FAMILY CAFE: Simply Letting Go....

I was blessed with a materially and financially comfortable life. 

My wonderful parents...

My parents with my paternal grandfather, grandmother and uncle...

My family used to run a successful family business.  Growing up, i was privileged to have experienced all the perks of such a pampered lifestyle... studying in an exclusive private school,  living comfortably in our own house in an quiet subdivision, never having to commute, enjoying all the wonderful new toys, shoes and clothes, househelps doing everything for us, good food, traveling, shopping ... what a life indeed! 

Then time came when our family business encountered major financial problems and had to close down in the late 90's.  Gradually, we began to lose everthing we owned.  Our life changed.  

But this is when I began to learn more about life. 

It was quite difficult for me to adjust to a simpler lifestyle. It was an even greater struggle for me not to get what i want at the exact moment i wanted it.  My heart was in so much pain when my parents decided to sell our house and transfered to a smaller, rented house away from the comfortable neighborhood i grew up in. 

I detached myself from my old friends, thinking they might not accept my status in life anymore.  There are nights when i would just cry because i could not sleep in a room without an aircon.  The first time i tried to commute i was already a college graduate and starting a career in advertising.  I felt like crying because i was afraid to cross the street on my own. 

My parents said that we should start to learn to live within our means... i found that difficult to accept at first because it actually meant sacrificing so much. 

Family pictorial for CFC Flame

What was even more painful for me was witnessing how my family was also struggling to cope.  My dad who used to go to work in his corporate attire, driving his own car, had to commute going to the office in simple jeans and polo shirt. 

My mom who used to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, would take on various sidelines just to help make ends meet for the family.  My brothers and sisters who used to go to exclusive private schools now have to be transferred to different schools, some even stopping for a while until there was enough money to subsidize their schooling.  As the eldest of 7, I would often feel bad to see them not being able to enjoy the things i used to enjoy when I was their age. 

Back when i was still living the life of a "princess", i was perfectly happy knowing that i had everything. 

But when we lost everything, i started to see the value of what i actually have.  It was not the house, the cars, the clothes, the shoes or the lifestyle... but it was my familty, my most cherished possession.

Inspite of the major lifestyle change we had to go through, i re-discovered my family.  It was our love for each other and  strong bond of togetherness that gave me the strength and inspiration to move on.  Knowing that we have one another through it all gave me the courage to face the new life we will be living from that moment on.  

Witnessing how my dad, who himself was brought up experiencing a financially privileged life, would sacrifice his needs and wants just to support our family.  My mom, who never had to work before, committing to work fulltime for Couples for Christ, both to serve and to provide.  My siblings would take on part-time jobs just to sustain their allowances.  It was a humbling experience for all of us.  But i know in my heart that it made us even better Christians.

I am very thankful that when all these happened, my parents were already actively serving CFC.  I thank and honor my parents for instilling in us that faith to rise above the struggles of life.  I am blessed to have my siblings, who in their young age, are more blessed than I for they understood so much more about what life is all about - that it's easy for them to accept the simple things that come their way.  I thank God most especially for allowing me to value life even more for I learned to focus more on life's simple blessings, enough to bring joy into my life.

What i definitely treasured most in learning to accept this reality... is that we did it as one family... Through it all, we found peace in each other's company.  We learned to depend on one another for comfort and strength and developed a bond like no other.

So maybe i lost my "pampered" life... but in the end, I gained even more.  I was blessed with a wonderful family... a "perfect" love which only a parent can give... brothers and sisters who reminds me to be happy in the simple things... strong faith in God's ultimate plan and love...  

Perhaps, it won't hurt to desire the comforts of life once in a while... but nothing beats the comfort of God's love through my family. 

(original journal entry - 2000)