February 23, 2024

Raise your hand if 2019 had also been a hell of a year for you.
Though there were glimpses of delight, the past year was generally covered with regrets, stagnancies, brokenness, and emptiness. Those throbbing that drowned your heart made it feel like you’ve become a sister to tears.
It was a rollercoaster ride of circumstances that stunned sanity, moments of perplexity that brought about realizations, mistakes that yielded golden wisdom, and surrender that resulted to freedom. As you reminisce, you congratulate yourself for not losing heart and standing gallantly for a greater cause.
The year 2019 twisted and turned my being. I lost passion in things I loved to do, specifically in teaching, which I used to imagine myself indulging in until I reach old age. The theories and ideals that blazed in my heart seemed to have suddenly vanished, and I found myself searching for my purpose.
Aside from career confusion, my relationships as well went through thorny trails. Compromises led me to the worst mistake I never thought of making and which hurt the person I cared for a lot. Yet I was the one who shed the most bitter tears and terrible feeling. I questioned my principles, my confidence deteriorated, I distanced myself from people, and almost hated myself.
Grief seemed to have enjoyed its stay in my life the past year. I lost two of my grandparents. There was nothing I could do but send a loving farewell as I kept their memories in my heart.
The grapples did not end there. Perhaps the most fretful night for my family happened when my brother attempted to commit suicide. Until now, I can still vividly see the reactions of family members while the hospital crew revived my almost lifeless brother: my mother who wailed out of worry, my father who silently stood inside the emergency room, my younger sister who assisted during the emergency, and my older brother who asked “Ngem mayaten sisya?” (Is he safe already?) at least twice in every 30 minutes.
Selfishly, I wondered where have all these worries gone when I battled with cancer seven years ago, but that is another story. After a couple of hours, we were relieved to hear from the doctor that my brother will survive.
As these incidents happened almost simultaneously, the pain from the past, which I thought was healed, suddenly stung again. This time it’s almost unbearable. It’s horrible when the one who’s causing your deepest pain is the woman who bore you. And though you don’t want to entertain that feeling of resentment, it kept on stabbing like a rusted dagger.
As I contemplate on how my year went, my lips are curved in a genuine smile as tears rush down from my eyes. It was difficult. The circumstances made me doubt the essence of my existence and brought me into a state of numbing emptiness.
However, at the peak of all these despondencies, the most important element of my being was solidly restored – my faith.
It’s my faith that illuminated me about the grace that lay behind everything that took place. Those desperate nights of groaning, aching, teething troubles, mistakes, and losses revealed the weaknesses I had been denying for years. Through all these, I found strength in the loving arms of my Creator.
My passion had to dwindle so that I could realize how I had been living in complacency all these years. I have not been maximizing the best of my abilities and became contented with mediocrity.
I learned to humble myself as I asked forgiveness for the pain I have caused. I was only able to let go of grudges I have been keeping for a long time when I let it consume me for a moment. I became more honest with myself and followed rational decisions rather than concentrating on my emotions.
There are lots of situations that we cannot change. They cause chaos and drain our strength. But remember that these are part achieving the best version of ourselves. Before you passing the tests, you look up high and hold His hand which is willing to carry the entire load for you. — Kathlleen K. Padsingan