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.
I am not the wisest of all parents in the world. As much as I would like others to realize that right parenting is the most important thing this world needs, to end the war, poverty and chaos, I do not claim to know everything. I am still learning. Every day, I am learning and growing with my son. It makes my journey as a mother not just delightful but very meaningful. I guess what we parents only need first of all, is the humility to accept the fact that we do not know everything, especially when it comes to raising our children. The problem with most of us is that we think that as parents, we have the right to be correct all the time. We think that since we are the parents, we have all the privilege of being obeyed at all times, of being right at all times, of being the only one to be talking at all times. I know that because I too am tempted once in a while to think that way.
I am a parent, yes. But I am also a child of God. If you are reading this and you don’t believe in the existence of someone greater than us, then you can stop reading this right away. God is a father. He, too, like me is a parent. Who else will I turn to for parenting tips but him? Who else best knows how to properly raise my son but him? And so I turn to his words for comfort when raising my son sometimes becomes challenging. I turn to him for advice in times when I am confused with what to do. I turn to him because I know he will never fail me. He called me to become a parent in the first place, didn’t he?
I do not own my son. He is not my property, my possession. I am only a steward. My son was entrusted to me by the Lord so that I can teach him his ways and he too can be holy like he is called to be. It’s only been 8 years since I became a mother. I still have a lifetime ahead of me to learn the ropes. But yes each day matters like it’s the last. That’s why I cease it, every minute of it. And at the end of the day, I may not have done everything right, but it makes me feel right to be able to kneel down and pray with my son, read to him the bible and be assured that we are being taken care of by the best parent in the world, our God the Father.
“Go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”
Who are we if we are here just for ourselves? What are we if we are here just to ensure our own survival, just to make sure we have what we want, and need? If we have everything we need right now, who are we? If everything in our life is about comfort and survival, what are we? Who are we? What gives meaning to our existence? Say we have everything this world can offer. Then what? Life doesn’t end there. Life doesn’t end in possessing all the things that we think could make us feel happy and secure. Life doesn’t end where there is nothing left to want or need.
Nothing can be too boring than living a life only for one’s self. We are here for others, we are here to be there for others so that we will feel we are alive. Is there someone who has actually shared himself/herself with others be it their time, their money, their house, and not feel something beautiful stirring their most innermost of heart? When you share yourself with others, when you deny yourself for others, you live again. You find it inside you your own strengths, your own gifts, you get to know yourself and you rediscover how privileged you are. At the end of the day, it is still all about you, come to think of it. It is all about how you will learn and grow and become better as a person.