Please Find Me Now

The birthday celebration ended at half past two in the afternoon. Um, two and half hours… now, where will I go to kill time? I mused. My next appointment with a friend was at five o’clock.

It’s scorching outside so I’ve decided to go to the mall. I went to a coffee shop and ordered a frappuccino.

My eyes were having a feast! Red tags were everywhere! Control your reins, girl! I whispered.

I’ve found myself entering the gates of heaven on earth – The Bookstore. Every time I’d pay a visit, I’d always get lost in the vast array of books. Each shelf represents a doorway to a different dimension.

I also love the smell of the paper. In addition, the crisp sound it makes every time I turn a page is music to my ears. It’s like a personal drug. My paradise, my euphoria!

***

After about half an hour, my five o’clock appointment called and requested if I’d meet her in the next thirty minutes.

Since I was rattled by the sudden change of schedule, I took a random book from the nearest rack, went to the cashier and then hailed a taxi.

While I was on my way to the meeting place, I asked myself: What have I done? Did I just buy a book even without checking the details? It’d just be a waste of money if the story failed to tickle my imagination. Tsk, tsk, tsk! Good job girl! You’ve got another clutter at home. Me and my impulsive decision! Great!

***

I’ve finally reached home. I then tossed my shoes aside and put my purse down. I pulled out the new book from the paper bag, laid my tired body on the bed and put my legs up on the wall.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Who’s he? I wasn’t familiar with him. His genre must be different from the books I usually read.

I took my mobile phone and searched for him. Mr. Murakami is an award winning Japanese writer. His books are bestsellers and are translated to 50 languages. Hmm, impressive! I uttered. I guess I’ll be seeing your works more! Let me just finish this book and I’ll check out your other novels. I added.

I then came across his famous quotes. Among the hundreds, there was one which caught my eye. It was from the book that I’ve purchased- 1Q84! That’s so cool! It says:

Find me now. Before someone else does.

Uh-huh! Bingo! There was no need to read the synopsis. My instinct told me that this would be an awesome story! I then put my phone down. I opened the book,  sniffed the paper like an addict and began reading the novel.

I’ve already reached page five and yet I didn’t understand a word I’ve read. I then decided to close the book, as well as my eyes.

To be honest, I was affected by the lines. It’s been more than two years since my good husband died. My friends kept on bugging me to go meet someone. Then date that someone. And soon marry that someone! Argh! Hearing the same lines repeatedly was quite tiring already. My patience was wearing thin. Soon I might lose my temper and scold them, go and buy me one from the department store! As if it’s easy to get a man! LOL!

To tell you the truth, I was not hoping to meet anyone after my late husband.

But if fate has a different plan, I’d like that man to read the letter below. I’d like to know his true emotion, intention and even his reaction before I take the plunge.

 

To My Future Love,

I was pretty sure this letter came to you as a surprise. Allow me to thank you for coming in to my life. In my wildest dreams, I wasn’t expecting to meet someone like you. 

From the beginning, I didn’t plan to get attached to anyone anymore. I knew that it’d only bring hurt in the end. And I also didn’t want to experience another heartache. 

Honestly, I was frightened. I was afraid of opening my heart again. Pain, vulnerability, loss, disappointment… all those scared me to death. 

The scars of my past were buried deep in my heart and mind. 

I was contented with my life. I’ve already accepted my destiny to stay alone till the day I die. And I was fine with it.

However, who would have thought that you’re able to break my wall? 

You’ve actually changed me… slowly yet surely. 

You’ve shown me love. When in reality, it’s something I no longer believed in. I’ve found myself falling in love with everything again. Including you…

Thank you for loving me… but you need to know that you’re not the only man that I’d be thinking of till my last breath.

My late husband (and his family) will always be in my heart. And no one else can replace his position in my life.

But it didn’t mean that I’d love you less. Let it be known that it’d be the exact opposite. I’d actually love you even more…

If you’re still willing to wholeheartedly love and accept me despite of my everything; then I’d also completely and sincerely choose you as the man whom I’d be spending the rest of my life with. 

From Your Future Love 

 

I don’t know who you are or from where you are… We could probably be living in the same city or we could be lands and oceans apart…We could be staring at the same sky or the same moon… We could also be wishing on the same star…

But if the You who holds the other end of my red thread is real… please find me now.

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Change is Good

Do not be afraid of change.
It is a great opportunity to create the kind of life you really want.

It is never too late to start over.

It does not matter how long it will take you to shift to a new direction.
What is important is your determination and effort to reach it.

Baby steps is certainly acceptable, as long as you don’t stop pursuing your goal.

The Flower of May

20 May 2017

The fateful day finally arrived. I was so excited. I have reached St. Mary’s Church an hour earlier. The program was scheduled to begin at 1700 hours. I was then instructed to proceed to the Mini Hall. I was taken aback by the size of the crowd that greeted me.

Everyone was actively engaged. The organizers were wholeheartedly managing the event. The kids were looking so cute with their immaculate attires. They were chatting animatedly with their fellow participants. Their eyes sparkled with excitement. The beating of my heart changed to sadness and was filled with longing as I imagined my own kid mingling with the other children. Uh- huh, I need to stop this negative thought before I become melancholic.

Okay, back to task at hand. I checked out the reactions of the parents. Their faces showed a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and happiness. If only my son would be alive today, I might wear the same face, or even more. Argh, enough!

Before I lose my cool, I decided to step out of the hall. I went to the church compound and continued my observation. I saw quite a number of different floral arches and banners. Butterflies began to flutter inside my stomach. As far as I could recall, I was never invited to participate to any religious procession, let alone the Santacruzan. So I was excited to see the parade, the muses and of course, the gowns! LOL!

The most elaborate arch belonged to Empress Helena. Who is she? I mused.

St. Helena (Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta, c 250 – c 330), also called as Empress Helena was the consort of Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus (reigned 293–306) and she was the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great (reigned 306–337). She was appointed as Augusta Imperatrix and was given unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of Judeo-Christian tradition.

In the latter years of her life, she made a religious tour during which she allegedly discovered the True Cross of Our Redeemer.

As per history, it was noted that she had found three wooden crosses. And in order to confirm which one was that of Jesus Christ’s, she asked the help of a woman who was already nearing death. The woman then felt the first two crosses but her condition did not change. However, when she touched the third cross she suddenly recovered. Thus, the empress proved and declared that the third was the True Cross of Jesus Christ.

Aside from that, she purportedly found Jesus Christ’s tunic, the rope used to tie Him on the cross and the nails of the crucifixion as well. She was also responsible for the construction of some churches. The Churches of Nativity, Bethlehem and of Eleona are to name a few.

In the Philippines, the discovery of the True Cross is commemorated yearly and is usually held on the last day of the Flores de Mayo.

Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) is a month-long Catholic festival which shows the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The highlight of the feast is the ritual pageant called Santacruzan. This is a parade of the important biblical figures.

Time check: 1800 hours. The Filipino Community of St. Mary’s Church opened the festivity with kids lined up and formed the rosary. 

The Living Rosary was led by the children. They were sincerely praying and it was such a humbling sight to witness. I have sensed innocence from each word they uttered.

After the Living Rosary, the religious procession- the Santacruzan was next in the program. The important biblical characters were impersonated. The different images of the Blessed Virgin Mary were also portrayed.

All participants showed their best. It was evident that each character was meticulously chosen and prepared.

The last part and climax of the event was the Holy Mass. It was presided by Fr. Chito B. Bartolo, OFM Cap. His homily was about the Blessed Virgin Mary as the role model of Christians and the importance of praying the Rosary.

I went home after I received the final blessing. While on my way, I began contemplating the homily.

We are not worshiping Mama Mary. When we pray the rosary, we pray to God through Mama Mary.

This message struck me the most.

While growing up, I witnessed my mom spending about an hour a day to pray the Holy Rosary. She used to recite the Joyful Mysteries in the morning, Sorrow Mysteries after lunch and Glorious Mysteries by evening.

My younger brother and I used to tease her by saying: Mommy, sa sobra mong madasalin baka lumagpas ka na ng langit nyan (Mommy, your exceptional devotion might bring you further and farther than heaven)! And then she would just smile sheepishly and tickle us till we plead her to stop. 

However, there was one moment when she did not react at all. She was quietly sitting and staring at us. After some time, she brought and made us kneel in front of the altar and said,

She is Mama Mary. She is the Mother of God, Jesus. She is our Mother. Whoever belongs with her, also belongs with Jesus. You want to be with Him in Heaven, right? So you need to talk to her; tell her your feelings, your dreams, your hopes, your thoughts, your frustrations- everything. She will help you to be closer to her Son. 

Do you know how to do that? Simple. Always pray the Holy Rosary. 

Treat her like how you treat me, but with more respect, more love, more adoration. Treat her more. Much, much more. Because she is the Mother of God.

Offer her flowers everyday. Each rosary bead represents a flower. 

Mama Mary is the Flower of May for us, Christians.

Her unexpected advice was such an eye opener. It greatly influenced our life…

***

From then on, I prayed just how my mom used to do.

Unfortunately, my Lord’s hour- my prayer time became less and less as time passed by. I was too busy earning money to support my family. And then things began to shake. Storms came one by one.

One evening, I called my parents to inform them that my son did not survive.

I know you are busy. I know you are hurting because of what you have been through, but are you still praying the rosary? My mom asked.

I was kicked in the gut. I was not able to answer my mom’s question. Guilt flowed like lava through my veins. It ate my whole being.

When I’m gone, you must develop your relationship with Mama Mary more. She added.

I asked her, why are you saying such thing?

My time has come. She replied.

My mom was diagnosed with stage four cancer. 

Since I was struggling to keep my pregnancy, she decided to keep it a secret from me. 

And she only had few months left to live.

I then began to pray again.

On my knees.

***

Four months after my son’s death, my mom died.

After the interment, I looked up… I saw the clear blue sky.

I called Mama Mary and asked her,

Since my mommy is no longer here, can you be my mommy from now on?

A gentle breeze embraced me. I was comforted… It felt like someone hugged me and whispered to my ear…

I am here for you.

A New Assignment

17 May 2017, 0645 hours, Wednesday. 

As I stepped out of the building, a beautiful morning welcomed me. I was kissed by a warm sunlight. I was embraced by a cool breeze. I was greeted by the gentle swaying of the trees’ branches and leaves. The sky opened up and smiled as a flock of birds flew across it.

I can’t help but be touched by God’s creations. Everything is a reminder of His great love.

I got on the bus and started my morning praises. After thirty minutes I pulled out my mobile phone from my purse. I then saw Tita Cathy’s message. She asked me if I would be free on Saturday, 20 May 2017 at 1600 hours.

Unfortunately, I was scheduled to meet my doctor, the same day at the same time.

She asked if I could cover the upcoming event and write an article about it.

Boy! If only Tita Cathy could see my reaction! 

My mouth was left open. My eyes were teary with happiness.

Wow! This is something! God has opened a window of opportunity!

I was a newbie in blogging. I knew all along that my english vocabulary was limited. I was not confident with my grammar as well. Pushing those aside, I’ve tried my luck and I’ve submitted one of my blogs to an international literary website a few months ago. 

Alas! I was rejected. I guess they didn’t like it. Or, perhaps, I was not good enough. 

I only wanted people to learn something from my experiences.

Anyhow, I just shrugged it off, patted my shoulder and whispered to myself:

Don’t take it to your heart. It was not yet your time. Someday. Somewhere. Somehow. You will be able to share it.

A Journey for One

We were both on a train; off to somewhere unknown and a faraway destination.

We were alone and yet the sound of our boisterous laughter filled the entire train. We were having so much fun. We were enjoying each other’s company.

We talked tirelessly; we discussed everything we could think about.

We were holding hands, hugging and kissing. It was evident that love was in the air. It could be felt and smelled.

We were oblivious of our surroundings; without a single care outside our space.

And then suddenly, the mood shifted to something forlorn. A grim silence followed. I put my head on your shoulder. I felt the tension running through your veins.

I’ll be gone for a while… my stop is coming too soon. I’ll step out on the next station, you whispered.

I held your hand more tightly and replied,

No, I will never let go of your hand, Papa.

This is just a temporary separation. I’ll wait for you at your designated station. I’ll pick you up by then. Do not worry, Mahal ko.

You put your hand on the left side of my chest and said,

I may not be with you physically, but I’ll always be in your heart. I want you to promise me that you will continue your journey. And you will always be happy.

You were still saying something when the train passed by an uproarious place. I could only see your mouth moving but no sound can be heard. I also tried to read the words from your lips but I couldn’t.

We then subsequently entered a tunnel. It was dark and inauspicious. The train was swallowed whole by the creepy blackness of the passage. We both fell into silence.

After a few nerve- wrecking minutes, the train was once again embraced by sunlight. I smiled and turned my head towards your direction. But to my surprise, you were no longer seating beside me.

You were already standing at the platform, waving goodbye. You were smiling yet tears were falling from your unhappy eyes.

I tried to run after you, but my feet were glued on the floor. We were only two meters away from each other and yet I couldn’t move to reach you.

Aside from that, the train’s door immediately closed. And it started moving forward; leaving you behind.

Everything happened so fast. I failed miserably to catch on. I was too shocked.

I didn’t know for how long, but I was just standing and staring at the closed door in front of me.

And when the truth finally hit me, I found myself inside a small and dimly lit cabin. I was sitting in one corner, silently crying and hugging myself.

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I was calling you, begging for you to come back. But you couldn’t hear me anymore.

I was left alone…

Alone to go on and continue the journey. 

Cold sweat broke on my forehead; my limbs numbed and veins throbbed. My head was about to explode. My breathing became difficult. I was trying to catch it, trying to fill my lungs with air. It was painful. I tried to move. And with one big attempt, I was able to shift position. And opened my aching eyes…  

I then realized that it was only a dream.

I was Enough

My true friends told me numerous times to go out and meet new people, to move on and live my life. They said that I was still young and that there was more to life than feeling sorry for myself. They also mentioned that my world should not stop just because my beloved husband passed away.

I know they meant well and I was glad knowing that they were sincerely thinking of my welfare.

Yeah, sure. I did. Once. But it did not turn out good. I ended up more hurt.

I realized that I was only searching for my husband’s face from someone else’s.

I knew that it was wrong and unfair so I stopped. I then made a decision to use my energy wisely; to focus my attention into something more important than whatever I was feeling… something my future self will be thankful about.

Besides, I’ve already experienced happily ever after with my late husband. He showed me how a real man should treat his woman. He made me feel worthy, appreciated, cherished, treasured, respected, cared, and loved.

God gave me a chance to experience the greatest love any woman could ask for. And for that I was truly grateful.

I was blissfully contented and satisfied knowing that for once in my life, I’ve met the right man. The perfect man for me and I had a perfect marriage with him.

My journey taught me a lot of things. I discovered traits I did not know existed in me. My character was built. I grew up. I gathered a great deal of strength and resilience. I also obtained a better comprehension of the mysteries of life.

In addition, my relationship with God deepened. He filled the emptiness that I felt. He comforted me when I was lonely. He made me extremely busy to keep me sane. He sent genuine people to help me.

He alone completed me.

And so my dearest friends, you all shouldn’t worry. I didn’t write any comma, period, ellipsis, question mark or even an exclamation point in my life story book. I also didn’t even close it. However, I did put an end to my search and longing.

Anyhow, if having a second chance in love was included in the Father’s plan, then I would accept it.

But if not, then I would be amenable with fate’s decision. I would be totally fine. I could live with that. Because I know, I was enough.

An Open Letter to the Beautiful Bride on Her Wedding Day

As I was searching for my contract, I came across our wedding photo album. I saw my late husband’s most charming smile. On the first time we met, he smiled and talked to me. The moment I saw it, I knew then that I’ve fallen in love with him already. I’ve immediately felt the butterflies in my stomach!

My dad was also there. His many expressions were priceless. It was his proudest moment! My brother wasn’t able to make it because he was out of the country that time.

Unfortunately my mom… Mommy went home to heaven a few months before our renewal of wedding vows in the church. Thus, she wasn’t there to hand me over to my groom.

If she was alive, I’d like to imagine her giving me  her motherly advice about marriage and all. I’ve actually written down the words of wisdom that I’d love to hear from her. And I’d think that she really was the one who gave the letter to me.

***


To my precious daughter Laarni,

I want you to know that I am so blessed to be called your mother. I am so proud of you. You have become the kind of woman that I have prayed for. You are the kind of daughter that I have wished for.

I wrote this letter to share with you everything that I have learned when I fell in love with your dad.

I want to tell you that love is not just a word. It is not a noun, but a verb.

True love is a commitment. Marriage is a sacred covenant between two individuals who decided to spend their life together.

And now, you are about to enter another chapter of your life. You are going to get married to the man of your dreams. I know he is the best, because you have chosen him. And of course, God has chosen him for you.

A strong marriage consists of God, a wife and a husband. Always put God in the center of your relationship. He must always be present in your life. And when you pray, you should hold hands together.

My sweet pea, marriage is not always about happiness. Time will come and your union will be tested by fire, just like gold. Remember that an unpolished metal can be made into jewelry. However, it has to go through a lot of painful procedures. Therefore, both of you must be steadfast all the time.

If trials come knocking, both must take turns in being sturdy. If your husband is weak, you have to be strong for him. If you are down, then he should lift you up. Both must bring each other towards one goal, one dream.

There should be mutual respect and trust. Both of you must give in and share life with each other.

If you are having a misunderstanding, avoid sleeping without it being resolved. You should have an open and a two- way communication; do not keep secrets from each other, you must tell even if it is only a minute thing.

I earnestly believe that it is a form of selfishness if you keep something for yourself just because you are afraid of giving a burden to him. This may hurt him; he might  even think that you do not trust him.

Do you want to know the secret of a successful marriage? The secret is… us, the wives! We are the secret. And yes, that is the truth!

Women hold the key. We keep the relationship intact. The future of the union is in our hands.

As a wife, your role is to be your husband’s best friend, a comrade, a business partner, a game goal keeper, a drinking partner, a nanny, and even his own mistress.

You should let him wear the pants. You should always have a childlike heart, a caring hand like a mother, a steel-like backbone, a home to return to after a tiring day, and most of all; you must be a mischievous tigress on his bed.

Okay sweetheart, don’t be pressured! It will come out naturally. Trust me.

To continue, you must accept your man wholeheartedly. Be there for him. Motivate and appreciate him. Love him with all your heart, mind and soul. Be patient with him. Support and submit to him and of course, always pray for him.

If you do all these, he will stick with you.

But, but, but! You also have to love yourself. Do not forget that.

I think that’s all about it. I’ve already covered everything. Am I right? Did I miss something? I guess not.

And lastly, I want you to remember your exact feeling when you say I Do later. Keep that in your heart and mind. Cherish that same emotion. It will come in handy when you are feeling down.

God bless you and my new son! I love you both very much.

P.S.
Make me a grandmommy soon!

Mommy Becky