by: Sr. Joy A. De Vera, RA
I was a novice then when I was assigned to be with the fisher folks for a 10-day immersion program in a small island called Sitio Caybubo in Bagac, Bataan. I became very close to a 11-year old boy named Jay-Jay.
One Sunday, I was able to convince Jay-Jay to go with us to attend the mass in the Barangay Chapel. It will take us about 45-minute to an hour walk. Since this is his daily route in going to school, he is my guide. As we walked along, he asked me, “Ate Joy, napapagod ka na ba?” I deniably answered him, “Hindi ah!” I don’t want to show him that I’m tired though I am running after my breath in the muddy-hill that we were traversing. As he holds my hand from time to time to encourage me or assist me in some rocky parts of the road, he shares with me his tale of tiredness. This is the path that he needed to take to go back and forth from his school. He shared that when it’s raining hard, he will become like a “chocolate boy” with the mud all over his uniform. There are times that he was forced to just go back home instead of going to school.
As he continually narrates his lamentation, he uttered “Ako kasi ate Joy, sa totoo lang…napapagod na kakalakad ng kakalakad dito. Araw-araw…ang layo-layo. Nakakasawa na!” I can feel the heaviness in his heart as he shared this to me. Since, I experienced it, I want to back-up his whining. Good thing, a nice thought came. Instead of supporting his lamentation that might convince him to stop going to school or to blame their local government why they are not doing something to fix their road for an easier route, I just simply shared with him, “Alam mo Jay-Jay, madaming gustong makalakad, pero wala silang paa!” I think it hit him, because he paused for a little while and uttered, “Ay, oo nga po, Ate Joy!”
When we reached our destination, we were late for the Mass. The priest paused in saying his homily and waited for us to enter the Chapel. When the priest continued, he said in a begging voice, “Sana ‘wag kayong mapagod. Sana patuloy kayong magsimba. Sana patuloy nyong itaguyod ang Simbahan. Kagaya ng sabi ni St. Augustine, my heart is restless, until it rests in you. Sana maging katulad nya tayo. ‘Wag tayong titigil hanggang ‘di natin matagpuan ang kaganapan ng pag-ibig ng Dyos sa atin…”
I reflected on the homily of the priest before I went to sleep that night. Something was stirred in my heart about Jay-Jay’s questioning and whining. I felt that it is my questioning and whining, too. The homily of the priest is the same answer that God is telling me: “Be faithful my Beloved, this is the way to Home!”
That experience gives me enough encouragement and hope. I continually entertain some of the life questions and whinings but prayer purifies how I look at things beyond the bad situation.
I was able to recognize that everyday miracles never stop to happen.
The sun continually rises every morning.
The wind continually blows to give me air to breathe.
My eyes opened again today. The water continually flows in our faucet to quench my thirst.
The plants which I water every Wednesday morning still keeps on growing.
The mango tree in our compound produces fruit so we have something to consume.
Many unbelievable events are happening that I was not expecting but I remain hopeful.
Prayer makes me see Him in all things and in everything.
He never ceases to amaze me. I read once that “whatever we pay attention to, grows.”
Since I learned to pay attention to the crumbs of my faith experiences, God becomes bigger and bigger in my lens.
God is indeed greater than my fears, worries, failures, questioning, and whining.
He never fails to provide for what I and my community needs.
Napapagod ka na rin ba?
That it seems that you are bombarded by so much hopelessness and helplessness around you?
Do you have a lot of questions and whining, too?
Do you pay attention to what makes you tired and give up rather than the grace in store beyond?
Do you become a sign of hope and encouragement to others?
Or do you add up to the burden and stories of hopelessness?
Lord, grant us the grace to be hopeful.
Teach us how we can become man and woman of hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you may abound in HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 NRSV