as we grew older, the spanking stopped.  so did the scolding. and so too, the lesser we heard him utter a word.

daddy never set foot in any of our schools, nor watched any activity.  and sadly, he never even attended any of our graduations.  but although he was stingy in sharing himself,  he was generous in providing our material needs.  though it was only during the later years that i realized it was mommy who mastered the art to make both ends meet, our daddy maintained the atmosphere that we were kinda well-off.  whenever we asked, he gave. 

growing up, there was always a bit of envy, whenever we see other fathers’ pda (public display of affection) towards their children.  but even then,  i never took it against my daddy that he kept everything to himself.  i never doubted that he loved us.  and i never expected any more from him than he had already given. 

you can just imagine how relieved my siblings and i were that he was present during each of our weddings.  and when his  grandchildren were born, we were surprised that he kind of softened up.  the rate of his tenderness grew directly proportional to the number of kids that were added to our clan.  he displayed  tender, loving affection to our kids that somehow, my brother and sister felt that affection redirected towards us.   despite his outward manifestation when we were young, or the lack of it,  deep inside i knew my daddy was a loving man.  and though he had such difficulty to let his guard down with us, he couldn’t resist his grandchildren.  all his pent up emotions through the years just burst out like a dam, and love flowed out spontaneously, starting with megan and miguel.  then to bianca, ian, abby and bon2.  and of course, to igi boy.    he is now daddy to all his grandchildren.

a couple of weeks ago, daddy was diagnosed with a tumor in his prostate.  just to hear the word “tumor” would already make one cringe with fear.  and even more, when one already advanced in years has it.  so how much more when that one is so dear?  the first thing we did was pray.  and until now we continue on praying that it will go away and just disappear.   we wanted the best treatment and first-class hospital facilities for him.  but with our very limited resources, we’re afraid we have to settle for less.  we just hope and pray that the healing power of Jesus would ease his pain and suffering.  and if He wills it, my daddy would be free of the tumor absolutely.

but as hard as we pray that daddy would get well, there is a desire as strong in my heart to soften up too.  you see, i am my daddy’s daughter.  although being sweet and loving is an acquired habit which i tried very hard to learn through the years (pda’s towards my children are spontaneous with me now);  i could be as quiet and as stiff as he was too.  these are inherent traits that he passed on to me, and sadly i am just too  shy to publicly display my affection towards him considering the circumstances.  if i try hard, it wouldn’t be natural. and he would notice that.  and for sure, it would be an awkward and embarassing situation for both of us.  and i would not want to put him into that kind of emotional confusion.  not this time.  not with his condition.

the Lord used only one mold for each human being.  that is why we differ from one another entirely.  we should realize that it is in the acceptance of each other’s uniqueness that we shall be be able to live in harmony.   that is how i see our family now.  unique  human beings who blend together into a family of kaleidoscope personalities.

with this i try to forgive myself if i lack the theatrics in expressing my love to daddy.  when we come home for the holidays, and whenever we’ll have fish for our meal, i would just patiently remove the fishbones  and carefully roll the fillet into small balls, then arrange them like petals on the edge of daddy’s plate so that they looked like huge flowers.  then he will know…then  he will feel that i love him so.

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invisible wall

“And He called the people to Him again and said to them ,”Hear me, all of you and understand:  there is nothing outside a man which by going into Him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him…  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”  Mark 4:14-15, 21-23

stone-walls-avila

there was this one gathering that we were invited to.  the notice was kind of impromptu so to speak.  it was already past my bedtime, but still we have to go,  if only because we have to drop our son off so he could spend time with his friends.  despite the other parents’ persistence over my mobile phone and bhoy’s subtle hints for me to get down from the car for a moment and say hi at least, i declined because i felt sick.  though as i look back, i am not sure now if it was for real or just imagined.  that was not the first time.  i have already excused myself on similar occasions many times before.  though at first, i thought i was able to get away with it.  but as i start to run out of excuses, i also began to question my motives.  maybe i’ve already pushed myself way deep into the abyss of extreme fear.  but what am i really scared of?

there were chapters in my life  when interactions with other people caused me so much pain.  intimate or otherwise, intentional or not, the memory would come and go, and would still hurt me as much.  subconsciously, as an instinct to defend myself from the probability of its recurrence, i built an invisible wall around me.  this wall provides a sense of security to know that nobody can no longer come in and hurt me again, unless i allow it.  so that if it happens again, it will be my entire fault because I let my guard down and let them sneak into my protected sanctuary and inflict pain on me… again. OUCH!

 sometimes it feels unfair to decline any invitation of friendship from new acquaintances, because that was when the hurting usually starts.  it is like cancer that slowly and silently ravages one single organ, and if it is no longer satisfied, moves to another, then another, until it spreads out to the whole system.  at that stage, no medications are effective enough to cure it.  and sadly, painkillers are just a moment’s comfort because they can no longer stop the pain entirely.  and that is worse than the disease itself.

 the wall that I built around me is selective.  my naive and vulnerable nature turns it into a sponge that absorbs any makahiyadisplay of kindness and gentleness.  and in an instant, it can turn into a “makahiya” which folds inward when touched or shaken.  it is an acquired instinct to over-protect myself now.  not only from predators lurking in the darker avenues, but warily from unfamiliar creatures which  disguise otherwise.

 call it instinct.  but sometimes it already seems like i’m just being paranoid.  and i really feel guilty after those excuses, because i know deep inside it is not fair.  especially to all who genuinely cares about me.  therefore i commit a grave injustice far greater than those who have hurt me.  not only am i depriving myself the warmth of human bonding, i also prevent others to get to know and understand me better.  instead, like a turtle who hides its head in its shell, i retreat into the innermost recesses of my solitude, because it is there that i feel safest.  or so i thought.

but truly, only God breaks down walls and opens new doors for natural order of things to find its course.  praise God for the power of His word.  for by His grace He made me realize that the madness that comes from without can do me no worse, than what i can do to myself.  and since i have no control of what’s to come,  i’ll be forever comforted by the reality that He will always protect me.

gods_embrace

harsh realities of life.  even our Lord Jesus Christ, in all His power and glory, was not spared because He loves us so much.  pain and suffering are part of what makes us better persons.  and they don’t even come close to what our Lord was made to endure.  He offered his life totally and unconditionally, and we partake in His suffering by enduring our own.  and maybe too, if i offered my own, by sharing my self to others regardless of any suffering that it might bring,  His suffering would not have been in vain. 

i just pray that one day soon, in the name of Christ Jesus, i would be able to put into action what the Lord had just made me realize.  and my invisible wall would finally disappear, together with the foundation of pain from which it was built upon.