Naku, Manny. I worry for you when you push your luck.
An officemate confided in me that she was praying to God for a sign for her wish to be granted. She added to her prayer, "Lord, kung magbibigay ka naman ng sign, pwede linawin mo naman ng konti."
I told her, "Malinaw naman palagi. Tayo lang ang nagpupumilit na palabuin lahat."
The truth is, we always get what we pray for. Not at the time we think is right, not in the circumstance we find most convenient, not with the person/s whom we feel would give us an "easier" time. But we are granted our wishes, in the context of the "big picture".
We are allowed to savor triumphs -- the fulfillment of a dream, the gleaming finish line at the end of a long race -- in order for us to celebrate the glory of the human spirit. Yet it is an equally significant (albeit rather poignant) reminder of the resplendent soul when one braves tragedies and failures. Unfortunately, since these events are painful, they are taken for granted as blessings and we often don't look beyond the bleak reality of such events.
My father, the same 81-year-old survivor of a quintuple bypass and a gastric tumor operation a few months back, met a vehicular accident this week, with him behind the wheel and Mom as his passenger. The car, which ran on high speed in reverse, crashed into a closed school gate which completely folded its trunk accordion-style. His injuries are not unlike a boxer's after a gruelling fight: a bloody nose that now slightly tilts to one side, burst lips and a swollen eye. While eating hospital rations on his last night of confinement, he mumbles:
"Siguro pwede na natin ipakuha yung CRV sa casa. Matagal na natapos yung baha, ayos na yun. Wala akong ma-drive eh."
I breathed deeply and told him that what just happened to him and Mom is a gentle reminder that he should take things easy from now on. "Maraming nangyayari na sa inyo na yun ang sinasabi, Dad. Dapat siguro makinig na tayo." He fell quiet, finished his meal and prepared for bed. Two days after his discharge from the Lung Center, he still has trouble sleeping. He is anxious, denying the fact that things have changed. He now tries to calm himself by watching the Pacquiao-Cotto fight in their bedroom.
Apart from the denial of a sign is the underlying self-pity that cripples us when we are beset with bad news. We find ourselves frustrated that things are not moving as planned, stumped and in despair that we have reached rock-bottom, that we are beyond salvation.
We forget that it is a blessing. It is a divine nudge that tells us we are not alone, that our lives could never be totally planned by us. It is a roadblock that protects us from a ravine, to lead us to a longer detour that will, still, eventually take us to our destination.
So now, as I await the longest days of my life to end and present me with my fate, I pray. I admit that I am helpless. And I succumb to this helplessness with faith that like all storms we have braved in the past, I will be saved.
Heaven help me.