The Four Gifts of the Three Kings

“Allow yourself to experience fully every step of the journey, both the joy and the pain. You’re alive. Greet the moment at hand with a grateful heart.”
— Eleanor Brown

As I wrote in an earlier blog, the Feast of the Three Kings has always held a special place in my life. As a child I received gifts, and later on my parents made sure we always celebrated the day one way or another. Over the years, as my parents aged and I moved away, the holiday became a more church-related day rather than family oriented. Deep down in my heart there will always be that little girl who woke up eagerly on January 6th to find gifts waiting for her.

I write today’s entry with a heavy heart, having been dealt a spoonful of bitter disappointment and a forkful of frustration. It was cold and wet evening as I trudged home after work. Both the snail mail and electronic mail waiting for me were bearers of bad news for the most part, and felt like a kick in the stomach. But I am determined not to let the stumbling block drag me down or define me. If there one thing I learned from 2020, “no” tends to mean “not yet” or “not this path, take the other one” and I head that call. Then there is my beloved MacBook that I surrendered to the repair shop – and it doesn’t look good. In fact, it looks more like the end of the road. I gave the technician a budget limit, and said that if the estimate for the repairs was going to exceed that amount to simply forget it. He agreed wholeheartedly, although he must have noticed the disappointment in my eyes and heard it out of the tone of my voice (we were both wearing masks). We continued chatting, and he perked up when I mentioned that I would be open to refurbished units as well. Silver linings, they are always there, you just have to learn to navigate past the rain clouds.

The biblical gifts of the Three Kings were gold, frankincense and myrrh, and most people never have anything to do with the last two items beyond the smoke in church. This year all three items take on a very different meaning in my life.

As you know, I switched to natural cures recently and have gone all-in with my essential oils, where both frankincense and myrrh play vital roles in the oil mixes I have concocted. It is a fascinating journey mixing and matching the oils for the various needs, and experiencing the effects. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would be sitting at my desk carefully counting the drops of each of these oils. One mix was for my daughter to help cope with her ADHD wherein frankincense is one of the key ingredients, and another mix as a travel oil to relieve the stress, nausea from motion sickness, and act as a revitalizer after the long trip. It also comes into my anti-aging serum, and myrrh, helps with my knee and other things.

Gold for me didn’t come in the metal form this year. My cousins and I recently reconnected via social media and have formed a group. It is an incredibly uplifting experience to be able to catch up with people who have been such an integral part of my life since I was born. Life has taken us all on separate twisted paths, but for some reason, the universe deemed it appropriate that we reunite at this particular point in time. As family ties are, revisiting the past is inevitable and bittersweet, but also hilarious with the great advantage of hindsight. It is the greatest gift to be reminded how much I’m loved and how welcome I am wherever I go. Family is a great thing when love and respect for each other’s uniqueness and differences become the pillars for continuity. Mind you, no family is perfect, but having a bunch of damned good cousins to grow old with is priceless.

We began sharing old photographs, digging up whatever we could, never failing to grin at all the changes since those moments were captured. Then I remembered that before I left Manila in 2017 my aunt quickly thrust a mysterious bag in my hand as a parting gift. I never got around to opening it, but all this talk of old photographs and family heirlooms suddenly triggered something. I dashed down to the basement and Lo and behold, there was the blue bag, sitting patiently in the corner waiting for its turn to emerge.

Talk about treasures! I held the family archives in my basement all this time! Never before seen photographs of our parents as children and teenagers, our grandparents as newlyweds, and the ancestral home as it was being built. Many of the photographs are water damaged or have evidence of rodent attacks, but much of it can be restored. It would be a crime not to, and with the current technology you can do so much to restore these old prints. I’ve shared a few here, just superficially restored to explore some options before I embark on the long journey of restoration. This is my gold from the Three Kings.

So this year the Three Kings actually brought me four gifts, silver (linings), gold (golden past and priceless relationships), frankincense and myrrh (for healing). I’d say it a pretty good loot.

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