Tuesday, August 28, 2007

40 Days

We are celebrating my grandfather's 40th day since he passed. It's been a Filipino tradition to commemorate the passing of loved ones on the 40th day. I never really questioned the significance of the number 40. I've been to quite a few of them, for both friends and relatives who've passed on. It's always a big party somewhere -- at least that's what it felt like.

The story behind 40th day celebrations is quite meaningful actually. The Pastor we invited to preside over the service tonight made really good points about this revered tradition. He reminded us that in the Bible, there are quite a few passages that involved "40 days" of something -- Noah and his ark endured 40 days and 40 nights of fierce rain and floods; Moses was up in the mountain, conversing with God, for 40 days; Jesus transcends over Satan's temptations in the desert for 40 days; he also ascended into heaven on the 40th day after he resurrected from the dead. Basically, 40 days depicted a really long time. Often, it's not even about the length of time anymore; it's about the gravity of the sufferings these Biblical personas had to endure in their time. Completing the cycle, if you will. Temptation, confusion, natural disaster, wavering faith, uncertainty, fear -- to experience these things in a day can be scarring. Just imagine carrying these burdens for more than a day.

My grandfather passed away after a long and fruitful life here on Earth. Our family has mourned for his passing. 40 days later, we remember his strength, his spirit, and his legacies. The worst is over, as some would say. His journey is now complete. This is a new chapter in our lives and I know my grandfather would want us to embark on this new journey with even more faith, more love, and more hope.

Everyone will always feel pain and experience hardships in life. We will always go through such trying times, but we are never truly alone. God loves us too much to leave us in our sufferings. There, too, will be time for peace. And today, peace is with my grandfather.

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