In Search of my God...
'The mirror moment'
I remembered one particular moment when I was standing in front of the mirror combing my hair. As I looked at myself in the mirror, deeper questions about life surfaced. The questions posed to me were, “Who are you?”, “Why were you born?”, ‘’”What should you be doing with your life?”, “Where are you going?” As a young 15-year old, I didn’t know the answers nor did I know how to go about finding answers for those questions. Looking back at that moment I saw it as a moment of grace. For me that experience was an instance of my God making Himself known to me. I am convinced now that we can only find our true selves when God is in our lives.
Anger With God
My teen years were not easy ones. I was 15 when I lost my father. Losing someone at that very fragile stage of a teenager’s life was traumatic. I didn’t know that I had to go through the process of grieving. I was angry with God. I found myself saying, “You took my father away so I don’t want to have anything to do with you.” And I also remembered asking myself questions like, “How come God has taken someone I love and who loves me? How can He say He is my God if he is a jealous God?” I disliked going to Mass, but I had to, because I felt guilty not going and because it would cause my mother further grief and worry.
The emptiness within
As the years went by I felt there was a bit of emptiness in my life but I was not giving it much attention. I thought it will just fade away. That perhaps it was just part of life of a growing young adult. I was focused with my studies and being careful not to mess up with it. I wanted to finish my studies and at the same I wanted to reward my mother for all her hard work in raising us her children. She being the sole breadwinner of the family. Furthermore I did not want to break my mother's heart. I finished third level and I was lucky to get a teaching post right after graduation. I was happy with it. I thought then that from there I would build my future.
But I felt unfulfilled and my life seemed empty. I felt the emptiness in me and I felt the hunger. I also felt burdened by the emptiness and I didn't know what to do with it. It was this time in my life when I began to get much closer to God. I began to pray. I started talking to God as I would to a friend I trusted. Eventually I told God about the emptiness I was feeling and the longing for it to vanish. God didn't give me answers right away though. I discovered that the answers were to come later on my journey. At that time I thought I should continue talking to him and make the communication open between us.
You would think that dealing with the feeling of emptiness in my life was enough but again it was at this time that the same questions I asked myself during the 'mirror moment' I had when I was 15 surfaced. Unlike that moment, this time I felt the questions bothered me. It bothered me because it felt like I could not get away with it that time. And I had to face them. Then I realized answers had to be sought from somewhere and so the searching began. In my solitary moments, I kept asking myself the questions like: 'What does my life mean then?' 'What is it that I should be doing with my life?' If finishing my education and getting a job is not enough what is it then?
A covenant with my God
Time came and went. One particular night, I was preparing my lesson for my class the following day. This time I was at my lowest ebb as I was not getting any answers after my so-called efforts, of my so-called searching and waiting for God's response. Then I kind of heard an inner voice saying 'stop'. 'Just stop'. 'Listen to me'. I knew then the time has come. I felt a divine presence, a loving presence. A presence reaching out to me so lovingly and generously. In a moment I felt the urge to cry. I didn't know why I should be crying but I cried. Literally I felt my tears flowing profusely down my cheeks. I felt so loved in this Divine presence. There I reached out to God as I never did before. It was only when my tears began rolling down my cheeks that I understood why I needed to cry. It was time for 'surrender'. I reached out to him in all my emptiness, in my fears and anxieties, in my unanswered searching, in my inability to do things on my own without God in my life, in my unfulfilled life, in all that I was, raw and broken.
All throughout the old testament , God was there with his people -Revealing himself to them. Being faithful to them even when his people were unfaithful. He made a covenant with them - that he is their God and they are his people. I felt that it was during this particular night that God and myself made a covenant together - that He is my God and I am his daughter. Having entered this phase in our relationship, I began to realize that to trust in God is to let God be God in my life. This indeed is always a challenge to take in one's lifetime.
Entering into deeper relationship with God, called for a commitment. To listen more and to spend more time with him. As I listened more, I felt drawn to look at those deep questions that I have been wondering about for some time already. It was through this deeper encounter with God that I began to hear some kind of answer to my questions and pondered them even more in my heart as Mother Mary did.
I felt God inviting me to look at my life. To look at the emptiness I was feeling. To continue seeking for answers but to be patient. To trust that the answers will come eventually and that it will come at the appointed time. In those times of waiting, slowly I began to hear a call. I felt God calling me. Calling me to do something more. Something different with my life. There was a feeling of anxiety about it because it was not clear to me what it was exactly that I was suppose to be doing. So I asked God again to give me an answer. God was silent. Over time, I got accustomed to God's silence and to the beckoning within me. Then I heard an inner voice saying, 'follow the desire of your heart'. What would fulfill the emptiness in your heart? After such seeking and waiting, like a 'eureka' moment - I felt the desire to follow a commitment to serve others. How should I have achieved this I didn't know. And so another seeking began. If my desire is to serve others there must be something that I needed to do. I knew that while I was serving others in my teaching job, I felt I was called to do something different. All I knew was serving others was what I wanted to do and nothing will stop me from following such. But again , What was it that I was suppose to be doing? Slowly as it always was. Answer came and in its own time. Not pushed.
day, I was clearing a cabinet and there I saw the magazine again. I
was reminded of what I read in it a year previously. I looked at the
page again. Then it dawned on me that this could have been the answer
to my prayers all along. It felt like I finally got the answer. It
felt right and I needed to do something with it.. Maybe it was
chance, coincidence or fate. I felt it was time to make a decision and
to follow the desire of my heart. I also felt that God was with me on
it. Then decision time came. It was not an easy one to make as I
would have to leave the comfort of being with family and friends and a
job. It was also around this time of my searching that my heart has
been awakened to love but even then, it did not stop me from following
my call. Taking all these factors in my discernment, I felt that the
call to follow God's will was stronger. So in joyful faithfulness to
the covenant God and myself made, I felt it was time to seek what my
calling meant and make it a reality.. . There then began my vocation
to the Columban Lay Missionaries.
Sixteen years passed. Life on mission has its challenges, its joys and sorrows. And through it all, God has constantly shown his love for me through the people I met on my journey as a missionary. They give me life and hope. I pray that I may grow each day in faithfulness to my God and meet each new day with joyful anticipation of what is to come. (Gracia K.)