Last night, I had to visit a very close friend (one of my best friends) who is undergoing so much stress at this point in time. Possibly all the worst things that can happen to a twenty-something woman happened to her. And understandably, she wanted to die, impatient for the ending which everyone of us will inevitably face. I tried to convince her of reasons why she needs to hang on. My efforts may be lame, but they are with the utmost intentions of helping her recover– recover, and not hang herself because of these ceaseless trials in her journey.
It was strange because I recognize some things going full circle in my head as I listened to my friend tell me about how tired she is of life. She, who used to be so full of verve and was the go-to person when I was hit with the major case of the blues, is now afflicted with a severe case of depression. I often remember that she was this bubbly, outgoing woman who faced all her challenges squarely. I admired her for that.
I was chatting with my mentor a day before this and he told me that time is a relative concept: while I find my time in this life so fast and I need to catch up on a lot of things, there are clearly some people who find time to be so frigging slow as they just wait for the end of their lives. It’s sad, but it’s true. This conversation with my suicidal friend is a living proof of how relatively we view things in this life.
She had, in her mind, an ideal quest. And it frustrates her that she has not achieved that ideal situation for herself now. She thinks her life has no more meaning because she did not get the ideal job and she did not get to keep the “ideal” man.
She wanted this particular job, and was hung up with an “ideal” man that she had let go of. This was the guy, who, in my opinion, is an overly glorified and immortalized version of her flawed past relationship. He was a lesser evil compared to the man who caused her recent heartache. But he was NOT good at all. She just views him as good because she had to face so much evil after her relationship with him. Pain can simply blind you to smithereens. It takes a Herculean effort to see things as they are when you are hurting or happy.
I had to sing to her the song of her old self, because she has completely forgotten it. I sang as much as I can in the two hours that I was with her, because she has forgotten her song. And it is a great disservice to one’s self if you forget your song. I will be singing for quite a while, that’s for sure. But I don’t mind. In case I lose my song too, I know she will sing it back to me as well.
She vaguely reminded me of my own situation. I have my own ideal quests in life. I found the ideal person and the ideal job. But I cannot have any of it for long. I acknowledge them to be ideal for me, but at the same time, I acknowledge that I will have to let it go.
Circumstances dictate that I look on them from afar, possibly have them for a short time but not really to the point of having them 100%.
Do I whine? Do I cry that I cannot have the ones I want the most? Do I pine for that ideal object at the expense of hurting others as I do it? Do I blame God for showing these ideal stuff to me so late in life?
NO. Years ago, perhaps I would have cried for days on end and forced myself to get them.
But I have learned to be sad only for a moment and to move on as quickly as possible. Life is so short. Was it really a loss or was it just a loss because I perceived it to be so? AND, how can you lose something you never owned to begin with? Everything is on loan. Even this life we live is on loan.
Instead of whining, I remembered the prayer I recited a lot when I was attending daily Mass in the UP Parish, the Prayer of the Holy Sacrifice. “Teach us to give up our own comfort, plans and dreams if it is not for your glory and the good of others…”
I finally realized what that statement meant. Then was the time to speak out the words during Mass. This is the time to really implement the meaning behind those words.
A very smart guy friend told me recently that he finds romance depicted only in his Koreanovela obsession. He believes that marriage is primarily an economic and political decision, above all other things. The fleeting, passing fancies of falling in love are not worth the pain that follows after, according to him. I do not totally agree with what my guy friend said but it was something I was able to ponder on too since we had dinner at Hap Chang last week.
IDEAL is defined by Merriam Webster as “exactly right for a particular purpose, situation, or person” But I am starting to realize for myself that my ideal job and my ideal person is, more or less, an illusion produced by my limited perception of things.
Certain circumstances allow us to conclude that this person or this thing is ideal for us. But honestly, the ascribing of the ideal is just as relative as human perception of life and time. We think it is ideal for us based on our perspective. But ours is not the only perspective to consider. I, for one, believe in the hand of a God who sees the bigger picture.
Even if we have reached our dreams, a certain detachment is needed because other people need to be considered. Most of all, becoming too attached to the ideal stuff, no matter how good they are, can destroy you later on. You become so consumed into possessing that ideal object that you end up not appreciating the other things of life.
The greater good is more important than fulfilling one’s fancies. And in this forced detachment of not owning my ideal stuff, I become most thankful at each instance that I get to spend time with them. The recognition that they are “on loan” makes me appreciate them more and derive more meaning in my interaction with these ideal persons and objects.
You know what’s the best thing about letting some of our ideals fly? It empties our hands.
And in that selfless emptiness, you give yourself a chance to be filled with the unexpected. Over time, you discover that you are more fit for this new and unexpected thing. You will laugh at how you placed a period where God has only placed a comma.
So I guess, my ideal stuff on loan have to be returned pretty soon.
But surely, I will bloom where I will plant myself anew.
It’s no cause for despair. A better tomorrow is on its way.
All that life asks of us is not to be perfect in every way, but to BE OPEN to the next bend.
My arms are wide open and waiting and optimistic.