Funny and unfamiliar feeling – this aptly describes one’s mixed emotions as he draws near the place he had never seen for years. The excitement takes a progressive crescendo as he negotiates the final strides to the doorsteps of the place he missed for years.
Happy faces, hugs and kisses, and the excitement of everyone around transform the place into a festive atmosphere. Everybody seems to know him, everybody wants to be near him. He is the most important person in that space at the moment. He is finally home.
The scene is repeated in many parts of the country as joy and relief find the void of longing and worries kept inside the hearts and thoughts of the returnee and the expectant. A homecoming is such a special moment of reconnection, a victory of sort after a long and excruciating wait.
There are good reasons for people to leave home and endure the impending sacrifice of yearning and longing. The familiar line is finding “a greener pasture” from which harvest would be sent back home to provide a better life for the family.
Another reason is compliance for the exigency of the service of the institution from which remunerations in the form of salary and wages are the source of income. The latter applies particularly to soldiers and policemen who, by virtue of the law governing their operations, become most of the time subservient (and silently unwilling) subjects of deployment to areas far from home.
Just recently, Philippine National Police’s Director General Camilo Cascolan announced the implementation of the PNP Localization Program which intends to “repatriate” police officers who are serving in places far from where their families reside.
Already, thousands of these affected policemen have submitted their applications to be included in the program. Certainly, Cascolan knew the agony of his men who have been detached for long from the warmth and comfort of their homes.
Home is described as a place where one is at ease with, secured and comfortable with people you are living with, where love and understanding abound, an environment you’ve been adapted to, full of warmth, easy to understand.
Home is where one’s heart is. That’s the reason why a homecoming is such a very special and sweet event to family and friends. The occasion becomes a time of thanksgiving, a reason to rejoice.
But not all homecomings have the perks and pomp of joyous reunions. We shed tears for hundreds of OFWs in body bags and sealed coffins, victims of the pandemic sweeping the world as well as those victims of abuses and atrocities abroad.
We pray with sadness as soldiers and policemen killed while performing their bound duties transported to their families from far-flung areas of their assignments. The consolation of the grieving families is they were able to finally come home. For there are those who never did.
The families of those who lost in sea tragedies continue to wait, some hoping their loved ones may either be still alive, or at the least their bodies recovered and finally brought home.
How often do we hear the phrase, “There’s no place like home”? Indeed, through good and bad times, in bounty and famine, hell or high water, home is a fortress for one who values the place where he spent some of the best years of his life.
Both in life and beyond, there comes a time we find our path homeward./WDJ