Inspired and Blessed by Bob Acebedo
Inspired & Blessed

Mahal, saan ako tutungo para umiyak?

Feb 14, 2024, 2:23 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


I write this piece in view of my beloved wife Malou’s birthday (last Monday, February 12) and, by all means, of this love month’s Valentine’s Day.

When we were younger, we were quite unmindful in observing or celebrating our birthdays – neither for me and Malou as we were rather engrossed with earning a living, nor with our then kiddie sons as they spent most of their growing up years in the seminary.

But as Malou and I are now certified first quarter sexagenarians, birthdays have become significant milestones, at the very least, to reckon with. And, in a sublime pondering moment, looking back – not only through the number of birthdays we’ve reached but the years we’ve happily spent together – not excluding, normally indeed, “putting up with each other” – induces me to pour out some tears. Thus, this piece’s title, “Mahal, saan ako tutungo para umiyak?”

Candidly, as I look back through our years as a couple, I realized that indeed “love is not about how many days, months or years we have been together; it is about how much we have grown, learned, and endured together.”

This early morning, I happened to wake up in bed, with Malou yet sleeping soundly beside me. Her arm across my chest, and her soft warm breath on my face (hindi naman po humihilik). Her hair has not yet turned white unlike mine. I could notice though some few crease lines on her forehead. Her hands, though she had done a lot of hard work, are still so soft but quite wrinkled now. I kiss them sweetly reminiscing how those hands had bled when she washed my trousers many years ago.

I can’t avoid too shedding joyful tears remembering the first night of our elopement. Before lying down on bed and even anxious for the gloriously romantic moment, I invited Malou to recite the biblical prayer of Tobias and Sara (Tobit 8:10) on their wedding night: “Have mercy on us. O Lord, have mercy on us, and let us grow old both together in health.”

Tobias’ prayer reminded me very well of the timeless truth that getting married (after my erstwhile unfinished priestly vocation) is “forever” (taliwas sa sinasabi ng iba na “walang forever”), and better as well thus I’ve prayed that I and Malou would both grow old together healthy, harmoniously, and happily!

Now, with Malou’s birthday as well as Valentine’s Day in mind, I feel the urge – out of modesty – to share some hearty reckonings on our almost 39 years of being together.

I like to believe that more than the happy or “rosy” moments, what have made our love even stronger over time were the “thornful” experiences, struggles and sacrifices – for which, hence, we have “grown, learned, and endured together”.

Of course, with the “ups and downs” or “thick and thin” journey (sino kaya ang walang “ups and downs”?) we have had, we cherish both the good and bad times with joy and gratitude.

Psychologists aver that there are 5 stages of marital life: 1) Romance stage; 2) Disillusionment stage; 3) Power Struggle stage; 4) Stability stage; and 5) Commitment stage.

Perhaps, I and Malou have already reached the 5th stage. But we’re not keeping it there.

We’re constantly making it fresh every day, never losing the boy within me and the young girl inside her – no matter how many wrinkles edge our eyes or our hairs entirely turn gray (nay vanishing).

The best of our days aren’t over yet – we’re always looking forward to rising fresh and healthy every morning, hugging each other, with smiles on our faces and gratitude in our hearts.

Thence, in closing, to honor Malou’s birthday and in the romantic spirit of Valentine’s Day, let me offer this poem:

O mahal kong Malou, kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ang aking mga luha ay mauunawaan, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para umiyak?

Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ang aking kaluluwa ay magkakaroon ng pakpak, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para lumipad?

Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ako ay tutubo at uunlad, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para sumubok?

Kung hindi sa iyong piling kung saan ako ay kikilalanin, paniniwalaan, at tatanggapin bilang ako, saan at kanino pa ako tutungo para ako ay maging ako?

O mahal ko, sadyang sa iyo at tanging sa iyo lamang ako tutungo at nais makapiling hanggang sa dulo ng walang-hanggan.

Pinakamamahal kita, O Malou, aking kabiyak!

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