Vacation to vocation: An effect of a month-long break

Being a teacher has its perks. One of them is the long vacation in between the school year. Since I’m still on a vacation mood, I will continue musing here and this time it will be about schooling, education, career, vocation, heartbreaks, intimate celibacy, and dreams.

A career or calling?
To be honest, I never dreamed of becoming a high school teacher when I was still a child or even a teen. The closest would be my dream of becoming a professor in college. Now one of my college pals just finished his master’s in Clinical Psychology. I could not remember if I mentioned that being a Marist Brother was one of my dreams as a teenager but anyway I’m telling it now. And since I am already a Marist Brother, I still dream of becoming a professor. But if I would do that, would it make my religious vocation not as a vocation (i.e. “a calling”) but as a career? Well, I would not really pursue it and just make it happen when I am told to teach in college. That’s out of the equation at the moment since I don’t have yet a master’s degree. I had some post-graduate units taken last year but that’s all I have. So that’s just one of my many desires and I am just being honest by writing it out.

Schooling and education
Seven years ago, I don’t even have the financial means to enroll in a post-graduate school before I entered the Marist Brothers. That time, I thought of going back to school again right after graduating in college. I still wanted to study. I was still unprepared in the transition of working right after college graduation. Just like my long break now, right after my college graduation, I was so restless in having a break in studies, thinking on my bed, and playing computer games. I had lots of exercise though. I was tired in studies but I want to keep on going. Mark Twain said he would not let schooling interfere with his education. I too had to keep that in mind. I was too selective in accepting job offers. I had my options: study again and/or work. Out of the blue, I entertained the thought of joining the Marist Brothers. They invited me when I was in second year college; I am Marist-educated; I am single; I know the life of St. Marcellin Champagnat; I lived with the Brothers in Mindanao for a week when I was still in high school; and I dreamed of becoming one. So, why not become a Marist Brother?

And these thoughts occurred to me so I contacted the Marist Brothers and told them that I am interested to become one of them. And they gave me one year to decide if I am serious with my decision or not. That’s why I worked as a property consultant and as a technical support representative even though I was underemployed as long as I can save money for my future trip to Mindanao.

Heartbroken?
I don’t even know if my close friends know about this. Maybe they just thought I was heart-broken. And if their reason is true, I should have been out a long time already. Or maybe that’s part of my unconscious motivation of joining religious life.

I remember in a dream six year ago in the Aspirancy House that I was being chased by some hooligans and I was shot dead. I woke up in the middle of that night and even posted in my Facebook status that I was thankful to be alive. The only explanation I can come up with that dream was that I was eluding something that I can’t accept or I don’t like and that my death was a reminder of my spiritual death since I was not a practicing Catholic when I was in college. So maybe the heart-broken part is true based on that dream but I would deny that consciously of course. Or am I running away from something other than that?

Intimate celibacy
The problem now is that I learned in religious life how to love many without being exclusively in a relationship with a woman; that I can be intimate while being celibate. (I will tackle this in the future.)

A recurring dream
But my death in my dream? I cannot really make sense of it. That dream recurred a few days ago. Again, I was riding a vehicle and I was being chased by some hooligans. But on this second time, I am alive. What does that mean?

And that’s it for an episode of my free-writing. Thanks for reading.

Please pray for me and my companions for our tomorrow’s trip to General Santos City. I would be there for a two-week training.

And that means a hiatus.

Again, let us pray for one another.

Finally, school year is almost over

Hello.

When was the last time I posted something here in WordPress?

Sometimes, I am more active in Facebook and Instagram. And when I say active, it doesn’t necessarily mean I post a lot. I usually just hang around and read. Possibly because I ain’t got time for contemplation. Speaking of contemplation, I will facilitate a recollection for the school’s Science Department teachers tomorrow somewhere in Pigcawayan. But that’s tomorrow so I don’t know yet what exactly would happen.

Last Saturday, I facilitated a recollection with a group sharing portion about Jesus raising up Lazarus from the dead (which was the Gospel last Sunday). Each one had to share. As the facilitator, I too had told some stories too. Together with the school canteen staff in the midst of the cool breeze from the sea, I teared up a bit when I disclosed how I missed my family.

And a random guy, who was not part of the group, suddenly caught me off guard when he sat in our cottage and boldly declared that, “There must be a reason why your family is living apart.” But instead of becoming defensive, I responded calmly that there’s actually no problem at allbetween us family members. Made it simpler when I said that instead of discussing there’s really no bad blood between us siblings or parents and it’s just my sister’s family having financial difficulty so she had to work in a foreign country. When he responded out of the blue, I sensed that the sharing mood changed a bit from being serious into uneasy. Maybe the random guy sensed it too so maybe that’s why he left afterwards. Sometimes, when a person shares a story, like the random guy I too tend to over analyze when all I need to do is to sit, listen, and read between the spoken words. That’s why when someone shares a problem with sensitive issue, I tend to ask how she or he feels and to help her/him think for herself/himself. From that experience, I see the wisdom why a facilitator of recollection must not mix their schedule with recreation. And somehow, I had practiced open vulnerability. Maybe non-Filipinos would have difused that question by replying, “It’s none of your business.” But I too am a Filipino who says hello by asking “Where are you going?” when I really have no intention of knowing the destination.

And since this coming Sunday in the start of the Holy Week, us Filipino Marist Brothers would spend a week in contemplation with Br. Michael Green, FMS as our facilitator/speaker. I don’t know him that much. I only know that he’s Australian. Actually, I prefer a silent retreat. But that’s another story.

Oh yeah, that reminds me to prepare a morning prayer and a Marian prayer for Maundy Thursday. Also, my renewal of vows is up next April 15. Just two days before my birthday.

I’ll share next time my toxic experiences during these past three months of teaching this schoolyear.

The Word Made Flesh

I have a confession to make.

This evening, in the Midnight Mass before Christmas, I had an experience so surreal I had to write this right after coming home for me to remember how I felt.

I attended the 8pm Holy Mass in The Magnificat Chapel in Marist School, Marikina.

During the Communion part, in the queue to the Eucharist, as I walk closer to the lay minister to receive the Body of Christ, I felt a different kind feeling that I can’t describe exactly how it really felt. The closest sensation to it is that it’s like a chill.

When I felt that way, I know that I was feeling the Real Presence. When I received the Holy Sacrament, it’s as if I wanted to bend my knees right on that spot where I was standing. And as I went back to the pew, I just thanked Jesus Christ for letting me eat the bread where his presence is hidden.

My response to this experience is that I’ll continue to be a devotee of the Blessed Sacrament. Though I may fail to attend the daily Holy Mass, I will try to visit our community chapel and just be present there and show myself.

Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh.

When the inner child throws a tantrum

Today, I did some detaching from myself a bit. I mean pondering on some of my actions that I unconsciously do and their stimuli. It started after I took a break from officiating in the Table Tennis singles event for Juniors, Seniors, and Girls Division this morning. I took a break by eating an ice cream and playing with a new laptop. I’m still feeling a bit of thrill from receiving a new laptop last Monday. And I caught myself being irritable when I felt stupid for not knowing how an unfamiliar program works. I caught myself too of raising my voice not just because of frustration but because I am feeling a bit of proud. 

I felt like a young kid throwing tantrums because he can’t win in a video game or because his mother didn’t buy him an ice cream. 

I can’t understand myself these days. I feel like I am not myself today (in some moments like this morning break).

Is it because of my lack of sleep? Tired? Suppressed anger? Depressed? It seems like I am depressed but no. Denial? Maybe. But this simple insight is like a little epiphany. 

I initially planned to write a post about this “pattern” or tendency but it ended up as an extended musing. That’s the insight.

Oh how Rico Blanco’s Dating Gawi and Clara Benin’s Human Eyes inspired me to capture these mundane thoughts no matter how embarrassing they are.

A letter to a Mother

Dear Mama,

I just want to talk to you. These past days have been so stressful I needed to unwind through drinking beer. Also, I have been so much junk food in my free time. I think I had too much pork in me that my chest is aching sometimes. Remind me that I have the tendency to be a glutton.

Sometimes Mama, I can’t help but to click on the profile pictures of some ladies in social media. I’ll just notice later on that I am already ogling at their photos. I know I am attracted to beauty and this attraction is somehow a blessing and a curse to me. Please teach me chastity and respect to your fellow women.

Last night, I played basketball. I can still play a whole game so we still got stamina in here. At the end of the game, I got too cocky I hanged on the ring and my legs wobbled when I landed. Fatigue or wrong landing maybe. Thankfully, it’s not cramps or a muscle injury. Remind me that I have the tendency to be proud and show off. Teach me humility.

I’m thankful that I got to sleep early last night. But usually, I can’t sleep early in the evening so I stay up until night with my phone in my hands or listening to a podcast until I drop. I caught myself scratching my left eye this morning, 4:30am. I forgot I had it operated. Don’t want to lose sight yet. Though I haven’t able to sleep again until 6am. Also, I am not praying that much lately. Or even spending time just to reflect. I can’t even focus and finish a book like I used to. I am again feeling restless. But remind me that I will feel this way as long as I live until I rest in the Lord. Lead me to your Son, Jesus our Brother, who promised that He will give us rest. 

And by the way, I would like to greet you a happy birthday, Mama Mary. Thank you for being a Good Mother to us.

From your son,

Allen

The rain and my childhood

When I was younger, I love the summer season because I can play all day with my friends and cousins except during meals and sleeping time. And now that I am already in my late twenties, I love rainy season better. Besides, I don’t have playmates anymore like I used to have as a kid. The ambience just lets me rest in my bed and sleep longer. Because there’s no much activity in the house except household chores, I will go out and play as a child. Since there’s just lots of tasks to do as a teacher when I’m at home, the rain reminds me to relax and spend some time for rest, reflect, and remember the good old days of my childhood. 

I am not a Mama’s boy

If we are having a coffee right now, I would share to you how or why I do not consider myself as a Mama’s boy.

When I was in Grade One, I would complain to my mother why she would help my younger brother with his homework and wouldn’t help me. She said that at my age my brother would do his homework alone so I should do the same. So I asked my father to help me.

I don’t consider myself as a Mama’s boy maybe because I hated her a little when I was still small. Because my younger brother and I have a one-year gap in age, I was partly angry with her (and my brother) when I was still a small boy because I can’t get enough attention from her (and I still have three other siblings). Maybe that’s why I always go to my father. Sometimes, I would have “foster” parents whenever my uncles and aunties would “borrow” me as their child and go stroll somewhere like in the market or in our province. Having an extended family here in the Philippines do supply me with a lot of caretakers aside from my parents. Sorry for the digression. Reflecting in my relationship with my parents, I consider myself closer to my father and not so close to my mother as a young boy and would only catch up with my relationship with her when I enter high school.

During weekends during my high school and college days, if I am not playing sports or computer games outside, I spend most of my time with my mother in our house. For some reasons, I have my weekends free at home while my siblings are out in school or work. She is a non-practicing accountant and a stay home mom. And when she does have some freelancing tasks, she would ask me to type some documents in our computer (which I hate to do but I still obey). And speaking of computer, the only time I see my mother use out desktop is when she plays the Spider solitaire. Unlike my father whom I heckle a lot whenever he plays online chess, I can’t heckle my mom (not that much) because a solitaire is played solo and offline. In my free times spent talking about ordinary things, our neighbors, and my blatherings would help me catch up with my relationship with Mama.

Before I finish college, there was one time when I had a talk with Mama and I opened up a topic about the girl I am courting. I was surprised to hear her share her love story with Papa. And knowing that my mother is usually secretive, that was rare to hear stories like that from her.

When my classmates in college saw my parents during graduation, they told me that I look like my mother. Maybe that’s why it’s hard for me to integrate with my cousins from my father side because I look different from them (that applies to my other three siblings except our youngest).

And when I entered religious life, I remember the deep sadness I felt when I said goodbye that left me crying inside the tricycle.

Speaking of crying, the only time I saw her cry was in the airport when it was time for her to leave the country last February. Actually, I saw her about to cry then she turned her back on us. And I told my father that Mama was about to cry. Like Mama, I was holding back my tears as well. The details why she left is a bit complicated and a long story to write. Whenever there’s a death of a relative in our mother side, she would prefer to go to our province alone. I wonder why Mama always want to act tough. I want her to be more tender but that’s not Mama. But that’s Mama and I love her the way she is.

So maybe “I used to be not a Mama’s boy” will be a more appropriate title for this post.