Love So Strong ….. from the desk of Pastor Jan

Pillar of the house is what symbolizes the father in the Philippine culture. This is in the context that the house is made of bamboo and wood. It portrayed the father as the foundation of the family. I would like to honor all fathers this year with another image in the American context, Father as a huge Pine Tree. From the picture, you see me hugging a Pine Tree. I found it in the backyard of Elizabeth Roseman’s former house during the estate sale. It is huge and tall. The branches and leaves spread, giving comforting shade on a hot sunny day. I hear birds chirping from its branches. Who knows what other creatures are residing or resting on it. Having a seat on a garden chair or a picnic mat under this tree will surely give a sense of rest, comfort, and peace. Hugging that tree gave me a sense of security too. <!–split–>

I guess that Pine Tree is more than a hundred years old. It has grown well and stood the test of time, as the cliché goes. An ideal father is like that huge Pine Tree. A father stands tall and strong. He is a source of protection; someone you can depend on. Like the huge trunk of the Pine Tree, father seems to be tough, rough, and immovable, but once you come near and hug him, you will feel his love, so strong, that you feel safe and secure. His warm side may not be as cozy, upfront as a mother but surely, he will show it subtly like the shades the Pine Tree gives.

My Pine Tree, Papa Sonnie showed his love to us and our family by being there, standing tall and strong for us the whole time. He helped me write my name and memorize poems for school presentations. He cooked breakfast. (His fried rice was the best!) That’s their marital arrangement because Mama Pat taught pre-school. He hand-washed clothes with Mama when we were young. He brought me to school for two months or more, I think. Oh no…you’re wrong. It’s not easy, we commute. It is a 4-hours bus ride one way. This was in my first year in college. He lent me his sermons (type written and well kept), books, pastor’s paraphernalia, and even his clerical clothes and pants!

Papa Sonnie was there for me all the time. One of my favorite memories of him was the catch me game we always played when I was young. I will go up and stand on the table and eagerly jump to him and he will catch me. Later in life I learned from psychology studies, that the catch me game is one of the best ways to build trust. I was not able to ask him if he knows about it or it was it just his subtle way of loving me. Either way, it made me trust him fully, 101%. I am very much certain that he will be there to catch me when I fall. He will catch me with his love so strong.

For all the fathers and those who act as fathers, we hug you back with much love as you catch us when we fall, as you cover us with your shades of love, and as you embrace us in full strength. We are thankful for your love so strong, we always feel safe and secure. In the same manner, we can come to God as our father.

Psalms 5:11 tells of fatherly love.

“But all who find safety in you will rejoice; they can always sing for joy. Protect those who love you; because of you they are truly happy.”   (Good News Translation)

“But you’ll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night! Stand guard over our celebration.”    (The Message)

Happy Father’s Day! We love you !