A Lamentation Scribbled at the Back of My Finance Textbook

Written by Johanne Arceo

You know how some people use the blank paper at the back of textbooks for math computations and review notes? I was in the middle of math computations and review notes when I wrote this spontaneous prayer at the back of my Finance book as a junior college student in the year 2010. From the looks of its conception, it appears that I had an existential crisis while trying to comprehend asset allocation and diversification.

It was perhaps the usual all-nighter to cram school requirements and org work in a random coffee shop along Katipunan, and I was a student of business management. I had no idea that ten years after scribbling this cry for help, I will find myself back in the classroom to teach liberation theology and get excited whenever I get the chance to criticize oppressive social structures. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and tell my 2010-self that her cry for help will not fall on deaf ears. God actually listened.

Originally written in black ink, with a few random erasures and hints of exhausted wrists, I now present my 2010 version of a lamentation:

Dear God,

Today I just realized how shallow my pursuits are. 

I woke up to the realization that I need something more real. I realized I’ve been consumed too much by things that don’t really amount to anything but frustration, pity, or wishful-thinking. Dear God, I need to have a stronger grasp of the things that make me more real, a better understanding of the things I can fight for. I really don’t know what I’m talking about, but I do know that I’ve been living a life too shallow and aimless. Help me see Your plans and guide my feet towards them. I may had been following wind too long enough and it already feels light, dense, hollow.

God, grant me the depth of life’s wisdom. Help me see things beyond the bias of my being human — much more the bias of my shallow horizons. Help me see things with eyes that are capable of compassion, conviction, understanding, and love. I pray that You open my eyes… help me exist through the things I see, and may I exist because I see. And when I see, dear God, help me understand, and feel, and believe. I’ve been too shallow; let me see deeper things. 

God help me love. I know I can do crazy things for love, so please help me channel this fire to Your own plans. Help me focus, and do what will give me peace. May I be able to live a life with no regrets, and I can only do that when I can justify my life with the love it has held onto. Help me know what love really means, and show me what to do with it. I know things will eventually fall into place… Lord mold me to become the person You want me to be, and that I may be an instrument of Your greatness and love.

Dear God, thank You for letting me get to know you more. I don’t remember when and how it started, but I can still see myself clearly on that night I was crying over my quiz grade in Araling Panlipunan back in grade school… and the peace that came to me as I uttered my first ever bed-time prayer. You have never abandoned me in my bed-time prayers after that night. God, during these times that I am left to ponder on things far larger than my grades, I pray that You grant me that same peace that made me feel how much Loved I truly am. 

I thank You forever for all the little miracles in my life everyday.

Love,

Johanne


Photo above exhibits how my usual all-nighter session looks like; taken by author (obviously).

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