“Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” – (Proverbs 20:30)

I COME from a broken family. And whenever that fact crosses my mind, I can’t help but look back at some pages of my life.

My family used to mingle in the living room and exchange jokes on summer evenings. Mommy would cook supper while Daddy and I watched TV, fought over the remote control. Mommy would act as our referee.

But the moments, laughter, and stories we used to share have vanished. The living room is now empty. It is only now that I realize that between those joyful moments, my parents would argue endlessly, shouting at each other. But I didn’t search for reasons then. I didn’t give a damn. I was ten, and at my young age, I didn’t understand what was going on in my family. I only cared about being happy, spending time with my friends, and playing with neighbors. I didn’t pay any attention to the problems we had until Mommy and I had to pack and leave.

My parents are now living in separate houses, my father living with another woman. There are insurmountable odds for us to be a happy and whole family again.

One Sunday afternoon while waiting for Mass, a cheerful family caught my attention. The parents, trying to stop their little girl from playing, were wearing smiles on their faces.

I looked carefully at the little girl. She listened to her parents talking about praying and not playing in the church. I could see the sparkle in her eyes, an evidence of joy I crave to experience.

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As the sacrament started, my eyes were fixed on the Holy Family icon. I tried to recall the happy days I had with my family by watching the family standing in front of me.

I have very few happy memories with my family, which have formed into fragments of my childhood. I keep them like priceless treasures, like a couple of pictures with my parents when I was still a baby.

Although I don’t cry over spilled milk, I’ve learned my lesson. When I will have a family of my own, I won’t let history repeat itself. I will take good care of my family and spend quality time with them. I will make sure my children will grow in a home that is peaceful and full of love.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You so much for giving me my parents. Please forgive me for taking my family for granted. Help me and Your children to value the gift of having an intact family. Strengthen our ties and shower our hearts with Your goodness. May the presence of love stay in our homes. Amen.

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