Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Jesus and me

i remembered this time when my wife and i were invited to attend one of our daughter's spiritual retreats when she was in high school. she was enrolled in a catholic school near the village we were residing at. this school is very particular about parents involvement in the development of their child's well-being. they make it a point to let parents know what are the school activities that their children go thru including such extra curricular activities as seminars, retreats, etc. this one we were invited to needs participation even from parents. i always make it a point to attend family activities such as this so that at least i may be able to spend some quality time with my wife and kid.

there was the usual socialization with the other parents and the school faculty and the facilitator of the program. i must admit that i really don't expect much since i have attended several other activities in the past that i pretty much know what will happen.

and so, the usual prayer sessions. the usual pep talks and inspirational talks from several facilitators and from the retreat master himself who is a priest. the talks ran much in the same vein as before -- parents and children must have open lines of communication, what the children are learning in school, especially value formation and character building, must coincide with what they are actually experiencing at home. i admit for most of these activities, i kept my eyes closed. i have heard all these before.

then came this period when parents were separated from the children. they spent some time in seclusion with the retreat master. we don't know what happened there. but i do know what happened during the time we spent in our own seclusion with the retreat master. at one point during this activity, the priest asked us parents to evaluate our selves honestly. he requested us to try to look deeply into our own lives and then ask ourselves what we have done with our lives. what we have accomplished, what others things we think needs to be done, for ourselves, for our family, for the country, for the world, etc.

i looked around the room. the other parents were busily writing on the notepads we were given. i looked at my wife. she had her eyes closed at one point in time and then she scribbled something on her paper. she's busy too.

but i? i had nothing to write. my mind was blank. much as i tried hard to think about it, i cannot think of any concrete achievement in my life. house? car? money? material possessions? nope.. nada .. nothing much to be considered achievement ..

i was sad. i had to look away from my wife who was sitting beside me. i don't want her to see this look of shame on my face. and the tears.

i don't know what had happened but my eyes focused on the cross mounted on the retreat master's table. i looked at the figure on the cross. and then i experienced this sudden, soothing feeling. an assurance that all is well. i took a deep breath. the sadness disappeared. the time for submitting the papers was almost up. without hesitation, i grabbed my pen and wrote this prayer on my paper:

for Jesus

i tried to be a poet
i did not become one.
i tried to be a singer
i did not become one.
i tried to be a musician
i did not become one.
i did not aspire for riches
now You're giving me just enough.
i did not aspire for fame
now i'm an unknown.
whatever i am now,
You made me!
as always, there's just one thing
i ask of Thee --
just keep me always
in Thy Holy Company.

thank you, Jesus,
my Lord, My Friend.

i handed the paper to the retreat master.
i felt no guilt. i felt no shame.

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