Is It?

The terminal was a block away and there was no way I can get there without any form of transportation. My flight to Qatar will be leaving in 30 minutes and I was still frantically looking for a way to get there as fast as I could. I was holding in my right hand the boarding pass and on my left the carry-on bag. My other luggage had been checked-in earlier.

A lady employee of NAIA 3 terminal, seeing that I was in distress already told me that there is a short-cut and she offered to help me. As I followed her out of the building, I saw Myco in the car parked outside and she looked very happy. I overheard her say : ”we have a new baby in Liboran!”.

I looked at the airline ticket and boarding pass on my hand; I was about to show them to the lady in the boarding gate. She saw that I was hesitating and probably saw I was about to cry. Then she said: “If you don’t board now Ma’am, the money you paid for your ticket will go down the drain. That’s a lot of money you’re going to waste. I looked at her for a very long time. I had to decide right there and then. Will I board the plane and leave my family behind for years to earn a living abroad? Will it be worth it? I will miss them very, very much! I will miss important family milestones like birthdays and graduations, but most importantly being with them every day. I asked myself again: “Will it be worth it?

On my left hand were my airline ticket and my boarding pass. On my right hand my carry-on baggage. In front of me the lady waiting for me to hand my documents.

I began to sob. I couldn’t breath, and my body began to rack as my sobbing continued. I could literally feel my heart throbbing in pain. I cried like a baby and tears flowed freely.

Then my eyes opened!

I looked around.

I wasn’t in the airport. I was lying in bed, hugging my pillow. Finally I came to my senses: everything was just a dream. But the pain was real! I touched my face and it was wet with tears. I was hurting inside, the feelings of loneliness so real and true. That moment, even though I was already awake, I continued to sob in silence because the feeling was still fresh and so, so real. It was so real I was literally hurting inside.

I looked at him sleeping peacefully beside me. I listened to his peaceful breathing. I looked at the thin lines on his forehead, his long lashes that I so admire, his lips that I love to kiss. Right that very moment I understood what I have known all along … for me it will never be worth it! To leave my family behind to acquire material possessions will never be an option for me.

Sometimes, for the want to provide more for our family we find ourselves tempted to think of leaving home to find better opportunities somewhere else. To want to give them the best is honorable, is always right, we keep telling ourselves. But maybe there is a way we can do that without leaving home, without leaving our families behind. Because I know one thing is true, in this life and in our relationships, our physical presence is something no amount of money or material possessions will ever equal. Our presence is needed more than the luxury we can provide. Nothing, as in nothing can replace the physical hug, the hand-holding, the kiss on the forehead, or on the lips, the soft caress, the pat on the back, the gentle talks, the occasional misunderstandings and conflicts, the arguments, the lessons we teach, the guidance and counsels we give, the listening ear we lend, as well as the spontaneous laughter we share with one another. Life is short and there are crossroads in life – ours, our children’s, our spouse’s , our extended family’s- where and when our physical presence is needed more that the money we can provide.

And one thing more, we simply cannot bring back lost time. We can never bring back or put on hold childhood, bedtime stories, graduations, birthdays, puberty, junior-senior proms, to name a few of life’s simplest yet most profound occasions where our presence will be needed.

I am grateful I made the right decision. Yes, I don’t have much, and I could have made much had I decided to leave and work abroad, but no regrets. I have everything I need to be truly happy in this life … they are here, beside me, at home, where my heart is, and where it will always be.


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