What I love most about the Filipino culture is that we are grounded on God and grounded on family.
I wonder what I would feel when my Mom and I could come to the yearly reunion in the US. Everybody’s there, while we’re here. All of my cousins, they get to see each other given any circumstances; they get to make new memories day by day. The only memories I have are the ones when we were all so young. I’m not so close to them anymore, so I’m really far behind.
Watching a video from their reunion last October 30, I can’t help but shed a few tears. This always happens. I sometimes wonder what it would be like if they came here all to visit. That’d probably be one of the best days for my Mom and I… (Written November 1, 2012)
That was quite an emotional entry for me four years ago. Going back to right now, today, I would like to comfort my 20-year-old self and the ages that I have been, for in December 18, 2014, my Mom and I were able to visit our family in the States.
It was my Mom’s second time, and it was my first. A few months after, my Dad was also able to go as well for the first time to the States to his family but on a bittersweet season.
Tatay, my Grandpa, passed away last May 2015. My Dad was able to see his 4 sisters again, 2 of them he hasn’t seen for 29 years.
Yes, it was a bittersweet reunion…
My cousin Kuya John C once said that he hoped we as a family would all get together not just on occasions like weddings or funerals…
If only we had the luxury to visit several times or stay longer, we would.
Ever since I can remember, to be with family has been one of my dreams as a child. I recalled crying before that we may not able to see them again anymore.
But God answered this long uttered prayer for me and for my Mom and Dad.
To be honest, I find it difficult to write about things that matter most to me.
Like a life’s purpose.
Like people I intimately know and love.
I have many thoughts about them, but it’s always difficult to try and put everything I think and feel on paper.
The Disney movie Meet the Robinsons made me cry. Any movie about family makes me cry.
In this time where we are most pre-occupied with business, work, the Internet, and social media…
In this time when we forget whom we are working hard for…
Community, togetherness, and family take a backseat.
But we can always change that.
When we obey immediately when our parents ask us kindly to do something for them…
When a relative visits and we bring out our most hospitable values for them…
When we may have wronged someone, we sincerely ask for their forgiveness.
When there are disagreements, we put them aside and agree that our friendship or family – love – should matter more.
When someone wants to take a silly picture of you,
you cooperate. (Or you can just smile.) 🙂
When it’s time to share meals at the dinner table, phones are silenced and laughter is magnified. Stories are listened to. The passing of plates is like an acknowledgement from one family member or friend to another saying, “I see you. Here’s what you need.” People feel they are loved. People know they are loved.
Presence and attention – two important things we can show our love to one another.
Presence, of course, can be from a distance or much better, in closeness.
If there’s one thing I’m thankful for, however, that my Mom, Dad, and I are far from our immediate families most of the time is the lesson that love knows no distance.
Even if you’re far like other-half-of-the-world far or 15-hour-time-difference far, love is still felt and passed along.
Our families, we had this gap stretched by time and physical distance, but through God, the gaps were closed, and for the past years since 2014, more new memories are being made together.
We’re making up for lost time, said my cousin Kuya Obi. But months after, he said we’re making new memories now.
We were made to be relational. We were made to be with people.
The same way that our Creator is in the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Maybe it’s not just in the Filipino culture.
Family, community, friends – these are found deeply more within the divine details in life.