A few days after my Dad arrived in the US for a short vacation, I lingered on the thought of going as well – not for a vacation but for two reasons: 1) spending time with my Dad and family, and 2) stepping out of my comfort zone again.
Before the flight which we only booked four days before the scheduled departure from the Philippines, I felt so anxious, because I did not want to leave home.
I told my Mom, “I love you, so I should stay.”
But she assured me that just because I will leave for a short while does not mean I did not love her.
Going out of my comfort zone, taking on another international trip by myself for a second time, talking with other people, practicing speaking in English, and standing on my own two feet on this once-in-a-blue-moon chance from God – these are all for love for her and my Dad and the Lord.
Ever since I’ve been working at home since January 2017, I rarely get to do what I used to do when I was still working: reports, submissions, presentations, pitches, and weekly team meetings.
I was worried that I did not know how to converse with others anymore, let alone be street smart, because there was no need to be street smart anymore for I was home.
Likewise, I was afraid that I did not know how to travel by myself anymore, as compared to a few trips I had on our last visit in the US on May 2015. If you knew shy anxious me, you’d know it would take a lot of self-encouragement, prayers, and moments of saying ‘Yes, I’m going,’ and ‘No, I’ll just stay.’
But finally on a Saturday, I decided I will be going again on a flight over the Pacific.
A day or so before the flight, I was asking for the safety of my family.
I realized that I still did not trust God enough with that.
Studying and working far from family for the past seven years in Metro Manila gave me that kind of trepidation and worry regarding the safety of my Mom and Dad. They assure me always though that I should be worried more about myself. I don’t know, but I always worry about something bad happening to them or me.
I was so anxious to the point that I had this conversation going on in my mind with God:
I worry too much, Lord. Way too much.
You’re looking at it negatively.
What do You mean?
I know what goes on in your heart and mind. Better than you do.
I’m not worrying right now?
The right word is that you care too much. But I don’t see any problem caring too much.
I guess so.
You also love too much. It is a pure love though, a pure love for your family. I don’t see any problem with that. What you have in excess, we can give to someone. What you may have in lack, I will fill.
I still feel like I’m worrying. Does this mean I don’t trust You enough with my family and myself?
Trust Me. I am their Father, the same that I am your Father. I am always with you, your family, everyone you care about, and everyone I care about. You do not trust yourself with the trust you’re trying to give Me.
I know you trust Me. Trust yourself too.
In that request, I felt God answer me with something that truly gave me comfort and assurance.
Wherever my family will be, wherever I will find myself in, wherever we all are right now or will be, He will be with us.
Not watching over us, not keeping an eye on us.
But with us.
This affirmation came from these two verses I happened to chance upon days before my departure:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4
His truth of always in our presence (Immanuel, God with us) settled my remaining doubts. I told Him finally that I surrender the safety of my family to Him. My Mom and Dad are His children as well, and He will never leave His children alone.
Good family friends watched over us for the trip, kind friends over Tumblr and Instagram passing forward advices and courage, relatives prayed always for our safety, the 12-hour flight was smooth, and the Lord was and is faithful in all His promises.
I was reminded again of His presence during this time my Dad and I walked along Ferry Building in San Francisco, after we got to visit my Tito Pads, Tita Maritess, Ate Erline, Ate Girlie, and their lovely twins Lorenzo and Alora.
We walked quite a long while, navigating BART stations to Ferry Building and then back to it after we got to visit the streets of San Francisco.
My Father and I got off at South Hayward Station. We could have asked for a ride from my cousin who lived nearby, but we decided to work out by walking back home to my Tita’s house. It was a long walk, around 6 kilometers, we calculated when we got back.
We had a break by having ice cream at a Baskin-Robbins in a local food plaza we passed by. We sat by the window and while he had his macadamia nut ice cream cone and I had nutty coconut ice cream, I told my Dad that I was happy to be there in the shop with him.
It’s always a joy to make new memories with him, because we only see each other a few times in a year.
We needed that short break to recharge, because we’d been walking probably for almost an hour.
While we continued our long walk, this time now with a bottle of water to share between ourselves, I looked to my Dad and told him, “I’m happy I’m with you right now, Dad, even if we’re very tired.”
We were really tired, but I know that there is no other way I would have spent that afternoon besides walking a long distance with my Dad towards home.
On the last leg and final 30 minutes or so of our 2-hour walk, it was all uphill. The incline at the entrance was maybe 15%, but eventually, the ground would be flat or have a low inclination percentage after that.
We took of our heavy thick jackets, because it was a bit warm after that long stretch from the BART station. We looked back to the view behind us, and it gave us a relief and an encouragement that we were able to conquer that journey together.
Together with my Dad.
And then, that’s when it hit me.
God’s presence in everything.
We saw a cross on the hill with the road between us.
It was like this reminder that while we walked so far and we were tired, while the hill seemed like Calvary but paled in comparison to Jesus’ walk with a cross bearing its weight on Him, while I walked with my Dad, God was there.
Our Father was there.
I was walking with two Fathers.
And I know that He is walking with my Mom, our families, you, and everybody else.
He speaks to us in ways we can only uniquely understand, in places we only know, and in thoughts that He can only visit.
Even if you’re walking by yourself or you’re walking with someone you love, there is nothing to fear, nothing to worry about, for love is present, love is ever walking beside you.