December 8, 2023

The night before Saturday, we invented a community to save ourselves from the cruel, loathing and punishing ways of this world. Friday is supposed to be the beginning of a long weekend where many of my students would change into party dresses during my last literature class, they storm the city bars and dance all night. It was Friday where lovers would meet at the dim-lighted corners of the parks or sat at the coffee shops, their warm breath moist and sweetdraw hearts against the glowing glass window. It was also Friday, a wicked night to create brawl among frats, break bottles at town bars, or a portal where we can leave the city and find refuge in the province.
But ever since the Pandemic, when me and my friends from a small community church at the border town in La Trinidad were separated from each other, we dedicated the Friday night to meet and help each other process the different stages of maturity and circumstances we found ourselves in. Some adults, some students, some married, we are about 20 in number or less stopping from one house to another- it has become a circle of friendship we dedicated to foster in the most difficult time of our lives.
We cook food for dinner – adobo at best and take out at worst. That after our youth pastor will share some scriptures and encouragement to group. It could be the life of Apostle Paul, the rise and fall of David or the miracles of Jesus, he said we eat spiritual food first. Then we sing and worship as a group where our talented students would play guitar and keyboard in the beat of Planetshakers, Hillsong or our homegrown gospel singers, the Ettie siblings.
Then we share stories and updates to each other’s life. You see, we its only through this sharing that we would know the struggles of our high schoolers, the pressures felt by college students, the uncertainty of work among professionals, and the wish to bear child among young couples. The simple enjoyment of a late-night fellowship away from the crowd filled our hearts with contentment. The regularity of it makes us focused in our goals life as if self-aware and guided by the faith we cultivate among this small community- it was a painful choice we do every week. We can choose not to attend and instead hide among our friends and drink the night away. Some would sweat the night out in a basketball game or waste the night shopping at malls or eat out in a fancy restaurant. It was always a choice, a firm and hopeful moment to be united to these friends even though we attend different churches, we have different hobbies, and different status.
It’s always good to find an anchor where we could entrust the best of ourselves to the company of people whom we thought to hold the values, the goodness and faithfulness we could find in the circles of friends we have. You see, we could lose track of these beautiful things, we can abuse ourselves and overlook our worth in this life but having a good company that build us and encourage us – this is as good as a second family worth saving. It’s Friday, the day we could always look forward in every week. We could trade it to some cheap drinks, to loud music, or to some love-adventure. Save the other days for work and rest, but it’s always Fridays that we could re-invent ourselves; it defines most of us – the things we value, the moments we create, and the people we want to become.