Earlier tonight, I found myself at a noisy restaurant that serves alcohol. Good thing that I was surrounded by the Lingkod QT's who were all attempting to eat a normal dinner despite the unfamiliar surroundings. Well, it probably was familiar to us individually, at one time or another, but not on Friday nights and hopefully, not in our present life anymore.
The past life. Just like any bar-restaurant, the place where we held our last anniversary Friday fellowship had several bottles on display. I was seated exactly underneath some familiar ones - Bailey's, Absolut, McKevin's and Jose Cuervo, in that order. Just like in a commercial, I tuned out the loud music and the nonstop conversations in my head and while sitting, remembered the nights (and even days) of my law student life.
McKevin's was our sponsor for the fundraiser that I organized for Bar Ops '96, and all the excess bottles found their way into the apartment that I shared with four female blockmates at Matahimik St. Friends would come on school nights to mix Mc Kevin's gin with Tang pomelo, and we would sit outside to watch the stars, talk about the law, our professors, and the latest law school gossip. A couple of years later, I developed a friendship with Absolut in different forms - citron, curant, and the original one. Bailey's was available to me at that time as well because I had a sister who always kept a bottle at home. Lastly, Jose gold. I could not recall anymore how many shots was my limit, because on one particular rainy night when I was a junior law student, I consciously crossed such self-imposed limit. In law school, drinks were usually free and very easy to come by.
Yes, I once was so attuned to the spirit...of the glass. My patron saint was San Miguel (maximum bottles in a night- eight). Brothers and sisters in Lingkod QC, perhaps my spiritual directress, father confessor, parish priest, and CEFAM counselor would probably not believe that I had once entered the Law library tipsy from an afternoon at Tia Maria's, availing of their buy-one-take-one promo, and that I have a few hangover stories in my memory.
As I breathed the smoky air at Tequila Joe's, and drank from my glass of ice-cold water, I marveled at God's transforming power. The desire to drink once in a while is still with me, but I am now in such a place of peace and joy that I do not need to be in an inebriated state for me to appreciate life. Coming from a three-day silent retreat, tonight's fellowship venue was a reminder of my past life. None of my companions ordered alcohol. Nobody lighted a cigarette. It was a Friday night and I was with single young professionals. The irony and the blessing were not lost on me.
I am thankful that God pulled me out of the darkness I was in and brought me closer to His light. I am glad that He had taken the time to wait for me to come to my senses. The Holy Spirit is the one who lifts up my spirits now. And I have just finished my list of personal patron saints. St. Michael, although a very good angel and warrior, is not one of them. :)
Mama Mary, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Joseph, St. Ignatius, St. Therese, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Claire, please pray for me. I do desire to share a drink with all of you in heaven. Make mine red. :)