Saturday, October 17

God answered two of my prayers three months ago - to join the cross culture and to visit my dad in the middle east.

Growing up, I have only dreamed and prayed of flying to visit my dad. I dreamed of feeling the desert heat, walking barefoot in the sand, and seeing camels. It was a crazy thought. At the back of my head, while praying for this, I was certain that this is impossible. We need to pay for tuition, for utilities, for daily need, and for other things here.

All of my life, I waited for papa to arrive at the airport. We get to be with him for 60 days, every other year. The family waits until midnight, immersed within a sea of strangers waiting for their loved ones. We wait until we see a familiar face, until we see a cheeky man wave at us. It was a comforting moment to be reunited, to feel safe with his presence. 

It was surreal to be in his shoes. Traveling long haul is exhausting, but it does not compare with the thought of being reunited with a loved one. As I walk out of the arrival hall, I saw a familiar face within the sea of strangers. Papa waved, smiling. It was a sigh of relief, to have landed safe and to hear his voice in person. And even if I flew over for cross culture, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to spend days with him during my short stay.

That moment, even after three months, remains vivid in my memory. I used to hate those who write articles about the downside of working overseas, simply because they don't consider how hard it is for the families 'left-behind'. But after experiencing both, leaving for a short while, I realized that each side has their own ups and downs. Ikaw man ang umalis o ikaw ang naiwan, it comes with different sets of hardships that are incomparable with one another. 

On the night of my flight back to Manila, I felt the same heaviness that I have whenever my dad is set to leave for work again. It was the same sadness that covered me. This time, however, that sadness faded quickly. It was overpowered by the joy in my heart. It is the same joy that allows me to hope that one day, papa will repatriate. A joy that anticipates for mornings at home, waking up to his voice. Until that day, I constantly pray for his safety in the desert. Until that day, I will continue to answer God's call to serve my family. It is this experience, through God's grace, that I aspire to be a source of unity and strength in my family.