Loving and living
A homeless garbage collector was reportedly rescued in Talisay City last week after attempting to swim the distance from Cebu City to Bohol.
This man from Carmen, Bohol was found floating hanging on to a piece of styrofoam because the strong sea current swept him from his intended destination.
Having grown tired of his life as a wandering scavenger, he thought of killing himself but realized that he could try swimming since he could not afford the fare for his boat trip home.
Most of all, he missed his family and wished to visit his dead family members for All Souls’ Day.
Growing tired of life and missing home are two experiences many people are confronted every day in small or big ways.
In contrast to this man, our November 1-2 were experiences of family and home.
Instead, he had to suffer the ordeal of homesickness due to poverty.
On a deeper level, his circumstance is a reflection of the situation of every human being who feels restless and longing for the true home.
All Saints and All Souls Day remind us that we are a family.
In a mysterious way, we are still connected with the saints in paradise, with those purified in purgatory and us who are in pilgrimage journeying towards the house of the Father.
Death does not separate us.
We are in communion in our love and aspirations.
One writer said: “without the family, man, alone in the world, trembles in the cold.”
The family continues to give warmth and support even beyond the grave.
The warmth that the family gives is love.
This is something we miss when we are far from home.
This is something we miss when feeling alone and cold in the world.
Despite the frailty of our families, it is still the first school of life and love.
It is the hearth where we are welcomed unconditionally, educated generously and mourned when we are no more.
It is always the missing piece in our lives.
Once it is lost, it is very difficult to replace it.
In our family we have our roots.
Through it, the fundamental values and virtues of our lives are established.
Our whole formative experiences as human beings begin through the dedication of our parents.
It is here that we are educated towards responsibility, respect, cleanliness, openness, concern for others and love for ourselves in a healthy way.
The family should prepare us for life.
Moreover, it is also through it that we learn to look beyond through a life of faith and service.
When I visited my dad’s grave this week, a cousin is now lying close to him.
Another family member has crossed over to the other side.
Nothing is permanent in this world.
When all has been said and done, what we cherish most about our departed were their kindness, their thoughtfulness, their generosity and love.
Indeed, the real reason for living is love; and love makes our life worth living.
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