Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh Wowa!

Apostolic work. If you’re a Filipino grandmother, you’re probably familiar with this joke.

“Apo” is Pilipino for grandchild.

Because grandmothers like me presumably have a lot of spare time, we find ourselves being asked or volunteering to help our children who have decided to live abroad.

The SOS becomes louder when their kids start coming. Retired moms to their next apostolic mission!

I stayed a full three months in Sydney to help my daughter Lucci when she gave birth to her baby girl, Charlize (She’s now three years old.); and to relish just being Lola (“Wowa,” says Charlize today.) to her then five year old son Joaqui.

I remember being an eagle-eyed and extra-cautious baby-sitter when Joaqui and I joined the picnic of my sister Dulce’s family in a water fun resort (without Joaqui’s parents of course).

But all caution was thrown to the wind when grandkid and wowa braved the water slide—with both of us screaming while I cradled Joaqui on my legs through almost a half kilometer of sloshing and fast-winding turns.

A repeat of that? My wowa insinct screamed, “No way, Jose!” But for the love of apo, one heart-stopping splash was tolerable.

I begged and cajoled Joaqui afterwards that the small kiddie cartoon character boats with their tame sprinklers and lazy rocking were the best for him.

Good thing many boys his age frolicked in those parts. Which then made me so self-conscious, being in the middle of all those babies. “Whoa, any adults here? Who’s taking care of all these kids?”

I even learned to ride my grandson’s shifty-wheeled car or whatever they called it. In another picnic, my sister Dulce and I pulled those cars uphill then raced down to our campsite. How many times, I forget.

Whew, adrenaline rush fit only for the young—or the young at heart!

Apostolic missions are the best ways for wowas to learn new tricks, make one feel younger and guarantee weight loss. Imagine doing round-the-clock exercise.

Sweeping, mopping, washing dishes, carrying or feeding the baby, changing diapers, —name it, you don’t need to go to the gym to keep fit. I would almost always return to Manila ten pounds lighter!

And how nice it is to tuck those little ones to bed, first with a book—to feed their mind and jog their imagination; then with a prayer—to let them feel secure in the love of Jesus.

A wowa mission again? Any time!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sorry for What

Oh how we love plants. We talk to them, believing they’ll thrive if we handled them with TLC.

Some of us get attached to animals, treating them like kin, even bedding with them.

Isn’t it true that we sometimes care more for moss yet dismiss people like dross?

Jonah the prophet is typical. God told him to go to Nineveh to warn the city of God’s wrath if they didn’t shape up.

He went the opposite way, riding a boat to Tarshish. But God’s business was---and up to now---that of loving people and saving them.

So He chased the boat with a storm, forcing its crew to throw Jonah into the sea. Three days inside the belly of a fish, he had no choice but to repent and obey God.

He did warn Nineveh of God’s impending doom if they didn’t repent, which they did; so God withheld destruction.

Jonah’s reaction? “Very angry,” was how the bible described his response---because God didn’t level the sinful city.

As Jonah sulked, God made a leafy plant to grow beside him to shield him from the sun. But too came a worm. It ate the plant which pretty soon died.

Feeling sore that the plant withered, he became furious again. “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” God asked.

“You feel sorry about the plant... Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness... Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city? (Jonah 4:10,11)

Aren’t we just like Jonah? Raring to pounce on others because we think they’re scum and so must suffer God’s wrath.

Honestly, we all are guilty just like the people of Nineveh. None exempt!

That’s why Jesus came. He showed us Jonah-and-Nineveh-types that God’s grace overlooks our wrongs. Jesus offers love and forgiveness instead.