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.