I’ve got a list of self-formulated difficult questions that I used to answer. Browsing it over, my attention was stuck in number 23 which asks “What was the most hurting moment of your life?” My answer was “When I can’t do anything but pray when my father experienced mild stroke.” I was so helpless then (late last year) thinking about the condition of my father. He informed me of his condition when he was already in the hospital, badly recuperating and no one close to his heart was watching over him. He is an OFW.
I was the first one to have known his condition. My father thought I was strong enough. He instructed me to just inform my mother and sister about what happened to him. He bet they’d be too emotional and worried, so he let me do the job of heralding the tragic message. But without him knowing, I was already worried and crying and praying that the Lord would just heal him, comfort him, and restore his health. And of course, my mother and sister were apprehensive knowing the message later from me. But we were in one accord praying for our hero miles away.
Every time there is an issue or topic about father, there is always an emotional punch in my heart. I grew up without my father’s guidance beside me, beside the three of us his children. I only knew we have a father who supports us financially, calls us at least twice a month, and welcomes us with great gifts during his vacation. That was the trend for almost two decades, him working in grand distance for all of us. He’s a very great provider. That’s why I so love my father for his sacrifice and love, but I feel at fault for some reason that he was been deprived of personal intimacy from his own family members.
That’s why during his last vacation, I asked him what does he really want to see from his children for him to retire and just stay at home?
“I just want you to be successful and living well-off,” my father said.
I just remained silent for his answer. I wanted to say it’s not all about success and wealth, but I kept my mouth shut. I understood what my father meant, really, and I didn’t need to lecture him about self-less living, about purpose and truth-driven life lest I would appear proudly omniscient which I am not.
But I just want to let him know and feel that he has done so much for us. So we, my sister and I in particular, want him to retire from working abroad. But the father’s heart seems so eager and willing to continue until he sees his “other” children become successful and living a good life. And so for the nth time, he left us again to fulfill his desire for us.
From among his children, I am the only one left without a family of my own. And therefore, no one is calling me a father, yet. My father and I have different mindsets. I could not agree with him all the time. But with his persistence of working and showing his love, he is like telling me that fatherhood comes in different facets, and I can only understand him when I become a father myself. †