I went to Camp Explore, Mount Purro Nature Camp in Calawis, Antipolo City for the Lingkod QC Anniversary/ Branch Outing. I was a day late so I had no expectations, just went there so I could be with the brothers and sisters even for a short period of time and also to get out of the metropolis. The place was simply beautiful. It was a treasure amidst the mountains. The facilities were outstanding and the place had a natural, authentic, yet rugged feel to it. There were comfortably-furnished huts and cabanas, and an infinity pool. The food was unexpectedly good - fresh, bountiful, and yummy. The surroundings put us all in a good mood.
When I got over the beauty of the place and quieted down to hear the talk given by our National Director Mon Samson, I was cornered and captured right where God wanted me.
Mon shared this passage from Matthew 13:44, and this is the version from my Bible, the RSV:
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
Such a short, yet powerful, passage. Something echoed in my heart. A click of recognition. An influx of memories. A tug of yearning. I sat there, transfixed, unbelieving, and amazed. Every word Mon said after that got through me, as though my heart had been opened while I was caught unawares, and I was once more hearing the words I had shut out because of confusion and fear.
I knew I had found "the treasure hidden in a field".
I had found it, but I covered it up, because I had to go out and sell all that I had first.
Someday, I knew, and at the right time, I will to go back to my treasure. It will call me home.
I would have to bring all the savings, or learnings, from my giving up or letting go of all that I had, so I could buy that field. For there is a personal cost to that field, but a very small price to pay for such a treasure.
But what, I wondered, is my treasure? I felt the need to identify it, to speak it out, to recognize it, and lastly, to face it.
To face Him. Him with a capital H.
I could not answer immediately. I was not prepared to be disturbed that much. After the talk, I chatted briefly with the brothers and sisters, trying to ignore the stirrings in my heart.
Go away, I told the questions. I don't want to face you, I said.
But my heart pounded and while learning new songs from the Music Ministry, my tears started to fall.
Oh no, not again, I shook my head, clenched my fists, and paced the hall. I was not going to be moved by words about giving my all and offering my life again. Been there, done that!
But could I deny what my heart was singing? Could I say No to The One who was calling?
Without saying where I was going, for the tears prevented me from speaking coherently, I went to the nearest cabana, removed my shoes, sat down, and said,
Here I am, Lord. Ok, you win. I'm listening.
He asked me what my treasure was. And I answered Him with tears.
You, my Lord. Only you. You know that. Why are you asking me this?
He asked me to go back to the time when I was so sure that He was my treasure. That loving and serving Him with all that I had was the joy of my heart.
A gentle breeze whispered to me that He loved me. A bird, perched delicately on a tiny branch, sang a song to me, of love and of understanding. Before I could talk to the bird, it flew away, leaving me behind. I wanted to ask the bird to take me, for I did not know how to respond to how I was feeling. Again.
I cannot share here all that Jesus and I talked about this morning, for they are raw, unprocessed, and precious to me. But all I can say is that He reminded me that perfect love casts out all fear.
I stayed there for about an hour while the rest of Lingkod was having fellowship. It was a refreshing, recharging time, and I felt my tears cleansing me.
It was okay, finally, to say how burdened I was, how unsure, how afraid, how alone. It was okay, finally, to say I did not know what I was doing and how long I was going to last. It was okay, finally, to listen to my desires, for not so long ago, I went through a six-month period of discernment, and it was then that I knew what I really wanted to do with my life. Without a tinge of a doubt. With great confidence and joy. With courage and hope and love and faith. That seemed like a long time ago, and a different me.
It was okay, finally, to say that I was not doing what I really wanted to do with my life, and that it was okay to be in this state. Because I realized that "buying the field" will take time. Selling, giving away, letting go, and moving on -- all these take time.
I was overwhelmed to see that I was still in the process of getting to my treasure, despite the cloud of unknowing. That I was not lost, but was on the right path. It was just a very difficult path, but what was specifically laid down before me after I took up my cross and professed to follow Jesus all the way.
I am still uncertain about a lot of things, but brothers and sisters, I think I'm back.