Saturday, June 18, 2011
Majority of the nations in the world are celebrating Father's Day remembering the goodness of a dad and his role for his family.
On the other hand, I wonder if how many think of the many children who never really experienced the presence, the love and care of a father. It is a sad and painful celebration for them while the intention was to have a happy honoring of fathers once every year on June.
There are two types indeed of a father, the good and the bad. Good fathers are those who reflect the character of Father God in Heaven. He plans, loves without restraint, takes care of His family, disciplines, a provider and protector! The bad are those who abandoned, abused, inflict punishments, don't provide and never protect. My heart goes for them. I am thankful to have my own good father. He was born on February 15, 1906 until July 9, 1988. And here's his story.
His father (my grandfather) was orphaned at age 13. He told a story to my father before he died that his uncle, after the burial of his parents treated them very harshly like slaves. They belonged to a middle class family and as far as he could recall they were left with large acres of land. My grandfather and his sister could not bear the ordeal of the hard labor day in and day out. They left, ran away from home and carried only very few clothes and little amount of money what teenager the best they could think of is to flee. They came to a mountain area, the 10th town next to their hometown where nobody from relatives can find. There, they decided to live with an old lady who showed favor, gave them place in her own hut. They lived together and she was like real mother to them, teaching them the way to work and character building. My grandfather's sister died after 2 months living on mountain. She was only 10 years old. The old lady died when he was 27 and left him a small land to till as a farmer and a carabao, a native water buffalo. He married my grandmother who gave birth to my father as the eldest of 6 children.
My grandmother died when my father was 8 years old. He was in first grade in a mountain. They were hiking 10 kilometers to get to school, 20 in all everyday. When his mother died, he was not able to finish grade 1. Five years later his father (my grandfather) died as well, leaving to my father 5 siblings aged 11, 9, 7, 6, and 5 years old, never ever able to see again where he came from, his own father's legacy and his uncle. Before the first death anniversary of his father, 2 of my father's youngest sisters died of malaria. My father, a responsible 13 year old boy tried all he can to raise his living younger sisters and brother. He would often scraped coconut, took the coco milk and ate the rest for their meals. Their hardship as children were very hard to describe. Every time I recounted, tears just freely welled down my eyes.
He promised them they will get education while he tilled their tiny farm. True indeed they finished elementary education. My father never married until his sister and brother were happily settled with their own family. Their youngest sister remained single and stayed with us until her death at age 86. She got nervous breakdown upon the death of their parents that she never recovered. She was always dependent to my father although she was very kind and was like our second mother. My father married at the age of 37 to my beautiful mother who was 25 at wedding day. They were married during the II World War. The following year God blessed them with a son. My parents were hiding him under the trunk of a big pilinut tree when warplanes and enemies would get near their abode. Before the war ended, they had 3 children. My father would make oil from coconuts to feed his family. He would carry the oil on 2 big cans, put bamboo to carry on his shoulders and walk 40 kilometers to the highway and sell the oil. He fed his family from hard and honest work. I was 29 years old when God took him to glory in his ripe old age. He was blessed to hold and see my eldest child and other grandchildren. He was so thankful to God for answering his prayers. He was beaming with joy for all his dear children with our own respective family and home.
I am the 7th of the 8 children of my parents. As I recall a handsome "mestizo" man in white hair since I have memory of my own,he was 52 years old when I was born. I saw a reliable, strong and responsible father. He worked so hard planting every variety of crops, sent us all until college. His passion was for us, his family and education. When I graduated in college my father was already blind and old from several strokes he succumbed and survived. Even then even if he could not see, he knew whose voice each of us has. He was so gentle to us and talked anything under the sun assuring us that he was well and in control. My father was always a man of character. He loved my mother so much. He sent us all to school through loans with a Chinese businessman. He borrowed money in advance before the copra can be delivered. While many farmers opted to find other businessmen to sell their coconuts for higher price in hiding, my father remained loyal to that one Chinese who loaned to him money for our education. He would told us without complaint that the price of his copra was like 50% lower than the prevailing price because of his outstanding loans. He never left any unpaid loan to a single centavo by delivering his copra until all was paid up. That took him years and years of payment and of hard work under the sun. All our neighbors with family, relationships or any kind of problems would seek counsel from my father. Remember, he did not even finish the first grade. It is true that in character and difficult experiences comes wisdom. And father was a firm believer of God. His faith was founded on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures.
My own father was so well respected the whole of his lifetime. He never regretted his lot of being so poor materially but rose above that. He inspired us with stories of heroes and Bible characters during our childhood. Every night he told us stories after stories from the characters of the Old and New Testament not counting his weary body. My eldest brother and older sisters were all cum laude when they finished their degree. My youngest brother was top 3 during his national board exam in electrical engineering. My father was so proud of me and defended me from many critics who looked down upon it when I chose to fully serve God as my calling. He was our great fan who believed in what we dream of. He trusted us, believed in our God-given abilities and felt our troubles. Today, I remember my dad, we fondly called him, Papay!
When he was with us, I had not much expressed how grateful I was to him. Now that I have full understanding, I don't have him, yet, his way of life and example molded and influenced my life from its core. I thank God forever for giving me my father. I am so blessed! (Mentioning my father's younger sister and brother, they helped us happily and willingly in our studies. They were our good aunt and uncle who died also ahead of my father all in old age).
Ephesians 6:1 "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."