I am tired of feeling sorry for myself for something I did not intentionally do!
I considered myself as an adventurous and courageous kid – two much needed qualities for a 9-year old entrepreneur who used to sell bananaques and ice candies on most weekends at our local public swimming pool. But it was fun because I earned a few centavos for every ten peso earnings and saved them in my piggy bank. That way, when my parent’s salaries did not come on time, my mother would borrow money from me to buy rice. So it made me feel good to be of help!
Fast forward to 2002. One sister sent me an email from Argentina and asked how I was at that time. I replied, saying “I feel like going to some place where no one recognizes me” — and I forgot about that email. After several days I opened my mail and read her response, which went like this: “My God, you are burnt out!” And I retorted: “Me?! Burnt out?! No way! I pray, I belong to a community and I love my ministry, etc. etc. etc. But that phrase got me into thinking!
Actually, for some weeks I was already having inner turmoil because of a negative comment about our summer youth camp which I took so personally. My friend, a Marist brother, told me not to pay attention to that feedback made by a priest who wasn’t even there during that youth activity, yet, I still felt devastated. I cried, spent sleepless nights analyzing what went wrong, and lost my enthusiasm to work. Even at Mass I sometimes doubted the existence of God and the validity of our worship. Aside from that, while taking a stroll one day, I thought of jumping off the bridge but it was not too high so I said to myself, I won’t die and I would suffer from shame afterwards. Besides, the thought of my mother who would feel shaken by my sudden death was unbearable. Thus, I dismissed that idea from my mind.
One afternoon while at prayer, I saw myself inside a pit which was deep enough that it prevented me from getting out all by myself. And I felt like that for several months that I had to see a doctor to help me get back to my old self. But because I was talkative, I shared everything to a friend, so that she could mirror to me what my fragile mind could not perceive at that time.
Persevering prayer is the key to healing — as well rest and proper medication! Many friends were praying for my recovery, and I was very sincere in begging the Lord to heal me, so when I woke up one day and told myself: “IT’S OVER! Enough! I am tired of being depressed! I am tired of feeling sorry for myself for something I did not intentionally do! I’m fed up of crying over little things!” And I realized that the Lord allowed me to go through those “sleepless nights” and days so as to TEACH me to LET GO of the many things I wanted to “control” and to change my false self-image, that is, to be good I needed to be perfect.
When it became clear to me that God was not always the center of my work and my life, in general, I felt good because at least now I know where I was coming from. Suddenly, I saw myself outside the pit and then later on, riding a train passing through a dark tunnel with the noonday sun at a short distance, seemingly wanting to penetrate the cold tunnel with its warmth. That was God’s work! I just cooperated with my poor prayers.
And I was back to my former self — but maybe a little wiser! When someone praised me for something I did, I was already cautious of not giving myself all the credit because my gifts come from the Lord. When I get impatient with those who do things differently, maybe not according to my standards, I ask myself: “Where am I coming from? Why am I being demanding with this person?” I also strive to put myself in the shoes of the other when my plans are not in congruence with theirs.
I thank the Lord for all the experiences — good and bad- that shaped me. He has been with me through all the ups and downs of my life’s journey. Now I have new CONFIDENCE in God who constantly leads me by the hand, together with His loving tender Mother, and my mother too.