Note for my non-Catholic and non-Filipino friends and readers: Today is one of the most solemn of holidays in the Philippines. It’s called Good Friday where we commemorate the Passion and death of Jesus Christ. This post will center most of my thoughts on this event and events this Holy Week. It’s a long post and I’m afraid quite personal of nature so please feel free to skip this one. These are my thoughts on the online retreat called: Pins of Light. This online retreat is made by Society of Jesus priest, Father Johnny Go. While doing this retreat, I also talked with my Kuya (Big brother in Filipino) on Maundy Thursday. It was quite liberating to be refreshingly honest for once. I did feel a bit foolish to be out that openly but hopefully Kuya didn’t mind although I can hear reprimands probably raining on me for not thinking this sooner. I am sharing the post as a reminder to self once nadagukan ako ni Kuya Jess (he had hit me on the head), it’s time to wake up.
I find so hard to ask what I want because I don’t trust myself that these things would be given to me. I don’t trust myself, period. I asked for understanding from others but as I go about my life, maybe it’s I who don’t understand. I asked for acceptance– but maybe it was I who can’t accept. I asked and begged for forgiveness, but maybe it is I who have to forgive myself first.
I still feel bitter, Kuya. I feel so bitter and betrayed because they left me behind. I felt that I am always misunderstood and inadequate. I still feel it when I go home. I feel it when I talk to my siblings. I felt being judged because I can’t make anything out of my life. Even with my mom, who I thought who understood me, I feel her censure with what I’ve been doing and how I manage my life. And Kuya, I believe them. Even I vehemently deny I don’t care of what they say. Because in the deepest corner of my heart, I want to still feel I am part of them. In Papa’s silence and indifference, even I pretend my own brand of indifference, it still hurts. I still bleed because a part of me longs to be loved by that man. To be understood and to be appreciated for all I’ve done. Even sometimes, I realized that his heart is only turned to himself, I want him to see that we love him in our way. Yet it pains me so much how hard he rejects this love, to search it to people who’d only hurt him eventually. I maybe judging them, too, because it hurts to be taken for granted.
It’s so hard to be honest. I am going to try to put my thoughts into words and place them here as I feel it the rawest now, because I want to let it out. I suppose that’s my greatest desire now. Just to let this pains go as I’ve bottled them so long. I want to put a voice to it so I can finally face my fears and worries. And even the ugly truth about myself. I’ve been making excuses, pretending to be okay when I’m not. Maybe this time, when I finally see my real place and self, I’ll be able to wake up in this stasis I’ve placed myself. Maybe this will now allow me to move and maybe I’ll be able to hear Your voice.
I want to be brave, loyal and loving, too. I thought I was. But this time, I can see myself clearly, I’m a coward, a traitor and unfeeling. First, towards myself. I never believed in myself. I find it hard to forgive and let go of the mistakes I did. I’m even more unloving to myself than my father, who I thought hated me for being me. It wasn’t the case. I hate myself for being me. I flaunted my difference sometimes, to spite them because they won’t accept me.
I betrayed myself for being so uncertain of what I wanted to be and for denying the love that had been given to me. I’ve been talking about how bad they treat me like I’m such a drudge. But really, I’m also guilty of taking them for granted. I hid my weaknesses by calling out their weaknesses. I refused to see that I was also at fault. I know I’ve been hurt and maybe, justifiably, they really hurt me too much that I had just cause to do so. But hurting them just because they hurt you is not right either, is it?
Until You came, I never saw this ugly side of me this clearly. I always think I’m pretty okay. But this staggering truth when I realized it made me hide my head in shame. Who am I fooling? In this retreat, finally being honest with myself and with You, maybe I am asking the wrong things after all.
What I wanted to ask for myself: Courage to finally move on and do the things I should do. Acceptance to finally embrace myself. Love to finally include myself, so I can open myself and love others more.
For my life: Trust that I may find my life’s direction.
For my loved ones: More time and opportunities to finally see each other in better light. Better health for us to enjoy our time and opportunities to be together.
As I read the passage for Holy Thursday, I felt that I was the blind man. But instead of physical blindness, I was blinded by my emotions and even my illusions of life. Was it my fault or was it the fault of the people around me that I was blind to my own thoughts or feelings or the people around me? The answer: It was so because I need to see and be witness of how God will move me. I then realize how still broken I am in spirit and in heart and I haven’t made any moves to live the life I should. I want him to heal me but i’m too scared of what I would see and how it would make me different. Can I take on this new path without failing? Ah, Kuya Jess! What am I going to do???? *panics* Sometimes You ask too much on someone like me.
But those are my fears speaking. My “blindness” preventing me to be whole again. I am afraid to be broken again into pieces because I don’t know how I would be able to cope. I am afraid to get hurt because it was just too much. I take a step forward but those fears have me take two steps back.
Do I want to be healed? Yes. Definitely. But am I willing to undergo the process of healing? I don’t know. I’m too scared to try.
But it doesn’t mean I won’t try at all.
But what should I wash first? I know that I am PROUD but not too proud to make this realization. My hands that once destroys are now stilled because the WRATH is now more of crippling pain. So I realize, they were stilled because my HEART became too lethargic. I was already too LAZY because I refuse to be hurt and I no longer have the pride to become productive. And thus, I felt I got stuck, feeling the helplessness and hollowness I’ve been having for this last few years.
Holy Thursday brings me back to the Last Supper. Here, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. I strongly relate to Peter’s reaction. I would probably be shocked to see my Lord washing my feet– like a servant! I probably would refuse, too, because I can’t bear to see my idolized Master to do such a humble act. But then again, my Master did it because I belong to Him and His love was that great to make sure that I am in comfort and clean as I partake His last meal on earth.
If I were in that place, who would I like to have in that supper? Who would I do the humble service of washing their feet to show how much I love them? The obvious answer: my family. Question is: can I do it now that I am feeling so much disconnection that I also myself enforced? I had thought of it once– having a dinner with my family wherein I will be the one to oversee their comfort and satisfaction. I remembered that vividly because I longed once to see both my parents happy and light-hearted and my siblings enjoying each other’s company in a meal that I made. I wish I still could– while my parents and my siblings are still around.
How do I wash your feet, Papa? You, who I had disappointed greatly? How will I show you that you will always be that man I always admired and love? Even my heart bleeds and I enforce to be indifferent to your jibes, how do I show you that in my way, I long for the love you’ve shown me when I was still a child? That despite my changes that does not please you, I remain the same child who always looked up on you? That it hurt me that you don’t believe in me? That I cry as you reject me as I seek the comfort of those arms that had always embraced me? That despite my faults, I had always craved your approval. That this broken child wants you to make her whole again? That this broken heart wants to open your closed heart and mind? That this lost child who you rejected and evicted from your home and comfort, humbly wants to wash your feet to make you feel loved. That I love you, despite your need to be accepted by those people who I think did not matter. Because Papa, the most important thing you have is us. Because we are the people who would love you, regardless and despite the things you have, said and done would be the ones to love you without question. Despite the hurts, the disappointment and anger I feel, I am your lost, prodigal child wanting to return to you, who had always been my source of strength and comfort. Because blood is not what makes a family– it’s the love we have for each other. How can I reach out and let you see this, if pride and anger bar us?
Mama, it’s no secret how much I love you. As I child, I had always been aware of your constant love for all of us. How do I wash your feet to return those countless times you loved us unconditionally? How do I remove the stains of tears each time I made you cry, the ugly words I said out of spite and anger; the weariness each time I do not do what you tell me? I have to accept the fact that there are times, I also feel bitter. Had you been stronger, had you been more independent, had you been more empowered. But through this, you made us all stronger, more independent and more empowered. You gave up so many things just to raise us the way we are. And Mama, I want to tell you how grateful I am because you raised me the way I am. If I can bathe you with the most fragrant waters this world can offer, I would readily do so. But your prodigal daughter is still striving to defeat her demons and get on with her life. I know it is your fondest wish for us to be all together but for now, I am sorry to give you another disappointment. Kuya Jess willing, if I am able to heal the hurts I have, I will try to give you what you wish. But for now, I crave your understanding heart to forgive me because I haven’t started healing yet.
My siblings, how do I wash your feet without you judging my intentions? In this separation, I then learned how much you love and care for me, despite the arguments we have and sometimes those times that you rebuke me too freely that sometimes, you forget how I would feel in that place and situation. I am yet to learn humility when it comes to you, and that I freely admit. It’s hard to be the eldest yet to be powerless to do anything substantial. Too many episodes of our lives together, I had felt that powerlessness. It made me very insecure of what I can do. To which I respond to the way I know best– I had closed myself off from you and ignored how you would see me. Not knowing that I had sacrificed that respect that I should deserve and that I ought to receive, I let you think what you will of me. I don’t know how to wash off my shortcomings and foolishness I made long time ago. But I hope that now we’re older, you could look at me in another light. Please try to look at me kindly, even I had temporarily left the post I have to help our family because for now, I don’t think I can be of help now that I am still broken and trying to piece these bits of me. I am sorry to show such weakness, but I thought showing you my vulnerable side would help you understand that I am not asking for pity but love and understanding. As you guys are the ones I always think who would understand the most because we are connected with one cord, I humbly beg that you extend your patience for the meantime. I don’t know when I can come back but I will. For now, thank you for filling my shoes, especially James and Jenny Rose. Jing, you and I had always been at odds in terms of how we think and see the world. But I know, as a mother, you can easily understand what Mama feels and I appreciate it when you keep me in line. Then again, it won’t hurt that you try to be more sensitive with how I feel when your tongue gets the better of you. As you may be right in reminding of my irresponsible actions, please remember that reprimanding my actions is not a responsibility that falls on you. I know I should have done my share of reprimanding you, though, as the eldest, but I had always believed in my sibings’ ability to think for themselves. You have proven me right and for that I am proud of you. But, try not to forget that all of us are not perfect and we all have our failings as our parents’ children. However, we move on and we become better and stronger. I always had known you can be relied upon in the times I am derelict of my duties and I may not be aware of the things that anger you about me in the first place, I hope in due time we can patch things up and settle whatever our differences are maturely in time.
As I close this reflection and go to the next reflection, Kuya Jess, I know in due time You will fix me and make me whole again. I am sure, too, that I might resist the changes and might forget but make me remember my need to be whole and my desire to move. I am putting this in writing because I want to place it as a reminder of my open heart and open mind, to allow myself be touched by your “mud” willingly and to wash off in Siloam. To be dirtied and sullied but to be sent and overcome the challenge. To finally come off clean to You. And by adding those people I want this journal to be seen by them, that they may be reminded that my brokenness was not because of either their fault or mine. Please show them how much You love us and each one of us must be willing to be an element of change to heal all of us