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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Risking Heartaches

Was watching Harry Potter Deathly Hollows part 2 and as usual was crying at the part where all the people who loved Harry and died were talking to him. Made me think of the risk of heartaches when you love especially because of the loss of a loved one. 

Then a question popped in my head, asking me if this is the risk I was willing to take in the search for love? Am I still willing to risk all this pain just to be with my one true love? Then the answer came naturally: "Yes! My heart had been broken so many times, so what's another one? As they say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Tough question. 

Tougher Answer. 
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Solo, Not Single

Entering the PICC building, I was quite nervous. I bought my Kerygma Conference 2011 ticket only a day before, still not sure if I should attend until the last minute. I was thinking, I could have spent the day doing my usual chores but with my son Marti’s prodding, who even arranged his schedule with his Dad so I could have a free day, I decided to go and overcome my usual nervousness when attending an event on my own.

The moment I stepped into Meeting Room 11, I knew I was meant to be there on that day. I saw the same person who sent me the e-mail that changed my life forever! It was Rhoda, my former officemate who e-mailed me one of Bro. Bo’s newsletters which started me on my journey to self-awareness and renewed faith in God. After the niceties and warm hug, I found out that she was part of the Media committee of the KCon and I told her that it was because of her that I was there. She seemed to beam at that but I was more delighted because of this first sign that God gave to reassure me.

Bro. Rex’s worship was simply phenomenal! When he declared that solo parents are blessed with God as our partner and that He would never abandon us, never neglect, never disappoint us, the tears just started to flow. The best line he imparted was “Your setback is a set-up for a greater comeback!”

The talks were all enlightening and informative. The lessons that stuck to me were the ones of Michelle Aglinay and of Bro. Hermie and Sister Reng. Really liked Michelle’s advice on revealing the truth to the children the status of their parents’ relationship as early as possible. I can attest to this as Marti grew up to be emotionally healthy despite not having complete parents. But my favorite talk was that of Bro. Hermie and Sister Reng about remarriage and stepfamily. I guess most of the solo parents still aim to remarry someday that’s why a lot were attentive to this talk, not to mention the funny stories of Bro. Hermie and Sister Reng. But what affected me most from their sharing was the grief process of Bro. Hermie’s and his family when his first wife passed away, that although he was already healed from his grief and ready to get married again, his daughter was not and that they respected the children’s feelings so much, they were willing to wait until everybody, especially the children, were ready for this new relationship. I realized then that despite the 9 years since my Mom died, my sister and I were still grieving but unfortunately our Dad couldn’t wait for us to heal before he got married again, or at least acknowledge our mourning. Through this talk, I became aware of my feelings of grief and could probably start to fully heal from thereon.

But the most amazing experience I had on that day was not only the talks but with the people I met there despite my early nervousness:

Rhoda, the person who shared a simple e-mail of Bro. Bo’s newsletter and started me on this spiritual journey.

Sister Faye, 20 years old and 8 months pregnant, who reminded me of the courage I had to pull up against all odds when I decided to become a solo parent.

Sister Bheng, a single mom to a 15 year old son, who taught me to live life one day at a time and give myself a chance to be happy, that it was ok to go on dates and even have a relationship as long as you are upfront about it to your child.

Sister Sally, a widow and mother to 3 lovely daughters, who showed me the true meaning of service; that even if dozens of people ask you to serve, it is ultimately yourself who can decide to commit to serve.

The Feast has taught me to be hopeful and renewed my love for God but the Kerygma Conference opened my eyes to the abundance of blessings that God can and will shower you with as long as you open your arms and your heart to Him.

I’ll definitely be back next year and hopefully bring more people to this marvelous experience! More power to Bro. Bo Sanchez and to the Light of Jesus Family!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011


My sister Cha and I throughout the years

My sister Cha and I have been planning to spend some bonding time and when she discovered Mojito Night at T.G.I.Fridays we gave it a go last Saturday. 

Having our own families now and living apart, it was always a welcome treat to spend time with just each other but last Saturday was probably one of the most heart-warming and enlightening talks we've had in a very long time.

We didn't grow up really close, having opposite personalities despite resembling each other that oftentimes we were mistaken as twins. Cha was the physically strong one, tomboyish, outgoing and had lots of friends. I was always sickly being anemic, very shy and an introvert and would rather stay at home, drawing and sketching in my room or listening to the stories of the elders. Even in our relationships we were different: I only had one boyfriend back in high school while Cha had a string of them all the way to medical school. But going down memory lane over bottomless mojitos, Cha and I realized that it was in our differences  that we would find solace for each other, especially now that we were orphans, physically and emotionally---with Mom passing away 10 years ago and Dad remarrying and starting another family.

Talking about Mom, Cha told me about the time when she had to live at our paternal grandparents' house in Sampaloc, Manila since it was nearer to University of Sto. Tomas where she was taking up B.S. Biology for her pre-medicine studies. Everyday at around lunch time, she would call up Mom and ask what she cooked for lunch and whatever it was, Cha would always say "ang sarap naman (how delicious)". So Mommy would tell her that she would come over and bring her some of the food she cooked. I asked Cha why she had to ask Mom to bring her food when our grandparents were Kapampangans, known for their sumptuous cooking. She said, "Minsan, di pala yung pagkain na niluluto ang hinahanap mo kungdi yung kasama mo sa pagkain (sooner or later you realize it's not the food that you crave for, but who you're eating with)" We both fell quiet with what she said, feeling the heartache and longing for our Mom all over again. Another round of mojitos, please.

Next we talked about my day at the Kerygma Conference's stream for Solo Parents which I attended earlier. Was fascinated by the talk of Brother Hermie and Sister Reng Morelos who shared their experience on remarriage and step-family. Inevitably, Cha and I started discussing my non-existent love life, with her telling me that it's high time I started dating. Cha asked if I was feeling guilty, that I would feel like I wouldn't be a good mother to Marti if I started going out again. Of course not. It's not as if I haven't tried but the men who asks me out are either too young (read: just wants to play around) or too unavailable (read: married) and the last date I went on was with a guy who the following day was scheduled to ship off for the next 2 years! The worst part of that date was what the first thing the guy told me, "naku mukha kang mayaman (oh my, you look like you're rich)" Cha laughed so hard at that! Geez, if this guy is already telling me on the first date that I may be too much work for him, then he is not worth it. 

Then Cha shared something I never knew about her. She said that for many years, she would always make a   prayer/ wish on her birthday and asked God to give her a husband who is kind, patient, loving and who doesn't have the womanizing qualities of our Dad. And every time a relationship with a boyfriend would end, she would thank God for the experience because she knew it was another step towards her future husband. God, I was blown away by that. All along I thought my sister was shallow when it came to relationships when we were younger, going through several boyfriends while I was the wiser one, holding off while waiting for the right guy to come along. I never knew that Cha was on a spiritual journey with those failed relationships and years later she would be richly rewarded through her faith in God. 

As we went home that night, I thanked God for the rewarding day at the Kerygma Conference and the night spent with my sister Cha who has profoundly humbled me with her wisdom and faith.  

Looking forward to the next Mojito Night!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me"

I stormed out of the condo, leaving Marti behind heading to the Shrine to hear First Friday Mass. Got so fed up asking favors from Marti and only getting annoyed reactions and to think I was rushed to the office clinic earlier due to dizziness and vomiting! I haven't gotten so angry at Marti for so long since I've been working on my temper but my son is the one person who could really get on my nerves! 

All throughout the mass, I could barely concentrate, mumbling in my head the usual litany of self-pity whenever Marti does this to me:

" I do everything for him and the small things I ask of him, he would not even do. If he does, it would often be with an irritated face."
" What an ingrate."

I didn't want to go home yet and was looking for a place to reflect when I saw that the Adoration Chapel was still open so I proceeded there. Just wanted to sit and be quiet but almost unconsciously I took one of the many prayer leaflets by the door before entering. After kneeling and sitting on the floor, I started reading the prayer which I thought was one of the 7 Last Words but it turned out the title was "I Thirst For You" and suddenly I found myself crying. 

It was as if Christ was talking to me personally, uniquely, individually. But how could it be when this prayer was quite old and printed so many times over? I was feeling unappreciated when I came there and yet He was telling me that very moment through this prayer:

"Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have loved you---even in your wanderings. I know everyone of your problems. I know your needs, your fears, your worries. I hear your every whispered prayer---always, unfailingly."
"Do you long to be appreciated and cherished? I cherish you more than you can imagine---to the point of leaving heaven for you, and of dying on a cross to make you Mine."
"No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake. Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs, and with all your longing to be loved." 

As I went through the 8 pages, I began to realize the true meaning of unconditional love. Love that endures, that is relentless despite ingratitude and pain. Love that reminded me so much of my Mom who did everything for us without any complaints, even in our lack of appreciation. In all the things that I have changed in my life, trying to do everything for my son and the rest of my family just as my Mom did, I was still a long way from imitating her magnanimity and capacity for love.

I came home and prepared dinner quietly and when it was time to eat, I embraced Marti and he apologized. Funny that whether in times of hilarity or despair, Marti and I continue to learn from each other and hopefully for the better. What's even funnier was I just realized then that it wasn't First Friday at all! But I guess the Lord really called me to come and visit Him that day.

So henceforth, I wouldn't wait to be depressed or angry or desperate before I call on the Lord for as he declared:
"I stand at the door of your heart and knock...Open to Me, for I thirst for you..."

Note: The prayer "I Thirst For You" is copyrighted for the Missionaries of Charity Fathers.
         Check out their website here for the full prayer.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Your children are not your children

Just wanted to share this from the book I'm currently reading:

Love is Separateness

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but not seek them to be like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bow from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrow may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Kahlil Gibran,
  The Prophet

Funny how that line "You may strive to be like them, but not seek them to be like you" reminded me of my daily prayers for my son Marti that he grow up to be better than his parents. And I'm hoping that I'm actually doing good in raising him a much wiser and kinder person than I ever was when I was his age.

Would recommend reading this book, "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. It may be an old book but the wisdom you can take from its pages are so relevant today and eye-opening especially to us parents.
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