The street next to where I live doesn’t have its usual honks and screeches. All food stalls nearby are closed, except for the bakery, making me go into forced fasting or being okay with bread. I should be going to a cousin’s house to spend the three-day break and maybe, have a swimming outing with the kids, but the non-service of metro trains and construction of major roads just make me choose home and bed. And although I have cable now that would keep me company during this time that the major local channels opt to shut off, I still can feel in the air that peace and calmness everyone agrees to have once a year– because it’s the time of the year again where you go into introspection and express your devotion to God, or be guilty for your lack of show of it.
And I am guilty.
When you’re a grown-up and assume responsibilities, you tend to have more problems to deal with and goals you focus yourself into hitting, and you make excuses for not being or for being less religious, or even spiritual. Well, if you don’t make excuses and you believe you are religious and/or spiritual, then I salute you. And that makes me question myself more- why can’t I be the same?
I used to have no goals and just allow my God to take control of my life. For me, it was always the minimum standard that I should attain for. I didn’t dream much, didn’t care if my career was lackluster, if my romance was zero, if my family would not get a better life. But my spirituality and personal show of it was somehow strong.
Then, God suddenly decided to make most things better, financial-wise. I’m still not rich but doesn’t anymore need to save up for a year just to buy the cheapest meal at McDonald’s and to have my mother take any job just to get us through. I began writing down plans and setting targets, and some of them, I have already hit. And since that fuels my belief that I can achieve anything I want to if I put my 100% into it, I work even harder for those goals. But I have to admit, I’ve become withdrawn from my religion. I have my faith, but I rarely go out there and proclaim it. And I reason that I don’t have enough time. Good thing that my default religious affiliation doesn’t fine me for it, because if it did, I would have been in serious debt now. But still, shame on me.
That’s why I’m thankful for Holy Week, not only because I get to rest from work, but also because it is something that pinches me and reminds me to think and feel His Power, to make me realize that life is not all about what I want to have, what I want to happen, but is also, and especially, about the Him in me. This day makes me think of being stripped of material possessions, desires, and ambitions, and putting myself into nothingness once again and just feel what it is to be nothing and only have faith.
I might not have the same excitement I used to have when I was a child awaiting all the TV programs about the Bible, the history of the Catholic Church, and Jesus. I might be that someone now more interested in expositions about the mysteries of the religion and its untouchable ideas. But I will always be into fully understanding (although I know I will never) the value of faith to my existence and my existence’s value to I-don’t-know-what-yet. Some of the traditions might have died down in most places, but the significance will always remain in me. And sometimes, a moment like this is what we need to go back to humility and acceptance that not everything can be fully grasped, can be answered… not every goal is “I.” Sometimes, all we need is just a moment to pray.
Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life…’ — John 14: 6
I want to participate in this week’s “A Day In My Life” challenge; however, since a typical day for me is something that does not interest me so, i don’t have the energy yet to share about it. I hope though I could still share something about it that what is worth of words. I still have a week.
For now, I have a post about a break from my typical days, which gave a sort of life to my everyday living because this day gave me some joy being away from work, city life, and stress. I don’t hate my usual days; even stress drives me more, but that feeling of BEING away and not seeing the usual things gave me a sense of self-love. I so needed this break, too, after undergoing a minor surgery and surviving it, thank you Lord (I might also write about that ordeal as a follow-up to my ‘medical paranoia’ post).
So where did I spend that much-needed break?
Rizal province. A little more than two hours away from Manila, specifically from Shaw Starmall where my brother, our cousin, and I kick started our mini-day-tour with a commuter van costing us 70 pesos each to our first destination, Daranak Falls in Tanay. I just want to put the photos now before this post is again taken over by my usual wordiness.
I thought we were still early coming in at around 8 AM, but the place was already crowded. It was a holiday, so we expected this. I myself was making the most out of the holiday that was why I still decided to go. The noise was a bit frustrating because I didn’t feel that much the serenity I was craving for, but the feeling this natural beauty gave me overshadowed that minor setback.
I wasn’t able to go to main part of the falls though since I was afraid to make my way to it. I can’t swim. I wouldn’t trust my life on the “salbabida” I rented. Just the part of passing and walking through the slippery rocks almost made me give up to even touch the falls’ water. I overheard the policeman telling a guy asking that the water on the main part is 30 feet, or 13 feet maybe… either one of them, it is still way more than twice my height. I just contented myself feeling the moment of being close to that natural wonder, shooting anything that caught my eyes, and watching some people with their “tricks.”
I left the place with a satisfied feeling. I might visit Daranak again (or its sister falls, Batlag) on a less crowded day. So far, this is the most affordable and nearest tour I had.
I didn’t forget that this Friday was also the Lord’s Day. When I was a child, my folks told the children to just stay at home and sit on this day because Jesus died for our sins. I saw that that tradition was totally different now based on the people in Daranak maximizing the day taking their vacation and the busy streets and roads we passed through going home. I don’t know how to feel about that since I myself was not anymore just sitting on this day, but I would never fail to thank God for His love and sacrifices on any days. Before we left the province, we went to Antipolo Church and I thanked God for giving me this day to be closer to Him through His gift of nature, to feel His presence in His home, and to appreciate His gift of life more.
I hope everyone has a fruitful Holy Week. God Bless.