A quiet light, the harvesting by imfreelykeely
Note: This is my first reflection paper entitled “My First Prayer” that we were asked to submit in Theology class which Father Sormani decided not to grade but simply to let us write freely an how we see God from our own perspectives.
Albeit spending a lot of time working on this paper, I felt that these are such shallow, naîve thoughts, and exposes the clueless, confused person behind these words. As I reread my own work, it humbles me to realize that I know so little about myself and the world around me. Nonetheless, here is what I have written, summing up in prose my very vague idea of faith, of God, of how we ought to spend our brief moments of existence.
“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
G.K. Chesterton, English born Gabonese Critic, Essayist, Novelist and Poet, 1874-1936
THE most haunting, vivid, unforgettable memories from the past are events when these have brought about intense, vehement emotions in people. That must be why I can still remember ever so clearly when I was still little, about six or seven, I lay awake in bed at night, daydreaming about the vastness of the universe. These thoughts came about maybe because I have recently read a colorful book on astronomy. That was the first time that I have learned that one day, the Sun will use up all its energy, explode, and shrink into a white dwarf just like all the other stars in the universe. The Sun will expand into a red giant, millions of times larger than its size, and endanger all its surrounding planets, including Earth, our only home in the infinite darkness of outer space.
This catastrophic event is millions of years away, a time in which none of us can predict what humanity’s fate will be then. But a curious child as I was, I began to imagine the fate of the universe, millions of years from now. Suddenly, fear crept over me—my heart was beating more quickly, my sleepiness has vanished. The frightening thoughts slowly come, one by one. One day, there would be no more life in the universe, after all the stars have consumes all their energies. One day, there would be no more human beings, living and breathing on earth. One day, there will be total darkness. Forever. I became so frightened that I was almost unbearable, but I did not cry nor make a sound. I just lay sideways on my bed, worried and troubled, not knowing what to do next.
Then I remembered something. I remembered there is a place where everyone goes when they die. Making the sign of the cross, I began to pray. I can recall vaguely that I begged Him to save my family, my friends, and everyone else from the end of the world, as absurd as it sounds. I prayed that when we die, our souls would end up someplace safe. Safe from darkness and exploding stars. I prayed for the same thing for a few consecutive nights, feeling my fear slowly diminish, although not completely.
That night was when I did my first real, serious prayer. How do I prove it is seriously real? Simply put, it is because I have never gone to church with my family. My first encounter of God was, I believe, through a children’s bible I have read from cover to cover, and by watching television. My parents tell me we’re Roman Catholic, but I don’t remember them teaching me anything about God or religion. I have studied in a non-sectarian school all my life. The act of putting my hands together to talk to a divine being about my fear of the sun’s imminent explosion simply seemed the only natural thing to do at that moment. So I guess I have learned to pray by myself that night, attempting to talk to Him with all my heart. I continue to pray more in the days succeeding that fateful night, before I go to sleep.
Fast-forward to the present, my relationship with God may have strengthened, although not that much. I experienced my first real mass during my first day in the Ateneo, aside from weddings and funerals. Right after that, I began to attend mass in the chapel when I have time after my class—something I have never done before.
Now, as I think about it, I am still quite uncertain how deeply my relationship with God and my spirituality is. I think I am still searching for Him, yearning to know what it really feels to have true faith. I still do not know who or what God is that well. I admittedly do not think about God much every day, as I make choices, face personal challenges, and simply finding my way in this wondrous planet.
I always find myself searching for that deeper meaning to life and asking, am I doing things right? I may not be directly talking to God through prayer, but through my actions, maybe I am living out God’s plan. Then again, I do not know for sure.
On some days I believe God is a form of light energy. On some days I believe God is love. On some days I do not think about God at all. Nonetheless, I believe God is real most of the time, because I think the thought, or the “idea” that there is a supreme being governing us all, that he sent his one and only son to save us, is so profound and beautiful, that I want to believe it. This is the kind of faith I hold on to right now, but I am quite certain that I will learn even more in time, and I know my faith would either falter or strengthen, as I strive to weigh, consider, reflect, wonder, and stay enthralled with experiences that slowly unfold.
I am still searching for God. I want to know better how God fits into the confounding riddle of existence. I want to understand the Bible, to study theology, to find really meaning in my life and of the others around me whom I have learned to love.
For now, I believe in God because having faith in a higher being who is said to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life simply is a beautiful thing. Having faith helps me give a sense of direction of why I do the things I do right now, as I aim to only do things I believe are meaningful, beautiful, and truthful. It sort of makes sense that way, as some (or most?) of my values sort of match what the Bible says, and vice versa.
Besides, it doesn’t make sense that after witnessing how wondrous and majestic life on earth can be, that the universe will just plunge into total darkness forever, like turning the lights off, pulling backs the curtains in a theater, after a spectacular show has ended. Eternal life must somehow exist.
“Nice. You’re on a wonderful journey!”
– Father Sormani’s comment on my paper