In this day and age, we can hardly see milestone events without a coordinator. In some events, there are rehearsals a few minutes or even a day before the big event itself. Most of these occasions require long-range planning of at least six months before the activity. And of all the events—wedding receptions, anniversaries, reunions that I have participated in, I find one particular series of events as the most difficult to plan—the Mison Family Reunion.
Since 1998 my father Salvador has sponsored extended family reunions every other year. I suppose it is my parents’ way to ensure that their six children and their respective spouses plus 13 grandchildren based in the United States and in the Philippines will somehow stay connected. Family reunions are major events that entail a master planner and coordinator. And in all these Mison biennial reunions—whether in countries of the Holy Land, or ancient cities of Rome, Florence and Assisi, or onboard cruise ships, my sister Melinda Gay Mison-Asuncion is the master planner and grand event coordinator.
About a year before each family reunion, my father designates Melinda to do the research on flights, hotels, car rentals if any and whatever tourist spots where the family can have quality bonding activities. She will always get the best value for money packages and gives regular updates and reminders for everyone to know how to prepare and what to bring to the reunion. During the event itself, she tirelessly handles all transactions with the tour guides, restaurant or resort managers, hotel concierge, taxi operators, etc. Her previous experience in Merrill Lynch as a private investment banker, where she dealt with all kinds of people, is put to good use during these reunions. When things go wrong, Melinda goes to the rescue. Perhaps owing to her UP background, she can be feisty at times, but can surely get the job done. In our most recent reunion in Scandinavia, she lost her voice halfway through the vacation due to over fatigue. Without her caring “Mother Goose” implementation, our family would not be able to enjoy the quality moments during these biennial events. In my case, my personal contribution is just to relax, trusting that everything is taken care of. Melinda is our “go-to guy” for these reunions.
We will always have some go-to guy who we can rely on for certain things. For me, such person who can be my “big brother” is actually my sister Melinda. She will always have my back and will never fail to bail me out. Growing up, while everyone my age could already mumble intelligible words, I could only utter three words (or syllables), “AH MOO DO.” My father thought I was deaf or perhaps dumb. No one in the family could understand me every time I say such phrase, except my sister Melinda. Up until age 4, I say AH MOO DO whenever I want to eat, sleep, drink or do something. Much to my parents’ amazement, only Melinda can decipher what I mean. During my teenage years, she was my confidant. That early sibling connection is carried over into our adulthood. Whenever I am dealing with a difficult situation at home or at work, she’s there to help me deal with it. After our most recent family reunion, she told me—“check that your heart is after His will and seek to obey Him and His commandments.” I dare say I would have never become a California-licensed lawyer more than 10 years ago without Melinda’s indispensable affection. Nowadays, despite the physical distance between us, Melinda seems to be aware of everything about me without me saying anything—similar to our relationship with our God.
Our God is everywhere! His omnipresence tells us that He is the Master Planner and grand event Coordinator in our lives. He has planned all our activities here on Earth. All we have to do is to trust Him. And follow Him, by way of free will. He gives us regular updates and reminders through the persons and events He sends our way. When things get rough, we just have to keep calm and wait for Him. In my case, I try to just relax trusting that everything is taken care of. In the Bible, Psalm 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Whatever troubles lie ahead, God already knows what they should mean for us. The milestone events in our lives, good and bad, are pre-planned and already coordinated from above. And we should rejoice that the Master Planner never fails. He will always understand our needs and aspirations. We just have to talk to Him. “AH MOO DO,” I still say. My sister Melinda might still get it, but I am certain He does.
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