Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Go in peace."

Posted by Mariel on Sunday, August 30, 2009
Big bites, little bites. There's something for everybody in the Big Apple.

The last couple of days have been so busy that I didn't even realize I haven't blogged in 10 days! Yikes! Sorry to keep you all hanging. Now back to regular Inspiration programming :)

I was in New York this week, and have had quite a productive time out there. The trip included a list of tasks and errands to accomplish, and I must say I'm happy with the results.

The first thing that came to mind when I got to Grand Central was…I didn't miss it. Not just yet. Strange, huh? Then I went to Serafina—an old favorite hangout, for the fruity olive oil, blocks of parmesan, crusty-chewy bread, and thin-crust gorgonzola/pesto pizza—and saw two friends. I managed to squeeze in an errand in Harlem, a place I likened to Cubao, for the street vendors, clustered shops, and overall feeling of alertness I've had to harness at a young age while learning to commute around Manila.

More than the errands and brimming to-do list, I discovered certain things about myself and the kind of lifestyle I'm drawn towards:

1. I was happy to go around town on my own, and I still enjoyed the pace people walked and the accessibility of each block.

2. I didn't find the need to fraternize with a large group, instead choosing simple one-on-one catch-up sessions with just a few friends.

3. I enjoyed the familiarity, but knew in my heart it wasn't time to go back. Again, not just yet.

Re: #2, at sporadic points during my trip, I felt a little bit sad after realizing that it's taken me some time to heal from the trauma of some failed friendships I had made over a year ago. If you read this blog regularly, I think you'd be able to piece together bits and parts of the story: from the breast cysts I got from the stress, down to the disbelief of being talked about for the first time in years, since high school.

I caught myself talking about this carelessly, when in fact, it should have already long been a closed book. Upon realizing this, I'd resolved to completely move on and refrain from even broaching the subject.

At mass earlier, it was as if God, through the Gospel reading, was telling me to do the exact same thing:

"Nothing that enters one from the outside can defile that person; but the things that come from within are what defile."

I likened this to the saying, "You can't change certain things or certain people; but you can change your reaction towards the circumstances."

It's true: Whatever hurt I'd experienced in the past, whatever the betrayal, the dishonesty, the misunderstandings…those were all external. And the only thing that can truly heal me, other than prayer, is my reaction and desire to move forward. So that's exactly what I'll will myself to do from this point on. Even if it means limiting the social scope of my future life in the city. So this time, I am truly going for quality. And besides, I'm not one to play the victim, it's so not my theme in life.

During the homily, as if echoing my decision to be more scrutinizing of the friendships I make and keep, the priest talked about the difference between being judgmental and protecting one's self. "If you have to avoid 'Fred' not because you are condemning him but protecting your own salvation, that's not being judgmental," he said. "But if you're focusing on Fred's faults, then the other saying from Christ Himself applies to you: 'Why do you look at the splinter on your friend's eyes, but not the beam in yours?'"

So this time, and like I've always had anyway but have at times succumbed to indulgent gossiping, I'm now all for 'peace that passes understanding.'

DAY 6 of the Inspiration Series
DAY 5 - "Take the plunge."
DAY 4 - "I have all I need."
DAY 3 - "Just wait for it."
DAY 2 - "You're a kind soul."
DAY 1 - "It smells like God."


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