9 Days of Gratitude: The warmth of a home.

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“A home is a place, you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to.”

In Filipino tradition, today marks the beginning of the first day of “Simbang Gabi or Night Mass” it’s also called “Rooster’s Mass” in other cultures. This is celebrated with a nine-day series of devotional masses in anticipation of Christmas day. I would like to begin by cultivating an attitude of gratefulness for the wonderful blessings we possess. And so I will be writing about the nine things I am grateful for the following days until Christmas time.

To begin, being the eldest of ten siblings, I grew up with so much responsibilities at hand. Growing up and raising the family had been a struggle for a lack in financial resources, but my parents had manage it exceptionally well. Looking back, even as a little girl I have always been appreciative of the little things we had. My childhood was never a dull one, we lived a happy life, and we never miss to celebrate special occasions even in the simplest way imaginable.

I could still remember the rental house that we had lived in. It is like living in a basement cage, it’s a tiny room without a toilet and having an improvised kitchen placed on the same level where the house owner’s pets is our next door neighbors. The chicken coop and dog house is even nestled on a higher ground than our bedroom floor, in time of the rainy season, the pouring water comes in and fills up the tiny space. Our room is already flooded even when the streets are not. Can you imagine?

But despite of these, we always find happiness in every challenge and difficulty. As young children that we are, what we did was to take a dip and enjoy the muddy water. I still remember the grin in our faces as we swam and play as my mother scooped out the rainwater from the inside and out. We were overjoyed and never felt it as unfortunate, but we’re kids. What do we know?

As I grew older, I had the chance to reside in a big concrete house with a big yard surrounded by fruit-bearing trees. It could have been anyone’s dream home, such peaceful and quiet surroundings. With the rooster’s wake-up call at dawn, birds chirping in the afternoon and the noises of insects at night, sounds like the homes in some fairy tale stories. Even with such grandeur, the emotions were incomparable to that when we were young, it was just but a beautiful house and nothing more.

One thing life has taught me is that the home is where your heart is. It is that warm and delightful feeling transcended when you’re with family. It is the mischievous laughter of a child, the heart-wrenching bullying of your siblings and the repetitive scolding of your stressed-out parents. All these experiences are priceless, no matter how lacking you felt it has been.

And so today, I am living an attitude of gratitude. The first thing I am thankful about is the wonderful blessing of having our very own home sweet home.

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