4 Years After

I suffered in silence. Denied justice to myself. Trying to help myself to crawl out of the dirt I’m helplessly in for a few years now. Yet I decided to forgive thinking I won’t be better off than those people who hurt me if I hurt them back.

Today, I am writing again to release this anger inside me. They bothered me again. And I couldn’t help but be dismayed by the fact that humans are intrinsically selfish. We cannot steer away from our evil ways.

A client/friend called me today to let me know that my sister in law has been trying to ask about me and if I’ve been visiting this client/friend of mine till now. She believed that my ‘ex’ husband left with some money in a bank account named after me after he left me for another woman. How was that?!

I feel so dumb-footed! Where did these people got the nerves to think and act this way? It maybe evil of me to wish that she should be on the same boat as I am so that she will know and realized what I feel and how she is making me feel. Jesus! Her brother left me for another woman while stripping me of everything that I have — pride, justice, self respect… Everything! And here she is, trying to shove her “mukhang pera” face to me. How come did these people continue to live without conscience? Why can’t they just rot in misery & die in vain? I curse this family! I curse his family! If I cannot give justice to myself, surely, Karma will gladly do the favor for me.

And I cannot help but still be appalled by the fact that humans are so selfish. I am a hairline away from filing a civil case to him.

Ugh! I maybe bloody right now, but I won’t bow my head in surrender.

Purity of a Teen’s Dream

I miss the times when I used to dream big. Especially during high school days.

I used to dream of the possible huge career in the future.
Of having a family of my own.
Of having faith that never doubts.

At that time, when I dream, I never considered the unknown & the unforseen.
Only the good things that comes with it.
But when I grow old, I doubt a lot.
Is it because I’ve seen too much suffering?
Is it because I’ve suffered from broken promises?
Or is because faith had too much faith on me, it tested me beyond my perceived limitations?

I’d like to dream again like that.
Like I’ve never been hurt.
Like I’ve never failed.
Like I’ve never experienced the ugly truth.

To My Angel — on her birthday

Mamang,

I’ve seen you hurting more every time you see me crying,
I’ve heard you wishing to take my pain just to see me happy,
I’ve felt your love even when there are times I hated you so much,
I’ve tasted your happiness and pride when you cheered at my achievements…

You have unselfishly dedicated your life to me, when you could be someone else, somewhere else,
You feed me with the remaining piece of bread even when you are still hungry,
You have me defended against life’s demons,
Your hands are scarred with hard work, just to give me the things that I want (not even a need),
You lost your health when you thought I was lost & left home (I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again),

While I was undergoing a surgery a couple of months ago, I searched for your face, your comforting voice, your gentle touch among the crowd…
But I choose not to let you know,
Because I know you will worry too much.
But honestly, I was secretly wishing you were there…
Because I fear that I may never see your loving face again if I die.

Many years ago, God might have anticipated I needed an angel here on earth,
He didn’t give me someone that I want,
Instead He gave me someone that I need.
Someone…
Bigger than love,
Deeper than faith,
Brighter than hope…

If God will asked me now what I fear the most?
It’s loosing you…
I think I’ll never be able to bear it.
Because I have found no other person who loved me more than you do.
Who thinks of me more than they think of themselves.
Who forgives me when I least deserve it.

If God will grant me with only one wish now.
I’ll choose to grant you with all the happiness in the world…
Even that, can’t repay the goodness that your heart beholds.
Even that, is not enough for someone like you who deserves only the best.

Sometimes, I wonder what your heart is made of.
Why is it so resilient and tough and soft?
Sometimes I wonder if you ever have a dream about yourself.
Because it seems like you only think about ours.
Sometimes I wonder if you want to be happy too.
Because you sacrifice to live the life you’ve always wanted, just because I am already here.
Sometimes I wonder if you don’t know how to fight back.
Because you still love me with all your heart even when I fight with you.
Sometimes I wonder if you were ever wrong.
Because you were always right.

When I am old and forgetful,
I only want to remember the times when you fought for my war when I don’t have the strength to face it.
The times when you first taught me how to say “Thank you” and “I’m sorry”,
To walk and talk,
To smile and be strong,
To sing and dance,
To pray and to love,
(But you never taught me how to be unhappy…)

Mamang, there are a lot of times when life seems to be too much for me,
When hope, faith and love failed me.
But you know what keeps me going?
It is just by thinking how hurt and devastated you will be when I’m gone.
So if ever you think that you are just a nobody,
Please think again.
I am just one soul
Being saved and loved by an angel like you.

To my future love

no, we didnt meet today. perhaps the universe is too busy making our lovestory or the materials arent ready yet. or maybe the scriptwriter is on sick leave, the director has a short fuse today, whatever.. but im not at all in a hurry, love. because i know, that the moment we met, it’ll be for eternity.

i know how excited and anxious you are. i am too. you cant wait to hold my hand and whisper loving words in my ear. you cant avoid touching my hair and smiling seeing me smiling back at you. you perfected the wonderful breakfast, you learned was my favorite. the flowers bloomed, ready to greet me when i wake up but i’m still sound asleep. you decided to learn how to play a guitar pretty well because you knew i’d like to be serenaded.

sorry to keep you waiting love, but this isnt our time yet. meanwhile, i’d learn from my friends how to take care of a baby because i know you’d want some. i’d like to learn a few dance steps because i knew you will ask for it. i cant wait going to monumental places with you, sharing jokes, riddles or poetry. i forgot to ask your favorite movies but there’s plenty of time to watch it with you. i dont want you to get sick but just incase, i’ll always be there. promise me we’ll walk under the stars and moon, we’ll laugh until our eyes will burst tears from too much laughing, we’ll encourage each other, learn and grow from each other’s mistake, write a love letter often, learn something new everyday, paint a sunset, listen to waves’ song, photograph the horizon, enjoy the good food and look into each other’s eyes…

for now, i’m gonna sleep, love — smiling. because i know, someday, sometime we’ll meet. i know.

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Writing My Very Own Story

Even as a child, it has always been my greatest dream to be able to write a story — a story that will inspire a lot of people and if I’m too lucky, will help a lot of people. I do not have the skills and talent of a writer but I know it is always what I wanted to be. In fact, it is the only dream that I haven’t given up yet.Not until God has given me a beautiful story to write: my own life’s story.It may not be a very impressive or striking or rare for you. But one thing’s I’m sure about. It is real.

I practically grew up and belong to a family of something in between the rags & riches kind. We are not that dirt poor but we are not rich either. I’m just lucky enough to have a ‘not so demonstrative in showing his love’ kind of a father but nevertheless, a very dutiful one. But my mother! You should meet her. She’s the best. No matter how much you argue about how equally awesome your mother is, I will defend my argument to my last breath. It is a bonus that I have a bully for a brother (just kidding, Kuyang!) and an elder sister who has a middle child syndrome (admit it, Ats!) It took 14 years before my parents finally decided to conceive me, so it gives me the idea up until now that I am that special.I hope I have given you a fair picture of how my family looks like from afar by the way I describe each member of my family. To cut it short: just a normal Filipino family. We argue a lot, eat together, take care of each at times, laugh together and so far, nobody goes to jail yet for killing anyone else. Pretty boring but beautiful.

But since this story is about my beautiful life story, let me focus about how it is like being me. I have told you already that I am a very extraordinary child as what my mom always told me. Unlike my two other siblings, I was born with the aid of a Caesarian operation. (I haven’t been out of the world yet, but parents already have an idea on how costly it might be to raise me as a child in this world). Well, it didn’t took them long enough to realize how worthy I am of all the initial expenses when I gave them priceless entertainment with my song/dance/poem number after dinner. (Facebook isn’t a fad yet at that time and so are the pirated movies). I am a very talkative and demand so much attention as a child. And I did got their attention every time I get flying colors at school (every year during my elementary years, believe me), payed half of my tuition at our local’s Catholic high school because I’m proud to be an honor student. They also didn’t have to worry much about my college education because I was an Iska ng Bayan and my monthly allowance from first year to fourth year college was being taken cared of by the taxes paid by the hard working Filipino people. Don’t worry. I did what I am supposed to do. I studied very hard and if time permits, joined in some political rally against the government. Well, needless to say, my future’s very predictable. I am going to be a very successful, important person in this universe. I would often paint a picture of myself being clad in a corporate suit, always busy, always making important decisions, always needed. I am delusional, ofcourse. I flatter myself too much. I woke up from my delusions and realized that I have to start from the scratch. And before I disappoint you, let me reassure you that I am still awesome. Because I have a fairly good start.It was a hard yet fulfilling start. My first job was being an Account Management Assistant of an advertising agency. Sounds big, huh? But basically my job is about perfecting the taste of how a cup of coffee for my boss should taste like. But hey! Before you judge me, believe it when I say that that perfect cup of coffee will determine the kind of mood that my boss will have for the rest of the day. Even as a lowly coffeemaker, I saved humanity from an extremely, unimaginable kind of wrath.

Being young & pretty, it cannot be avoided that someone will fall for me (blush) . I met this person who will play a somewhat meaningful role in my life in a ferry during one of my official business trip. (please play the song ‘The Terminal’ while reading this. It will helped you a lot in trying to understand how I feel at that time). To cut the story short, that man ( sorry I cannot disclose his name for some highly ethical reasons, thus kindly refer to him instead as ‘the man’ in this story), became my first ever official boyfriend and two years later, (super fast forward) became my legally wedded husband. (Your shocked expression, please).The most disappointing fact perhaps is that I have entered the state of being married without my parent’s knowledge, blessings & consent. (Sigh, I know I messed up a lot with this but please stop yourself from that disbelief/bewildered/shocked/whatever-you-call-it look, but until now, believe me beyond your reasonable doubt that I couldn’t even believe why I made such decision). Will it suffice for now if I only have two possible answers? Either it is due to the fact that I am madly in love or that I am extraordinarily stupid. Ouch!It still gives me so much pain talking about this excruciating kind of love but this is where the ‘serious’ talks begin. And mind you, “we’ve only just begun”.I am momentarily sidetracked from my promising career to my much controversial love story. ‘The’ love that we had was a May-December love affair. He is 10 years older than I am, a college drop out, no promising career, not much significant material wealth — but he has the cutest, sweetest smile that could melt your heart! (I’m sorry, I know I have unjustly portrayed him here but let me remind you that I have fallen in love to this man). We lived together for 3 years, me, working as a young manager in a retail department store, and him, as a houseband. I forgot to tell you that before we met, he used to work in the Middle East for three years and had failed to find a job after that. He prefers to work abroad because for him, it is a very well-compensated kind of work, regardless of how hard the kind of job it is. I finally gave up my corporate/career-obsessed picture of myself and settled for a much less stressful but stable (read as no growth) kind of work. Despite the fact that there’s just the two of us, we can hardly make both ends meet. Both of us have crushed ego but what the heck! We were ecstatically happy and deliriously in loved as much as I am concerned. Seriously, it was one of the happiest part of my life. And to satisfy your curiosity, we do have long walks under the stars, the endless ‘I miss you much/can’t live without you’ kind of drama and the you and me against the world ‘cheesy’ stuff..It may be too soon, but here comes the twist. After 3 long years of being a bum and a ‘tax-free’ citizen, he had finally found a job in a nearby Asian country. I was both happy and sad. But mostly happy.

After a years of living in a scrimping budget from my meager salary, we can finally build bigger dreams adorned with material wealth. The first year of him being away from me was the hardest. To paint you a picture of how it looks like, I can’t open a bottle or a canned goods without crying (I’m used to having him doing this little thing for me), I miss his cooking (alright, he is a good cook), I can’t bear to watch MMK alone anymore (without his shoulder to cry on), I have no one to argue with (the kind of argument which I’m always sure to win), etc, etc. but the hardest thing of all: no one is there to call me beautiful regardless of how messy I look. And please don’t disregard the cold, lonely nights. Allow me to skip the other important, beautiful details of him. I don’t want to make you cry yet.After another 3 long years of long distance relationship and unimaginable loneliness of which God only knows how I managed to survive, he finally came home for a vacation. He was in his new ‘balikbayan’ self image, me in my extra beautiful self. (I can, at that moment, afford a hair rebond, you know). I’m sure you can only imagine what a meaningful, happy reunion that was. It was too good to be true. By the way, I quit my managerial job in a retail department store at that time and became a sales representative in a pharmaceutical industry up until this press time.In between our second honeymoon were “horrible” stories about my in-laws of which I chose not to disclose. He finally met my parents and out of choice, they accepted him. Two months after, he left for another job contract in the same country, disappointed of the fact that I wasn’t pregnant yet.I wish my story ends here.

But I got another twist. The horrible story of the in laws in which I chose not to disclose, (and still not choosing to disclose) became the reason why our MMK like love story ended. Don’t ask me why. I still don’t know his reasons yet as of this time. Whatever his reasons may be, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.So, for the details: I’m a frequent traveler to hell after that. He refused to answer my call, he withdraws any emotional, financial and social role he played in my life just like that. Being depressed is an understatement to what I’ve felt at that time. I refused quitting work, it’s the only sane thing that keeps me from living. I tried every possible way to talk to him and to his family, only to further add insult to my injury I don’t know how to describe what I’ve been through at that very moment but you know the feeling of being in a dark, clammy, endless tunnel? Every bit of my dreams were shattered in pieces. Humor yourself, I know I’m not the only separated person in this whole wide world but for me, I never felt so alone, so useless, so forsaken, so unimportant, so hurt, so betrayed. I keep on asking myself: “why?” And the only I answer I got so far was: “why not?” (LOL). I’m just kidding, but the truth is, I bend over backwards in looking for possible answers but I couldn’t pin point the real answer except for the hard, cold truth that everything is possible at any given time and situation. I keep on asking myself what I have done wrong to deserve this? I wonder if I’ll ever laugh again. I wonder if I’ll be able to find meaning in my life again. I wonder if I’ll be able to trust again. Or to dream again. I guess, this is the perfect moment wherein I may allow you to cry with me.I have imagined more or less 53 ways to die. I imagine myself falling into a cliff while speed driving but I couldn’t bear the thought of subjecting my mother — the only person aside from God who loves me unconditionally — to such extreme grief. I always wished for the earth to swallow me whole and release me unconscious and temporarily unaware of my pain. Selective amnesia became a good option. Death by somnolence sounds good to me too. Death caused by depression. Accidental death by someone who had ran amok. The variations may sound funny but honestly, it all occurs to me. Even suicide. It may be anything that could possibly end my pain and suffering. Some people may have greater problem than this, but for me, well, it means the whole world for me. It hit me right to my very core, I don’t know what to do and where to start.

In the years that followed, I lived half alive. I wake up in the wee hours of the morning, finding myself hugging and crying to my mother (she was so worried she came to live with me for awhile because I work away from home), only to find out I am suffering from anxiety attack. I go to work every morning trying to eat a little and helping myself believe that I can get through this. On the outside, I was trying to live a normal life by putting on some make up & a fake smile that I tried to muster (it is necessary when engaging with my colleagues and doctors) but on the inside, I am squirming with extreme pain and sadness. At any given moment, I’d burst into tears. Or stare blankly at anything. Add to it the unsolicited and insensitive opinions of some people who knew nothing of what you are going through. I would bother my sister and even my brother at some ungodly hours just to call them in order to cry and talk to them. Some true friends are equally supportive and well meaning. They are those angels that never fail to remind me of how important I am and oftentimes,they are the one who are fighting for my own battles when I am too weak to fight my very own battles. But my mother — my mother is a wonder. I often overhear her and my father talking over the phone, blaming theirselves for what had happened to me. Everytime she sees me crying in a corner, I could tell that she is feeling twice the pain that I am experiencing. I do not want to see her motherly heart crushed like that but I’m too busy nursing my own heart. She even bargained the rest of her life just for me to be back to my old self again. I’ve been through a lot of difficulties and trials in life but I was able to conquer it. Every possible problems seem to have some fair answer except for this one. This time, I blamed myself for every reason why my marriage failed. I am at a total loss. A mess. Helpless.I couldn’t say I get tired of crying myself to sleep at night but somehow I managed to pull myself together. Not my usual self anymore, I’m afraid to say, but someone who decided to be strong because she needs to. But there is no single day that I am not reminded of my pain. Everyday, I pray for an answer, a call or some news about him. I joined a community of wives experiencing broken marriages and learned from them how to cope with the situation each one is facing. I read the bible until I cannot understand a single word anymore. I went to a vacation abroad. I buy material things that can provide me with temporary happiness. I talked to the priests. I write. I cursed. I talked to everyone whom I know that could possibly help me ease the pain. I seek the help of doctors to give me anti-depressants. I tried to go out and have fun with my friends only to find myself feeling empty every time I go home. I tried every motivation, every possible way to put even just a little value to my crumpled self esteem. For two years, it became my pledge to go to Simala monastery to pray for an answer and healing.

Until one night I dream of him vividly. I started looking for his family’s profile on the social networking site and I have found out that he has now a family and three kids. In my mother’s skillful calculation, he already had the kid during his first three years of working abroad.And I am back to square one. Gone were my high hopes and prayers of us being back together. The only constant remainder were the hatred and the feeling of betrayal. But I finally had some answer. Much to my disbelief and horror.Up until now, I am still recuperating from pain. Up until now, I still can’t believe it happened. Up until now, I don’t have the strength and courage to confront him. I’m not sure of what my answers are. Maybe I still can’t accept how a maddening love story such as ours ended up so tragic. Maybe, I made myself believed that no matter what I will do, it will never be able to bring back what is lost and taken away from me. The unconditional love. The time and memories spent together. The trust and respect. And I haven’t imagine pain to be so real like this.

But perhaps pain is indeed a universal unifier. It is the one that unifies the rich and the poor, the pauper and the king, the love and the hatred, the unknown and the famous. It is experienced regardless of your status in life. It doesn’t choose . Regardless of your story, may it be a physical or emotional kind of pain, petty or mind-numbing pain, a birth or death, it is still pain. You cannot quantify a pain based on a situation or experience alone. It may differ from one form to another, but undoubtedly, it is painful per se.But you see, there is beauty in every pain. Like in a birth pain, it gives you either a death or a new life. In health, pain signals you that something is wrong in your body, thus tells you that you must take good care of it. In work, it is the pain associated with hard work that gives you the meaningful recognition. In religion, it is Christ’s painful death that shows us how much He loves us thus giving us the gift of resurrection. For me, it makes me human.Also in life and love, one must learn how to befriend pain and everything that goes with it. There is beauty in weaknesses too. If you are suffering from fear and uses it to your own advantage, you end up being courageous. If you feel so alone and use it to your own good, you will be able to know yourself better. If you have enemies, appreciate them for their risking their own souls being thrown to hell for you to go to heaven. If you experience sadness, use it to push yourself to find your own happiness. If you experience injustice, do not repay it with revenge but rather, be proud that you have not caused pain to anyone. If you experience failure, be glad to savor the happiness brought by success when you surpassed it. It maybe the very same eyes that shed countless tears that will allow you to see the same thing in a different perspective.And if all of these are not yet enough and you’d still like to ask why God and life let you suffer from all of these, be reminded of how little is our suffering compared to how big and great God’s suffering is, just to show us His unconditional love. I once asked a doctor friend of mine who had just survived cancer if she ever blamed God why she had cancer despite her being a good person, she looked me in the eye and firmly told me: “You only hurt the one you love.” She believed that God loves her so much, that He let her experience sickness to remind her that He is the Great Healer. He made her even a better doctor because she can relate even to the most unfathomable physical pain that human science can’t heal.One can go on with life with the least possible form of tribulations and trials but the most beautiful ones are those who has experienced great pain, surpassed it and are proud of their scars and wear it around their necks like life’s medals. You do not want to miss the beauty of a rose just because it has thorns on it. You may hate the rain because it spoils your sunshine, but it gives you a rainbow (and if you are very lucky, with a pot of gold in both ends!) You may fear the darkness of the night, but it is when the stars shine the most.Revenge is indeed a two-edged sword that wounds the one that wields it.

In the darkest part of my heart where hatred resides, I tried to dislodged it with a big space for forgiveness. Up until now, it is still a challenge for me on how to totally forgive and forget. In there, I had never realized before, how truly big one’s heart is if we let forgiveness lives in it. In the end, when we all die, we do not remember who are the richest or the most powerful man who ever lived in this world, but those who touched our lives and made it meaningful.On my 28th birthday, I was too depressed to even celebrate it. But a good friend gave me a note that sincerely says:
May you win back your smile again.
May you be whole again from your brokenness.

That, I think, is what I still owe to this wonderful life story.

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Everafter

Yes, for once, I’m one of those chinky-eyed, pony-tailed little girl who always love to hear & read a happy ending, rescued-by-her-knight-in-shining-armor fairy tales. I used to invent my own “tragic” stories and giggle at the thought of how my prince charming would look like and how our ending will end happily. Maybe until now, I’m still one of those young ‘once’.

Fiona and I have a lot in common. Infact, I once wrote a letter to my ex husband, thanking him for being my rescuer, since he is nothing but a sweet gentleman, good looking and ready to cheer me up kind (or so I thought). Just when I thought we will have a happy ending, he turned into worst than a monster. The princess’ dreams shattered once again, regretting the day she was rescued by her ‘charming’ prince. Had she known the tragic ending, she’d rather opted to stay in that tower which she now thinks was much safer even if guarded by an angry beast.

So Fiona and the other fairytale character and I have a lot in common. We traded our glass slippers into combat boots, our diamond encrusted, pastel gowns into armor suits, our long, flirty curls into a greasy, simple bun, our crowns into sturdy helmet, our once slender, soft hands now callused with practice of handling swords. We are no loner the soft spoken kind of a princess, though each word spoken still bear the traces of a lovely maiden who onced believe in the promise of an everlasting love.

Now the princess needs to save her own life from the harshness of everyday experiences because her ogre choses to remain an ogre (the much uglier kind)… I realized I’m the one who saved him. I realized that what makes a princess truly captivating is the beauty of her heart to remain steadfast despite the ‘trials’. She doesn’t need a prince charming to rescue her since women are empowered to defend themselves. Women are stronger when they cry and accept defeat. Women are behind every man’s success. Women are soft spoken yet strong willed. Women are emotional yet passionate. Women can handle death itself everytime they gave birth. Women can tend a beautiful home despite a long day at work.. Being a woman is something. She is no longer the princess staying in her palace doing embroidery or picking the flowers. She can even break a man’s heart now (ironically, with just a kiss).

Maybe someday, my ogre will realize a new, feisty Fiona in me. Maybe not. But who cares? I could take care of myself.

And I will live happily ever after.

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Pain is Gain

I am still in search for the person who loves pain. There are the masochists, ofcourse, but I don’t consider them sane. So I guess I am still in search for the sane person who loves pain.

Pain is unpopular. Because of the kind of feeling it brings. It is unwanted, unwelcomed, unpleasant.

But pain is a friend, a help. In health, pain works as a signal that something is wrong with our body. It reminds us to be careful of our health all the more.

Pain is beautiful. Like birthpains. It gives us a new beginning, a new hope. It is an expression and manifestation of love.

And the pain that we dreaded the most — heartaches, death, sickness, failure, etc.

Heartache. This one paralyzes me for three years. It breaks me. It misleads me. It consumes me and my dreams. It is a very unpleasant, excruciating feeling. I know I am alive, but I feel like I’m died already.

When in pain, I begin to question, doubt and loose hope. I see nothing but darkness. feel nothing but betrayal, angst and depression. It leaves me asking the unendless questions of why me, why did it happen, what did I do to deserve it.

Sometimes when my families and friends advice me to “let go/move on/ go on”, I stare at those meaningless words. How to do it? How to start it? Where to go? Can you give me clear steps on “How to really move on”?

Then I cry my heart out til there is nothing left to cry. I question God. I doubt yourself. I stare at nothingness. I cannot rely my happiness on what the future might bring. I feel that no matter what I do or what I have, everything is meaningless and futile.

But I realize that my life doesnt end where my pain begins. What appears to be the weakness in your life can be use by God to bless many others.

Even with the help of time, sometimes some of my questions are still left unanswered. But I guess sometimes, it’s not the answer that really matters. Sometimes, it is who I become and what I chose to do while undergoing the process of healing. It is in knowing how big my heart can be, big enough to accomodate forgiveness. With the gift of acceptance, I realize how meaningless the angst and hatred had become. I am surprised too by the amount of strength I have, by the many good friends I truly have, by the loving families I have forsaken, by the realization of my equally important dreams and goals. I have learned to value the pain of other people too. No matter how big or small their pain is, it is still pain.

And maybe, that is why, a heart is made of human flesh. Not of a sturdy bone, or a fragile glass or a chargeable battery. Because in time, it can heal itself.

And you will see that there is beauty in pain.

Little by little.

I was able to win back my smile again.

Step by step.

I am whole again from my being broken..

An Orphan named La-i

I am in the process of recuperating from pain caused by a broken marriage. While friends and families never fail to show so much love and support in every ways they can, I am still in the endless search of trying to analyze and ask the endless question — why me? What have I done to deserve this?

I am glad that somehow I was able to pass through the stages of feeling miserable, of anxiety attacks and denial. I somehow come to realize that “I have to learn something with every battle I have fought, eventhough many of those lessons have caused me unnecesssary suffering. More than once I have wasted my time fighting for a lie. And I have suffered for people who did not deserved my love. Victors never make the same mistake twice. That is why a warrior like me only risks my heart for something worthwhile. Anything of importance will remain, anything useless will disappear…” Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light.

Then I met this sweet, little orphan named La-i during our Engage Program. As part of the activity, we planted a tree together. We were told that whenever we plant a tree, we must make a wish. So we wished her to grow up as a good person and to live her life to the fullest. When we asked her about her wish, she just replied: “your wish, also”. I did not understand what she meant, (she’s a very timid little girl). In my own understanding, what she wished is for us to have whatever we wished for in life… (She’s too small to think that big idea!) That day, we painted their orphanage, enjoyed the good food the sisters have prepared for us, listened to their songs and be entertained with their dance moves. La-i spend the day playing, sometimes interrupting me and my painting job by handling me a glass of water or just simply poking me naughtily. She toyed with my watch and bag, had her lunch beside me and sometimes absent mindedly hold my hand. When we are about to leave the orphanage, I have goosebumps when they sing a song of thanksgiving and prayers for us.

While driving on my way home, I made a lot of realizations. These girls from the orphanage have so many reasons to hate life, and perhaps to blame God for their misfortune. I could’nt imagine how it feels like not knowing my parents, being abused, not having a home, or living with complete strangers.Then I heared myself having so many complains about life — my toxic job, my boss, the traffic and uneducated drivers, misunderstandings with colleagues, endless things to do, bills to be payed, physical and emotional pains, etc. I silently thank God for my parents, my friends and my work. And I realize that I’ve been through life running after something (nice house, newest gadgets, branded bags and clothes), someone (______), some meaning (what is most important in life, in work, in friendship, in love). And I realized I’ve been running from myself. I don’t have time to sit still and just be… And I cringed in shame that I forgot how to be a like a child.

A child with no worries, no regrets, no responsibilites, no fears of failure, no heartaches… They trust a complete stranger, they laugh and play hard, they bravely ask simple yet profound questions about the universe and nature, and how they enjoy a sound, untroubled sleep. They wake up with excitement on what a particular day will surprise them to have. They binge on foods we dreaded to take because of extra calories and fats. They burn their skin playing under the heat of Mr. Sun. I envy them because they don’t have hypertension, diabetes or cancer to worry about. They make friends, make enemies but never take grudge against each other. They are easily comforted with a loving embrace or some sweet treats.

And these orphans have more reasons to hate life — because they are not accepted as they are. They have more reasosn not to trust — because they are forsaken and betrayed by their own parents. They have more reasons not to hope — because they don’t know what the future might bring. But they are brave. And have accomplished and surpassed what we might not able to accept and understand —life’s crazy, big joke — TO MAKE MISTAKE AND TO SURVIVE.

The pain caused by the high-heeled shoes, the broken marriage, the nonsense comment of a colleague, the pains and challenges of work, the annoying neighbors or drivers, the lack of sleep are nothing compared to their pains. And yet they survive. And hopefully, they will love life as they grow up.

Thank you La-i for these meaningful lessons in life, thank you St. Joseph Orphanage sisters for taking good care of these wonderful kids and for providing them with shelter and love that their parents are suppose to provide them, thank you for your prayers, your time and talents. Thank you for your smile and laughter. You have given me inspiration that will hopefully lasts a lifetime. I will forever keep a picture of your beautiful face in my mind as long as my memory serves me. May you have a happy life ahead of you… God bless you.