Sunday, November 29, 2009

Si Kuya Manong

To recall, he took summer classes to have advance study of his subjects, but this semester, he withdrew his payment. We’re supposed to be in the same year level, 3rd year, but he stopped to pursue his ambition of becoming an army.

One thing I will never forget about him is when he asked me of how many units are left in my prospectus. He always bragged to me that there are only 20 remaining units left for him to finish college.

Since he’s an ROTC officer in their school, he’s very conscious with his physical appearance. He always asked me about his skin color, hair, and body (if he’s getting fat now or thinner).

Another thing that will also never be erased in mind is the way he calls me “PB”. This is supposed to be my original nickname, but it was changed to different names because of many inventions by our neighbors and relatives. Of all my cousins, he is the only one who calls me that name, all the time.

Now, I have no more cousin to visit in Locsin St, to ask for what mama and papa had sent for me.

By January, he will be heading for Tarlac to start his training, to make his dreams into a reality. He told me that he can only return after two years, as mandated in their constitution.

My cousin who is fond of cooking and experimenting recipes will be leaving the family. I’m sure, the next time I see him, he’ll be more mature and tough. But in character, I know he’ll still be the same Mandy na “chiksboy”, “kuripot”, at panay “nagpapalibre”.

Aalis na si Kuya Manong, maghihintay na lang kami ng ilang taon bago siya bumalik.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Back in His arms

I was raised from a God-fearing family, a family which constantly calls God’s name. But as I mature, I find my self standing miles away from Him.

I remember I was two years old when I started regularly going to church. My very religious auntie brought me to church. On Sundays, mama chose my dress, while papa prepared my food. It showed their being supportive to my spiritual life.

At a young age, my face is common in the Catholic Church of our town. I started getting involved in church activities. I was active especially on Sundays when we were the assigned sponsors and in-charge of the readings, offerings, and.

Though still young, I already had the confidence to read the bible in front of many people, collecting donations from church goers, started offering flowers and candles.

When I was in elementary, believe it or not, I become one of the members of “Lourdes”, an organization of women devoting themselves following the principles of Mary Magdalene. I underwent series of religious initiations, until finally, I become an official member. The elders placed in my waist a blue soft belt, and they presented me to everybody on that gathering.

We wore all white dresses with sky blue belt, which is consecrated by the priest. On Saturdays was our schedule of service to the church. Majority of the members are old, and I don’t know how I was able to jive with them.

Part of my being religious was attending rosary services every afternoon (called “barangay” in our place). Yes, I was always present, and many times I was the leader of the rosary.

During Flores de Mayo, I was always the first honor because of my expertise with prayers, mysteries, characters and events in the Bible.

I was on high school when I started attending masses in my own, but this time, all the things I used to do started to change. It was the start of my rebellion, and I found my self very far from Him. If not because of the Mass cards in which we were required to submit every Monday with the priest’s signature during the Sunday mass, I won’t go to church. I felt the laziness in going to church. Waking up early in the morning on Sundays is already tiring for me.

When I was specifically in third year, I attended masses in my own church, because I was baptized in an Aglipay church, not in the usual church. Being new to the group, the church immediately gave me a challenge to be active in its activities. I was elected president of the youth organization and to represent the church in meetings and gatherings in other places with leaders from other parishes.

For two years, I lead the group. But as years passed, I became busy with other stuffs, like going to other places with friends. I became inactive with church works. I did not go to church even on holy days. I realized that I was growing up so bad.

Until I joined a one-week camp in Cebu that was different from all the camps I attended. It changed my view in life. That was the only camp wherein I let go of everything—my regrets, disappointments, anger, envy, the hurts, etcetera. Though still new, I did feel that I was very much welcome to that group. I had a great boding with the participants from different parts of the Visayas.

After the seminar, I realized so many things, and two of the best things there are “that you are precious in the eyes of God”, and the other is that…”God is pulling us towards him, but we are the ones making him far from us.”

Because of that, I gained more trust that God really loves me and willing to accept me back. Now as I continue this life trying to be independent, I know God will be happy seeing that once ‘His lost daughter will be back in his arms.

I’m striving to be everyday present in his house, or light candles every time I have something to thank, or if I’m asking for an important thing, especially the courage to go on with my life.

I want to be close to His arms again.