It’s Lent and I should write something about this surprisingly reflective week. I say surprisingly because I managed to get insights despite my refusal to join the usual processions or Visita Iglesia. It just goes to show that divine inspiration can occur pretty much anywhere.
Two days ago, I stepped out of the cathedral pews to find my 12-year-old sister snickering at me. “Ang tagal mo naman, Ate. Humaba ang pila dahil sa’yo.”
I was red-faced when I stepped out of the confessional box to do my penance, which totaled to a pair of red knees to match my already lobster-colored face. I am not exactly the world’s nicest person but I maintain certain things like observing some things during Lenten season. In fact, I completely admit that I have a lot of blind spots in my Johari window (Google if you don’t know what this is), and I experience the silent pain that Milan Kundera mentioned as the ignorance of what other people really think of us. And by this he means people’s real thoughts about us– not just the usual pleasantry that they say to help you maintain your dignity. There are a handful who genuinely like who I am and know where I am coming from, and it’s really nice and humbling to have these people.
Anyway, I had five major things to confess and most of it stems from what I call spiritual incontinence. It’s my inability to stay patient and respect the seasons of life. It’s my inability to deal with pleasantries to save other people the trouble of hearing what I really think of him or her or of it, whatever he or she or it is.
It’s my utter lack of brakes between the thoughts I have in my head. No filters. Just letting out, all the time, even when it is no longer necessary to say things, it seems like I have this incontinence, this need to just let it out. Perhaps I fear implosion of the self. Perhaps I am just unable to try harder to suck it up, to just silently bear things and move on. Perhaps… Perhaps not. I would not really know in its entirety, if you ask me.
Suffice it to say that I am somehow trying to instill some semblance of control, some semblance of just letting more things slide especially the ones that I have no legitimate control over. I realize that while I suffer in unfair ways sometimes, there are also self-inflicted apocalypses that I could have avoided if I just took the time to be more mindful, if I just took the time to think things through before acting on them.
And while this shift, while this effort to reflect is unnatural and absolutely uncomfortable, I realize that I needed to do this now because there may be no other time in the future to do it in this way and with this profound effect. That life is a constant state of self-examination is an understatement. That I neglect to examine myself is one of the greatest disservices hiding under the tyranny of being a busy working person. There are no excuses when you neglect who you are and fail to assess what you are becoming.
I only confessed five things to the priest in that air-conditioned confessional box but Father R seemed to be divinely inspired to take the time to admonish to this lost little sheep in me. He told me to take spiritual things more seriously this time around, and that God is a good God who forgives, that nothing is impossible with the Lord if only we give of ourselves. He does not ask too much but only for me to take the first step. The rest of the things he said, I can no longer write in a public space but it filled a space in my head to make me think of things more thoroughly. Two days of not working has been productive for me in a personal way, although I do not have pages or maps to show for it.
I guess I can deal with a hundred red faces in front of fellow churchgoers if it means that it can address some remedy to my burgeoning spiritual incontinence. At this point, few things matter in the truest sense of the word. I just need to listen to myself more carefully and be more aware of where I stand and what particular lesson life is teaching me at this phase.
Since theoretically, this is the day we commemorate His death, it’s a good day to kill this incontinence bit by bit by taking baby steps until maturity becomes me.