Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Never lose hope

The recent Alumni Homecoming of the Department of Social Work Central Philippine University and the circumstances surrounding it have inspired me to make this post. The gathering was an attempt to revive the association which had hibernated for five years or so. Coincidentally, the last activities were conducted sometime in 2005 which commemorated my stint as chairman of the department. Thereafter, I was appointed as director of the University Outreach Center . The sudden change in leadership both in the department and in our alumni association might have affected the activity.

As if to signal my resumption of leading the Department as officer-in-charge effective August 1, we have succeeded to revive the alumni association on September 2 at the Grand Tower in Iloilo City. With the new set of dynamic team of leaders, I am optimistic the association will again soar to heights. The attendance reached just the number we expected. The program was simple consistent with the objectives to rekindle the spirit and renew acquaintances. In line with the theme “Transcending the challenge of our profession: The central Spirit," participant shared their respective experiences in life and work. It was a fruitful and inspiring sharing time. But what amused me most was the story of an alumna who few months before her 60th birthday got married. What was fascinating is the fact that since youth she was fond of projecting that particular age in response to inquiries of her schedule every time a contemporary is wed. It is her indirect statement to her plan to remain single throughout life to help her family.

However, fate finally caught her up. A month prior to our homecoming, just a couple of months away from her 60th , she got married. A sort of fulfilling her own prophecy. While listening to her experiences , everyone has noticed the radiance of joy coming from inside having no regret that it took her that long to decide. She had a two pronged message. For the young, not to play with fate. And for the older ones who remain single but aspiring, never to lose hope.

But this is not the main reason for this blog. A side light story to the alumni homecoming carries similar message but with more personal impact. Earlier in the preparation, my spirit was low. Time constraints forced us to simplify everything – preparation, expectation, program and other activities. My mood became even lower when confronted with personal and familial concerns. For the nth time, we ran out of budget that I could not even take maintenance medicine to prioritize food and school needs of the kids.

As always, such situation renewed the spiritual ambivalence I experienced since day one of my ill health nearly two years ago. Admittedly, I was about to give in to depression again while struggling on both fronts. In times, like these, there is only thing that holds me back. It is the past experience of God’s provision with the inner voice telling me “not lose hope but keep on trusting God.” Clinging to God’s promise, I kept on doing my work with faith something good would happen.

Indeed, it happened a day before the alumni homecoming and the day after. Few days prior to the alumni homecoming, I made the last ditch effort to ensure attendance by sending text message to remind alumni of the event. After sending to active numbers in the directory, I tried to reach out to the inactive ones, with lesser expectation to receive response. It was then that I came across the number of an alumnus whom I met five years ago. We never met after that and seldom communicated even in text message. Still, I sent him a reminder. Unexpectedly, he responded with an apology that he could not attend due to previous family retreat on same date. His family is a devout Roman Catholic, one of his siblings, a nun was among the local human rights advocates whom I admired during the repressive Martial Law period in our country. However, he indicated his willingness to help in whatever way and set an appointment to see me.

The day before the event, he visited our office. I had no inkling he was sent by God to answer my long-time prayer.

(to be continued)

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