A week before this column came out from the press; my son had a wedding. I was asked to deliver a nuptial speech which, of course, as a father, I obliged. The following is my full discourse for my son’s momentous event:
The whirlwind courtship of Saad and Arra that surrounded the events we are celebrating today evokes sweet memories of bygone years. That my wife and I agreed to go with the flow. It was Fall of 2013 when Saad visited us in the Arctic.
The day prior Saad’s return to Winnipeg via Ottawa, the three of us conducted a modified family altar – modified in the sense that Bahandi is not with us at the time. As usual, we have Hymn Singing, Scripture Reading, and Prayer Session.
I asked Saad what his special prayer request is that we have to present to God’s altar. Saad replied he is now ready to pray for a help meet. It is a legitimate prayer request for the Lord Himself said that it is “not good for a man to be alone”.
Elsewhere in the Scriptures, the inspired written Word of God says, “He who finds a wife receives a good gift from God”.
In the course of time my wife and I have this conversation that she would travel to Manila in Fall 2016 and bring along Saad to search for a wife from the Philippines.
I was in Manila in the months of April and May and meditated asking the Lord in murmur, “Lord, when are you going to honor the request of my son, Saad, to meet his future wife?”
The Lord did not respond my whispered prayer. There was no clapping of the clouds; neither had I heard a roaring thunder nor saw a lightning bolt striking from the sky. However, I got a text message from my wife indicating, “may Arra”.
Ara, is a Hiligaynon term which means in Tagalog, meron. The prayer is affirmed, there is an answer, “may Arra”, there is one. I replied to my wife to inform Arra and schedule a meeting between her parents and I. My wife responded with strict reminder never to mention wedding arrangements so as not to pre-empt Saad from telling the parents of Arra that he is going to marry their daughter.
I brought along my two younger brothers and one nephew – first cousin of Bahandi and Saad – for lunch at Banana Leaf, Trinoma Square in Quezon City. About two o’clock in the morning, Arctic Time, I called up my wife in the Arctic from her slumber to talk with the future parents-in-law of our son over the cellphone.
The day I was preparing myself to enplane back to Iqaluit via Ottawa, I received a text message from the parents of my future daughter-in-law, “Brother Bob, we thank the Lord that we meet through our children”. My heart was warmed.
My wife and I were not blessed with a daughter. But if we were given one, I could have named her, “Himaya”. But the Lord did not let us down. Today, Judy Grace and I have two daughters – Maureen and Arra. Before Saad was betrothed to Arra, when my wife and I have animated talks about our children and grandchildren, I do not address Maureen as Maureen. When I spoke with my wife about Maureen I would banter with her, “Have you spoken with your favourite daughter-in-law?” I call Maureen the favourite daughter-in-law because for an extended period we have no other daughter-in-law, but Maureen.
With the marriage of Saad to Arra, I am now in a quandary to call Maureen as Judy Grace’ favourite DIL. Saad will vehemently protest. The adjective “favourite” turns to be a dilemma. Neither my wife nor I could play favourites. Maureen and Arra are now our daughters.
I tinkered the contacts icon of my cellphone and looked intently how I am going to rework my directory. The question how I am going to honor the wives of my children is somewhat a riddle. Flash of thoughts came to mind. I renamed Maureen and Arra, not as in-laws, but they are named the Queen Maureen, the Queen Arra.
To our Kumpare and to our Kumare – parents of Maureen and Arra – perhaps, we “lost” our sons to you. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, in the process, we gained two Daughters in return.
Watch the full video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zThL_cjQsG4.