How A Song Reminded Me of My Restlessness: An Untold Story

Writing this on a Good Friday night, there’s an untold story I would like to share.

Celebrating Holy Week every year, especially during the Triduum, evokes a distinct yet different feeling in me. I only started to have this consciousness of the solemnity of the Holy Week when, believe it or not, I was not practicing my Catholic faith during my late teenage years.

It was 2009 when I was preparing to travel to work in a fast food chain. That afternoon, I was listening to a Sixpence None The Richer album in my Motorola phone. I was struck by a not so famous but beautiful track called Brighten My Heart. I still remember the lyrics without the help of search engine. It goes like this:

My heart is as dark as a soil sodden in winter rain.
My soul is as heavy as the beet freshly dug from the bog.
My thoughts are like willow branches caught floating in autumn wind.
My body is as tense as a cat as it stalks it’s prey.

Let me open my heart to you (2x)
Let me open my heart to you, O Jesus,
It’s what I long to do.

The song is as beautiful as the timing. I looked at the clock; it’s 3:03 PM. The date? It’s a Good Friday.

The song expressed the longing inside me as if it was composed as the theme song of my life. I cannot express the feeling I had that time. It’s as if there is something stirring within me. I was looking for a word to describe how I felt that time. The feeling is like listening to kundiman (a Filipino folk song). It evoked a strong longing for I was restless. And seven years past, I can say that it was pangungulila (nostalgia).

That time, I was not yet into journaling so the fact that I am able to recall these events as lucid testifies that I was deeply moved.

As a deer longs for running stream, so my soul longs for You (Psalm 42:1).

What is faith?

As I learned from my previous classes in MAPAC through Sir Francis Castro, it’s interesting to note that life after death was not in the “theology” of the early Jewish tradition. Before, when Jews die, they believe that that was it. The end. No more life after death. Somewhere along the way, they developed this idea of life after death. Notice that in the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament), only in the second book of Maccabees will you find the word “resurrection”, the rising of the dead, of those who have fallen “asleep” (2 Maccabees 12:43-45). That was in the context of a family who was forced to eat “swine’s flesh” (2 Maccabees 7). For them, to eat pork is to abandon the faith of their forefathers, surrendering to false gods and idols. So when they die as witnesses to their Jewish faith, shall they die in vain? No. These family died with the hope that, through Lord God’s compassion, they will rise from the dead.

Reading Maccabees is teaching me of faith. It is not about certainty. It is groping in the dark. By believing, I surrender to whatever will happen. And through this darkness, God will be walking side by side with me.