In Retrospect (First Half of the Year 2015)

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God is a wonderful miracle worker. Now that I look back to what happened a few months ago, I can see clearly in retrospect why some things have to happen, and why I had to go through uncomfortable phases. In the common parlance of teenage girls, “I just can’t even…!”

My mind’s a mess and I’ll just list them out in random order. Note to self: arrange as necessary in the end.

I am a member of Singles for Christ and the first test of my faith is not to let go of money for tithes, but to let go of time for service in the community. Just to make it clear for the non-Catholic / non-Filipinos, SFC is a lay ecclesial movement (Wikipedia), or an association of single Catholics who strive to live model Christian (Catholic) lives and encourage both Catholics and others to be such. Our batch was tapped to help organize the 12-week Christian Life Program for our invited people. I was first approached for the Music Ministry but I declined in insecurity, citing I was not yet that good of a singer. Thus, my first assignment was for Documentary Team. Unfortunately, the night I was behind the video camera I just felt weak and the teachings bounced off my head. I knew they were laughing at the speaker’s joke but I felt like they were laughing at me, I did not belong. After a hasty goodbye kiss “beso” I fled the place.

I was also planning to leave the company because of various reasons. First, I feel (note the present tense, I still do feel that way) that I can do so much more but I would really want the next company to pay me more competitively.  I also feel that my personality fits a fast-paced multinational company that has established rules but still promotes some flexibility in its schedules or benefits. I also want to learn on the job more (free compared to paid trainings outside). I feel so bad everytime I lash out in frustration or exasperation over something as trivial as callers who doesn’t know who they want to talk to in the company (thing is, staff from other companies are in our office and I only have the phone). Like, what can I do if I know this and they don’t and they still don’t learn it for all our sake? Or that after two years I’m still not comfortable with the telephone drama. They’re nice here, I felt like an antagonist, or a villain. Maybe a change of place is in place. Why not, this is already the longest I’ve been in a company.

Fortunately my bus-mate has an opening in their office. The increase is slight but it will be good enough and at least I have her to guide me in doing my job. It was all well until they have to pull out because of misunderstanding and complications with my labor status. I was so stressed and intensely disappointed that I had to skip work for a day. That fateful March day I lay in bed crying and asking God why oh why oh why.

I’ve been so careful, I’ve planned this, why you don’t want me to prosper? You’d think I’m not responsible enough? I’ve been belittled for so long I have already built a snobbish, know it all persona so people would just take me seriously. I am very frustrated, I’m tired!

Cue to the last Mass I attended. I wept my eyes (and nose) away for 1 hour after the Saturday 9-10am Mass. I was just devastated for the accumulated disappointment that poured forth that that day. Then for the next three months I was in a zombie state. I did not attend any SFC activities, attended Mass sparingly, refused to buy myself or others anything except for a laptop which lifted my spirits for a while. I barely noticed that I have skipped my menstruation already thrice due to instant imbalance of my hormones.

One time I sent monthly remittance to my mother, she said that the bank had wrongly credited her account with at least Php100,000. I told her, no I only sent you like Php10,000, it must be wrong, just report it to them, take away only what I sent. Several months on and she withdraw more, because she wanted to give her father and grandmother a better place in the cemetery. I just learned about it when the bank called to demand that I pay it up as the real owner of the money needed it for emergency. I told them I will do something about it but I will definitely return the money. I felt both pity and annoyance to my  mother, she that was an accountant yet utterly irresponsible with money. The dead stays dead whether the burial grounds are flowered or not. Besides, she should really not have used that money for something like that. It was really irresponsible. If we had the spare, why not. It’s respect for the dead. but no this is not the case. I was also thinking how to pay up.

But God is a miracle worker. He always says “Wait, my child, just you wait.” 

It was a Friday in May or June when my SFC household leader met me after Mass. That day I was feeling so lethargic I took a nap. I woke up and I missed the afternoon Filipino Mass but I still met her. We ate first at a Filipino restaurant. I nearly squealed for joy over the Filipino buffet, because for years I haven’t learned to cook and my food consisted of instant food, takeaways and fried stuff. I hadn’t eaten anything homey or real or yummy in months. Then we had a heart-to-heart talk and she told me I had a dry spell, and we all experience that at times. She also shared her troubles to me, and I was tentative. I just gave her my word that I will try attending again, then maybe the service will come later. The next day, I resumed my “Saturdate” at the church and prayed that I may be able to come back at the right path.

Funny enough, I received a higher than expected bonus for May (we get it June first week).  I couldn’t believe my eyes at the figure on the bank’s SMS. I sent more remittance, sent more savings, bought things to improve my attire and looks, tithed a little bit more, bought my suitcases and pasalubongs for my relatives when I go for vacation in November, feasted my brother for the first time in 2 years, and was able to pay back the bank.

The bank representative said to me, you’re so kind, not everyone will be honest enough to do this.

My mother told me, I’m so proud of you, that I have a child like you, who did not openly humiliated me in my folly.

SFC members were surprised but glad to see me, and now I’m happily singing for the Music Ministry.

My boss is, erm I dunno, hopefully still satisfied with my work (though I’m still a nasty git.)

The times I had gone though may not be as dramatic as some, but it was real, and it was hard, for me.

Now I see how wonderful God’s plan is.

If I have joined the Music Ministry the first time I was invited, my crush there would not meet his current girlfriend. I will not realize he was not the one for me, and I would cling to the obsession, rather than see my other friend in a whole new light (still open for more daring suitors, though).

I realized I was not as financially responsible and stable as I thought I was. I knew I could have used the bonus more efficiently but I cannot undo the purchases, right? I can only plan ahead. Now I’m investing more in my looks and hygiene (to be presentable) and well-being (vitamins, doctor visits, healthy food as possible). I have bought items that I will need for the vacation at sale / promo prices. I’m saving continuously, and I’m way ahead in my social security (SSS) and government housing program (PAGIBIG / HDMF) contributions. I plan to invest some amount to a low-risk money market mutual fund, as my savings account is yielding very low interest. I might think of some part time to do to earn and I’m attuned to earning while I sit in the office front desk like continuing to answer surveys for around AED 180 / 50 dollars in a year and claiming my AED 106 cash back from spending using my debit card in the past 1 year.

I’m slowly widening my horizons. Now I tried my first tinola and it was good (for me, I like it ginger-y, not spicy or salty-peppery). I will sing unabashedly until I can sing effortlessly in all the activities in the community. Maybe I’ll try volunteering as well. I will keep myself healthy so I can continuously donate my B+ blood even if it gets me bedridden for an hour or so. (B+ is third most common, but still just 8% of the population.) I will save and invest and maybe go on a buy and sell business or breed and sell puppies and kitties to be able to travel one day. and have a family someday.

The dry spell in my faith has passed, the seed was just hibernating somewhere, and it bloomed at the right time. Now I just need to improve my personality and temper my emotional outbursts. We are all works in progress, and God will work a miracle in us in His time.

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