I haven't been able to write for the past months since I have been quite busy, or lazy, but now I am writing not just to post something but to engrave a memory of a very special event in my life - seeing Pope Francis.
Before I begin sharing my experience, here's just a small backstory. For a while now, I have been feeling a little (or more) lost with my life. I know I haven't been the best version of myself and that I have lost the fire that lit up the path which I am supposed to take. For the past year I have lived under stress, negativity, depression, hopelessness, fear, sadness and any other things which I thought I already had overcome now that I am an adult. Instead, I fell deeper and farther away from who I was or who I wanted to become and went back to being this scared, insecure kid that I am before. All because I didn't hold on to what was really important: my relationship with Him. And without it, I have done things that I know I shouldn't, hurt people I didn't want to and forgotten what it is like to live knowing that God loves me. Simply put, it's kind of like my quarter-life crisis. Haha.
So yeah, having that kind of posture in my heart, I wasn't really all psyched about the Papal visit. First, I had work on the day of his arrival and departure. Second, I really don't like the idea of going with the crowd and bracing the massive obstacle to see the Pope. But at the same time, I wanted the experience of knowing what it's like to see him and feel his presence. Well, okay, and to join the bandwagon of people saying they saw the Pope and have photos/videos up in Facebook or Instagram to show it. But even so, I really wasn't that eager to get out of my comfort zone and brave the masses. And yet, I signed up for the Pope's encounter with the Youth held at UST, my alma matter. Thus, one more reason to attend and I did.
For several hours, we waited outside España blvd until they open the gates. Then one by one we entered and got squished by people pushing their way to get in. I was stressed already just by passing the gate. Then, we searched for seats and stayed there praying we can be near the Pope. Unfortunately, he didn't pass through our area and I was disappointed since I got my hopes up that maybe he will and that it was be my only chance to see him (Luneta was too intense for me). I just thought that maybe it will change everything for me. But I told myself to move on and just enjoy the presence of being with the Pope in UST. And so I did.
It was quite hard to focus on the program since it rained and the speakers weren't that loud to overpower the raindrops. But one thing did struck me during his impromptu speech. Here's the excerpt from Rappler:
"Love surprises because it opens a dialogue of loving and being loved. God is a God of surprise because He loved us first. God awaits us to surprise us. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God... God reveals himself through surprises."
It was such a perfect message for me since I told myself during my 24th birthday that this year will be a year full of surprises and true enough, the Pope shares that message and affirms it. Isn't that awesome or what? Affirming that message somehow tells me that God is there for me to surprise me with things I can only dream of. And that He shows His love through those surprises since He knows me so well that I do love surprises and it will affect me whatever surprise it may be.
Thus, despite not seeing him close, nor getting even a good photo, and my still-disappointed self, I focused on that message and kept thinking of the better things that are yet to come (a.k.a. WYD 2016!). I do believe it wasn't the right time for me to be close to him since my heart was not in the right place and other people are far more deserving, or may badly needed it. It was enough for me. It was enough to remind me that He is still the one who controls my life, who gives and takes, who loves and shares it all. He is a God who shows his compassion to everyone. And even Pope Francis, lives by it.
And that ends my experience with Pope Francis, while he was here. Oh and the 24 hour no-sleep, no-ligo experience. lol.
But the surprises that he told came right away. Just this afternoon, I was informed by my boss that I will be sent to Singapore for a couple of days to attend a training. I mean, how timely was that!? I just can't believe it. Thus I am writing it down here to remember that God is indeed full of surprises.