fun-663196_1280By Yay Padua-Olmedo

It has probably crossed your mind: What if my surname is “Gates” or “Zobel?” And what if because of that affiliation, I get a financial windfall, enough to satisfy my fantasies? Just because of that revered name!

Well, we can dream, can’t we?

Come to think of it, why wasn’t I born to a clan which would allow me to wallow in a whirlpool of endless luxuries?

Pastor Robert Hern (Victory San Diego) recently placed this thought in perspective: “God assigns us to a family.”  Indeed!

I never asked to be my parents’ daughter; and they probably said seven is enough, until I came.

It seemed Nanay and Tatay endlessly toiled, to make sure we grew up into respectable human beings.

They bequeathed to us one of life’s most precious acquisitions–a college education.

“We need to have a place to call home,” Pastor Hern added.

Our family was a rowdy and noisy bunch for sure. Can you imagine ten heads (some kinky-haired) around the dining table, each kid wanting more of this and that, especially our favorite dessert saging na saba?

I remember my then seven- or eight-year-old brother Dan being chased through the entire town by our older sister Mita–her bakya (wooden slippers) ready for the hurl because he endlessly teased her for being rotund. “Nanay taba!

Can you imagine our parents seesawing between applying the leather belt, the hug, the instruction or the reward; and making sure they treated us all fairly? “No cursing!” “Do your duty!”

So I learned to dish-wash to perfection, applying Nanay’s science into it: start with the cleanest (drinking glasses); remove all the filth first; end with the dirtiest. Hygiene was paramount.

Our resources were meager, but our memories rich.

Happy, sad, funny, embarrassing, annoying, challenging. Whatever form they took neatly piled up into the shape of a home. Home afterall is a state of security and learning and love and rebuke and forgiving. And a refuge from the storm.

Home is not a place but a character builder with its battery of training modules meant to toughen and tenderize you, train you with rules and duties but also make you flexible and understand others’ limitations, and equip you with knowledge yet let you discover that information without wisdom is empty and capricious.

Home is where you get to be you, but be a team player as well–where you learn to give, to wait your turn, to be handed down things, to share, to take instruction, and to treat family as importantly as self.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

“America is a nation of strangers,” said Pastor Hern, “with four in ten people experiencing loneliness. Could it be because many have never experienced home, especially since divorce or separation is an easy alternative?

Family is about growth too. But growth is elusive without Jesus. He’s the great equalizer, because He’s the only real blesser. He’ll take you wherever you are and promote you from one glory to another.

Just make sure that He has made your home His address too.

O Lord, all of us have somehow lost our way. Bring us home. You are our real Home. May Jesus be the Lord of every household and every relationship.