Sunday, December 13

The Day I Told Myself "I Will Stand Still"

The funny thing about life is that we don’t know how much we need something unless it presents itself to us, especially when we least expect it. This is what I thought of after I attended the law school recollection for third year students. If you go through my old posts in Twitter and in this blog, you will see how difficult it was for me in the past few months. There were many struggles which brought me to a point of complete surrender.

Then, for one Saturday, I was “compelled” to attend a recollection activity. To be honest, if I had a choice, I would not really attend the recollection since I have a Christmas party scheduled on the same day. But because it was something that law students are required, I had no choice but to be present. I guess things have a way of unfolding so that I can finally make sense of whatever is happening in my life. Just when I was at the verge of giving up, God’s saving grace came into my life. Just when I needed some “saving”, God, through the recollection, spoke to me and showed me why I had to go through hell. As what the facilitator said in her speech, one goes through consolation and desolation. I believe that I had my moments of consolation and now, I’m in a desolation stage. Every single thing sucks and hurts but I just need to believe that my moments of consolation will soon come. 

Over all, the recollection opened doors for understanding and hope. Do you know the feeling of not getting what you want especially when you have prayed for it every single day? Have you tried lighting candles and praying to God, so hard, that He may grant your desires only to find out weeks after that He gave you exactly the opposite of what you prayed for? It seemed like none of my prayers was heard. Even getting up in the morning, preparing my breakfast or doing my runs (things I became accustomed to) became unbearable. There were days when I wished I could just stay in bed and fade into the nothingness. The 3AM thoughts prevented me from having good night sleeps, which eventually made me cranky and impatient for the following mornings. Coming home to an empty place, with so many pending work and school tasks, made me sad. No one knew about this because again, I am me and I’m good at hiding things like this. 

Why show people that you are weak when you can be strong in front of them, right? Ah, this is what I hate about having an “ego.” The real reason why we don’t want people to know that we are struggling and in a complete mess is that we do not want them to judge us for being in such a shitty situation. We want to project to the society that we are capable of dealing with all the complexities in life. We are obsessed in appearing strong because for some reasons, we have learned in the past that showing our weakness and vulnerability will only make us a prey for a bigger mess or destruction. We refuse to accept the help and support from other people because we couldn’t accept the fact that we need them to make us feel better. And this is so wrong.

After the recollection, I realized that it is absolutely okay to be weak. I don't have to be strong all the time. I don't need to have direction all the time. It may sound wrong but sometimes, I need to feel lost so I can know how to get back on track. I would like to believe that my dark days are over. With the upcoming year end, I would like to start anew. I want to get back to the old me who gave freely without counting the cost and who does things without expecting to receive anything in return. 

"Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” 

This statement was shown in one of the video presentations of our facilitator. For me, it serves as a reminder that I have to give my all freely… without taking note of how much it costs me. The truth is, we always want to give something because we know that by doing such, we will get something in return. In most cases, we expect a bigger “return” or even hope for a better “gain.” We have our own expectations so when what we expected is different from reality, we easily get upset or frustrated. It makes us very unhappy so the effect is that we blame people or circumstances. 

During the recollection, I realized that the cause for my “dark days” is my expectation from people and things. For example, I study so hard for a particular exam expecting that I would get a high mark and when the grades are out, I would feel inadequate for not getting exactly what I expected. Another example is when I share my time to my friends, I expect them to do the same to me whenever I need someone to talk to so when they become unavailable, I would feel rejected. Without me noticing it, I start to become a burden to the ones I love and to those I care about. It's all clearer to me now -- I need to get back to the old me where I just keep on giving without counting the cost and most importantly, without expecting anything in return. When I give my time to others, I should not expect them to do the same for me. When I read for a particular subject, I should not expect too much. I have to give my all not because I want to get the best but because it will make me happy, regardless of the outcome.

"What will give you long lasting happiness?”

This was asked during the activity. I paused for a moment trying to find the right answer to this question. For a particular time, I felt afraid knowing that I do not know what to say. It was weird because I thought I always knew what I wanted so how come when someone threw the said question, I ended up being speechless? 

I allowed the facilitator to place me in the right disposition and that is when I found the right words to say. I was able to affirm to myself that “seeing my parents proud of me” will bring me long lasting happiness. Right now, everything is difficult in law school which is why I wanted (so bad) to just quit and fly somewhere far away. Nonetheless, I can’t do it for it will break my parents’ hearts. I am taking up law for two reasons: 1. It’s my father’s ultimate dream; 2. I also want to become a lawyer. If what I have is only reason 2, I think I already gave up a long time ago but because I have with me reason 1, I chose to stay to where I am now. I just want to see my father’s happy face once I become a lawyer. So for now, my mind is fixed in doing everything I can to make things right but before getting back on track, I will definitely take a short break. I want to feel lost for a moment but promise, I will get back on track soon.

"When you are in desolation, be patient. It will soon come to an end.”

As mentioned above, I believe that my moments for consolation will soon come. Attending the recollection yesterday made me feel lighter. I felt like someone took all my burdens away. Everything has become clearer now. I am more convinced that whatever is happening is in accordance with my "Personal Legend" (just like what the little boy experienced in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist). Just because I'm not getting what I want or what I prayed for doesn't mean that I will never get them.

"Things happen for a reason" a friend (someone so dear and close to my heart) told me that this is a battle cry for the weak. I always agree with what he says but this time, I choose to contradict his view. In an article written by Karen Salmansohn, she said "What may have at first seemed deflating, frustrating or painful can be experienced with conscious insight as an empowering growth opportunity breakthrough. According to Aristotle, there is a reason for everything which happens to you on your journey. It is to offer you special miracle-grow-insights to help you rise up stronger and higher as your mightiest self."

I believe things happen for a reason. The reason for my struggles right now has not yet presented itself but the time will come when I will have a deeper understanding of why one needs to go through hell before one can experience heaven. Again, it's funny how I didn't know I needed the recollection until I was compelled to attend one. This is the point when I have to say that not all compulsions are bad. Sometimes, they are exactly what we need.

I am happier now and I claim more peace and happiness in the days to come.

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