I miss my father not just during Father’s Day and his birthday but every day. It’s been nine years and I still find myself wishing he’s around. I still wish I did more for him. I still wish when I go home he’d be around. We don’t talk that much but having each other around is comforting.
Today, on Father’s Day, I am reflecting on his life. There are three, of the many lessons, he taught me that I pray to emulate in my own life.
1. Meekness is not weakness – it is strength under control.
Papa has always been a man of few words. He doesn’t get angry easily, but when he gets angry, it just only means that we have already pushed him the hard way, beyond his long patience. To tell the truth, I can count on my two hands the times I saw him get angry with me or my siblings. And I haven’t heard him and Mama fight in front of us or within earshot.
Come to think of it. What is real strength? What is real might? Who is stronger – the man who gives in to his rage or the man who remains calm, assured of his inner strength? Who is mighty?
It is the man who has learned to restrain his power. The man who knows that real might lies in control and discipline. The man who remains gentle while he builds strength, merciful while he is mighty.
My father is all this – not because I am his daughter, but because I saw him live it in his lifetime. He has a quiet strength, enduring patience, and long understanding. He was meek. And he was mighty – in my eyes.
I will spare you from reading my long narrations about the events that happened in my father’s life but one thing I know – Papa was controlled emotionally. He was insulted, by relatives and co-workers, stripped and ridiculed. Yet he never struck back. He demonstrated quiet determination. He was meek. He had strength under control. And with that, revenge was not a part of his life.
2. Generosity – It is better to give than to receive
I’ve been told that when I was a baby and through my pre-school age, I was a spoiled brat. Growing up and going to school, we hit a snag in our economic standing and we were practically bankrupt. But I saw how Papa would try his hardest to not only provide the basic but give more than what is expected.
Every day, he would make sure he brings bread or some kind of food for us when he goes home. I and my siblings will be looking out for his arrival and would outrun each other to be the first to reach Papa. He will give extra to our Yayas when we were smaller and to our helper when we were older. He would buy his friend’s food. And he’ll throw in a simple celebration for no reason other than he has extra money.
I’ve learned that generosity is not giving when you have so much but real generosity is tested when you are left with very little – to the point of nothing – and yet you give of whatever little you have. This was exemplified by my own Father growing up.
3. Kindness never goes out of style.
In today’s modern world, where we can be easily swayed to step on other people’s toes to climb whatever ladder we want to climb, kindness may not be practical anymore.
But not to my father. To him, even a little kindness goes a long way. You don’t need a reason to be kind to people. My father does not have a smiley face but he is a kind soul. He is kind to almost everybody he meets, helping them when he can, and sometimes going out of his way.
He didn’t even retaliate to the man who tried to hold him up! One day, when I knocked on his door from work, I saw blood on his forehead. I was furious! But he just let it go. He told me the bad guy didn’t get his way because he fought him and won. Not that he isn’t brave, he just chose to let go of the things he has no control of. The only situation he has a hard time letting go was when he lost Mama.
Kindness means you consider other people’s feelings. From a simple act of holding the door open when someone is behind you to going out of your way to stay with a friend who is going through a hard time. That’s kindness – considerate and thoughtful. And that’s what my father lived.
Meekness + Generosity + Kindness = Papa Noe
And my prayer is to become even half like him in these matters.
Then surely it wouldn’t be that bad.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers of my readers!