You abandoned us when I was 8 years old. You walked out that door and you never looked back. You sent no letters nor did you call to check on us. There was no financial support. There was just silence on the other end. I was way too young to understand then. All I knew, you were gone and I had to grow up fast. Mom reared us the best she could. We were shielded with the love and support of our grandparents. They were the best second parents I could ever have.
I had a glimpse of you. The first one was when Lolo passed away. I had a short 1- hour encounter with you. I made a handmade card with the words “I miss you”. I asked where have you been? Why have you not called? You just answered with smiles and hugs. When I was 18, my cousin planned that his wedding would be the next surprise encounter. I was still excited to meet you. I remembered dressing my best and I was prepared to give you my calling card. I was a working student in college. I heard so much about your business endeavors and the success you have managed to accomplish. I wanted to have lunch with you if you would allow me a little of your time. I wanted to get to know you more, to ask for guidance and wisdom for I was a young adult. But in your surprise to see me, I guess, you were caught off guard. You made small talks but I knew you really did not know what to say. I could hear the nervousness in your voice and even if I made the effort to ask you out, you wiggled your way out with excuses. I must admit I felt rejected and hurt that day.
Lost. I was a lost and wandering child. I learned to fend for myself early and along the way made very big mistakes. I showed everyone that I was a strong woman but truly very scarred inside. In my heart, even if I never said anything – I was longing for the love of a father. In my search, I may have not found my earthly father but it surely brought me to my heavenly Father. I surrendered my life to the Lord and discovered my true identity. I am the daughter of the King. In Him, I am loved and I am complete. I believe the Lord also wanted me to be completely whole and free.
Then the unimaginable happened. My phone rang and I heard a voice say this
“Hi is this Monique? … This is your dad.”
Could this be real? In disbelief, I asked more stupid questions: “How did you get my number? How can I help you? Are you sure you’re calling the right number? “
As we engaged in the conversation, you invite me to meet you in the most awkward place: Makati City Jail. Meeting you for the first time after a long time was overwhelming. You broke the news of your unfortunate fate of how your business is now bringing you to a serious criminal state. As you kept talking, in my heart – I knew this was God’s divine appointment. You were always running away from disappointments, responsibilities, from pain and from everything. Now you have nowhere to run. Now that everything was taken away from you, you would remember that you once left a family.
I must admit visiting you in jail was a struggle. I realized you were almost like a stranger to me. After not knowing you for 18 years, you were like a big, hard chunk to swallow. I discovered you lived a life apart from God. In my first year of visit, all you talked about was your wealth, success and power. But as the years progressed and your case turned for the worst – you started to step back, slow down and rethink your ways. You are now finally ready to humble yourself. We went out of our way to support you financially. Many argued we should never have done this because ironically you never gave us support growing up. But it was our desire with my siblings to share with you the peace we found in Jesus.
On the other hand God wanted to work in me. The Lord showed that my heart was stone hard. I had no empathy for what you were going through. I tried so hard to be understanding but I felt nothing for you. I poured out my frustration of not loving you to God. I remembered one visit where you tried to “father” me by giving me advice. That day, you pressed the wrong button when you questioned certain decisions I made in my life. I remember crying out loud “where were you when I needed you? Why are you pointing out my mistakes and giving me a fathers lecture, now that I am an adult?” Bitter tears fell from my eyes but as you were sincerely asking for forgiveness, my heart slowly became tender. This was the start of my healing.
It has been 12 years since God made our paths crossed. I want you to know that I thank God that you came back into my life. You were an unexpected interruption that helped me become more Christ-like. God has taught me so much about GRACE and Forgiveness through you. I want you to know that I am compelled to give and love not because I’m required to or because I am your daughter. I do all this because I have experienced the grace and love of Jesus. I am a better person and a more compassionate woman because you decided to reconnect with me. I have also learned to eat my pride every time you ask me to do things out of my comfort zone. I have learned to be patient even when times you have the habit of nagging me for your concerns. But most of all, I have learned to pray for you in your various trials. God has been faithfully protecting you inside prison from harm. Though you are fighting for your health as your kidneys fail and diabetes kicks in, God has been providing you the right doctors, sponsors to help you with your dialysis and medicines. Just like the prodigal son who lost everything and decides to come home and be a servant, his father instead lavishes him with love and reinstates him as his son. I want you to know that I could have chosen to make you a complete stranger in my life, but now that you have run back, I have chosen to honor you as my dad.
“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”-I Peter 4:8