Come back to me with all your heart, DON'T LET FEAR KEEP US APART. Trees do bend, though straight and tall; so must we to others call. Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

The wilderness will lead you to your HEART WHERE I WILL SPEAK. Integrity and justice with tenderness you shall know.

Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

You shall sleep secure with peace; faithfulness will be your joy. Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.

-A song inspired by second chapter of the Old Testament book, Hosea.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wish granted: A street youth returns home

Remembering the adversities and circumstances I had gone through due to taking care of the "boy in the pad," I no longer see the boy who "begs and sleeps" in the sidewalk.

But the Lord, along my path, put another boy, a 13-year-old who had run away from home.

From South Davao province, he at age nine went with a couple of adult carolers who brought him to Davao City and from here to Ozamis City where he was "adopted" by a Chinese businessman. Because of frequent scoldings, he escaped by bike to return to Davao City.

He showed tenderness towards me; but I knew in my heart this was only because of having missed his home and family.

My physical self wanted him to stay that away -- but I felt the Lord in my heart to grant him the desires of his own heart: to go home once and for all.

And I heard myself offering the Prayer of Sufferings.

The friendship started when I gave him organic leaf tablets for cough which I noticed was hard and continuous in him.

The coughing stopped in about five days.

"You certainly missed your family. You want to go home?" I asked him in the vernacular.

"I wish to spend this Christmas with my family," said he after we did laundry and waiting for the clothes to dry up.

"OK, we will go home," I replied.

He had many plans of where to bring and show me once there. He even told me to stay there for long. We arrived in their place just after super typhoon Yolanda wrecked several places and lives -- November 9, Saturday, after Catholic Men's Fellowship that we attended.

It was like I was watching Wish Ko Lang, a wish-granting TV program on GMA7 when we got to their place.

His mom embraced him tightly. So, too, his older brothers. Amid tears suppressed.

His younger brother took my right hand and put on his forehead in a way that I felt in my spirit this was his way of saying "thank you" for bringing his older brother back to them.

Neighbors and relatives kept coming to visit and see him in the dead of night.

A flood of joy and thanksgiving. Indeed.

And I was in the room they provided to sleep the night out. But I could not sleep, so happy for him and his family, relatives and neighbors on his return after four years.

But I felt in my heart he was going to change the next day. When it was time for him to sleep, he slept beside me.

When he was already asleep, I kissed him goodbye on the forehead because I knew he was going to change the next day; and I was going to go back "home."

Instead of showing me the best of his place the following morning, he wanted to go somewhere without me. At that instance, I expressed to his mother my desire to go back "home." The mother insisted that I stay for another day to attend her older son's engagement to a would-be wife. This meant feast, their only way to thank me. For the sake of respect, I nodded. But the boy made a story so his mother would agree for me to go back "home" right at that very morning.

I went back "home" that very morning. And in those days of pain before I recovered, the Prayer of Sufferings was the most distinct prayer that my lips were heard of uttering:

"I accept this cross in the Name of Jesus Christ in reparation for all my sins, for the sins of the world, especially the sins of the Archdiocese of Davao."