Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Art of Letting Go

From time to time I have this chance of talking to my good women friends in their down moments in their love life, in moments of separation, in moments of post-separation, or in moments of looking for another person to share love with.

But this afternoon´s conversation with a close friend of mine made me write for the first time about an experience of love that we call in friendster "Complicated" status. Perhaps i was touched by the feelings that she had shared to me or perhaps because i had never shared my part in the last letting-go that i have had; perhaps because we share the same experience and the only difference is that this sharing is more of my part rather than sharing the part of the girl.

What happens when someone fall in love with someone who have decided to serve the Lord in a life of celibacy, etc? Or perhaps it is better to ask the other way around, "What happens when a partner of a complicated relationship falls out of love?

I fell in love with a high school best friend of mine eversince when we were still in High School together. But i had never told her that i admire her because i am afraid to lose our friendship that had been going well. Oh i miss those days when she comes to our house in the afternoon after our classes and spend sometime talking, sharing her life stories and a bit of her love life, climb the mango tree, talk about what will our future be, do assignments together, laugh at many things and later when the sun is finally down i will have to accompany her back to her house either on a bicycle or just by walking. I wpuld always prefer that we walk because I could have more time to be with her. It was like the story of Lee Woo-jin and Eun-ha of the Korean tele-novela entitled "Love Letter." That´s why when we had watched that tv series in the novitiate, like my other companions, I too got sick. Literaly sick - or better to say "love sick."

Well, She had her boyfriend and i had my girlfriend too. And we´d talked about them most often times and tried to fix each others failing relationships. We were truly good friends then. She never learned that i had wished that i could be one of his public admirers, one of those who could be part of her life, and that if she would have felt the same i would not make her cry and i would never be like her previous boyfriensd who had just broke her heart over and over. (Too bad for me i did the same in the end of our story. Im sorry.) How I wish I had told her imediately before or how i wish I had a mind/heart reader to know if she she too have that same feelings for me.

But i never had the courage to tell her about how i feel for her. I was what they call "torpe" in tagalog. I didn´t understand why it was too hard to say "I Love You" to her compared to the rest who had been part of my love life too, i´d been open to them and i had easily told them that i like them or I have said "I Love You" many times. They said that if you love someone, you say it, right there, out loud. Otherswise, the moment just passes you by.

To cut the long story short, in the end she had learned about my hiden feelings through her friends, through our friends i´d rather say. But only after years. And unfortunately only when i was already in the seminary, only after M, T, Z have passed through my life. And it was only when I am about to be a postulant. That was 11 years after wishing that I could be hers and my heart could be with her for the first time. It was a big crisis for me, perhaps the biggest of them all in my seminary life when on the 11th of February she told me that all this time she also love me. I never new what to do. There was this feeling of being paralyzed and the only part of my body that was alive was my heart that was beating so fast. It was a feeling of being embraced by someone who dearly loves you, an unexplainable feeling, a feeling of joy. But after an hour there was the feeling of pain because i know the consequence of the love that i have just found.

Choosing between TWO LOVES is not that easy. It´s a question of priority, of dying, of what is really true love. The Art of Letting Go is a very painful art but an enriching one too. When that good friend of mine shared to me this afternoon that after all she learned something out of having a relationship with someone who is inside. Something resounded into my ears. That was the same thing Hon had told me in the process of letting go. And perhaps i can take the same words for me to say but only just now for my part. And to be fare, if girls get hurt when falling out of love, we too do feel hurt, we too do cry, we too feel the same struggle of letting go and of not longing for the comeback of the broken relationship. And more for us because we dialog not just with our own mind, with our own heart, we also find a hard time dialogging with God for what had just happened, for the feeling of jealousy, for the feeling of unfairness. This is not usually being perceived by our partners because of the common nature of men - never show directly or immediately the affect to preserve the pride in us.

But perhaps what touched my heart today was the status of my friend´s feeling because it made me feel guilty. Here i am trying to console this lady because her seminarian boyfriend broke her heart. Here I am trying to make her laugh, cheer her, give her hope, etc but had I ever did it to the one i always loved? It's too hard. It is too painful. I felt like I can say "what a shame on me." But i was thankful for this occasion because it kept me on the ground, it made me feel the importance of respecting the feelings of others, it made me understand more the dynamics of separation and of letting go. And honestly, it made me cry. Thanks Phen for reminding me of how was it to love and how it feels to be out of love!

Friday, May 8, 2009

To Have Faith and To Believe

One good friend of mine had posted on his blog http://larazone
xtraviada. questions on faith and belief that perhaps had caught my attention. I intended to write a comment but perhaps my Spanish is too bad so i decided to just write a bit of reflection and a response to his post here.

Let me start with Faith.

Faith is a complete trust that proceeds from a certain belief. It is loyalty to a certain truth, a certain body of beliefs, a certain religion, or a certain philosophy of life. It is the ascent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another based on his or her authority and truthfulness.

To have faith in God is to say that I have a complete trust in God; that i am loyal to God no matter what happens, no matter waht they say, no matter waht they do to me, no matter what difference i have on others, no matter how bad and good the church is, no matter how different the world is, etc...

To have faith is like to have love for another. Both are difficult words to define and sometimes the definition depends on the individual and not on a collective definition of the word. To have faith in love is to feel being loved no matter what manner it was given, shown, or manifested. To have faith in a statement when someones tells you "I Love You" is to completely trust that the person is really loving you whithout doubting or asking for questions WHY, WHEN, HOW, UP TO WHERE, etc.

Faith is more of the decisions made up by the mind, heart, and body together. Some religious believers and many of their critics often use the term faith as the affirmation of belief without evidence. Faith refers to belief beyond evidence or logical arguments which is sometimes called implicit faith. Faith in the sense of "belief for the sake of believing" is more of Soren Kierkegaard´s philosophical views and of the existentialist religious thinkers.

To believe on the other hand is to have confidence, trust on something or someone. It is to have a firm conviction about something: accept as true. It is to hold as an opinion or to suppose. Belief is something that is believed in like a tenet or a creed. A Belief is a sign of conviction, an opinion, a persuasion, a sentiment.

In order to believe or resort to a certain belief, it is often times necessary to have evidence or an accumulative experience, an experience that comes from a chain of experiences. To believe doesn't necessarily need the heart and the body. Sometimes, reason is enough in order to believe. Convictions can be attained after certain evidence, rational or logical evidences or way of thinking, experiences, gestures, etc.

To believe that I am "loving" is to be convinced that I am doing something for the other more than the way i do normally. To believe that i am "loving" is to be certain that I am emitting something out of me, i am sharing myself to others. To believe that i am loving is supposing that i am imparting my feelings to somebody. To believe that i am "loving" is to persuade the mind that i am doing this and is certain that i am on an act of loving.

To believe that i am "loved" is to accept the truth that somebody is entering into my heart and my mind tells me that it is true and for real. To believe that i am loved is a way of saying that you have moved me and touched my life. To believe that i am loved is to trust that which the other is proposing to me to feel, that which she had just said, that which she had just made my senses feel, that which she made impact in my life. To believe is to be convinced that i am being loved and period. Or perhaps it is wrong to say "and period" because someone who feels of being loved is always for certain moved to love in return or in any other way. Someone who felt love is someone who becomes kind, generous, patient, humble, loving etc...

To believe in love is a prerequisite to have faith in love. to have faith in love is deeper than just believing that i am being loved or that i am loving. It is completely trusting in the love that is being received or given. Because someone who has faith in love makes it sure that he or she is loyal to what is love, how to love, how to manifest love. He or she performs the duty of loving in every moment of his or her life. In relationships, when one starts to be disloyal to the partner, he or she begins to be unfaithful to him/her. To believe that he or she loves the other doesn't necessarily requires loyalty. But to have faith in love it is necessary to believe in "the love" and in "love". To have faith in love is more than just believing in love.

But the most curious of all is this question that he had posted: What is there if I don't believe or perhaps if I don't have faith in love. Likewise the statement " I cant truly love if I have not truly felt loved, and my little faith is that which compels me to love despite that it is little."

If we cease to believe in love what does it makes of us? Well, we continue to be human and continue to live the only difference is that we view things differently and receive the daily experiences differently. If we cease to have faith (not in the religious sense) then we are in the state of distrust. If we cease to believe, we start to destroy our relationships, ourselves, but it doesn't makes us nonexistent human being. We still exist even if we would not have faith or we won´t believe because Faith and Belief is not the core of human beings. If I wont believe in love, love never cease to exist, love would stay as love and continues to be love even until I die. If I wont have faith in love then i would act opposite of it and live differently than the rest, but i continue to live and exist. If i wont believe in what i say then its just mere facts of words, ideas and concepts. Because if i believe in what i say it becomes my own point of view. If i wont have faith in what i say, i am bluffing or joking or just in the state of rational mind. If i have faith in what i say, what i am saying is part of me, or i am telling about myself, or telling who i am (although it is true that what we do and say is not what we are).

But the most beautiful thing of all, aunque yo no tengo fe o no creo en amor y en Dios, Dios me ama y el crea en mi. Even if I dont believe in love or dont believe in God, God loves me and believes in me. Even if i don't have faith in love and faith in God, God continues to be faithful in me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Multicultural-Fatima Birthday Present

Ten years after i decided to serve the Lord, I found myself in an exactly the same situation - an international-multicultural-marian gathering.

Ten years before, on the 1st of May 1999, I happend to attended a Mariapolis in Antipolo of the Focolare Movement in the Philippines. It was from there that I experienced for the first time multiculturality and dialogue. And it was the first time to celebrated my birthday with thousands of people of different faith and races. Days before that event I went to the vocation office of the Claretian Missionaries in Quezon City to present myself for an interview. These are two occasions that perhaps are not just a mere coincidence but a sign to reflect on.

Our Lady of Fatima had been part of my life since it was introduced to us in St. Michael Academy, a high school run by the Dominican Sisters of Siena. And I remember very well that I was dedicated to the Blessed Mother when I was 5 years of age by my grandmother and therefore the rosary had been part of my life too. But I never thought that I could ever be in Fatima, Portugal. I never thought that I would be able to celebrate my birthday in Fatima exactly 10th year after that decision to take this road of life.

On the 30th of April, during the first visit to the basilica, i wrote something in the guest book of the basilica where people write their prayer requests or whatever they wish to write. And I wrote: "Maraming salamat po sa ipinagkaloob mong biyaya sa akin at hinihiling ko na sanaý magkaroon na ng kapayapaan sa Mindanao." (thank you for this gift, of which is to be present here, and i ask that peace may be attained in the land of Mindanao, Philippines). I consider the visit to Fatima on May 1 as one of the best gift that I have ever received in all my birthday celebrations although could be only second to that of the Jubilee year 2000, the day that i was accepted in Claret, the day that i started my life in the seminary.

The Claretian Students Ecounter in Fatima which took place from April 30 to May 3 was an enriching experience for me. That experience affirms that our vocation as Claretians is not just for our own homeland but for the world, our mission is for the whole world. Our being Servants of the Word is not just limited to proclamation of the gospel and in preaching, but rather it is of what ever is timely, urgent, and effective. It is posible to live in a community of different races, of different colors, of different attitudes, different views, different culture. That which unites us all is the charism of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the charism that he has given us to live, the way of love and service that Jesus had taught us in the last supper, and most of all the presence of God. Living in a community of diversity tells me who I am and makes me one with rest.

A Christian community is not a group of people merged together, living together equally or the same in all aspects, instead, it is a collection of individuals of different composition but has one thing in common that unites them all - Love. And that makes the difference.