“People said, there are places where we stay longer. There are also places that are mere stopovers. Just like Hong Kong. So you have to make the most out of your time. Because, no one stays here forever” (Sabi nila may mga lugar na pangmatagalan. May mga lugar na dinadaanan lang. Parang Hong Kong. Kaya bawat oras dapat sulitin mo kasi walang nagtatagal dito.) This is the opening line from the trailer of the movie Hello, Love, Goodbye released last 2019.
Some people in the social media used its audio in their reels/videos, showcasing the placeS they had been and the things they have done. It makes me kind of nostalgic which leads me in this two lingering questions. First, how will you know whether it is forever or only a stopover? Second, how can you get the most out of your time?
I was recently part of the Davao Redemptorist Mission Team in their Icon Mission in Maco, Davao de Oro. The Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Maco is a Diocesan Shrine. Though it is the Diocesan Shrine, yet, not all chapels know and understand the icon’s background and its elements. They also do not practice novena in their chapels.
In one of our activities, we introduced the house blessings and the enthronement of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in their altars. And during those times, there was this Nanay who lived not too far away just an hour and a half of hiking. People in that area would say that it is too far.
Anyway, Nanay invited us to their home for the house blessing and the enthronement of the icon, which our team gladly accepted. We went there with Nanay’s niece and her granddaughters. When we arrived, Nanay Landa and her husband Tatay Ernesto were delighted. Nanay asked Tatay to catch us some chickens for us to eat and for us to bring. They lived in a small hut in the middle of the coconut trees, no water supply nor electricity. Nanay shared that a lot of bikers would visit them for two things, first, because of the the trail and second, the beautiful overlooking view of the Davao Gulf, the Municipality of Maco and the City of Tagum.
During our lunch, stories and laughter were shared. We took a nap as well and rested for a while. We spent about 4 hours there and when we bid our goodbyes. Nanay cannot contain how grateful she was that even though their home was far, we took the time and effort to visit them. She was on the verge of tears when I waved goodbye.
In another mission area I also experienced riding “skylab motorcycle,” a two-wheeled motor with planks on both sides which can carry four persons. Riding on the skylab motor was never easy at first, not to mention that you need a balance on the other side. I got nervous since the road was bumpy. I also found it hard to choose which side to sit. If I will go the right, I was scared that snakes might jump from nowhere or insects from the leaves of the trees will crawl on me or I can collect twigs for firewoods or worst a branch from a tree might stab me accidentally 😅. On the left side is simply a cliff. So, I chose the former. We were praying and laughing at the same time but what really caught my attention was the toddler who was with us. Her father was the driver, and she was sitting on the tank of the skylab motor. While we were praying and laughing, the toddler was just chilling there and looked at us as if questioning us why we were so noisy. It was so fun that we rode skylab for the 2nd and 3rd times. After those experiences, riding the skylab motor became so easy for me then.
Those encounters brought me to these realizations:
- To Jesus Through Mary. This is one of our modules. That their love for Mary brings them closer to Jesus. I was also moved when one time while doing the house blessing and enthronement of the Icon, a woman who was pregnant bursted in tears while we were reading the prayer and while holding the icon in her hands. I may not know what she was going through but I know that God touched her on that day through Mary. May my love for Mary inspire me to be self-giving, a love that will inspire me not only to remain in the state of loving but also in serving.
- To Trust and Have Faith in God. It was just like riding the skylab. God is my driver and my balance is my principles in life. If the road becomes bumpy and I’m scared and not secured at all, and the only way for me to save myself is to jump, then I will definitely get into an accident. I am reminded now to be like the toddler, who knows her father well and to trust him above all. I am challenged to know Christ more in order for me to trust and have faith in Him more that whatever comes my way, I will always be and feel safe in His presence.
Going back to my first question, I am reminded now with one of the lines shared with us by Ate Portia in one of her sessions, “We may be in this world but we are not of this world“. Change is constant and living in this world is not forever, no matter how much I love the place, I am just a passerby. Time will come I will become a memory, so I need to make most of my time in this world, and how can I possibly do it? Just by simply living in a purposeful and meaningful life. Doing what gives me a purpose and doing what gives life its meaning.
I pray that the love of God will stay with me forever and that I will be able to radiate this love and joy in me with others.