Those were the words Fr. Mimo told me when I came by the seminary one Thursday on a whim in Tagaytay, staying overnight by myself. I wanted to exorcise demons. I wanted to take control of my life and rid myself of misery and the anguish of waiting (for godot). I ran away to escape the din and find an answer amidst the glorious backdrop of pine trees and cool winds.
The answer I got was to go back home. Home to the One who would never leave me. Pagbabalik-loob.
This evening, Joy invited me to visit the Adoration Chapel in our church coming from the hospital after a most anxious evening. And it brought me back to that night in my small rented room in Tagaytay, when the skies were devoid of any stars, the wind was howling madly like a storm, and I was wailing as a forlorn widow. I closed my eyes, and the darkness enveloped me in grief.
When I opened my eyes, I saw the pierced hands painted in the chapel's stained glass window. And I saw a glow that was more profound than the electric bulb that lighted the glass. It was a familiar incandescence. I saw it when I was in the old chapel when I was 19, pining for lost love. I also saw it when I was 24, while praying with a friend who lost all hope and future after failing a crucial subject that signalled the end of pursuing a degree. Five years again, there it was.
"You who are weary, come to Me, for I Am Peace, and you who come to Me will know My peace, it shall be yours to carry on."
My father on earth and He who Is in heaven both see my weariness. Yet despite their burdens, they think of nothing but to free me from my pain. Dad would always ask how I am before answering how he is, even when I was calling him at the hospital. And every day that I live and breathe is a constant reminder that I am not forsaken by our Father. Now, seeing pierced Hands that never stop giving, and seeing Daddy courageously battling his sickness, I find that the strength that I was searching for is home. And I see myself getting back up on my feet.
I cannot fail them. There is simply no room for cowards in my family.