“Cchriist the Kiing!”
Those were the words that sprung out from the man seated next to me as the sermon was about to start.
It has been a long time since the last time I had ever laid hands on my laptop to write; I could barely remember my last entry (too lazy to check my entries). It had been a tough six months for me and for my colleagues, spending the whole duration in preparation for the Civil Engineering Board Examination which took place recently on the second week of November. Fortunately enough, most of us were able to pass the exam (yay!). Sadly, some did not. But that’s life, and I hope they’ll be able to ace it the next time.
I definitely have a lot to say, but let me start by telling my Sunday Mass experience.
Like every other day of the week, it was indeed a bleak Sunday morning. Ever since the results of the board exam came up, nothing much had happened except for the fact that I had a few interesting gigs at some restaurants in the city.
As I approached the entrance, I could already hear the choral singing ‘Lord, have mercy’. ‘We are late again as usual’. Together with my grandparents, and my siblings, I found a seat at the upper box of the theatre. When the music had died and the homily was about to start, suddenly the person next to me let out a loud, ludicrous cry.
“Cchriist the Kiing!”
It was then that I realize two things: One, that ‘Of course! How could I forget that today is Christ the King Sunday?’ ; and two, I was sitting beside a speech-impaired, mentally handicapped male about my age or younger attending mass on his own. I was not particularly interested in his condition, so I went on listening and participating to the rituals of the mass despite his regular frantic moans and growls, which honestly irked me little by little. To make matters worse, I felt uncomfortable after realizing the lukewarm looks in our direction. It felt awful feeling that I had to share with him the suffering of being discreetly ridiculed. But the truth is he wasn’t really aware, and perhaps, he didn’t care. It was I who created the illusion of suffering for the both of us.
I looked at him by my peripherals, and could only feel pity. I couldn’t concentrate on the mass any longer. There was nothing I could do but silently pray. I began to recall the miracles of Christ: healing of the withered hand, healing of the deaf mute, healing of the paralytic, healing of the blind man, and many others. I prayed that this man next to me may soon enough be healed of his suffering: his mental disability and his loneliness.
Of course, there wasn’t any bold and exultant healing miracle that happened to the man next to me.
But there was healing indeed. And I felt it inside me.
It was a feeling I couldn’t quite comprehend that suddenly opened the faucet of realizations. Being apathetic as I had always been, I marveled at the overwhelming occurrence being revealed to me at the moment.
I saw the attendees beginning to fall in line towards the narrow exit and followed shortly, the choral’s joyful final hymn slowly fading.
I was never a happy soul, and until now, I continue to wonder if I will ever be. I have always been skeptical of the existence of happiness. But today, that man has reminded me, not of happiness, but of something related in nature.
Gratefulness and appreciation.
I was able to appreciate more the gift of privilege. We all know the truth: not everyone is able to enjoy the gift of privilege. Like the man next to me, some are handicapped. A lot of kids grow up without parents. Others are so drowned in poverty that opportunities such as quality education and health care are pure fantasies.
I have been reminded of how wrongly I have approached life everyday – waking up every morning feeling irritated and bitter of the injustice of life and the world; and doing my tasks half-alive only to let the hours pass for the stars to settle during bedtime, feeling empty, useless, and anxious of tomorrow…
…Of how my soul’s bitterness have become a constant contribution of injustice in the world.
Therefore, it is not the world that is unjust, but rather, my own self for allowing my soul to be blind of my own privilege, selfishly looking instead for things which I do not have, and for failing to realize that it was I who had set my heart up to be devoured by bitterness.
More so, I have realized that by being blind of my own privilege, I had become unfair to the least ones – those who are dying to be in my shoes that they may enjoy what I have.
With all these mistakes which I am now willing to correct, I am able to see in my own eyes, clearer than ever, the betrayal which I had inflicted upon myself. After all, I was my own enemy. I had kept myself prisoner for some time, preventing myself to be the best version of who I could be.
With high hopes, I shall wake up tomorrow and the next day feeling better than yesterday. The man will always be a reminder to be grateful, and a reminder of self-fulfillment that will help me erase the traces of bitterness, and hopefully ignite a sense of responsibility to strive to become an instrument of healing for all, especially to the least ones.