The Beauty of Relationships. . .

April 15, 2008

The meeting ended at 11PM. I guess I was trying my best to “make up” for the many months that I was not able to visit. My last church visit was Dec 2006, and now it is April 2008. 2006 and 2008. It is easy to just say 2 years…. and so in our meetings, I would always refer to “it has been two years since my last visit…”

I got back in my lonely hotel room and turned on the TV. I was grateful that there was CNN and other regular cable channels like NatGeo and Discovery. Even though I was too tired, my mind was too alert to just sleep. After taking a hot shower, I looked at my cell phone to set the alarm. I was looking forward to sleeping more than 8 hours and just maximize my stay until my flight home at 5:45PM.

But my phone registered several sms from this young couple I married off several years ago. They wanted to make sure that I was up and about by 8AM so they could take me on a city tour. I almost said “I am really tired… but thanks…” but there was something about what they said…”we want to take you around because you have been coming here yet you still have not seen the familiar tourist attractions…”

That was really true. I go on travels – and conducts meetings from Fridays – Sundays. Usually I am back taking my flight home on Monday mornings. But this trip was somewhat different, the booking was so tight that the flight I got was at 5:45PM.

I was out of the hotel by 8:30AM and off we went. They knew that I needed coffee first so we went to the place where I could get good coffee in an instant. Dunkin Donuts. With that done, off we went to pick up 4 teachers who were also serving as Sport Officials for softball at the Palarong Pambansa (National Games)…

The first step was the crocodile farm. I even managed to get some pictures taken with a baby crocodile with its snout securely tied. 3 shots and it was getting to be uncomfortable for the me and the animal.

They took me to Mitra’s house overlooking Honda Bay. it was beautiful. I missed my wife as I looked at the overpowering horizons. The sea on one side and the mountains slightly covered by rain clouds on the other.

Then we were taken to a bee farm…. it was a very interesting place. I actually got more information. A drone (male bee) once it did its purpose (mate with the queen) dies because its genitals are cut off… hmmmm….

There were more places and this young couple just explained, pointed, told anecdotes all the way. Lunch was at a place called “Gulay Bar” a vegetarian resto where I ordered something that smelled Teriyaki tofu with mushrooms. I should post the pics tomorrow – but I just wanted to get these thoughts done.

It started to rain… the couple noticed how sleepy I was and asked “would you like coffee? we could hang out as we wait or kill time before we take you off to the airport…”

And that’s what we did. I ordered Kape Negro (black coffee) and just talked about life. Talked about our challenges in the church. Health concerns. They just listened. Oh, btw, the other night? we ate in this street stall and then bought fish which we fried and we ate again, this time at the house of the in-laws while I sipped his home-made honey wine. It actually tasted good. I rode the motorbike with him to my hotel at past 11 PM.

Anyways, this young couple then took me to the airport. And as I hugged them, it dawned on me that they as a couple, never miss taking me to the airport everytime I leave. It has always been them. They have always been the couple that I always hug because they were the ones who would take a leave from their work just to see me off. The husband picked me up at the airport.

The small church in the area used to be their home church. But they stopped attending there. In Dec 2006, I tried to patch the relationship -but I guess relationships cannot really be forced on anyone.

Sitting at the airport while waiting for my flight made me think more about what had transpired over the weekend. This couple really took care of me. They would send sms and asked me “how are you doing?” even if they knew I was conducting a meeting. They would ask “do you have any dinner plans?” because they wanted to make sure that my needs are taken care of.

Their brother, even wanted to invite me to attend a youth service where he choreographed a dance for the youth worship. I was so sorry I could not come because I also scheduled a meeting that night.

This young couple would introduce me as their older brother… and then would be quick to add “Our pastor… immediately followed with “He was the one who officiated at our wedding…”

They were really sensitive to my needs. The wife even noticed that I have not been drinking water and promptly asked “do you want us to buy bottled water? You have not been drinking the whole day..”

What was going on here? I asked myself. And two things came to mind.

ROLE BASED vs. RELATIONSHIP Based.

For this young couple, they did not look at me as someone with just a ROLE or a position in the denomination. Rather they looked at me, as someone whom they have gotten to know through the years. We would recall stories together. Inquire about the people they have not met for awhile… I was not an Area Superintendent to them…. rather, I was an older brother, a mentor, a friend… and it felt beautiful.

Many times, if we are not careful, the people in our lives are categorized according to their roles and their positions. Or like this blog, if people are not duly noted, they would be uncategorized, just one among the many. But when we are able to slowly invest our lives in the lives of others, we begin to share “tags, and categories”, memories, thoughts and even dreams….

How about you? Are you having a role-based relationships with the people around you? Or are your relationships based on “friendships?”

How about our relationship with God? Is is based on what He can do for us? Or is it based on who He is? Simply a loving Father? These were my thoughts as I boarded my AirPhil flight to Manila at 6PM…

Upon arriving the Manila airport, I got another sms “drive safely and tell us when you are already in the loving embrace of your wife!”

Role based relationships may make our lives more organized. But relationship-based living would definitely make our lives more meaningful.

View of Honda Bay at the back

Thank you Gully and Rachel. You guys make visiting Palawan worth it everytime. God bless you both.

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