Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.
~ John 20:18
Easter morning, Lani and Macky took us out for brunch at some fancy breakfast place in Makati. When our orders were brought out, they really looked fancy and very appetizing. Just looking at the presentation of the food, I could tell the prices were going to be fancy as well. I ordered spicy tuyo, usually the poor man’s fare, and it cost more than half of the minimum daily wage.
I remember growing up, there was this really fancy place in Angeles called Spic N’ Span. In my whole life I was never able to step in it. Not even once. Not even for a look see. We were not exactly poor. But our finances were limited and I realized early on that poverty or lack of resources shut certain doors for me. Eating at fancy places is one. Shopping is another. Ima did her shopping in the big city either at Divisoria or Avenida and never at the Escolta. In school, there were extracurricular activities I couldn’t join (but would have loved to) because we didn’t have the money. We were never in want in our basic needs but I was aware there were certain doors I could not enter because of our lack of wherewithal.
In spite of that, as I grew up; I slowly realized how doors kept on opening up for me – at the right moments and in the right places. Because of my simple beginnings, I defined my happiness in very simple terms: a beautiful and loving wife, two smart kids, inspiring books to read, delicious food to enjoy and uplifting music to listen to. By God’s grace, I had these and more. Anabelle had been my angel on earth. I was given not two but three talented and accomplished sons. And now the grandchildren are coming, all well beyond my fondest dreams. Beyond the books, the music and the food, I now also enjoy hiking and traveling, going to live concerts, traveling to fancy places and enjoying very fancy dining.
God has been opening doors for me all my life. And I realize I am living an Easter kind of life for Easter is all about opening doors. And it is not all about the material comforts. Doors have opened for me as well for deep and inspiring relationships with friends and family. I have gone through many doors that have enabled me to serve others and make a difference in their lives. In my own way, I have opened doors for others to come to a better and fuller life.
And even now, as I advance in age, there is the undying affirmation deep inside me that the best is yet to come. I also realize that at this stage, I have probably gone though my greatest victories and biggest accomplishments. What is left are most probably just the smaller ones like the weak tremblings of an earthquake’s aftershocks. Still, I look forward to going through them all. There is still that one embrace to give, one more rollicking laughter to enjoy, one more fine meal to relish and share with friends, one more trip to make with Anabelle, one more celebration to organize and pull through.
That is why these days, when I give friends and family a hug, I do it a little bit tighter just in case it would be our last. When I kiss someone, I do it with more tenderness just in case it would be our last. Every meal I share with loved ones is one I would truly relish just in case it would not happen again. And each goodbye is like the opening of a door that will bring the love and friendship we share into the light of Easter and the Resurrection.