Sunday, June 08, 2008

An Encounter with the Lord

I considered keeping this sharing to myself, but given how I've been avoiding my personal journal for the past year, I knew I had to write about what I had learned today just so I wouldn't forget.  It is another breakthrough amidst uncertainty.

I went to Camp ExploreMount 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. 

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