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Adoration

When I was a child and was living at Clark Air Base in the Philippines, Saturday afternoons were very special. I was always a good little Catholic child, an eager little mystic, who had no supernatural experiences that I could wow an audience with. I didn’t see visions, or hear angels speak. Even so, being a Catholic child at that moment in time was a special thing, because of my father.

My Daddy was an Air Force officer and a convert to Catholicism, through the spiritual mentoring of a American Jesuit from the Chinese Province, Robert Dailey, S.J.  In the early 60’s, I used to accompany my father to confession and then stay for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

These hymns I learned next to my father. Now, for those of you who know my family story, this is a highlight, a shining point, a gift that has kept on giving. My father suffered from bipolar disorder in an era where there was neither ample knowledge, or medicine to even out the chemicals in the brain. This period of the early 60’s was between episodes. I was lucky that I had this. My younger siblings don’t have these memories.

Anyway, I’d rather not recount sorrow because I am past it. I have been so blessed in my life to have had the singular joys and sorrows that have been alloted to my own story. I loved my father in spite of his illness, and have taken up the study of this illness these past ten years or so, in order to understand it. Over the years, my own story has become a deep source of strength for me. No longer do I run from it, or cringe. It has become truly part of who I am. I wouldn’t be me without it.

It is a way of making lemonade from lemons. The sweetest part of the story for me, has been my religious training at the side of my American father in my Filipino mother’s land. I think of Adoration and his khaki uniform. I think of his soft cap with his lieutenant’s bars, and his round hat when he became a captain. I suppose he was on duty because why would these memories have him in uniform?

I think of Mt. Arayat in the distance and a sunny bright day. Where we lived, in the province of Pampanga, the shadows were long and the light was golden in the late afternoon.

When I listen to this, I am transported, yet I am also right here.

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