I guess that when God was doling out brothers I must have been at the front line, as He gave me three big and tall ones. Harry, two years my junior, was the proverbial “black sheep” of the family; Ike was the silent one and Mike, being the baby of the family, was the most pampered by all of us.
Growing up with three very different brothers was both a trial and a joy.
When we were young, Harry and I would be partners in crime, to such a point that we nearly burned our house down by lighting up one of those Japanese-paper Christmas lanterns when we were ten and eight. Ike was the complete opposite. This quiet middle brother of mine would send me the sweetest “I miss you” letters when I was newly married and settled in Taiwan for a year. And Mike was my cute baby, ten years younger to me; and I was his tutor during his early school years.
I am truly blessed to have 3 loving brothers, but in recent years, as we are getting on in age, I have noticed a significant change in our relationships. Ike remains to be the brother who cares for me with a deep silent love. But Harry and Mike have changed roles.
Just last week, I was shocked by these two boys with an all-expense paid vacation, to meet them in Miami, where they were on a sample-buying trip. Without thinking twice, I hopped on the plane to meet them, as I had been missing my Manila family too much since I had settled in Texas more than a year ago. (Please refer to my previous blog post, “Bloom Where You Are Planted”.)
Needless to say, I had a blast in Miami. We bonded while we shopped. We laughed till we dropped, and as usual, I was the butt of their loving jokes. We had the time of our lives for the five days that we were together. So much so, that we were wishing that Ike had been with us to complete the quartet.
When it was goodbye time, we all shed tears. Our parents had passed away at a relatively young age, and we siblings only had each other. Both boys warned me to take care of my health as they tearfully told me that I was their mother and that they wanted to have me for the longest possible time. Harry, like a lost little boy, even said that he didn’t know what would happen to him, if anything happened to me. Mike, ever the strong man, told me that he expected me to go on a weight loss program with matching diet and exercise so that I would be healthier when he next saw me. I felt so loved and cherished. It seemed like I gained a son who was scared to lose me and a father who laid down rules for my betterment.
This experience has made me realize that we are super blessed to have a God, Who is everything to us. He is the Father, who cherishes us yet admonishes us when we need discipline. Jesus, the beloved Son of our Father, is a Brother to us, as we walk our path of faith. And now in the winter of my life, I call on Him more as a Son, who helps an aging mother in her needs, as He did for Mama Mary when she requested Him to change the water into wine during the wedding feast in Canaan. The Holy Spirit remains to be my Brother who protects me at all times and Who guides, enlightens and strengthens me in the face of weakness, whenever I so much as whisper His Name.
I have now come to terms, that in life, we have to be prepared to keep on changing roles. We may be the child who has to grow up fast in order to take on the role of the breadwinner of the family. Or we may be the parent today, but the child tomorrow, as one day our children may take the parent role in caring for us. All things continually change in life. It is inevitable.
Nothing, but nothing is ever constant… except our God and His abundant love for us. So at all times, let us raise our hands up to the Lord. It may be in supplication or in angst or in gratitude. After all He is our “Ama, Kapatid, Anak”. And may we lift our arms even more often in worship, as He is All-Deserving of our love and praise.