Current mood: angry
Lately I’ve been feeling as if I’m the oldest twenty five-year-old in the world.
Last Tuesday, when my dad, with his face ashen and hand over his chest, was rushed to the hospital, I had a gut-feeling something really bad was going to happen. I started feeling angry. Angry about all the problems our family had been going through. Angry with God. I even told Him that I thought it was the last straw. We’ve had enough. Another one, and I’m completely turning my back on Him.
I even remember texting a friend who used to invite me to church and to their small group Bible discussions, asking why God can be cruel at times. I even cited the story of Job as an example. She simply asked me to finish reading the story of Job and told me that maybe God was just “pruning” me to be the man He desires me to be.
I refused to accept that. Seeing my dad completely weak and helpless for the first time, I certainly didn’t feel like I was ready for any pruning.
Perhaps his anxieties of losing his job and other financial worries were partly responsible. Just a couple of days before that, he informed us that he was to go on a forced leave from work. We didn’t have to ask why. The possibility that the garments company he works for would go bankrupt and finally close down has been looming over our family for several months now. And now that the possibility is an inch away from being a biting reality, it simply meant no pay for the sole breadwinner in the family for we don’t know how long, and that we all have to tighten our belts to make both ends meet.
And that wasn’t the only problem our family had. For many months now, my parents have been going through a very turbulent time in their marriage. It began late last year, when they started throwing accusations against one another, hurling insults and painful words to each other and even saying how much they regretted marrying the other. It was a big and bitter pill to swallow. Especially for me, I guess, being the child who has been around the longest time to witness how differently things have taken their turn since the times they seemed to be a very happy couple. I was also considered mature enough to know the stories behind their many fights, however painful and difficult to accept they were.
I don’t think I should complain to my parents, though. How they manage to send my three younger siblings, including one taking up Nursing in college, to school despite our present financial instability is an astounding feat. I am also amazed with how my kid brother and my little sister manage to maintain their rotund figures, to always look beaming and happy, and to think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with our family.
There are times, though, when I feel that being the eldest, I have to take it upon myself to make things a bit better. I started working just last week as a writer for an information office. Albeit far from being my dream job, it was the first job offer related to my field, so I grabbed it. The pay is not anything to talk big of, but is pretty good for a starting salary. Besides, with my newfound job, I feel like I now belong to the world of professionals. My salary will come in a neat paycheck, not like the crumpled bills I used to get as a part-time tutor back in college. And most importantly, I will be able to add something to the family income.
Now that my dad’s out of the hospital and feeling better, and that for almost a week now, there’s peace in the house, no one’s yelling at anybody and we all sit at the dinner table every day like any normal family, I feel like eating some of the words I said last week.
I don’t think I had any right to be so resentful. At least not that much. After all, we led relatively comfortably lives, and it’s only now that there are changes we have to adjust to. All our lives, my dad always made sure we had everything we needed, most of what we wanted, and, despite being unaffectionate, quiet and even queer at times, all of his love.
My mom, on the other hand, quit her job in her early thirties, to look after the house and the family. Her nonstop talking can be a handful at times, but it’s nothing compared to us giving her more than her share of trying moments as a mother.
Yes, I’ve been feeling a little old lately. I no longer feel like I want to party on weekends, or meet my girlfriend to catch the latest movie, or go shopping with my friends the way I used to. After work and commuting home for at least an hour and a half, I only have enough time to catch the evening news and have dinner, before I ready myself for bed to get up early the next day to catch the 6:30 bus, arrive to work on time and the routine goes on. Sometimes, I still ask myself why I started working so young when I wanted to get a Master’s degree or just rest for a while before I pursue a career I want. Then I tell myself that I have to and it’s for the best.
I finished reading the story of Job just last night. And along with the Scripture passage was a devotional message written by Hanna Whitall Smith. It said: “The story of Job is enacted over and over. The righteous suffer and we don’t know why. Mysterious providence darken and attempt to ruin the lives of those who seem too good to need such discipline. Even to ourselves come afflictions that we do not seem to understand, and Satan seems so busy in the matter that it is hard to trace the hand of the Lord in it at all. But his hand is in it nevertheless, and he overrules everything. No trial comes except by his permission and for some wise and loving purpose which perhaps only eternity will disclose.”
The same friend sent me a quote last week. A bit hackneyed, but what it said was true and it answered why there are storms we can’t seem to weather. It said, “There is no oil without squeezing the olive, no wine without pressing the grapes, no perfume without crushing the flowers. So when you are pressured, God is just bringing out the best in you.”
Perhaps she’s right. Perhaps God is “pruning” me at this point. And I don’t think I can be anything but thankful.