The Answer that I Didn’t Exactly Pray For
Imagine a little girl who, upon opening her Christmas present, danced with delight and sang in all merriment because it was, what she has been asking Santa Claus; after all, she had really exerted all efforts to be a truly good kid all year round. And good kids deserve a wish come true come Christmastime.
Imagine that little girl, and imagine me as her. Yes, I was prancing and leaping in happiness one Monday morning that I went out personally to thank the sisters of Mary Immaculate Community for their prayers. I sought for Ate Babie, oops, Sister Lorenza, or Sister Babie, who was formerly our choir instructress but is now serving full time at the Lord’s vineyard.
She was beaming with happiness, too, when she saw me. It has been years since I visited their humble abode and more years even when we last talked. But I know that I had been in their prayers, especially during the past weeks — where my heart, faith and courage were tested in all angles. I know because a dear friend was too concerned and listed my name on their special intentions when I decided to go secluded and solitary instead of reaching out. (Thank you, bless your heart!)
The sisters were having their lunch that time but Sister Babie didn’t join them but led me inside their conference hall.
I told her that I just dropped by to say thank you for the prayers they were offering in my behalf. I shared that I feel it was already an answered prayer and then I ranted on the news that I got — of a leap of faith.
Sister Babie, all too calmly serenely smiling had just one question after my “good” news: she asked me how I feel about it.
And there, my ecstatic facade broke down. For months of trying my hardest to keep everything to myself, here is one soul whom I have not seen nor spoke with for decades but is radiating with the sincerity of asking me how I really feel behind my widest smile ever. (Gee, just reliving that experience makes me want to shed out tears all over again! Brssst).
In between sobs, I admitted that I felt all the more the outcast that I was depicted to be. It’s as if I was announced as a leper and everyone who heard believed. And no one was brave enough to approach me to see my medical certificate for fear that I might infect them. Or that I walk among the crowd and even in the darkest night feel that everyone is staring and hurling accusations at me. Everywhere I go, at work or to home, someone has a sharp sense against me. I have never fully understand why I was “chosen” to be in the receiving end of all these trials.
I even humored Mumsy (not just a mom but a friend and a confidante) one time when I was taking all things with a smile, that I inherited “forbearance” from her. Why didn’t I get Popsy’s eloquence?
But as I reflected on the turn of events, I told myself that I should have an open mind and an open heart. People change. All’s well that ends well. That’s why the news is one good news!
Sister Babie though still had a lot of heart-changing (and mind-changing) ideas. A person won’t transform in an instant, unless by a miracle (which can be a possibility). And my grief won’t fade so easily (which is a fact). And my process of suffering, forgiveness and acceptance is a rocky and steep road to discernment.
My little visit of gratitude to the Mary Immaculate Community of Sisters became a long stay when I was invited to join the 5-day (November 23 – 27) Enclosure Retreat which I readily said “Yes!” to.
A cliche maybe, but no words can fully describe my experience then. It was as if I was alone in the retreat house and all the talks and reflections were specially written and done for me. A realization also came to me that as my faith heals my hurts, greater ones and bigger stones would come to strengthen me.
And truly, when I came home from the Enclosure Retreat, during Mumsy’s birthday celebration, I was treated again to another test of heart, faith and courage.
But this time, I was all smiles. Nothing is greater that sharing in the passion of the Saviour. 🙂
So I say again, even when limping and bruising, “Thanks, Bro!”. 🙂