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Who am I

Who am I?
That’s a very common exercise in a kindergartener/first-grader’s book. The children are often given clues like: ‘I have a long trunk’ or ‘I have no legs’ or ‘I swing from tree to tree’. On top of that, they are also given an illustration of what it really is next to the clues.
Recently, I am forced to ask myself this question.

Who am I?
Unlike those excercises, mine does not come with clues. Just chaotic evidence of what/who I am not.

I am not who I thought I could be.
I am not who I ought to be.
I am not as capable as I hope to be.
I am not good enough for many things in my life.
I am not running my own life.
I am not the one to decide who I should be.
And I certainly am not anywhere near what/who people expect me to be.
I am just not.

I tried to pray but for someone who could always pray spontaneously, I couldn’t think of what to say. I am at a lost for words and thoughts. It’s my dark night of the soul…

My only hope is that somewhere deep within me, there is still a bit of the ‘me’ I hope to be, left. So I may someday rise from this and be someone I must be.

Someday, too, the Lord will come to my aid and set me free when he reveals the ultimate truth. And before that day comes, I shall be one who holds no grudges.

When this thought came to my mind as I was driving home today, I heard a tiny voice saying to me, “And that’s who you are… One who holds no grudges.”

Something for the kids

“Wen,” I heard Papa called me by my household name. “Are you at home? I have something for the kids.”

Even though he was talking to me on the phone, I could see him standing outside the house, completely healthy with his eyesight and no amputation.

“We’re out, Papa. There’s no one home,” I said.

“Ok, I’ll come by again later.”

This recurred one more time before I awoke from my sleep.

‘He’s well!’ I thought to myself. ‘He’s not blind! And he’s standing on both legs!’

About half-a-minute later, reality set in when I realised that Papa had already left us almost 18 months ago…

On the night before he died…

How are you feeling? I ask.
Scared, he says.
We are silent for awhile.
It used to be always about me and never about him.
Every single day of the year, I’d tell him about me, my family, the people around me and all the issues of the world we’re living in.
It used to be always about me and never about him.
But not today.
Today, it’s all about him.
I wait for him to speak again.
From the corner of my eye, I catch one of his friends stirring in his sleep.
All of them must be really tired.
Or maybe they have no idea what he is going through.
Every once in a while, he shivers a bit.
I reckon this happens whenever the thought of what would befall him the next day crosses his mind.
He knows – for a long time, now – what is going to happen to him.
He tried to tell his friends, but they refused to believe him.
Or maybe they believed in him too much to think anything horrible could ever happen to him.
I remember how my mother used to sing me to sleep, he says, a small smile on his face.
I could never sleep until I heard her sing her favourite song.
And he starts to sing the lullaby he used to listen to.
He stops, however, after the second line as he finds himself choking back the tears.
At this moment, I sense his fear is more for his mother rather than himself.
What son wouldn’t feel a little worried knowing that he would be leaving his mother alone soon… for a very long time?
And then, he tells me about his father who died some years back.
About how, when he was still a little boy, he would wait every day for his father to return home after a few days’ journey of getting wood for carpentry.
The minute he saw his father a distance away from the house, he would run to meet him.
He recalled how, when he tripped and fell to the ground, his father would immediately come down from his colt and run towards him to pick him up and make sure he was alright.
Again, he keeps silence after that, probably thinking about more memories of his parents and him together.
John…, he suddenly speaks again.
He was the closest thing to me after my parents.
I only heard about him before I saw him at the river.
And when I got to know him personally, I knew exactly why my Father chose him to go ahead of me.
He was an amazing man, brother and friend, righteous and true.
He goes on to talk about the Twelve: the thunderous voice, the fearful one, the one who always tries really hard to please him, the doubtful one, the quiet one, the stubborn one, the one who never fails to bring life to the party and the money bag.
They are all his friends whom he considers family.
They are all very dear to him.
As clueless as most of them are at the moment, he has already commissioned them to his Father and the Third Person.
He doesn’t want to lose any of them but he also knows that they are of this world.
Do you know why I come to this world? he asks.
Of course, I say No.
Not only do I suspect that I’m not too sure of the answer, I also want him to continue talking to me.
I needed to be a part of this world.
I needed to be a part of the human community.
To know the human mind.
To know the human emotions.
To know the human pain.
So that you will believe, not just in me as my divine self but also in me as my human self.
That I know exactly what it’s like to be you.
That I know exactly what it’s like to be of the flesh.
That I know exactly what it’s like to live in this world and experience joy, sorrow, contentment and hardship.
So that you will not feel alone whenever you experience any of these.
So that you will always know that I know… and that I will always be by your side.
Because I’ve personally walked on the face of this earth and experienced all that any human would.
I sometimes feel I may not be ready to leave just yet.
That there’s something I have not done.
But my time here is up.
And the Third Person is ready to take my place.
When I go, I will be able to do so much more… not just here, but throughout the whole world.
Sitting beside this man in this very cold night and hearing him say all those words breaks my heart.
Here is this Almighty Person, stripped off of his divine self on the last night of his life on earth, totally human, worried for his mother and his friends, hurt that he is going to be betrayed by a dear brother and drenched with his human emotions that he is going to suffer torturous pain and death before the day is done.
Take this cup from me, Father, he exclaims with tears and sweat of blood flowing from his face.
I watch him, so human, not how I came to know him.
Today, he is just a man who happens to know that after living in this world for 33 years, he only has a few hours before he leaves all the memories behind.
And those few hours are certainly not going to be memorable ones.
It used to be always about me and never about him.
But not today.
Today, it’s all about him.
And yet, he is dealing with today because of me.
Because of us.
Because of the whole world.
After a time of silent pleading, he finally says,
Not my will, Father, but yours.
And then, comes the traitor…