An Open Letter to Chichiwe: Year 2

Kære Daddy Deng,

Today”s Father’s Day here in Denmark, and in the Philippines, you’ll be celebrating it on the 3rd Sunday of June. So, I wanted to greet you a Happy, Happy Father’s Day. Hurrah! Hurrah! And a looooong… Hurraaaaah! Hihi. A lot of things happened after my last open letter to you and until this letter. Things changed, and most I believe, for the better. But, if there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s that I still think that you’re the best dad in the world. 🙂

I have a better relationship with God now… more intimate, more personal. Thank you for always reminding me to read my Bible and say my prayers. If I’m not mistaken, you’ve read the whole Bible twice. I could remember those afternoons I would see you sitting on a chair with your glasses on and reading the big Bible we have. And just saying, I am really fascinated with that Bible, with all the colorful photographs.Thank you for always reminding me to trust God in everything I do and to thank Him always. Of course you know I’m part of the worship team now at the Baptist Church. Do you remember I asked you, after reading the lifestory of St. Therese of Lisieux, what do you think about me entering the convent. You were somehow taken aback and you told me to focus on my bachelor first and we could discuss it after I graduate. Now, I have graduated and I got my degree, but I don’t think I’m going to enter a convent now and became a nun. I’ll do something else to serve God. I don’t think the convent or cloister is the place where God wants me to be. But, if you look back, a lot of people assumed that I would become a nun someday because I used to spend a lot of time in our church actively participating in almost all of the activities. Thanks for supporting me and allowing me to be an active member in our church. Do you remember there was a moment in our lives when it was just you and me who goes to church together? I guess that was the time that Mommy was still fuming mad and disappointed with me. But you, you were really just like the father of the prodigal son, you just showed me love and never said any resentful word towards me. And no, I don’t take that sad moments against mom, she has all the right to be angry and disappointed anyway. But, once again, thank you for your forgiveness. Just thinking about how things have been, I’d say, I see a trait of our Heavenly Father in you. Isn’t that wonderful? This makes me very excited to meet and greet our Heavenly Father.

I felt guilty that I am on my second open Father’s Day letter to you, but I didn’t do this with mom. But, later on I realized, it’s probably because whenever I call the two of you, it’s always mom who speaks a lot with me. I have most conversations with her. You, you would just be glad to hear my voice; ask how I’m doing; make a small talk; tell me to take care, don’t forget to go to church, and put God in everything I do; and then you’d tell me, here’s mom, she has a lot to tell you; and of course, you always say that you love me and I love you a lot, too. I think I got my listening skill from you and my talking abilities from Mommy. Hihi.

And after 48 years and a thousand moons, I fell in love again, still am. But, this time, I was able to tell you about it. Well, not all the details. But, at least, I was able to open this on my own; to tell you that I found someone. And I am very determined to let you know about it, that I finally found someone I could introduce to you and our family. I really hope that you could meet him someday.  You’ll enjoy his company. I believe that you guys would understand each other; that you could have amazing conversations together. And oh, I’m not sure if Achie Joy showed you his picture, but according to Joana, Carol and Flor, he looks a lot like you. Especially when he smiles and/or frown his forehead. Haha. Daddy Deng, you’re little girl is growing up na and turning into what I hope to be a fine lady. But, nah, I guess I’ll probably turn into a warrior princess. Hahaha! There’s so much about him that I could tell you but I’m gonna stop because there is the possibility that he would read this and keda pa grande disuyo cabeza kay all praises yo. Hehehe. Di ko naman balak na ipaalam sa kanya ano ang blog ko, gusto ko lang ipakita yung layout. Aba nung bumalik sa kinauupuan niya eh ni-scan agad-agad at keen observer nga yata talaga, nahanap niya agad yung pangalan ni Darwish at yung joke ko tungkol kay Hamed.Hoy, ikaw, pag nabasa mo ‘to, bakit yung pangalan ni Darwish di mo nakakalimutan, pero yung pangalan ng isla namin, isang century pa yata bago mo maalala? At eto pa, Deng, kinabukasan, bukas pa rin yung site ko sa computer niya. Kalurkey!!! And oh, just to make things clear Deng, he’s not my boyfriend, I just love him like he’s the one. Hihihi. Ayaw sa akin nung tao eh, anong magagawa natin diba? Di naman pwedeng pilitin diba? Sabi nga, ang hinog sa pilit, mapait. But, if you knew how things have been better and how happy I’ve been since I met him, you would be glad I did. So, fighting lang nuh maskin pa iyo lang el ta ama conele.

It’s quite sad though that I might not be able to go home for a vacation this December. Well, you know, I’m going to a Bible school and I have to pay my fees. So, the money intended for my trip, I’ll use to pay for my dues in school. But, we’ll see what God’s plan is. His plan is always better than my plan anyway. So, I’ll just trust in God’s plan and let Him lead me through it. Who knows, He just might bring you and mom here. Oh diba bongga? He’s really been doing amazing things in my life lately; making His presence felt. It’s just awesome!

So, stay safe and healthy, ne, Chichiwe… I still wanna see you and mom celebrate your golden wedding anniversary, and that would be in 3 years. When I get married, I want to celebrate my golden or diamond wedding anniversary, too. Do you know who I wanna get married to, Deng? Este kita ta habla, kailangan pa bang i-memorize yan? Sabe ya si quien Deng nuh? Hihihi. But, he always push me to some other guy, always telling me that I could fall in love another person. Pasaway! Well, okay, fine, whatever. But, yeah, if I’m gonna get married, I, in cooperation with my husband, will work out to make it lasts our lifetime and eternity. People would probably react with “Big words”. Kebz.

I miss you a lot, Deng. The last time I dreamt of you, I woke up and found myself in tears. I was crying in my dreams. I got worried but I know you’re fine. It turned out that Francoise, his goldfish, died. We really have to do Skype often. I have to talk to Achie about this. It would be nice if you could have internet connection at home, but, the way things are happening there in the isla, it’s not really worth it. So, I’ll figure this out with Achie.

There are more things I wanna tell you, but I believe it’s better if I just say it to you personally. I just wanna show the world how proud I am to be your daughter with this open letter. You are the best dad in the world and I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with your love and life. Thanks for letting this little girl become your world at some point in your life. Yo te amo mucho Daddy Deng. Besos y abrazos.

Med kærlig hilsen,
Vess 🙂

 

 

An Open Letter to Chichiwe

Dear Daddy Deng,

Yesterday was Father’s Day here in Denmark… and in the Philippines, it’s just around the corner. So, Happy Father’s day to you… the best dad in the world. You probably won’t read this because I haven’t told you I have a blog. But, I’m actually considering letting you in on this; this one’s for you anyway. I even thought of maybe reading it to you, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. I might cry my heart out again. Remember the time I gave a speech about the Second Word of Jesus’ Seven Last Words? After I wrote my speech, I needed an audience to hear it; to comment on it. I read it to you and I couldn’t help myself but cry. I couldn’t read your facial expression when you saw me crying but I know you knew that it was my way of officially saying sorry. You asked me if I would be okay when I give my speech; if I am sure I wanted to do it. With tears still streaming from my eyes, I laughingly answered you I would be okay, I can manage.

Thank you for your loving protection. Although you and Mommy tend to be overprotective of me. You actually were, I think. Whereas my classmates during high school could go out with friends and watch movies together (at a friend’s place), I couldn’t. When it isn’t school-related or weekend or birthday, I couldn’t go out. Though I could bring friends over anytime, which is a good thing (my close friends even call you and mommy, Daddy and Mommy, because they’re with us like everyday during weekdays. I can’t remember if everyone calls you Daddy Deng, too or it was only Andrew, Cherry, and Mheng). Bad thing is we don’t have a telly, we can’t watch series or movies when we want to. Hehehe.  You feared for my safety. I didn’t understand that before. I thought you folks were strict. Maybe you were. Haha.

Thank you for giving me everything I needed and sometimes the things I wanted. Thank you for spoiling me; thank you for not allowing me to be a brat. I am spoiled, but not a brat. I remember when I was in elementary I asked you to bring bamboo when you come home from working in the mountain village. I couldn’t remember now why I needed those bamboo, but that time it was important for me that you bring it. However, you forgot. So, trying to imitate what I saw on the telly (sabi na kasing nakakaimpluwensya ang media), I threw a fit. I stamped my foot, got mad at you and threw my clothes all over. But, being brought up as a good daughter and not a brat, I got guilty afterwards. I picked up the clothes I threw. I haven’t thrown any tantrum that way ever again. I had to clean up my mess afterwards. No thanks. Hehehe.

Thank you for the awesome talks during mealtimes. Our dinner is always fun. Thank you for letting me ask my questions, even the stupid ones. You always entertain my queries. Whereas Mommy gets annoyed when I ask too much, you were patient. Even when I learned the “never-ending-question-why”. Being a kid, I think I asked those questions just to piss you off.  You heard a lot of “porque?” from me. Our dinner together was never silent, we all love to talk. I remember we had a conversation about crushes because you read one of my slum books. Pakalat-kalat kasi sa bahay ang mga slum book ko. But, you got the luck to read a “safe” name. I think I wrote Rico Yan. He was an actor. Safe!!! Hahaha!

Then during my summer before 2nd year in college, you accompanied me to the ship I would embark bound for Cebu. When we were aboard the ship, you asked me if Darwish is courting me. I just laughed at your question (because it’s one of the 3 questions I laugh at when asked about me and Darwish). I said, no, he’s not. But, know what? I really wanted to tell you “How I wish that he is courting me.” Hahaha! You probably know then that I like Darwish… I’m not sure if you knew I loved him. I have been wondering, too, what you told him the last time he visited. I didn’t get to see him that time because I didn’t know he was coming and I was taking a bath. I just knew he came by because he sent me an SMS saying that he did and you also told me that the “police” dropped by. By the way, he’s a policeman now, but I’m so over him na. Woohoo! Di mo na po talaga siya mamanugangin. hahaha!

Oh, yeah, wanna know my crush now, Daddy Deng? With all the bad rep the Middle East have, you’d probably freak out if you find out I have a crush on an Iranian. Okay, maybe not; just alarmed… and he wants to come along when I go home there. There, you can freak out now. But, knowing you, you won’t. You don’t freak out; you’d just kill him with your corny jokes. Hihi.

Speaking of jokes, I always laugh, exasperatedly at times, at your banat because no matter how corny the jokes you tell, you say it in a funny way. Maybe that’s the reason why Jomar and the other kids always laugh when you tell them your jokes. And I find it funny that Jomar calls you “NANG Jun” instead of “NONG Jun”. Hahaha! He turned you into a woman. I also remember you telling a joke to me and Mommy on a candlelit night (as usual brownout na isla). That was really epic. My belly ached from laughing. Thinking about it makes me miss our bonding session.

You’re turning 75 on December, I hope we could make it a very special one. So, stay healthy, ne Chichiwe? I know you’re not at your best health now, unlike ages ago, but still, keep safe and healthy. I still want you and Mommy to walk me down the aisle to the altar on my wedding day… if I get married someday. I won’t ask you to sing Bob Carlisle’s Butterfly Kisses, but I hope you would dedicate that song to me… I am sent from heaven to be your little girl. Hahaha! But, if you want to, you can sing that song for me Daddy Deng. And you know what, I may promise my love, my life to another man someday… but, you’ll always be my Number 1 love. I’ll always be your little girl. Figuratively and literally.

There’s another thing, I wonder why you and Mommy call each other Deng. Ayan tuloy, I grew up calling you Deng. I don’t even know your lovestory. Maybe I should ask you that the next time I call you two. I’m already 25 and I don’t know how you two met. My other friends, they know their parents’ lovestory while they were still kids. I definitely would ask you soon. 🙂

Thank you for allowing me to argue with you. I think it’s because of our arguments that I have this love-hate relationship with politics. You encouraged me to exercise my critical thinking skills. Thank you for encouraging me to be outspoken and to speak my mind reasonably. Between the two of us, I think it’s me who always gets heat up during our arguments. I think it’s because of this that when the need for debate appears, I could defend myself.

Thank you for sharing your passion for reading. I love reading. I am glad I do… all thanks to you. I remember you made me read a thick paperback when I was in Grade 3, I think. It’s not really a kid stuff, but you still encouraged me to enhance my reading and comprehension skills. I am just grateful that I have this love for reading because if I don’t, I won’t be able to enjoy the things I enjoy from reading.

Thank you for everything. Words are not enough to show you how much I appreciate you for being my father; not enough to show you how much I love you. But, I LOVE YOU. Te amo mucho Daddy Deng. Besos y abrazos. Cuidate pirmi.

Your little girl,

Vess 🙂

PS. It was your idea to spell my nickname that way. Thanks.

PPS. I might marry that Iranian. JOKE!!! Hahaha! 😛

medad

Let’s have more pictures taken when I come home. 🙂

Ten-Day Blog Challenge: Day Six

10Days

FIVE PEOPLE WHO MEAN A LOT (IN NO ORDER WHATSOEVER)

My family has always mean a lot to me. So, I’m not including them here to give space to others that I also cherish.

1. VALENTINAS. I consider this group as one person because I have to include all of them. They’re my family in Cebu.

2. Shameer. My BFF.

3. Mars Company. Just like Valentinas, I have to include them all. They’re my family here in Odense.

4. The Heides. My host family.

5. Hamed. Well…

The Second Word

*I posted this on Multiply last May 08, 2009. This was the reflection I gave when I was asked to be one of the speakers for the Seven Last Words on Good Friday 2009. Credit also goes to Mr. Mark D. Roberts. Trivia 1: When I practiced reading this and asked my dad to listen, I cried… this was somehow my way to say I’m sorry. My dad asked me if I will be able to read this in front of everyone and not breakdown. I answered, yes, I can manage, and I did. Trivia 2: I was the youngest among the speakers. Ako lang talaga ata ang bata. I was 21 when I became one of the speakers. My fellow speakers were in their 40s and up.*

 

“Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Na diaton mundo ahora manada umal balita. Double-dead meat sold in the market, Ebola virus, salmonella on certain food items, bombings, kidnappings, global financial crisis, global warming, unemployment, extrajudicial killings, graft and corruption, and war are just some of the bad news. It is depressing. Frustrating. Heart-breaking. Minsan mas gugustuhin na lang natin ang wag makialam; ang hindi manood o makinig ng balita upang hindi panghinaan ng loob at masaktan o kaya ay magalit dahil sa nangyayari sa bansa at sa mundo. Dol escuridad el ta gana ahora. Manada kita ta experiencia sufriemiento y dolor. Tiene vez siguro ta sinti kita dol nuay mas esperanza. Yet there is goodness. There is hope. There is a cure for sin. A cure that does not promise magical solutions but promises that the pain of sin is not the end, that when all this is over, when the suffering is finished that the final word is not torture and defeat but life — life springing out of the ashes, life transformed and fulfilled in Paradise. To the compassionate thief; to the one who could still recognize the good in the world; to the one who tried to comfort and protect that good; to the one who sought good — Comfort was given “Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Cuando clavao si Hesus na cruz, ya gangya con Ele el maga lideres y maga soldao. El uno del maga criminal crucificao hunto con Ele ya desprecia y ya insulta tamen con Ele. But the other crucified criminal sensed that Jesus was being treated unjustly. After speaking up for Jesus, he cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk.23:42).

Jesus responded to this criminal, “Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk.23:43). The word paradise, from the Greek word paradeisos, which meant “garden,” was used in the Greek Old Testament as a word for the Garden of Eden. In Judaism of the time of Jesus it was associated with heaven, and also with the future when God would restore all things to the perfection of the Garden. Paradise was sometimes thought to be the place where righteous people went after death. This seems to be the way Jesus uses paradise in this passage.

Thus we have encountered one of the most astounding and encouraging verses in all of Scripture. Jesus promised that the criminal would be with him in paradise. Yet the text of Luke gives us no reason to believe this man had been a follower of Jesus or even a believer in him in any well-developed sense. He might have felt sorry for his sins, but he did not obviously repent. Rather, the criminal’s cry to be remembered seems more like a desperate, last-gasp effort.

With this passage we know that Our God is a God of mercy and love. His mercy exceeds anything we might imagine. Un ehemplo del misericordia del Señor ya dale canaton mira si Hesucristo por medio del parabula del prodigal son. The son said to him (his father), “Father, I have sinned against God and against you, I no longer deserve to be called your son” (Lk.15:21) Did his father turn his back on his son? Pinagalitan ba niya ang pasaway nyang anak? NO. Rather, when the father caught sight of him, he ran out to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him (Lk.15:20). The father said to his servants: “Quick! Bring out the finest robe and put it on him, put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. Take the fatted calf and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life. He was lost and is found. (Lk.15:22-24)

Tiene tamen un estudyante. An A-student. Ya estudya le embuenamente desde elementary asta college. Honor student le asta high school. Involved na extra-curricular activities asta college. It so happened na cuando 3rd year college ele ya tene aberiya. Nuay ele entra escuela sin permiso del disuyu maga mayores. Nuay ele entra escuela hinde por causa kay yan loko ele na “lovelife”; hinde por causa na bisyo. Sino por causa kay ya perde disuyu gana y ya sinti ele na hinde disuyu “calling” el disuyu curso. Yes, it may be the case, nuay man loko na “lovelife” o na bisyo, but still it was wrong. Mali el cosa le ya hace. Ta accepta le disuyu mali and she was sorry for it. Ya pidi le perdon. However, not everybody understood. Poco lang el ya entede conele. Aquellos lang quien ya experiencia igual suceso. Most of them did not and others would not. They only thought of the wasted money, time, energy and effort. Ta entende le. Tiene sila punto. Pero, el ta necesita le que ay entende conele, kay ele tamen ta sufri. Hinde ele el mal bata. Triste y dolorido le kay sabe ele na yan disappoint le disuyu mayores and they were hurt, too.

But, God is good. He is gracious. Ya dale El Dios conele open-minded parents; understanding parents. Igual na tata na parabula del prodigal son, ya recibi otra vez conele el disuyu maga mayores.

Though our situation is so different from the criminal who cried out to Jesus, we are nevertheless quite like him. Aren’t we blessed to have such a faithful, loving and merciful God?

Though we should make every effort to have right theology, and though we should live our lives each day as disciples of Jesus, in the end, our relationship with him comes down to simple trust. “Jesus, remember me,” we cry. And Jesus, embodying the mercy of God, says to us, “You will be with me in paradise.” We are welcome there not because we have right theology, and not because we are living rightly, but because God is merciful and we have put our trust in Jesus.

Before I end this I want to leave you with the following questions: Have you staked your life on Jesus? Have you put your ultimate trust in him? Alam mo ba na pag dumating na ang oras mo, makakasama mo Siya sa paraiso? Naniniwala ka ba? Ta cree ba tu na el Señor Jesucristo nunca ay olvida y abandona contigo basta llama tu Conele con todo corazon? Mosalig ba ta sa Ginoo nga walay bisan gamay nga pagduda?

Take time to pause and reflect. God bless us all.