Brothers Bonifacio – Thanksgiving

It’s 4:39 in the morning, I’m sitting in my car parked somewhere in Bonifacio Global City, ready to start the day. One problem of my sleeping habits is even when I sleep early I end up getting up super early because I’m wired to sleep so little. Today I got up at about 330am, only to find a message on my phone that the person who I asked to sing the song I wrote for my brother’s wedding may not be able to sing it.

Which means… I’ll have to sing it. Yikes!

The last time I sang in public was for a team building activity that had this karaoke challenge. Now, you know someone is a bad singer when people crack-up and start laughing when he sings. You know someone is a terrible singer when the room assumes a deathly silence. That evening, the room assumed a deathly silence.

But let’s see. You never know. I have  a way of improving on stuff I’m not supposed to be good at. Besides, my dad attempts to sing in front of a few thousand people every sunday during his sermons. This can’t be that difficult.

The other night, Joseph invited Joshua and I as well as our friend Dan Monterde to hangout and give Josh some married advice. A lot of Joshua’s childhood friends are sadly out of the country and will be missing his big day. This includes the Murrells, the Magpantays, the Duques, and a bunch of other friends.

But the guests aren’t the important part of a wedding. What’s important is that you get it over with as soon as possible, claim your driver’s license, and go for a ride.

Just kidding.

I guess we know why I’m the single brother.

Anyway…

During our time together, Joseph gave his usual wise advice but this time in a context of being married. He has a 4 year head start on Josh so had some insight. I had absolutely no contribution to the discussion other than at the start when we talked about a joint investment I’m proposing. After that it was mostly Beowulf himself advising Josh on the ins and outs of marriage. No pun intended.

I have never appreciated my brothers as much as I do today. Sometimes distance and time have to do their work to bring us further away and give us a better perspective. Now, everything we enjoyed together and fought about are fond memories of shared life. Now the differences and similarities harmoniously come together in this thing we call family. This Thanksgiving Day, I thank God for my family, specifically my brothers, hand-picked by God to swim against currents as we did as boys, and in doing so, become an opposing tide ourselves to push back the waves crashing people’s lives, to lift travelers to new destinations.

Now that I’m older, I can see why Joseph was so wise as a kid, or why Josh was so good with people, I can see how their gifts are starting to come bear in the bigger stage of real life and I’m excited to see what they’ll accomplish. This is even more exciting for me when I think about Philip Bonifacio, Joe’s coming baby, and the very real potential of 7 little Joshuas.

I still don’t know the purpose for why I’m the best-looking of the brothers but hey, some things we can’t understand, we can only enjoy.

Speaking of looks, I was talking to my mother about my date for the wedding, which led to another classic conversation with her.

Mom: Who’s your date?
David: It’s a secret. I want to surprise you.
Mom: You HAVE to tell me.
David: No. It’s a surprise.
Mom: Make sure she wears clothes.
David: Yes, yes. I told her to wear something really hot.
Mom: I’m going to bring a towel – a beach towel – to cover her.
David: Bring the beach towels from Florida.
Mom: Those are too expensive.
David: You can wrap the towel around her bosom. The towels are big enough.
Mom: David…

It’s a good thing she doesn’t read blogs or she might back-out. Or I could just be taking everyone for a ride like I like to do.

The beach towels from Florida are souvenirs from a crazy non-investment we made years ago in Florida. I call it a non-investment because it was financially nuts. To make a long story short, while vacationing in Orlando, my parents saw this golf resort coming up, thought since we liked our vacation there so much we would be going back often, and decided to become members. I remember my dad telling us, “This is where you’re going to learn how to play golf!”

We would go back to Orlando, many times in fact, but we never got to realize that “golf dream”

The most we got from that were two huge beach towels from the resort. I have to say they were the most amazing beach towels I’ve ever used.

Today, those towels stand for something new, a token, a nemonic, a reminder, not of a failed investment, but of life – shared life. It is a reminder of what’s really important. Don’t get me wrong I’m not encouraging reckless investing and wasteful living. I am saying this:

There is no mistake, no failure, no lost chance, or dumb decision that love cannot fix. While there are permanent losses, that’s why we need to be wise and avoid mistakes, there exists a permanent love, a love only from God that redeems us from our foolish and evil choices, and leaves us with a life story that’s even better to tell. This is the power of choosing forgiveness, humility, and grace. 

But we have to choose love. We have to choose His love. Like I wrote in another post, the love we choose dictates who we will draw from. It’s not just about loving, but loving the right things. I’m a proud flawed man of incredible degree, this is why I draw from God daily because He is infinitely loving, and infinitely loving beats incredibly flawed any day. The light will always overcome the dark.

This is why in everything, big or small, smart or dumb, joyful or painful, run to God and give thanks, knowing by faith that if I choose love, if I choose the right love, I will find beautiful permanence in His permanent beauty, and discover an even greater joy, a joy I have foretasted in having the privilege of being in the middle of two of the most amazing people in the world.

He is Making Everything New

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:3-7 NIV)

In the Garden of Whispers

Chapter 2 of She Listened with Her eyes

“Do you ever get lonely?’ William asked me while I pushed his wheelchair down a brick path.

“No. Not really. I actually feel like I’m always surrounded.”

“You never get lonely?” He asked me again disbelievingly. “Never wish you had someone or miss anyone?”

“Why do you have to ask these questions? Ask me about work. Ask me about math or history or why the moon looks gold sometimes. Don’t ask me things I don’t have answers to.”

“So you do you miss someone!”

“I never said that.”

“Yes, you did. In so many words.”

“I did not.”

“What’s her name?”

“What’s who’s name?”

“The person you miss. What’s her name?”

“Her name is Ms. Don’t Ask Stupid Questions Anymore.”

“Don’t be a spoiled sport. I’m just asking what her name is.”

“Change topic.”

“You can’t just change topics David.”

“Yes, I can. Change topic.”

“She hurt you, didn’t she?”

“Change topic.”

The look on my face must have scared him because he stopped prying.

After a few minutes of no talking, William started, “You do know that you’re going to have to learn to open up sometime?  You’re going to have to let someone in.”

“That’s what she said.” I muttered to myself and said no more.

We had just attended fundraiser,  one of those dinners that costs more than the amount raised. It was a  cool December evening so we decided to take a stroll through the clubhouse’s garden, a place called the Garden of Whispers. Music continued to flow from the orchestra in the main hall serenading couples on the dance floor and garden benches. The path inclined a little, and at the end was a deck, also accessible by stairs on the side, overlooking the sloping hills of the property.

William sat in his chair with his eyes closed, enjoying the cool breeze. I sat on the ledge to rest my legs.

“You might fall.” he warned me.

“I won’t. And if I did, I’d go straight to heaven.”

“Up to you. I didn’t realize you’re so stubborn. You’re…”

“Hi William.” a woman’s voice interrupted us. We turned to see a beautiful fare lady standing in front of us. Her hair was cut neatly to her shoulders. Her face was kind with a hint of sadness. It was the face of someone who had fought and lost.

I didn’t know who she was but William looked at her in some sort of shock. She was smiling at him and his face would melt into a smile as well. It’s as if they were talking without words, like those irritating new boyfriends and girlfriends who think they’ll love each other for the rest of their lives but obviously won’t get past the year, except this one looked more convincing.

He looked like he’d fallen – and went straight to heaven.

“Um…” I tried to insert myself, “How come I didn’t get a hi?”

Her smile disappeared into embarrassment. “I’m sorry. I didn’t…”

“It’s ok. It’s ok Mary.” it was William’s turn to interrupt her gently. “David, it’s my privilege to introduce you to Mary. Mary, this is my friend, David.”

“It’s his privilege to introduce me to you too.” I told her.

William gave me a stern look. Then he turned to Mary, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m attending a party. I really can’t stand these things anymore. So I went out here to get some fresh air.”

I looked at William. “You knew she was going to be here, didn’t you?”

“Of course not!” He said defensively. “I told you the story. I had no idea where she was, well until now, and standing right in front of us.”

“You told him about me?” Mary asked confused.

“I was telling him about my childhood. That’s why I mentioned you. I wasn’t…”

“My friend had a crush on you.” I said cutting him. “I mean, has a crush on you.” I corrected myself.

Mary blushed. William blushed even more. “I…” he couldn’t finish his sentence.

“Can you excuse us, David?” William asked me. “I have some catching up to do.”

“Of course.” I said, smiling at them. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mary.” She bowed her head slightly in acknowledgement.

“William, keep the car and driver. Stay as long as you like. I’ll catch a taxi.”

“Thank you David.” he replied without taking his eyes off her.

I started down the stairs of that grand garden and as I was on the last step I turned for one last look. There were William and Mary in one silhouette,  even for just that moment, together at last.

I had no idea what they were talking about though I would have liked to hear. How serendipitous this evening that we should on our stroll encounter her. How many prayers had my friend lifted to cause their stars to align so well. I smiled to myself and walked away, accompanied only by the shadows of my own memories.

“You’re going to have to open up someday. You’re an amazing guy, I don’t know anyone like you, but you’re impossible. It’s not all about just making things happen or about fixing things. Women want to feel needed, and you won’t let yourself need anyone. Women want to be adored and all you see is what needs correcting.” I heard her voice telling me.

“Oh shut up.” I told the voice in my head