Tuesday, Dec. 02. I attend my first Christmas party of 2014 at Pete’s Place near Manila Bay. Too early, true. Better than getting stuck in the monstrous and hellish traffic of Metro Manila. Best to make time for fellow travelers from the Parish Renewal Experience (PREX), Batch 6 of the Nuestra Senora de Guia Shrine, Ermita Parish Church.
Friendships and fellowships grow as we chat and eat together. God wants all of us to go home to His mansion of many, many rooms. So let’s break bread together the way Jesus did with His apostles.
Wednesday, Dec. 03. Eva, my friend and PREX Batchmate, is recovering from her second mastectomy. She isn’t quite mended yet, but has promised to attend the evening Holy Mass and Concert in honor of Nuestra Senora de Guia at the Ermita Parish Church. If she can muster the strength and will power to go, so can I.
The El Shaddai Choir’s soulful rendition of the exquisitely-arranged “Let It Be” by the Beatles makes the most impact on me. Let the sun rise, let the sun set. Let the rain fall, let the rainbow adorn the sky. Let the child be born, let the body go to the dust. Cancer? Radiation? Chemotherapy? Let it be. Keep the faith.
Friday, Dec. 05. Mama Felisa, my brother-in-law’s 82-year old mother, is rushed to a hospital. Bedridden for over a year, she’s being fed through the nose. Upon admission at San Juan de Dios Hospital in Pasay City, she is diagnosed as suffering from blood poisoning and pneumonia. Her kidneys are found to be down to only 30% efficiency. She is given a blood transfusion, massive doses of antibiotics, and other medicines.
Amazingly, she responds positively to the treatment! With every breath she takes, we know that Almighty God wants her to stay alive. Thy will be done!
Saturday – Tuesday, Dec. 06 – 09. Typhoon Ruby, billed as a potential destroyer like 2013’s Typhoon Yolanda, scares the entire Philippines and the whole world. Having gone through the horrors of Typhoon Yolanda, Filipinos in the path of Typhoon Ruby heed the weather forecasters’ warnings and scamper to safety. Everyone cooperates. Peoples from all over the world offer prayers for mercy from heaven.
Typhoon Ruby slams into Samar Province in the Visayas Region, cuts its way through Batangas in Southern Luzon, weakens with every landfall, then exits from the Philippines as a downgraded storm. It does leave some trail of destruction, but it is a tiny fraction compared with Typhoon Yolanda’ wrath and fury.
Collective prayers worldwide work. Working together pays. Huddling close to one another in crowded evacuation centers is humiliating and humbling – keeps body and soul together!
Wednesday, Dec. 10. It turns out to be a 21-hour day of many errands, excruciatingly painful rheumatic knees, apocalyptic traffic gridlock in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, and an unbelievable sea of tired, hungry, and angry people cursing the wind while waiting for a ride home!
What saves the unspeakable pain and anxiety of this mind-boggling day is a glimpse of an afterlife in heaven. Dusk falls and darkness quickly cocoons the lovely and cozy café in cool Tagaytay City designated as rendezvous for an after-school meeting about a literary event in January 2015.
Swiftly, the place is lit up with twinkling Christmas lights all around. Time-honored and comforting carols hum in the background as early diners come in.
I wait for a teacher-friend who’s in charge of the literary event. She’s late. She texts me that she’s lost. Doesn’t she know Tagaytay City like the back of her hand? I text back to her the precise directions to a roadside bakery which leads to the café below it.
I wait, certain that she’ll find the place.
She keeps going, certain that I’m waiting for her.
If a small café can be so cool and cozy, charming and comforting, homey and welcoming, accepting and nurturing, may not Heaven be infinitely more breathtakingly beautiful beyond words?
Does God wait for us, certain that we’ll find heaven?
Do we keep going, certain that God is waiting for us? (To be continued)