By Bern de Joya
It was in 2012 when I first attended the annual Holy Week Recollection (HWR) sponsored by Feast Alabang (FA). I had barely gotten over my mother’s death and ASK, 2012’s HWR, came with a thunderous impact on me. Up on stage, at the Bellevue Hotel, was a woman on a wheel chair, Ms. Pamela Barranda, who spoke of God’s work in her life, despite the pain she endured while battling her disease. My wounds were gutted by her sharing―so much that I had to storm out of the venue and cry my heart out.
I was a much broken person back then, torn by life circumstances almost worthy of a slot on television. My whole intention for joining the Feast, and finally serving as Media Minister, was to find answers. I wanted to make sense out of every sad thing that happened in my life: why my papa and mama died; why I came down with a dreadful disease; why we lost everything. Everything. That HWR of 2012, I got an answer. For the longest time, I kept thinking my mother could’ve fought harder and made it. But Ms. Pamela enabled me to picture the pain my mother had to endure while fighting her own disease. I believe she fought best she could. Much to my grief, though, she needed her rest in our Father’s embrace.
2013’s Be Still HWR was another monumental event. This time, up on stage, I witnessed my Nika dance with the Awesome Kids’ Ministry, almost flawlessly. My tears just kept falling. I was so proud of her! It made me realize, although mine is an acquired parenthood, how much of a mother I have evolved into. It was the first time I finally admitted what I have become, silently, in my heart. I realized that my mother now lives in me.
Last year, at the Let Go HWR, Ms. Cherry Roberto came up on stage to talk about how she had tragically lost her young son, Brucey. Through her words, as a mother in pain, I got another answer. It would have been even more devastating for my mother had she survived me. You see, a little over a month after finding out that my life was off the line, she bid us farewell. My mother had her moments of strength but after suffering the loss of my dad, I can only imagine how badly it could’ve turn out for her if she were to bury her first and only daughter.
This will be my fourth HWR. I have a feeling it will, yet again, bring in another answer. I have what is known as survivor’s guilt. I’m bothered at the thought that the likes of Tita Cecil Jaleco, Bro. Eric de Guzman, and Bro. Joey Salanguit, all great FA servants, are not with us anymore, while I am still here. This year, it’s all about SCANDALOUS GRACE, how, even as undeserving beings that we are, God showers us with His grace, blessings, and mighty love. I’m here, undeserving as I am, basking in all of these because that’s the kind of God we have. Bro. J Yogawin once said that life is for the fulfillment of dreams―yet another answer I got. There’s more in store for me―I believe this now, as it is with all of us. We’re here because our best is yet to come. Just like you, I’m in the process of surrendering to God all my broken pieces, so He can spin me around like clay for a pot. Yes, let Your Hands mold me Lord.
From that first well-spent Holy Week of 2012, my life has been spinning crazily. It has changed in ways I never foresaw. Sometimes, I get it right; sometimes, I still mess up. Other times, I even take a stand still. But without a doubt, God will keep my life spinning until I’ve finally made that complete turnaround.