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.
I guess we know why I’m the single brother.
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.
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.
Under the Mistletoe
Standing under the mistletoe, I look into her eyes. She had to be the most beautiful female in the world, more beautiful than all the past females combined, and without their collective weight. I ask her, “You do know what they say about two people under a mistletoe?” She smiles sweetly, leans in, and then suddenly, knees me in the groin.
The pain wakes me from my daydream. Time to get back to writing. In the spirit of the holidays, here is the Bonifacio Brothers Holiday Edition.
The Rolling Thunder
When we were younger, Christmas was the highlight of the year. I remember one early Christmas, when I was five or 6 years old, I received a GI Joe truck for Christmas. And it wasn’t just “a” truck, this was “THE” truck – it was the Rolling Thunder. The Rolling Thunder was more than three feet long when extended and came with its driver, codename: Armadillo, two huge missiles that had six mini-missiles inside it, a tank turret with two red missiles on each side, an opening ramp that allowed a scout vehicle to rollout, and a movable missile platform to kill those that managed to escape all the other weapons of destruction. Let me put it this way: If Chuck Norris was a truck; he’d be the Rolling Thunder. And if the Rolling Thunder was human it would be Chuck Norris, but not as hairy. We would sing the song How Great Thou Art in church and when the line “I feel the rolling thunder” would come up I would proudly whisper to my dad, “That’s my truck.”
Why Joshua Can’t Be Santa
From my best gift ever to the worst. A few Chrismases ago, my crazy younger brother, Joshua, thought it would be a good idea to give Joe and I something different, something exotic, something unusual for Christmas.
So he decides to give us nipple whiteners.
I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a nipple whitener. And why would anyone want white nipples anyway? That’s actually a scary thought: me and my dark complexion with albino tips.
It’s the sort of thing you expect from someone whose first email address was firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enough of nipples. I better nip this in the bud.
No pun intended.
My Dad’s Favorite Gifts
My mom has given me the best gifts my whole life. Of course my dad pays for them but my mom “knows”. This year I asked her if she could just pay for my insurance premium instead of a gift. Piece of advice: don’t ruin Christmas with stupid questions like this.
For some reason when it comes to my dad, or maybe because it’s my dad, my mom’s gift radar goes haywire. This has led to some very interesting presents, two of which were:
1.The telescope. I know movies, such as A Walk to Remember (which works better than Sleepasil), like to romanticize telescopes. We’ve had more than one telescope and I’m telling you they’re incredibly difficult to operate. Leave them to the observatories. So my mom gives my dad this huge telescope for Christmas, and my dad is practicing his best poker face – which has never been really good. A few days later we tried the telescope. I don’t think we ever took it out again. I think my dad gave it to the first science prodigy he bumped into.
2.The Magic Sing. The only thing magical about ours is that my mom actually thought my dad would be happy. My dad calls this my mom’s gift to herself disguised as a gift to him. I think he only used it once – on Christmas day – just so my mom wouldn’t be upset that he didn’t like her gift.
My dad is a lot simpler than most people think. One of his favorite gifts being a Man from Snowy River refrigerator magnet my mom found. And of course the best gift he’s ever gotten ever is my mom.
…then my mom.
A Christmas Lesson
You never really learn something, you never really understand, until you experience something first hand. The word experience comes from the experientia or the word “test”. And that’s what a lesson is, an experience, a test, that teaches you something through either proving or disproving something.
There was a time when my father had lost his business, we had to move into a much smaller house, had to get rid of our cars and really most of our stuff. Christmas, like for everyone else, was usually a big event for our family but this year we really didn’t have any money so the nicely wrapped giant boxes were missing from under a smaller tree, and the turkey was a big chicken with misplaced gravy (that’s another story). But even as we downscaled what Christmas was to me, God was setting up a backdrop for one the greatest lessons I would ever learn. He had to remove the trappings, the traps we fall into, that distract us from Him.
Having very little resources, my mom decided that our Advent would consist of a walk around our tiny village – which was one small circle. My brothers and I were complaining of the flies and having to walk, actually, I think I was the only one complaining. I was such a grumbler looking back. When we got back to the house we realized we had left the keys inside. We were locked out.
So there we were sitting on the curb, my dad, my brothers, me, and my mom, who was still trying to turn everything into a lesson.
I think Joe’s, mine, and Joshua’s minds were thinking “Be quiet”, “Shut up”, ‘Candy” respectively.
Then my mom said:
“Maybe this is how Joseph and Mary felt being locked out of every inn. Imagine what they were going through. And Mary was pregnant. This is what we do to Jesus when we don’t let Him into our lives.”
Years later to today, I still remember her lesson, but I think I’ve realized something deeper. More tragic than what we do to Jesus when we don’t let Him reside in our heart, is what we do to our lives – we leave it a dark empty shell with no light and no life.
This the great lesson I’ve learned, the Christmas message experienced first hand as a kid, that even as my mind grumbles at the state of my balance sheet, and worries at my evaporating cashflow, my heart rejoices in peace that the light of the world has brought me life.