Reflections on My Summer of Silence… [Part 1]

[Blogger’s Note: This is a blog which I will divide into parts since when I wrote and edited it initially composed of 13 pages.  Of course, a blog as I am now realizing not attractive to read unless you have some visuals on it.  So this is still a work in progress upon completion.  It had been over two months to the day I left my last community, Claret School of Quezon City, and a month of stay with my new community, the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, from teacher to campus ministry; from the youth apostolate, to the academe, and now to the campus ministry.  It has been one hell of a journey.  Here lies the latest reflection on the story of that journey, and where it has led me since…]

Prologue:

Saying good bye to a journey of 12 years…

I am going to say “farewell” to 12 years as an educator in the Basic Education setting…

It had been fun, challenging, exhausting, stressful, nip-and-tuck and yet at the same, a blessing-filled experience…

I am now entering a new phase as the door has been opened to where “home” is…

“Going home” to ministry in a new setting…challenging, scary yet EXCITING…

But before I get to this point, let me start where all things start: AT THE BEGINNING…

In the beginning was chaos…

When I started treading out the path of an educator 12 years ago, I had an inkling of a plan.  This means that while I believe that plans change, there must be at least a direction, a path so that I won’t get lost along the way.  It started not with becoming a full-fledged teacher with dreams of rising higher in the ranks. I didn’t even had in mind to study or even go back to graduate school for the purpose of advancing my status nor had ambitions to teach in college to get a chair, become a dean or being recognized as a name in the academic field of theology.  Mind you, I haven’t even attained those yet, though I do have plans to study, but not for the reasons or patterns I have mentioned above.

Believe it or not, when I started all of this, I only had in mind that I needed a job to support my family, and help my sister in covering the expenses in taking care of my bed-ridden mom.  Having applied in three schools, I was accepted in all of them.  It only came down to choosing which school I would to work with.  While the first two schools I got accepted into showed promise as both were good schools (STI Cubao and Dela Salle Araneta University during her transition from GAUF), my instincts were telling me that there was something lacking, and that I needed more if I am to work, and engage in the field of becoming an instructor or teacher.  That’s when the third school popped in as an old friend of mine, Sr. Ma. Erlinda Cruz, RVM needed a Christian Living Teacher for the High School level at St. Mary’s College of Quezon City.  And I accepted the job for various reasons, three of which are the most important: (1) I needed it to be accessible to home so that I can easily go home and help Papa in taking care of Mama (and this we endured for 2 years and 3 months); (2) I wanted a school where I can start at the bottom so that if ever and whenever I reached the top, I can appreciate the journey, and the people who were with me during those times; and finally (3) to be a religious educator is a passion I share as I am graduate the General Theology Program in MST.

While my journey in SMCQC as well as my leaving it is already documented in my blogs, my now former workplace Claret School of Quezon City I didn’t care to share much.  It’s not that I don’t like the institution in general or that it had given me a lot of heartaches.  Though much of the pain and struggle of being an educator as well as my lack of success I had experienced there in CSQC, I am not bitter about it, not anymore at least.  On the contrary, I am thankful that the adversity I faced in a lot of people and in the systems there made me grow as a person.  While SMCQC had been a home and a community, CSQC was more of an acid-test having to deal with a lot of struggles of dealing with people whose opinions and personalities differed from one another.  Not much of a good thing lasted in the institution because with different personalities came different priorities. And when there are different and diverse priorities, well the programs and ideas become transient and fleeting.  Adding to that the ups and downs the institution has faced in the years that I have stayed there because there was always a feeling of discontent (which I project too to be honest) and a sense of not meeting the expectations you had been trying to get across.

Unless this blog becomes a gripe of CSQC (which is not my intention), I will have to balance my perception of my former workplace with the blessings I have received in that place, and there are plenty too.  Among them, (1) I had been blessed to be part of the emergent Faith Education and Enrichment Division (FEED) who reminded me of the sense of mission through the many activities and immersion I had experienced, and through encountering the diverse people there who contributed to the way I had shaped my sense of mission; (2) the place is where I met the love of my life, Ella Jamoralin, who helped me in balancing my seemingly negative outlook in life while I stayed in CSQC, and taught me and reminded me that despite the many complaints I have, I had to do something about it, i.e., be more pro-active than re-active; (3) the ability to grow in skill especially in caring for the needs of the pupils whether there were mentors or not at my side; (4) the chance to settle my unfinished business of achieving my MA in MST (which I did not to advance my position and salary as many would think of people like me taking MA), and in effect grow in my passion which is theology and ministry; (5) the many benefits I am able to get there (my former Claretian colleagues know this, and I don’t want to enumerate them anymore); and lastly (6) the people outside of FEED whose actions and intentions they continue to do for the good of the school, for their colleagues, and who don’t share the illusions of statuses and divisions most of whom are not teachers, but those who sacrifice every day of their time to serve CSQC whether as ASSA, FIRC or even as teachers (and you know who you are as we have shared a lot of conversations).

Ang saya talaga! IMG_8020 IMG_8061a

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These different casts of characters in CSQC were the people I worked with, and rather than be bitter and ungrateful to them, I would like to thank them for even a person like me has to experience adversity, pain and struggle.  It is like a seed that has germinated in good soil being tried and tested in the most adverse of conditions.  For a tree to grow as durable and as strong as it is, it has to weather the hottest of days, the most terrible of storms, the coldest of atmospheres and even the gentlest of breezes in a normal day.  Without even the CSQC experience, I would not have grown to be the person that I am right now who had the courage to make decisions in life, even leaving the institution so as to grow elsewhere.  And while as Shakespeare puts it, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, I do this knowing that I believe God is calling me elsewhere to heal, grow and be life-giving again in ministry.

It had been a fruitful eight years for me…

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“So why leave?”, you may ask

This leads us to the next chapter…

[To be continued]

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