by Oliver Carlos
I’m very much intrigued by the 2 photographs I found in my parent’s house lately. There’s a stockroom with about 3 dozen photo albums containing hundreds of photographs in our Los Banos house. The pictures were mostly on our childhood days. I found a black-and-white photograph of my 1st birthday party, with my Mom holding me and teaching me how to blow the single candle on the cake. I also found a picture of my 21st birthday party, that’s the first year I was already earning my own money. But what puzzles me is that there’s no other birthday party picture of mine except these two. Where are the pictures of my 2nd to 20th birthday parties?
I went over each photo album again at least 3 times, but still I cannot find such pictures. I tried to recall if I had parties when I was growing up, but sadly, I cannot squeeze from my memory such festivities. So I came up with a hypothesis that either I really didn’t have parties at all in between those 2 photographs, or we didn’t have a camera. In either case, it means that we weren’t so affluent yet during those years. But that’s fine with me. I understand fully well that my parents were just new in their respective jobs, and at the same time they had 4 little kids to watch over, feed, and send to school. I never asked my parents to throw a party for me when I was growing up. I’m contented with what I had. Just having loving parents and a happy family are more than enough for me. For a growing child, having a sense of security by seeing my parents love each other, and having wonderful camaraderie with my siblings, are worth more than 20 birthday parties!
Fast forward to the present. We now hold parties as often as we can. We organize gatherings not only on birthdays, but also on every red-letter date on the calendar. Financially, we are more affluent now, by leaps and bounds. How did that happen? By the stroke of God’s hand.
Looking back, I can see how God has blessed me and my family this past quarter of a century. We siblings have graduated from college one after the other. We found stable jobs, got married, and started our own families as well. Most of our kids are now teens and are on a steady path to success.
As for our parents, they too had their share of blessings after their kids became independent. They got their career milestones and awards. They became free from taking care of us, and thus had great flexibility in their time and finances. Soon, they retired from being employees, and they are now enjoying the fruits of their hard work. Materially, they had gone a long, long way compared to when they were a start-up married couple in the 1970s. God has been so good indeed to our family.
Now that all of us Castillo siblings are in our 40s, we look forward to the times when we would gather to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays together in our parents’ house. Thanks to the internet, we are able to include Jay-R and his family in our parties even though they are in the US. However, since the pandemic rolled on, social gatherings got prohibited. Thus, we are now just waiting for the right time to hold parties once again.
I came across a Bible verse explaining this phenomenon. I read Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV):
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
In life, there will be moments when we would experience scarcity, but there would also be prosperity. There is a time to work, and a time to rest. There is a time to save, and a time to spend. There is a time to withhold a party, and a time to hold a party. There is a time for everything. You just have to be patient as God works in your life. Trust him that someday your time will come.
So dear friend, cheer up! God is the Lord of the seasons. Remember that.