I want the miracle back

This is a personal post, the likes of which I don’t often write here. At least, not often enough. But I feel that I should make time for these things, just as much as I do for history, society and politics. These things would be faith and love. Hope, I have enough of, but I fear not for long.

My world has been too quiet lately, and not in the sense that I wish. I’ve been getting too much rest already, and life has been positively uneventful. This quiet feels more like I’ve been robbed of a certain music in my life. I feel that I have lost my sense of wonder and surprise, and that is the worst feeling in the world.

It is a sense that I see so alive in my brother. As an incoming college freshman, he spends his spare time dabbling in circuits, mechanics, computer code, music and even some philosophy. I can still see the wonder permeate from him every time he discovers — or even creates — something new. But deep down inside, he just likes discovering how things work and how to make them better.

We’re more similar than I would often admit. He just happens to dwell more in the natural sciences while I in the social sciences. We both like discovering how things work and how to make them better. But I’ve reached that stage where I am being bombarded — or worse, bombard myself — with so much academic knowledge that people, places and events fall into categories automatically.

Of course, I don’t pretend to know everything. It’s worse. I’m subtly growing more convinced that everything can be known, and that is what’s killing the miracle. I want it back.

A part of me feels that I’m breaking God’s heart. (Pardon to my atheist readers.) He has given me the gift to know, understand and reinvent the world but somehow I feel that it has made us even more distant. I still love Him, always will. Our relationship now is more like that of a teenager first handed the keys to the car. With my own car to drive around, I go home later in the night, hang out with different people and just relish in the fact that I don’t have to be fetched or forced to go home.

I realized this when I was at Boracay last Holy Week. It remains one of the most beautiful places in the world, but the sunsets those last days felt emptier. Instead of seeing a beautiful work of art, I saw a ball of gas that spurred myths in Egypt, Japan and Mesoamerica. I used to love sunsets, but would then remember that the ancient people felt the same way, and it was that majesty that gave birth to concepts such as God. But that didn’t always make sense.

I miss the simpler times. Years ago when I had no direction in life, I joined my peer counselor’s group for our annual summer training and retreat. I had no ambitions, no dreams, no hopes back then. One afternoon I sat with some peers on the shore and we just stared at the sun as it went down. We would talk about a question we’ve always wanted to ask even though we didn’t expect an answer. When it was my turn I simply said, “I need you.”

“That’s a question?” Our facilitator asked kindly.

“I want to know why I say that every time.”

And we just fell silent. Next thing I knew, the sun was setting and my facilitator and peers had teary eyes. I asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, Martz. We just say the same thing too.” And then I was teary eyed. Maybe more.

So then we talked about our fears and our hopes. We talked about that general sense of longing we had in our hearts and soul. Some of us pinned it on a lingering disagreement with a friend, or a falling out with a loved one, or a growing distance with our family. And then we prayed. We thanked Him for each other and for the end of a day that would lead us to the next, a chance to make it all better.

Those were fantastic times. God was real to me then and I saw it in my friends, my family and all those less fortunate than I — they gave me a reason to be.

I’d love to think that God is still real to me now and that’s the problem. I think. By thinking, I deny myself the mystery of His love and the miracle of His revelation. Over the past years, I have worked hard to be intellectually honest with myself that it has grown increasingly more difficult to believe in God. And it shouldn’t be that way. There are days when I feel that I am walking the path of the atheist and — no offense — I feel more like Anakin Skywalker slipping into the dark side of the Force. It’s not because it’s evil; with the magic gone, it’s just perpetually darker.

And perhaps, of all of God’s mysteries, one that I have lost the desire to find the answer to is love. Yes, love.

It has been too long since I have been in love. At times, I feel that I am immune to it, or that quite simply, I haven’t met the right one. But again, I know this is something that I think of too much. I know that it’s a lie.

There is someone I long for. I’ve always longed for. And I feel that any minute now I will no longer have to wait for the next, and in one instant I can either have or lose everything I’ve ever hoped for. History hasn’t been on my side when it comes to this, but I only say this because I have too many questions.

But nothing ever happens when we are afraid of the answers. And that’s the catch — we don’t know what they are. I miss those days when the quests for those answers were recklessly dropped and we just allowed things to reveal themselves. Yet like my faith in God, it has become more difficult to just let go and allow for magic to happen. It has become riskier to rely on serendipity because now I know what it is like to be hurt.

And yet, I also know what it’s like to have someone you believe in. I guess that’s my only criterion for someone I would love eternally — and that’s a tall order — but I know what I’m looking for. And that’s either because I’ve met someone who gave me an inkling or no one who has yet to make me think that way. There goes the dark side again.

No wonder the world has fallen quiet. I hear nothing else except for the music I listen to, the voices of the authors I read, and the sound of my own voice.

These days when I attempt to out-predict life, I’ve come to the conclusion that life was more interesting when it was full of surprises. I can no longer be content with thinking that there are answers to life’s questions when life itself is the biggest mystery of all. And how it reveals the face of God and the truth about love — there is no greater miracle.

I can’t even pretend to know where that has gone. I just want it back.

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7 thoughts on “I want the miracle back

  1. This was something I thought I’d see in your other blog. I like it. 🙂

    I have to admit that most of your entries are too academic for me. Hehe. I’ve always been at the far end when it comes to intellectual and political debate among our peers but I like listening to you guys, just as I enjoy reading your academic posts.

    He has given me the gift to know, understand and reinvent the world

    Now that you mentioned this, oo nga noh.

    I hope I’ll see you soon, Martini! Take care!

  2. I’m trying my best to keep all my entries here. I feel that I’m cheating my readers by keeping some things separate, but I also know my bounds.

    See you soon. 🙂

  3. Let me start by just say I am hoping that the power does not go off while writing here. OK here I go.. you have reached that “wisdom point” in life that the self realization of there is no going back has really hit home. No, it is “not” a mid life crisis by far. Only a a minor turn in the road of life.
    The tough thing about it is you ask yourself two questions at the same time. Why am I here at the curve and where do I go from here? The answers are quite simple: 1. You reached the curve as a result of all your life experience. Everything your parents taught your have come to light and you realize that you are so like them that it is a scary reality. All of your educational opportunities in the classroom and in real life have been the acquired tools that you use to measure your progress, successes and failures. You have attained many of your life goals and there are very few “life goals” left on your current wish list. The reality of real life is it IS not what you expected it to be mid-life. So that brings us to the second question: 2. Where do I go from here? Again the answer to the 2nd question is simple. You first need to once again look into the future and decide what it is that you REALLY desire. You must again set realistic long term life goals. (Are they real and attainable?) To set long term goals you have to look backwards at where you have been all the way up to where you are now. What good have I done in life? What good am I doing now? What good do I want to do in the future. Then you have to ask who were the benefactors of my journey to this point? There is only one correct answer… and it is EVERYONE including you. I.e. You win, They win, We win, I won! If you can not answer who the benefactors have been, then another reality hits you like a ton of bricks. I have wasted my life to this point and I must do better from this point in the curve forward. You can not change the past but you can change the future. Your future.
    You have to in mid life ask where do I want to be when I am retired? And start your long term goal setting process from there. But that brings us back to: “What am I doing now? Being specific now you are teaching. Now from the outside looking in there is such nobility in teaching. A teacher provides not only textbook instruction but as a teacher you become more like a parent by providing sound advice to young people that are in need. You are the planter of “life path” seeds that you hope everyone of them germinate and become model citizens in the form of leaders, Doctors, Nurses, Attorneys even teachers.
    Besides planting those life seeds you are also the mentor that demonstrates to students how to find and utilize correctly the “life tools” they will need to accomplish every task life presents to them. Most people envy your position, respect your earned prestige and know you really are a life leader.
    So back to “Where do I want to be when I retire?” You really have limited choices and they are simply the identification of the geographic location you wish to be in at the age of retirement. So from this point forward it becomes, much simpler, Family, Finances, Faith and Happiness. You have your family of birth and want a family of your own.. reaching this curve in the life road tells me you have made up your mind that your ready for your own family. The finances will come as you need them. It is uncanny that you have money when you have set a goal and needed it just at that moment. (think about that you had the money) Money does not buy faith or happiness. Faith is a belief that your here for a reason in life to serve others and the lord at the same time. Your serving “both” but your belief is shaken because you do not realize that what you already have is more precious than it seems. That brings us to happiness. My friend your swimming in happiness but you have not immersed yourself in that happiness. It is so strange that when you reach the life curve and the happiness pool is just off the side of the road you neglect to go for a swim. Dip your head under the surface of that happiness then come back up for from some “fresh air.” As you dry off, you LOOK again……. the Life curve is behind you and the life journey continues. You already have “The Miracle.”

  4. Hey sir martin. it’s great that once in a while you allow your human and spiritual side to take over hehe. i really admire you being very academic in your works, i know by the tone and message of your articles, you’ve always had this side hidden beneath your blog entries.

    i believe the fact that you’ve written this means you’re already on your way to reclaiming the miracle. God gave you a chance to reflect on what where you are in your journey and you seized it to understand what needs to be done. i don’t think you can ever go back to the time when you appreciate things outside a historical perspective. the knowledge which you have chosen to acquire is already a part of you. I’m sure that God will help you find a way to find Him in this new ‘world’ you are in, to seek Him intellectually as well. God is a universal God so it shouldn’t be a problem. 😀

    You will be in my prayers sir martin. 😀
    God bless. 😀

  5. hey sir… i can’t really say much because i’m not that good with words and comments… but just know that God is still there, and He’s waiting for you. 🙂 the fact that you acknowledged that He hasn’t been in your life as often as he was before is the first step back to His arms. ^^

    you are in my prayers, sir! take care always! God bless! *hug*

  6. Rob, thank you very much. I know what you mean by discovering Him in this new world I am in. I found Him before but lost track somewhere along the way. I used to be a very spiritual and philosophical writer (my old blog is full of it), and I’ll do my best to reconnect with that side of me.

    I know you know what I mean by what I am about to say: that the more we know about the world, the more we feel responsible to make it better. I’ve been feeling too much of that lately and perhaps part of ‘my growing reluctance’ to embrace God is the knowledge that with Him, I can be powerful beyond measure. At times, I doubt my capacity for that but just as we all do from time to time.

    It’s sort of like that quote from Coach Carter, and I hope you’ve seen that film. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”

    I’m at that stage of my life right now where I am about to make another critical choice that will change the way I relate to the world. It’s exciting but nerve-wracking at the same time.

    Wish me luck. And thanks for the prayer.

  7. Anna, I believe this is the first step too. Thank you for the vote of confidence. I sorely miss our classes. I hope you’re doing (and eating!) well. Take care now. 🙂

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