Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Twenty and one

“You can now go to jail,” my friend Kino tells me as I hang my lab gown in the locker.

“And suffer the complete sentence,” I quip, smirking. We burst out laughing, partly in recognition that we’re no longer bratty children or irresponsible teens—we’re adults about to venture into this dark world.

I leave the lab and go to help out finish some things for a party that my class is hosting. It’s getting dark, and I have things to do.

My right pocket is vibrating. I grab my phone, a cheap Nokia model that thieves wouldn’t find profitable, and realize that it’s packed with unread messages, many from friends I haven’t seen in weeks, even months. I read the messages, one by one, slowly but surely—warm greetings of Happy Birthday, Lance!, some with edifying Bible verses, still others with wishes for a good life and a more intimate walk with the Lord. It feels cozy inside me.


I head for home as fast as I can as soon as my brother texts me. “Where are you? We’re waiting for you.” It’s only 7:30 pm. I feel there's a surprise coming.

True enough, Kuya John has prepared a meal—pasta with red sauce that has tuna flakes in it, fish soaked in sweet and sour sauce, and two bottles of Coke fresh from the sari-sari store nearby. You don’t know what a good meal is until you’ve tasted Kuya John’s cooking—or maybe that’s just me.

At the apartment, my brother asks, “How many people greeted you today?”

“A lot. It’s a record-breaker.” We burst out laughing. He greets me a happy birthday one more time.

“Oh, have I told you what Nanay texted me?” I ask, although I forwarded him the message 12 hours ago.

“Yes, I got the message. You’re her bundle of joy,” Manong says, laughing.

I tell everyone what Nanay told me that early this morning. It really warmed my heart, her telling me that I am God’s blessing to them, my parents, even if I remain their most difficult child.

I call up home and talk to Tatay. He greets me a happy birthday and asks if I’m doing well. “Are you drinking your milk?”

“Yes, Tay, I bought this delicious strawberry flavored fresh milk, and I drink it every night,” I say. I realize that 21-year olds get advice about courtship and marriage from their fathers, not about vitamins or milk. I guess, in the words of David Cook (well, Mariah Carey technically), I’ll always be their baby.


I head back to school to attend the Dormitories Christian Fellowship weekly meeting in Molave. A lawyer and his wife talks about the authority of Scriptures and how the word of God must direct the life of the Christian and the Church. The message is a feast to the soul.

My friends then surprise me with a Red Ribbon cake and a greeting card with wonderful messages doodled with their personal handwriting. My friend Jason leads the group in praying and pleads God that may I grow more Christ-like as I journey in this life.

That, in Jason’s words, is my personal prayer, too. To be more like Christ, to think like Him, to act like Him, and to live like Him.

At the edge of my bed that night, I wonder how Jesus lived His 21st year on earth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belated Happy Birthday Lance. God bles you more and I pray that your life will always be a living testimony of Jesus Christ our Savior to others, as well.

Thu Apr 24, 11:46:00 AM GMT+8  

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