April 6, 2009
Isa Pang Boksing ng Isang Nanay
Dear Fr. Willy,
My boxing match has been more of an amateur level match, or sparring, even, when one compares it to the challenges faced by others.
My battles have been more with situations, rather than people, and it’s more of an internal battle. Ever since I’ve gotten married and moved to a new place 2-3 years ago, I’ve found myself struggling with internal issues – adjustment to a new stage in life, adjustment to the lack of freedom that comes with the territory – the peace and order situation in Zamboanga / Mindanao, adjustment to being away from all that is familiar, and missing the comfort of family and friends back home. Then when I became pregnant, there was also the excitement and fears that come with motherhood.
Round 1: Delivering my baby. It was a gruelling 17 hour labor – 13 hours of waiting for the right dilation, and the last 4 hours that felt like an eternity as I tried to push with all my might. Despite the difficulties of labor, giving birth to my baby boy was truly a blessing of God. Damang dama ko yung awa at pagmamahal ng Diyos sa panahon na iyon – akala ko hindi na ako makakaraos sa pagod at hirap ng pagpapanganak sa aking sanggol, pero noong talagang nawalan na ako ng lakas, nandyan ang aking mga supporter at coach – ang aking asawa na nagpapaalala sa akin na gawin ang mga Lamaze breathing technique, at ang aking ina, na binigyan ako ng chicken soup upang magkaroon ng lakas pa sa pagtutulak. Just when I felt like I was running on empty, literally, my mom was there to give me a drink of soup, and I had my own spiritual drink as I prayed to God to see me through until I deliver this baby boy – I prayed for strength. I felt a surge of His power run through me as I really strained to push – and finally, I cried in pain and joy as my baby finally saw the light and greeted the world with his crying. God was truly gracious and merciful to me in that time of physical struggle – and He blessed me and my husband with the greatest gift of all – the gift of life and love in the form of our baby.
Round 2: Raising a sickly baby. My baby was hospitalized when he was just 4 months old - after 5 days of very high fevers – due to ear infection. Those days of carrying him as he cried in such pain was so challenging and draining – I felt so helpless as I tried to comfort him. I had a very tiny glimpse of our Blessed Mother’s pain as she saw the passion of Christ Jesus. If only I could be the one suffering the pain instead of my baby, I would have gladly taken on the illness myself, to spare him of the hurt he went through. I thank God that after the medications, he got better
Round 3: Hospitalization number 2 when he was 8 months old – he had tonsillitis and had high fevers and couldn’t eat nor drink milk well. I prayed that he may get healthier and stronger – and the Lord answered my prayers, after 4 days in the hospital, he got better again.
Round 4: When he was hospitalized for yet a third time, his second hospitalization for the year 2008 – this time around he needed a blood transfusion because his haemoglobin was going down / he was a bit anemic. I really felt like breaking down. Talagang bugbog ako nun. Iyak lang ako ng iyak – sa takot para sa anak ko, sa galit ko sa sarili ko kung may pagkukulang ba ako bilang ina, at bakit naging masakitin ang anak ko, sa galit ko nung nalaman ko na natunaw lahat ng breastmilk na aking pinaghirapan i-pondo, dahil sa mga brownout sa Zamboanga. Siguro muntik na ako ma-knock-out noon. Pero ayan na naman ang Diyos, na tunay na nagmamahal at nagaaruga sa aming lahat, kahit na madalas, marami akong mga tanong sa Kanya, at kahit na madalas, makulit ako sa aking mga tanong at mga pagdududa.
Round 5: My own internal struggles – with insecurities, fears, loneliness, self-questioning – have led me to an up-down, consolation-desolation journey with myself and my God. Having moved to a new environment, wherein it’s more of my husband’s “territory” than mine, has really been challenging for me. There are days when being cooped up in the apartment really makes me feel impatient and unproductive. Having to say farewell to people and activities and groups that I held dear - I had to regroup and to take on a new role as wife and as mother. I have always been used to my other roles in the past – group moderator, teacher, mentor, volunteer – these roles defined me. And without these roles, I felt a certain part of me seems to be missing. Motherhood does take up most of my time, but lately, I find myself wondering if there is some call for me to do more again, like I used to. Ang hirap i-explain po, Father, at alam ko napagusapan na po natin ito last SD session – clear naman sa akin na first priority ko ang aking pamilya, asawa at anak. Pero, I guess may personal needs din ako for fulfilment – professional, etc. – beyond my roles as wife and mother. Alam ko naman hindi lahat ng tao, puede maging Superman / Superwoman, pero gusto ko rin sana tumubo sa iba pang aspeto ng aking buhay, tulad ng dati. Hindi ko nga maintindihan kung ito ba ay katigasan ng aking ulo, o isang attachment – to the way things were before. Recently, having involved myself in volunteer advocacy work (children with cancer) with the photography club I joined here has helped filled that void a little, somehow. Pasensya po, Father, I am rambling here. As you can see, there are some areas of confusion, and some of clarity naman. As with all things, I think God’s call to me now is “Patient Trust” – na wag magpabugbog sa aking sariling mga pagdududa, o sa aking kainipan o frustrations sa buhay, at manalig sa Kanya – magtiwala sa Kanyang mga plano, sa Kanyang pagsasa-ayos ng mga bagay-bagay sa buhay, ayon sa Kanyang Sariling Oras (in His good time).
Palagay ko Father, kahit naman po amateur division ako sa aking Boksing ng Buhay, hindi titigil ang mga rounds. Sige-sige lang ang mga rounds, at kailangan ko makibakbakan pa. Pero ang malinaw po sa akin na kailangan kong magtiwala sa Diyos, na Siya ang gumagabay sa aking mga kamao habang ako ay nakikipag-bakbakan sa buhay. ‘Ika nga, (and this is a twist on some satirical line I read on the Internet): “I am going to beat them up with my Jesus fists”
Isa pang reflection ko sa buhay boksing: Minsan, akala ko ang Diyos ay ang Referree, minsan naman, parang Siya ang aking nai-gugulpi dala ng aking mga sala, mga pagdududa, mga pagkukulang ng tiwala at pananalig sa Kanya. Sa aking focus sa aking mga natanggap na sapak mula sa buhay, tila nakakalimutan ko na higit pa dyan ang aking pagiging bugbog—bugbog sa pagmamahal ng Diyos. Marami ang mga biyaya na aking natanggap mula sa Kanya, at karapat-dapat na Siya’y aking pasalamatan, sa pamamagitan ng pagmamahal ko sa mga tao sa aking paligid – pamilya, kaibigan, katrabaho – at sa aking komunidad, sambayanan, mundo. Kailangan kong alalahanin na ang pagmamahal ng Diyos dapat ang gumabay sa aking mga kamay habang ako ay nakikipagsapalaran sa buhay. Anumang “ring”, sinuman o anuman ang kalaban, ang aking Diyos ay parati lamang nariyan, binibigyan ako ng lakas muli sa buhay boksing – ang lakas na iyan ay nanggagaling sa pagtitiwala na hindi Niya ako iiwanan, na mahal na mahal niya ako.