Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Love of a Father

March of this year, something happened that changed my views about life.

Dani, who just turned a year old the previous December, was sick and she could not eat. She did not even want to drink her milk. When we forced her to drink sugared water, she eventually threw up. It ran for three days. We hoped that she would be okay soon but we had plans to have her checked up by her Pedia in the weekend.

One early afternoon, Dani was feeling so uncomfortable so I decided to take her from my wife. Dani rested her chin on my shoulder. In my attempt to cheer her up a bit, I told her about the flying kite in the sky. She responded very weakly.

Then she suddenly bent backward which initially I thought she just wanted to go down and walk. But her eyes rolled upward that I could almost not see the black of her eyes. Her lips twisted. Her face was so deformed as if something was swallowing her face into the inside of her head. She lost all her strength and I was not even sure if she was still alive. That was the scariest thing ever happened to me.

To my surprise, I still called out to Gracia in a very controlled voice. But inside me, all my nerves were shaking, weakening, while a new layer of forced strength was also emerging, taking over. Gracia felt my fear that she quickly ran to check on us. That time, Gracia was seven-month pregnant to our second baby.

Gracia easily panicked that she cried fearfully without tears. I never knew that crying without tears was a lot sadder and depressive that crying with tears. Gracia ran back to our room to get Dani’s things. But she was not able to get the right things.

I was also panicking and very scared when we jumped into Tatay’s tricycle that I did not have a chance to even wear a pair of slippers.

On the road, all I could think of was to reach the hospital as soon as possible. But there was traffic. That day all the vehicles moved so slow that I had shouted at a couple of drivers at the top of my lungs. My voice was huge and broken. Things were happening too fast that I was trying real hard to hold myself together for Gracia. I could not cry in front of Gracia even if the fear felt too much in my chest.

When we reached the hospital road, there was a van which stopped in the middle of the road. I did not know what the driver was doing inside.  He was as if not sure if he would continue driving or would park on the roadside. We beeped on him but he would not nudge. To some point I think he got insulted that he even intentionally stopped his van in the middle of the road. I ran out of patience that I got off the tricycle and punched the side of his van, yelling at him to move over.  He finally got the situation that he started driving the van really fast away from us.

Dani was checked right away in the emergency room. Everyone was so calm which I perfectly understood. We answered all the questions and filled up papers but Dani was still unconscious. That moment I was ready to die with her. If she could not make it, I did not want to live anymore.

My prayers only repeated these three words, ‘Let her live.’

It did not end there. There was a couple of chilling. I cried on the road. They had to put wires on her head. She had CT scan. We spent three days in the hospital.

She was declared okay when she was released but she would take a special medicine for two years. After that horrible experience, there were still some times that the fear still returned and I just cried. Months later, Dani is perfectly okay. She loves her new baby Brother Markus.

This experience made me appreciate more the story of Abraham in Genesis 22 when God asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering.

I heard this story many times and each time, I imagined how it must be hard for Abraham to offer his only son to God that time. But I never understood how it should feel until I experienced the above story. And I can’t thank God enough for saving my daughter Dani.

With this thought, I realize that I could also imagine how God Himself loves us that He had to send his one and only Son Jesus Christ to die for us, imagine that Jesus a true God Himself stepped down to suffer and die in order to give us the beautiful gift of salvation. And I know to myself that I could never grasp the totality of this beautiful and great love of God for us. Perhaps I will never know how much it really cost Him, but I am very thankful. The fact that I still sin and he still understands, forgives, and encourages me, this is beyond amazing.

Thank You, Abba.

Pray Until Something Happens

Gracia and Dani - First Jollibee meal after Dani was discharged from the hospital

Me and Dani - Finally home.