Reflections on My Summer of Silence… [Part 2]

[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…]

Last time:

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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…

“So why leave?”, you may ask

Prelude to the The Summer of Silence: TTY (TOXIC TWO YEARS!) and The Request Denied

How did I get here?  This is where the “summer of silence” came in this year…

Two years ago, there were a new set of administrators who came to the former workplace.  And while they brought the promise of doing their best of making Claret “great” again, much of what they had to do to achieve this was to give up what made the employee happy, in my opinion…

And I was one of them…

And I will not go into details anymore because that is past.  All I can say was that in the last two years while I still accomplished what the school asked me to do, it slowly turned me into an unhappy trooper.  Much of the sentiments I raised during this period had been valid (while there will be people who will disagree, this is just my opinion), but was not listened to.  Nobody even had developed the culture to seek out the state of the people who are working with them or even mentor them of the new trends that were happening.  Not being listened, being told to do what they are asking you to do even when you are left in the cold, and not checking whether you are happy or not, are recipes for an employee who will consider resignation and seek his fortunes elsewhere.  That much I realized when this previous school year is almost up.

Yet I didn’t want to leave either…

I had to be honest to myself: I was hurt, exhausted, burned-out and not happy as a teacher anymore.  But I did not want to go either, because to me, mission never ends.  To me, this was more than a job, but a ministry. But there was also the question: How can I give more when the “well is dry” (to borrow the words of one of the spiritual greats, Fr. Thomas Green, SJ)?  I saw myself not becoming effective to my pupils anymore. Everything I see in work is becoming burdensome to me, and I felt that if I continue to teach next year, it will be the “death” of me.  And since I am that wounded and hurt, I realized that I had to go back to the one thing that started everything for me in the first place: ministry.  I expressed this to FEED, my immediate community, and they have no problems with it.  Some were ambivalent, but most of them encouraged me to do it. And I really wanted to because for me, I wanted to do this for years.

I also had personal plans to stay with Claret at most for 10 years which means I wanted to prolong may stay for 2 more years.  I admit I wanted to stay for selfish reasons.  Sayang ang benefits eh.  Plus, I could get a lot of monetary benefits upon leaving.  And I can still establish something in ministry should I stay. I’ll be secure no matter what. And so in trying to stay in the institution while looking for ways not to be in teaching next year, I wrote to the Director expressing my wish for next school year. Alas, however as my letter was rejected telling me that the school needs teachers next year.  Somewhat a bit enraged because of making that decision without being called to talk about it (which I believed was the SOP for such requests), but willing to express my wish for the second time through dialogue and patience, I again wrote a longer letter a second time, this time explaining in mildly strong way why I wanted to be in ministry, and not seeing myself being a teacher next year.  As to be expected, I didn’t get an immediate answer.  And about this time, the institutional year was about to end. To add injury to insult (though not intentional), all the seminars I was asked to attend was pulled out from me.  Those that I had planned to attend, I decided not to attend as I had no way of asking funds from the school.  In my whole being, I just wanted everything to end, as I felt that I was so tired of being like this.  After the institutional year-end activity, I was dying to get out, go home, and stay away as much as possible knowing that I had enough after all of these grueling experiences during the year.

And that’s where the “summer of silence” began for me…

 

[To be continued]

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