“Amerikano amo panit, pero amo kasing-kasing, Pinoy.” This is a very heartwarming show for me. Hilarious, yes, no doubt about that. But I say heartwarming because in the midst of all the suffering the Filipino people is experiencing these days, and even the past year, it is reaffirming to know people of other races love the Philippines and claim they are Filipinos by heart. Solidarity. It means a lot to be connected.
Real strength can be tested in times when the world turns its back on you and you feel like you cannot trust anyone anymore. How do you remain strong, focused and steadfast when you are alone and you got no one to cheer you on, to encourage you and make your burden lighter? How do you stay positive even when almost every event in your life becomes ugly if not hopeless? Real strength is when you’ve got nothing to hold on to, when your vision has been blurred by tears that do not cease to fall, when it’s all too dark to see anything at all … it is real strength when you’re able to make it through. Alone.
I have always been a hardheaded student. I hated rules. It made me feel like I was at the mercy of these people coming up with these rules. I was convinced that rules were made to oppress, not to bring justice. And I continue to feel the same way about life. Yes, I am such a hard headed student of life. But just like the way I made it through school and eventually earning my degree, I go through it munching on my apathy and let it nourish me into the rebel student that I am. And yes, just like the way it happened, I was able to make it through school. I am pretty sure I will also make it through right now, as I go to life school every day, being the rebel that I am. I will learn, I am learning. I will pass.
When I was a freshman in college, in my Algebra class, our professor gave us a sneak peek of what was going to happen the entire school-year. I knew instantly it was going to be hard. I doubted ever passing it. As our first session ended, I approached my professor and said, “I am too dumb to ever understand Algebra. But I don’t want to fail. My class card will determine my future.” My professor smiled at me gently, amused by my honesty and she made a deal with me. “Give me a complete attendance. I won’t mind zero quizzes. Just see me in class everyday and if you’re able to do that, I promise you an 81.” I grinned from ear to ear. Hope was real.
I guess life school will require me the same thing. Complete attendance. No running away, no sulking in my pillow and getting a headache so I could miss school. Lousy as I am, I guess I have the chance to get Life Degree in the end.
It’s that moment in your life when there is nothing but total darkness. Everything seems not to work out right. Every one seems to hate you. No one to trust. No one to hold on to. No one to talk. It’s suffering after suffering. It’s humiliation after humiliation. It’s heartache after heartache. It’s complete loneliness, where you are lost in the middle of the road, and there’s no signpost, no passing cars or strangers to ask for help. It’s just you. And then you fall on your knees and endure the pain, the scare of being alone and lost, and the sense of hopelessness just by looking at the strange road that doesn’t seem to end. I have just understood that this moment in our life is called Kenosis moment. In Christian theology, kenosis is the concept of the ‘self-emptying’ of one’s own will and becoming entirely receptive to God and the divine will. It is used both as an explanation of the Incarnation, and an indication of the nature of God’s activity and will. Mystical theologian John of the Cross‘ work “Dark Night of the Soul” is a particularly lucid explanation of God’s process of transforming the believer into the icon or “likeness of Christ”. (wikipedia) Simply put, a Kenosis moment is not something entirely unpleasant of hopeless. It’s not something close to death. Instead, it is a passageway to life, if only one is able to go through it and overcome it.
Every time you left me, my world came to a halt. But what I would actually feel was that it was the end of everything. Hope was something too scary to even hold on to. There was something about it which I couldn’t trust. Hope brought me so much disillusionment and pain. I would rather deal with each pain, each blow that your leaving has caused me, each nightmare. I had to deal with all this whether I liked it or not. But you know what, it somehow made me stronger, more resilient. It made me understand pain more and I realized these things have to be embraced and not resisted. The more that we resist it, the more that it gets to us, the more it becomes intense. Yes, I have accepted pain, thanks to you. I have become familiar to it, less scared. There were too many sunsets that I have mourned. And they will not cease to make me grieve the nights. But I am more aware of it now. They’re part of how I learn to constantly let go.