“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” – 1 John 3:18

WHY ARE we so afraid to say “I love you”?

I was on my way home once when I received this question on my cellular phone. Initially, I thought it was one of those juvenile questions my friends usually asked. But it was Father’s Day and the message immediately made me think about how I had been as a daughter to the man who always made me feel that my existence was a gift.

When my mother passed away, we were left with our father, who was known even to our relatives as a good-for-nothing drunkard. I could not blame my aunts for worrying about us. I even overheard one of them say that it wouldn’t be long before my father married another woman because he could not handle taking care of us, three boys and four girls.

But my father proved to be good provider. He went to work as early as 6 a.m. and came home as late as 4 a.m. the next day. My eldest brother told me that he was always like that. He never spent time with us except holidays like Christmas and New Year. He barely talked to us. He only had time for his friends, compromising our family time.

When mother died, we all thought that the adjustment period would take long and would eventually lead to the family’s break-up. But my father disproved that.

He had changed without letting anyone know about it. He redefined himself silently. I never knew how. I was just nine years old then but he did an exemplary job. He fulfilled the responsibilities not only of a father but also of a typical mother. He enrolled us in school and took us to bookstores for our school supplies and to the dressmaker for our uniforms. We might not have heard him say he loved us, but the mere act of concern such as preparing our breakfast erased our doubts about his affection for us.

Who's that girl?

It has been 10 years since my father embraced the life of single blessedness. I respect him more, realizing that he really loves us. Handling the roles of both a father and a mother at the same time molded my father into a responsible man.

On the way home that day, I realized that I had not been a good daughter despite of my father’s kindness.

I was just like him. I loved in silence, something which he did not deserve.

The sender of the business card was right, I was afraid of saying I loved him.

Upon arriving home, I hurriedly went to my father’s room and gave him a big hug. It was the most expressive form of appreciation I ever gave him. He might have laughed but it did not matter to me. I already had enough of his silent love. I thought it was about time to bestow him even just my simple gratitude. All I had in my mind and heart then was overflowing gratitude for the man who strived hard to become the most responsible father his children could possibly have.

Prayer: God, thank you for giving us our parents. Although sometimes we have our disagreements and conflicts with them, help us to realize how important they are in our lives. Grant them peace of mind and patience in dealing with their children. And give us the valor to show our parents the love that You have sowed in us, a love that should be shared. Amen.


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