Once upon a time, when I was a freshman -staying in a college dormitory, I was deliriously homesick.
It was a difficult time coping with,
first, being uprooted from a beloved city
and second, having left the security of a happy home.
I was lonely and thinking of home all the time.
I sought people who came from my area.
I not only became closer with my classmates from highschool,
but also with kids from Cagayan de Oro City, who, like me, also took the challenge of leaving our city and families,
in exchange for the University.
I kept myself busy,
playing " the boat is sinking " ,
group yourselves according to...PROVINCE.
I gravitated towards, those who spoke my dialect, which was Cebuano.
Yes, but of course, I bonded with people who reminded me of home.
I too, formed friendships with kids from places like, Surigao, Davao, Iligan, Bukidnon, and Butuan.
Not to mention having had the chance, to polish my geography; including having to say, " Cagayan de Oro City " completely, when asked-where I was from.
It was because, someone would suddenly speak to me in the Ilocano dialect,
when I answered plainly, " Taga Cagayan ko". ( I'm from Cagayan.)
But it was quite a happy memory for me,
because it paved way to many of my future friendships,
including that with a blockmate from Tuguegarao, Cagayan who suddenly spoke to me in Ilocano on our first meeting.
I valued those friendships I have formed way back then,
because they were what I needed the most, that time.
But of course, that was not enough to beat the loneliness.
So it was pure blessing that one time,
our dorm head invited us " KALAYAAN KIDS " to attend an every friday prayer group, which was held not far from the dorm.
It was ideal for me and for most of us, for it was held every friday night.
Therefore after a gruelling week comprised with a battery of exams,
and a knapsack filled with self pity, The FRIDAY NIGHT encounter proved to recharge our spirits.
It was my special group.
My happy place.
And we were just a bunch of kids, wanting to relax and be inspired with the love of Christ.
Ate Annabel, our mediator,
once re-enacted the breaking of the bread with us.
So we would have a deeper understanding on the importance of the body of Christ in our Catholic life.
But for freshmen like ourselves,
with meager allowances,
growling tummies and food palettes so limited to dorm food, ( with meal cards and no refills )
the " BREAKING of the bread " most definitely,
did NOT spark so much interest,
as that of the BREAD itself, which really impacted!
After meditation and sincere prayers,
we proceeded to
the re-enactment of the, " Breaking of the Bread."
by dipping the bread in juice, ( I think ) while having to pass it around.
However, there were two from the group who,
instead of taking just a pinch of it and then passing it to the rest of us,
GOBBLED them all up, like it was the first meal of the day.
I surely will name them, NOT.
( sapagkat sila ngayon ay tinitingala sa lipunan at may kanya kanyang reputasyon na pinangangalagaan...)
( they now hold either careers in law, education and business, so I dare not. )
While the rest of us kids, wide eyed stared at the culprit/s.
Imagine how we kids that time felt beartbroken,
thinking we would not be able,
to partake in the breaking of the bread.
The culprits on the other hand, bowed down in...
(??? but it was not out of shame),
when they realized,
that they have completely gobbled up what was suppose,
to be THE representation of what will supposedly bring them, err us, closer to Jesus,
" Sometimes,( ano), in our lives,
we seem to love Jesus so much, too much,
we just cannot get enough of Him, we would like to have,
ALL of Him,"
were the words that our very kind mediator, Ate Anabel managed to say.
Unfortunately for dear Ate Anabel, she had to get up and go to the pantry and check if there were still some more bread to break, but there were none.
She rummaged for the next best thing available from the cupboard, till she found one.
And the rest of us kids had to settle with the next best thing available.
( toasted bread from Ilo-ilo, that is.)
And it was only the remaining " pan" . So the rest of us had to take biscocho instead....
It was a very HARD path to take towards Jesus, if I may put it that way.
( So you know who you are, you owe my childhood,
some bread. )
We usually meditate before starting our actual prayers.
We close our eyes and listen not only with our ears but with our hearts.
We only listen to Ate Annabel-our mediator, who by the way HAD THE MOST SOOTHING VOICE.
( Her voice used to be heard at Radyo Veritas.)
She would start by saying some prayers, while beautiful intrumental music was being played at the background.
We all missed home.
Sometimes during meditations like those, we couldn't help but sigh, cry and really long for home.
It would be a common occurence to hear sniffles, stiffled sobs and weeping.
But there will always be, this one particular mediation,
which stands out in my mind.
In the middle of our mediation,
while Ate Annabel in her beautiful voice was offering her prayers of thanksgiving,
a sound came to be heard .
It was a sound that we could not distinguish at first, for it was far from the usual sniffles or stiffled sobs.
The sound was at first faint,
then it became louder and louder by the minute.
It sound like the buzzing of a bee and escalated to
the sound of the engine of an old rusty car:
Somebody was meditating too,
with full blast snoring sounds
while sleeping the sleep of the innocent.
" Come to me and I will give you rest."
In that prayer group, let me share you this important prayer that I have learned there and treasured in my heart.
We started our prayer activities with Ate Annabel usually reading to us,
this prayer, from Psalm 30 :
Psalm 30 - My Life in Your Hands
It soothed me.
It took away the stress.
It took away the hurt.
It reduced the disappointments from broken promises.
It calmed my soul.
It told me, that life will always be beautiful, no matter what,
for Somebody up there, holds my love, my life and my fortunes.
This has always been the prayer I recite during turbulent times in my life:
AND WITH OUR COUNTRY'S STATUS WITH OUR ASIAN NEIGHBORS,
WE NEED THIS BEAUTIFUL PRAYER:
" You are my God; my fortunes are in your hand.”
“You are my God; my fortunes are in your hand.”
A sense of relief sweeps over me, a feeling of satisfaction and safety in the midst of a troubled world.
“My fortunes are in your hand.”
Whatever happens to me, whatever life brings to me, whatever winds blow and waters flow on the fields of my life..., all that is in your loving hands. I need no more.
Good fortune, bad fortune; things I like and things I dislike; occasions I look forward to and occasions I fear; pleasure and pain; joy and sorrow. All that is in my life, and all that is in your hand.
You know the time, you know the measure, you know my strength and my lack of it, you know my longings and my limitations, my dreams and my realities.
All that is in your hand, and you love me and want the best for me. My best fortune is to know that my fortunes are in your hands.
Let that faith grow in me, Lord, and put an end to worry in my life. I surely will continue to work for my “fortune”,
I am too much of an achiever and a compulsive worker to let go of things and lower my efforts; I will continue to work, but with a happy face and a light heart.
Because those “fortunes” are in your hand. I can look up and smile and sing, because now the burden is light and the yoke is smooth.
My effort will still be there, but the result is in your hand, and so out of my own hands and out of my mind.
Peace has come to my heart because “You are my God, and my fortunes are in your hand."
A BLESSED SUNDAY , EVERYONE!
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