During the last weekend of August, I attended my community’s Christian Sexuality Course (CSC), at St. Charles Borromeo Retreat House. Actually, it was my second time to go to this course. Not that I needed reminding about my sexuality and how I should relate with the opposite sex, but I was tapped to show support for the newly-committed brothers and sisters in Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon (ALNP)-Davao community. In this course, the members of the ALNP are being re-oriented of why God created our bodies in a particular way – male and female – and how we are called to make use of our persons (as a man and as a woman) to relate with one another towards building God’s Kingdom.
I just had to chronicle this particular moment with Nerry, an elder sister-in-Christ, whom I have formed a closer attachment since starting my newly-found life in the Lord. We were deep in conversation while other participants in the retreat were busy chatting and making friends with the brothers and sisters from other branches of the community. I do not consider myself to be in Nerry’s intimate circle, but I’ve known her to have a special penchant for throwing off-guard, frank questions. “May crush ka ba?” I heard her ask me while I was readying myself for worship. I scowled briefly, pursed my lips then answered, “Oo naman.” I was then led to look back and realize that since I started community life, the question has gradually become a taboo. And I do find it uncomfortable at times when people ask me such question. Uncomfortable, because one, I’m afraid to blush profusely (as I often do) because I DO have a crush, and two, to be asked such a question, it may seem to some people that I am abnormally without one.
Maybe Nerry sensed my hesitation to further elaborate my answer, thus she continued, “Ako noon, nahihirapan ako kapag may crush ako. Lagi akong distracted. Kahit di mo sya nakikita, alam mong nasa likod mo sya… tapos kahit malayo ka sa pinto, makikita mo syang pumapasok.” And we both giggled. A girlish voice came out of my mouth and added, “Di mo sadya, pero parang nasa line of sight mo siya lagi…” I said, grinning sheepishly. And yes, we share the same sentiments. Like Nerry, I get distracted. Sometimes, too distracted. The presence of my “beloved” is too much for my frail, womanly heart to handle. That is why sometimes, literally, I flee. And sometimes, I find myself whispering to the Lord to take all my crushes away! (this time, figuratively of course!).
But Nerry, being Nerry, followed up immediately. “Alam mo, ganyan din si Lord. May crush din siya sayo (You know what, the Lord is also like that. He has a crush on you)” That was when the universe collided in my mind and in my heart. Eureka. Never thought of that before. Maybe my patterns of distractions before are the Lord’s way of showing me how he must feel towards me? Nerry’s insight was very overwhelming that I can only utter “Nerry!” to her. I remember that heart-to-heart talk with her, few months before, when she said, “Sinabi nang Diyos sa akin, ‘Bata ka pa lang, binakuran na kita’.” Those words were etched in my memory since. I think it was the most romantic revelation of a man to a woman. I and a couple of sisters were interviewing her about her state of life. Nerry is a lay missionary who is living single for the Lord. I thought, here is a sister who shares a romantic relationship with Jesus.
That night during the retreat, I pondered on what Nerry had said. You’re crazy about me, Lord. I giggled. I smiled, tossed and turned on my sleeping mat like some love struck teenager. If this is how we feel towards our human crushes, the Lord is so much more! He is the greatest lover! He is constantly aware of me. My actions, my words, even my inmost thoughts. He is watchful not because he is on the lookout for the mistakes that I’m going to make, but because he loves me. He is watchful because He wants to protect me, and is always finding an opportunity to break into my experience and to make His love obvious and felt, intensely. Lord, kinikilig ako.
The next morning, it was a Sunday. Nerry led me to the same disposition of becoming more aware of the Lord’s presence. We were sitting on a pew near the altar of the church. Nerry called my attention to look at an old woman who was sitting two rows away from us. This lola in a blue dress was talking to another lola. “Ang cute ni Lola o,” Nerry giggled. Lola in a blue dress was sporting a scowl, with her mouth half open. The wrinkles on her face were placed in a way that she looked like an innocent child, trying to figure out why the sky is blue or why birds fly. She was so cute! “Napaka-oblivious tingnan ni Lola,” I told Nerry. “Onga e,” Nerry said, “alam mo natutuwa si Lord sa kanya. Lab na lab yan sila.” Yes! The Lord is fond of our innocence indeed! He smiles when we blush. When we feel awkward. When we stutter out of pure intentions. Alam na alam ni Lord. He is sad when we are jealous, unforgiving, impure… He is aware of me. He is aware of my presence. My lover is constantly aware of my presence. Oh, if we are also constantly aware that He is! Oh, if we are conscious that His Spirit is in us! That we are His temple!… Then I would be acting, speaking, thinking in a way that is worthy of my Lover! Na-conscious ako bigla. Lord, alam mo. Alam na alam mo.
Those moments with Nerry, perhaps, left the most vivid mark from my CSC this year. As I began my first week of this month, I find myself praying each morning to be given the grace to be constantly aware of His presence. Every hour, every minute, every second. May this greater awareness lead me into doing what is right, what is just, and what will glorify my Lord. If I am aware of my Beloved’s presence, I want him to be proud of me. Of course, there is always room to be unpretentiously me. But it is just that it is in His presence that I rightfully belong. Let my time be devoted to my Lover who is constantly aware, and who is most ardently passionate for me.