Wednesday, February 23, 2005 0 comments


February 15, 2005

All shall be well. This has been my slogan since I begin to understand that life doesn’t always go the way we plan it to. Eversince I accept the way of life I have now, I experience nothing but trouble. First, there is this restlessness that always plague me. I seem to always think that all I do is not enough, that there is always something MORE. I may blame it all on the Jesuit educational system that influences my way of life but I seem to remember that ever since childhood, I’ve never believed in mediocrity. I am always confident that someday I can do something for the world. Something extraordinary. Something wonderful. Something More. In all the things I do I have always strived for beauty and originality. I used to equate my work then with what I am. But gradually, as I find God and falls in love with Him, my work began to take on new meaning. I am full of awe at what this love can do. At the same time, I am afraid of what this love can make me do. And so I find myself loving people because it is asked of me. Somehow, my heart recognizes that the only way I’ll find myself is in getting out of myself. For years I have been preoccupied with who I am and what I am. Yet when I begin to love people, I see how easy it is for me to appreciate myself. All I need is to dare to love and love truly without recompense. And it’s like a petal unfolding itself. Then I begin to see that when I learn to truly love, there is no place for mediocrity. One cannot be mediocre when one is in love.

Then why this restlessness? I believe it is because loving does not stop with the people I loved first. It is not exclusive nor stagnant. The true test of loving lies in being able to let go. Even if I feel my soul torn apart, my heart broken to a hundred pieces, my body tired and my arms too weary to embrace another broken soul. Love is truly love when time and distance do not become a reason for forgetting but a reason for looking forward to the next meeting. The challenge then is to love more, to find people to love, to be restlessly in love.

But I find it hard to love sometimes. Right now I am beginning to think twice about restlessness. As I said, it brings me nothing but trouble. Because the world doesn’t see love the way I do. Because the people I dare to love do not know that I am loving them with all that I have. Because the world has placed limits on who I can love, until when, which places, and for what reasons. For this, I am frustrated to the point of tears. I begin to think about mediocrity. Is there such a thing about being good at mediocrity? I see so many people being content with what is there. They no longer feel the need to love more because they have people to love who love them back. I envy the peace they seem to show the world. Why cannot I love the same way? Why can’t I just love those who love me? Why must I search the earth for more people to love? Why must I always dare to love to be more?

If I give in to mediocrity, must I also forget my dreams? Then I will be merely existing and not living. I am merely functioning as a body and forgetting all about my soul. I will cease to love because I am tired of restlessness. It only leaves me with a hundred broken pieces that I don’t know how to patch or even mend. I will no longer fulfill my destiny. There is no More. Nothing wonderful. Nothing extraordinary. I will just exist and wait for end without excitement or fear.

Yet this feeling, though tempting and an easy escape to a hassle-free life, is fortunately fleeting. I am selfish because I love myself too much to die without a struggle, to die without having to fight for my dreams, to die without having known the pleasure of being loved and the pain of being rejected, to die without the excitement of the dare, and to die even without the restless spirit that has moved me to be MORE. After the entire struggle, I still know that all shall be well.


February 14, 2005: Valentine’s Day

Tonight I speak of sadness. The way it has shaped the way I am speaks so much of how it has been present all my life. Sadness is the prelude to loneliness. It is when I feel sad that loneliness begins to eat at me. I remember the first time I felt truly sad. I was about nine years old. It has not stopped raining for five days. I cannot play and go to the mountains. The ground is soaking wet and miniature rivers are forming in the unpaved road in front of our house. There is something about the rain that touches me. There is a certain violence and at the same time gentility in the way it strikes the ground. As I sit on our windowsill watching how water seems to turn pebbles shining like gems, I am struck by the utter wretchedness the pebble must feel. To be so helpless out in the open, with no shelter from the driving rain, in my young mind I pity the small pebble. Then amazingly, I saw a lone ant slowly winding its way towards the pebble. It climbs up, seems to look both ways, then slowly climbs down. The question, “Are they talking?” comes unbidden in my mind. I remember that in the utter desolation I felt because of the rain I began to question the natural purpose of things. Questions like, “Do pebbles get lonely? Did the ant quarrel with a friend? How did the rain feel falling on the ground? Does it hurt?” race through my mind. Inexplicable sadness engulfs me for I do not know the answer to those questions. Moreover, I cannot ask anyone. My parents are busy and I only see them at night. The questions are also beyond the intellectual capacity of my yaya who is glued to the afternoon radio drama. I think about God but even he seems to be silent. Perhaps he thinks the questions too childish or too obvious to be answered. I gaze up at the dark sky as thunder rolls and I feel angry. At the rain for being so cruel, at the pebble for not striking back, at my yaya for being so selfish, and at my parents for not being there when I am sad. I did not cry, I did not shout nor curse. Yet I know the moment my soul begins to understand sadness. Sadness happens when I cannot do what I want to do. It happens when I am being treated unfairly and cannot strike back, and it happens when the person you need the most is not at your side. So at a young age the rain teaches me sadness. Everytime it rains I become sad and I can gaze at the pebbles forever. The pitter-patter of the rain is like a heartbreaking soundtrack. It is the time when I cannot even escape into my daily daydreams. I cannot even muster the excitement of climbing the mountain alone when the sun shines again. I am stuck. Like the pebble, I just let sadness engulf me. For a moment that seems like eternity I wallow in the rain. In this moment of sadness I feel so alone. Not even my dreams make sense anymore. For the rain has totally exposed me. I am helpless. There’s nothing I can do but wait for it to stop. And even when the rain finally stops, sadness has made its mark on my soul.


February 13, 2005

What is happiness? Is it a feeling of great joy at being with people you love? Is it winning the lottery? Is it laughter? Is it being able to buy all you ever wanted in life? Is it being with the man you love best in the world?

Happiness is like a cloud. The more you stare at it, the faster it seems to change form. It is different things for different people. Yesterday, I was looking at a particularly ugly cloud. It was like white cotton candy. Gradually, it began to take in the form of a fluffy duck. Then just as I am about to decide where the wing is, the beak is gone and in its place the hood of a car takes form, then a girl dancing and once I can even see it as Mary bowing her beautiful head. This is a game we usually play since childhood. Clouds have an amazing way of delighting the young. As we each gaze at it and debate on its form, we unconsciously say what our souls wish to say. We want the clouds to show what’s in our souls. We want it to show the world our heart’s desire. And as we debate with our playmates, if we are but mindful, we will also know their heart’s desire: a toy, a pet, a mother; all that a child could possibly wish for. And the clouds grant it.

So it is with happiness. It is always there before my eyes. I may choose to see it or not. And when I do see it, I may put figures or forms on it. I am happy because I got a very expensive gift. I am happy because my friend whom I haven’t seen for ten years texted me. I am happy because my father got well, and I am happy because my dreams are finally coming true. When we put forms on our clouds, we know what makes us happy. And we get a little nearer to heaven because of it.

Yet what makes me happy may not make other people happy. Sometimes when I listen to a student sharing his unhappiness, I tend to impose my own clouds at him. I want my wishes to be his, I want him to see the clouds the way I see it, forgetting that his soul is not mine, that his soul sees the clouds in a different way. When that happens, I do not respect his soul. I am guilty many times of this. What I should have done is guide him to see the clouds first. Just like what we do when we are young. When we notice a cloud and recognize its form, we immediately tell our playmates about it and together we laughingly find other forms. Sometimes we recognize the forms our friends discover, sometimes we cannot, there may be even times when we refuse to see what our friend has discovered, insisting that his duck is our airplane. The point is we recognize that each of us decides what makes us happy. Happiness cannot be imposed. It is discovered. And if our souls are but open and our hearts as carefree as a child, we will be amazed at how happy we can be. If we but let it.

So what is happiness? For me it is in seeing the clouds and discovering the fluffy duck, the dancing girl and Mary. It is recognizing that my happiness is not dependent on one form, one thing, one person. It is respecting my friends’ clouds and loving them enough to share my own clouds and see theirs. And if I cannot understand how my duck is their airplane, I will just put my arm around their shoulders and smile up at heaven. After all, I am not asked to understand, but see and watch the clouds.


February 12, 2005

"In love, no one can harm anyone else; we are each of us responsible for our own feelings and cannot blame someone else for what we feel… I am convinced that no one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone. That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it."- Paulo Coelho, 11 Minutes

Loneliness comes at certain times in my life. It comes after a day spent running around trying to do different things at once. It happens after a week full of listening to different stories. Sometimes it comes like a gentle yet sweet pain during a cloudy day, when all the world seems to be on the verge of mourning. Rarely does it come after a happy and fruitful day. Like now.

I cannot begin to describe the ache that is in me. I cannot begin to imagine what bottomless pain has lodged in my heart. It pains me so much I no longer feel it. It doesn’t even seem like a feeling anymore. It is there. And it haunts me at the least moment I expect it to. I cannot cry. For crying doesn’t make the pain any less. Tears elude me at the loneliest times. Isn’t it weird? They say letting it all out will help. It doesn’t. And I’m not sure anybody can understand.

I am not so arrogant as to claim that I am the loneliest person in the world. Nor do I want my loneliness to be an excuse for loving less. I am born lonely, and hard to accept that may be, it is there. I can only pray for the grace to transcend it and transform my loneliness to love.

I have a different understanding of love. I believe that I have loved so much and understood so much of loving that the moment I love someone, I let go. At first, I do it unconsciously. Yet when I look back at the people I have loved, it seems like I keep on leaving them. Letting them go. It is a painful process and oftentimes I am tempted to cling, to fight to keep the person within my grasp. I spend many tormented nights agonizing over this. Am I losing out on a good thing? Will I have regrets? And I have to fight to keep from falling into the temptation of believing that I am just a coward. Oftentimes I ask myself that maybe I am just afraid of commitment, of embracing the unknown, of getting hurt.

But I sincerely believe with all my heart that I let go because I love. I am not afraid to commit. I am not afraid to get hurt. After all, letting go brings with it the loneliness that few people dare to embrace. And it hurts for many. And it hurts me more. I am not hesitant to embrace the unknown. I have gambled my life for two years not knowing where it will lead me, not even knowing if I am capable nor deserving. I have climbed mountains with only a bit of strength for the long hike, confident that I can make it. I have loved people I am not supposed to love, would be a waste of time to love and are not deserving of my love. In this case, is there really a person who is not deserving of love? I don’t think so. If I choose the one I love, then I am not truly loving. For love knows no bounds, it doesn’t discriminate, nor conforms to what men call proper.

I am not being irresponsible in my belief. I have loved more than I ever thought possible. I have hurt more than I thought I can endure. I have let go of people I love when doing so seems to be the least rational and logical thing to do. I have embraced the loneliness that goes with it. I have leaped over the abyss of uncertainty knowing that love would see me through. My love. My peace.

I cannot say that I am stronger because of this. But in my loneliness I find solace in the knowledge that the one I love has grown stronger because I set them free. I find comfort watching from a distance how they stumble yet get enough courage to be independent because I have not bound them with my smothering affection. I am happy knowing that they will LIVE because I love them enough to teach them how.

Does this mean I will not let someone love me too? I don’t know. I somehow have this feeling that I am not meant to be loved that way. I cannot imagine being bound by a person. No matter how he might profess to love me. I think a person like that will make me lose respect. Love for me is freedom. But then again, there is freedom in surrender. That I let go that I may be loved. It is beautiful. But it might not be for me.

Sometimes a song can make me cry. It resonates with the feeling of loneliness that I always carry within me. I think all songwriters are lonely people. How else can they make people cry? It is the music of one soul touching another. A broken heart looking for its missing piece, a spurned lover groping to understand why he is not enough, a child seeking for understanding, a clown who dreams to find himself and the long list of hopeful lovers praying for someone to love. People might think this weird. They do not see that I struggle so much in this business called love. They do not see that I smile because I am in pain and smiling seems to be the only way to forget. Oftentimes I am tempted to abandon the struggle, to give up the fight. Yet I know that by giving up I am losing my own self. So I trudge on, a weary one man army. All in the name of love.