It was one fine day when I found myself walking towards a place I haven’t visited for a long time. I suddenly stopped going there owing to all the setbacks that has come over me in the past years and has made my life quite miserable.
Nobody knows because I don’t look miserable. I didn’t find the need to let the whole world know that I am. I hid myself and what’s really happening in my life behind a mask and have shown my usual bubbly self to everyone despite all that’s going on with me.
I am not what I seem to be — inside.
Everyone who knows me thinks I am tough. But let me share a secret. You will know what I really am when you listen to the song “The Warrior is a Child.” It best describes me.
After my conversation with my sister some previous nights, I pondered on what she told me. “Hindi maramot ang Diyos, Monette.”
As soon as it appeared from her reply in our Messenger thread, I felt like something struck me right out and made me reflect on what I have been feeling and saying for the past months that somehow made me feel so guilty.
My faith began to falter.
I stopped going to church. I stopped praying. I cut my communication line to The One up above.
It is because I have not been spared from that blame game syndrome. That I have felt like I have done everything to the best of my abilities, but still have been deprived of my fervent desires and wishes. I began to question His will. I accused Him of being unfair and prosecuting me as punishment for my wrongdoings.
I refused to accept the fact that I was also at fault for everything that has happened in my life, and that I have made lapses in my decisions, too, that brought me into this big void.
And I blamed Him.
But then I realized, my sister was right. My closest friends were right. And so my feet brought me to the place that used to be my sanctuary. The place that I come running home to when I fall down.
I chose the pew closest to the altar just to make sure He would hear me praying, again. For the first time in a long time, like seven months.
I just knelt there staring at His image hanging on the cross, with my tears starting to well up. Then I began murmuring my prayers. I began by saying sorry, then I thanked Him for not giving up on me despite my being sinful and unworthy.
The words just came out spontaneously and I know it was coming from my heart. My eyes were like a broken tap, with my tears falling unabashed. I poured everything out.
Then that hug.
That was when I felt someone was behind me and gave me a hug from the back, stroking my shoulders and the back of my head. I felt that very warm hug accompanied by words that were unfathomable at the beginning because they were being drowned by my anguished cries. Later on, the words became clear and she was telling me, “Just lift everything up unto the Lord, anak. Cry it out and let Him take away your pain. God is good, remember that.”
I got hold of her hand and squeezed it, expressing my thanks, though bereft of words. It was just like that for a few moments and then I felt her pull and walk away. I didn’t even have the chance to look at her face. How can I even thank her when she could be any of the faces I meet on the road?
Through that kind gesture, I felt His tangible presence. I knew that He was also there behind me, with that woman as an instrument to make me feel I was heard, and hopefully forgiven for the momentary faltering of my faith. That stranger made me fully understand that everything happens for a reason and a purpose.
My decision to go to the church on that particular day, and find that beautiful stranger there is a manifestation of God’s unfailing and great love for all His children. It was just a beautiful experience; a wonderful moment to feel God’s love and blessings through someone you don’t even know.
Truly, God moves in mysterious ways. We may never understand how. But one thing is sure, He works that way to give us something better. As my favorite Bible verse from Jeremiah 29:11 says,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “
God is indeed good, all the time. I will never forget that hug and I am praying for that beautiful stranger’s life, and also for the lives of the people surrounding me and showing me their love and concern.
The people who have not given up on me even though I couldn’t offer them any material gifts, but only myself. The Lord, my family, my friends and the people who never left me, and most importantly, my kids who have been my pillars of strength…thank you.