2010-09-26

it's just a phone...

It was six thirty in the evening. Jan and I were standing on my dad's resting place in Loyola Memorial. The cemetery had no lights but the night sky was bright enough to be reassuring. I tried to embrace the serenity of such a place. I just had a rough afternoon after discovering that my phone was nowhere I thought it would be. Just to be sure, Jan drove me for almost an hour back to the cemetery to check if I might have left it there. It seems I did not.

I stood there on dad's grave, frustrated and burdened. Damn phone.

I looked back to January 2000 where I was a young teacher living in rural Bukidnon. I just lost P3,000 which I was certain was just kept in my filofax which I left in my room. I knew someone from the house has stolen it. The landlady thought it was her relatives who stayed in the boarding house for a few days. Two years after, I would discover it was his youngest son who was then eleven.

It was a bit strange how the landlady was all riled up, while I just kept calm. At that time (and even now), P3,000 was a lot. It was almost an entire month's salary as a teacher. It was eight month's worth of savings which I hoped to use for a post-JVP year trip. Yet I could not feel bad about it. I told my landlady, "there are more important things than money. It's okay."

I meant it. Because a month before that, I found out my dad had cancer...

Today, while the whole phone fiasco was going on, my brother received a text from my cousin that my uncle was in the hospital and was not in good shape. My shoulders stooped a little lower after hearing that news... And then I thought of Divine... In my head, I was pleading to God for my Uncle, for Divine...

While we were on our way to the cemetery, I was reading "Anne of the Island." I was already at the part where Ruby Gillis, just barely twenty, passed away. She has been struggling with "consumption" (what it means, I do not know) the entire summer, yet she refused to believe death was coming for her. One day, she talked to Anne Shirley and told her she was afraid that heaven would not be like what she was used to, she told Anne that she wanted to live, to get married and to have children... But it was after her admission of her fears that she peacefully left the world in her sleep...

Divine would be around 27 I think. Divine with her happy grin... Divine, who loved Mindoro as much as I did... Dear, wonderful Divine. When I saw her last, she was very thin, refused to eat and attached to a dextrose but still wore that happy-to-see you smile... Divine got her wish to return to Zamboanga and continue her healing there. Now, she has asked for her oxygen removed because it has become painful...

Darn that tumor.

Jan and I went to mass after the cemetery... I was still burdened with uncertainty over the state of my phone. We were a few minutes early for mass so I had time to kneel and talk to God. I prayed for Divine. I prayed for my Uncle.

When my dad was already in the hospital for more than a week, I did not know what to pray for anymore. Should I ask for his healing or should I ask for his peace? Can they not go together? My father was suffering. My mother, in her own way, was going through her own pain. So were all of us children and those who loved my father dearly. When my dad was still conscious, he kept telling us that he was happy to share in the Lord's suffering. For him it was an honor to be given that burden. He was at peace that he has sent all of us to school and that we can take care of ourselves already. I did not know what to pray for but I asked God to do his will and to give my father the peace that he sought...

The last few days, the entire JVP community has been united by Divine's condition. To hear the news that she has been given a few weeks was difficult to digest. It gnawed on me at random moments... I want to storm the heaven with prayers for miracles. To ask heaven to heal Divine's physical body. I fear to speak out about my fears lest they come true...

Yet I also know there is a gift in all this. I've learned that from my father. Like I said, I saw Divine last with her grin wide as it always has been. The JVP community was there to support her. That day, she had more than thirty guests wanting to extend their support and love. How can you not smile? Yes, there is a gift in this. There is gift in knowing that it will soon end... the suffering, the pain. There is a chance to look back and remember how you lived, how you loved. There is gift in looking back at mistakes and forgiving yourself and throwing away regrets. There is a gift in having people you love show how much they care for you, how much your presence have marked them. There may be some regrets too... a place not visited, words, not spoken, a dream not fulfilled... but in the end... you can look at your heart and know that it is good. And everything else becomes insignificant and you can embrace your peace.

I am still being selfish about my Uncle. I do know his state, I do not know what he seeks. I do know those of us who love him want to be with him as long as we can. I am bargaining for his physical healing but I am also asking God to give what is best for my Uncle. All shall be well.

What has my phone got to do with all this? After all the frustration and irritation at myself and at the situation, I just had to remember, it is just a phone. Replaceable and merely a thing. There are more important things...

6 comments:

ganns said...

What a beautifully written, heart-touching post, Anj. God spoke to me today through you.

anj said...

thanks Ganns. It is an honor to have been an instrument. I actually wanted to send you a PM about this post. Somehow, I wanted to share a moment of reflection with a friend whose faith I always admired. :)

nicnic said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Anj. I was moved.

Coach Miah said...

well said my dear friend. <3

Coach Miah said...

well said my friend. life & faith have thier ways of reminding us of what really matters.

BabyPink said...

Like the others, I was also moved by this entry! There are, indeed, so many MORE important things than most of the things that we worry about. Sometimes, we forget...