Turning 41

October 22, 2008

This is it.  I am deeply entrenched now into this mid-life.

I have fully entered the zone where the mid-life crisis would come.  I think it has started already years ago – until a former psychiatrist colleague told me that there is already what is called a quarter-life crisis.

I am 41 and I look at my life and I could name many deceased people I knew.  I could tell stories upon stories  and tell them with such freshness as if they just happened yesterday!

So many memories to look back on now, and yet, still so much of eternity to look forward to.

What a journey. As I started a personal new year with the Lord, I could not help but think that God has really given us such an awesome gift called life.  And this life is not supposed to be lived on empty.  Rather our lives are to be enriched by the relationships we have with people around us.

What a journey! I finally got my FIRST BIRTHDAY CAKE AT 41!  What a blessing!  Wifey baked me a caramel fondant cake without taking any baking /cake- making classes!

My life has been unalterably enriched by the precious life-gifts of so many people.

Thank you Lovey for being the best wifey in the whole world. You are God’s most wonderful blessing that is way beyond what I expected or imagined.

Thank you for the young people who allowed me to pour out my life on them.  LM and Jocer, what a thrill when I hear you guys call me Dad.

Thank you for the wonderful friends who never fail to show me God’s grace and love.

Thank you for Kuya Eugene for reflecting God’s faithfulness and brotherly love.

Thank you Church for challenging me to grow. For the opportunity to serve. For the memories in those years of service and many more years to come.

What a wonderful journey this has been.  With all the ups and downs, the tears(!) and the belly-laughters.

Thank you Jesus for allowing me to discover what a beautiful life my life has become – ONLY because of YOUR sustaining grace.

Thank you for not letting me go.

Thank you Jesus for knowing the plans for my life.

Thank you for not giving up on me.

Thank you for taking care of me.

Thank you for being there for me even when I questioned your presence and care in my life at times.

Thank you for your daily provision.

Thank you for your encouragement.

Thank you for your great love.

I am a year older. A year closer to being with you, my Lord.

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I was coming down the stairs from the second level of the University theater when I heard my name being called. The worship service had just ended. I sang “Via Dolorosa” before the sermon was given that morning. I was trying to exit the building quickly to meet with some friends when I saw an elderly man rushing to meet me. He was all smiles and his arms were already wide open.

I reached the bottom of the stairs where he met me and gave me a very tight hug. I felt my body tensed up a bit because of how tight he was hugging me. Pretty soon, it gave way to feelings of embarrassment because an elderly man was bear hugging me in public. Throughout that hug (which seemed a very long, long time) he kept on saying “thank you for the song… thank you for the song…’

After what seemed like a hug that would last for eternity, he let go of me and shook my hand while the other hand patted my shoulder. I felt the love he was trying to communicate. He was really moved by the message of the song.

This happened in 1995. Thirteen years ago, and I still remember it so vividly, that if I close my eyes and think about it, I could still hear the auditorium noise of people chatting about after the worship service. And I don’t even have to think hard enough for me to feel that hug he gave me.

The elderly man was someone I had seen as I grew up in the church. Not long after that, he contracted a serious illness and later on, this wonderful man who showered me with so much love that unforgettable day, passed on to be with the Lord.

I remembered him as soon as I woke up on Father’s Day. Driving to Church, memories of that single event flooded my mind. It was amazing how my mind soaked up all the nuances of that experience and embedded in my memory, and now 13 years later, on Father’s Day, those memories were emptying into the deep crevasses of my heart, filling me with warm and tender memories.

Thank you Mr. Joseph Boone for unashamedly showering me with your appreciation after that worship service. I never did get to tell you how much that hug meant. It was the first time that I was paternally and lovingly hugged as a son. It was a simple gesture that lasted less than a minute, but here I am now, 13 years later, reminiscing how it felt.

It was an eternal instant. Thank you. I pray that I will also be able to do just that to a young person who may be needing to experience the hug of a father. Someday when I get to heaven and see you, I would be expecting another bear hug from you.