Author Wednesday: Beng Alba writes “Home for Christmas”

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Author Wednesday
Tags: , ,

It’s a few days past Christmas already, yet we are still very much into the season. In this week’s Author Wednesday, Beng Alba talks about what it really means to be home for Christmas.

Aside from being OMF Lit’s Editorial Supervisor, Beng has also written books for Hiyas, the children’s imprint of OMF Literature. Check out her books Ang Batang Ayaw Maligo, Si Joey at ang Gulay Gang and Tutubi Patrol 10: Si Pedro at ang Matalinong Kwago.

For more of her writing, visit her blog here.

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Funny how this Christmas season is making me think about home.

No, I am not a nomad whose tent is all tattered and torn from all the traveling in the scorching desert nor am I a migrant worker toiling in a foreign land. I am rooted in the soil where my ancestors walked—where the people I meet on the streets look just like me. I have no trouble understanding the words I hear whether they come from a businessman in a crisp suit or a bus conductor aboard the daredevil buses plying EDSA. The home I speak of, the home I long for, is not found in any map. But before I tell you where, let me first share why.

————

Have you ever committed a mistake of epic proportions that made you wish for an earthquake to split the ground in two so you can be swallowed whole?

Been there, wished that.

This happened to me just recently. I’ll leave out the details but suffice it to say that I had to send out a distress signal much like saying, “Houston, we have a problem.” Now if I had a choice, I would rather have chosen for my heart to be weighed down by ten tons of lead than by the accompanying emotions of remorse and grief post-catastrophe.

“This confirms you’re still human, Beng,” my boss said to comfort me. What she said was true but it still stung. It hurt to feel my fragile shell of imagined invincibility crack and break. After almost all the air got sucked out of my lungs in shock, I staggered through the rest of the afternoon. Every ounce of my energy was funneled into my efforts to stop myself from crying. I clocked out of work twenty minutes before time.

With no appetite, I skipped dinner. In bed, I tossed and turned. My thoughts, like a caged lion suddenly let loose in the jungle, refused to be tackled and pinned down.

And that was when I first started to think about home.

I might have been home then, that is, the place where I live, but no, I wasn’t really home yet. When pain and sadness overcome me, what has never failed to give me comfort is the hope and reality of heaven—my real home. This world is not it yet. Every person is born holding a blank ticket to somewhere. Thanks to the gift of free will, we have the rest of our lives to decide what kind of ticket we want it to be.

Going back to my longing for the home, there are days when I am consumed with awe, wonder and excitement. Aren’t you glad that someday our cheeks will not be streaked with tears anymore? Someday, we will say goodbye to the moon.

————

My heart is beating for home this Christmas. God has never felt more near. The Celebrant’s name says it all: Emmanuel—God with us. Retracing my steps, re-reading my words, something tells me that maybe we don’t need really need to cross to the afterlife to get to where we want to be. We can feel most accepted, loved, cherished, and forgiven while we are still on Earth.

Because Jesus walked on earth, home can be anywhere as long as He is in our hearts. And as I listen to Bing Crosby sing, “I’ll be home for Christmas,” I can smile and tell him, “I’m already there.”

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