by Krystle Joy Espinosa
Hey. I bet you have to know this because I cannot get this ‘knack of writing’ off of me till I get to tell you. Till I get a peace of mind and go on with my life without the thought that I really have to share this.
I suppose that a small percentage of the Philippine youth relates to what I’m about to say. They probably have, but its one topic they hesitate to discuss with. They could have tried, but a few made it to another level. I know it because I count myself as one, and I don’t mean to hold on this shilly-shallying for long.
OK, let me put it this way. GOD spoke to me. Oh yes He did. God spoke to me seven months ago. You can think I’m just another religious freak or a Holy Molly; but let me say I have done much trouble myself as you did. I leave this all up to your belief of the situation. But I would really appreciate it if you give my story a considerable thought—something to think over.
Before 2007 ended, I was one of the fortunate ones who were able to attend the youth camp in our province. “Keep Me Burning” was the theme then—a name fit to catch the interest of a first timer. A bit late for my adolescence just ended, I’m quite new to this soul-searching (as I named it) world. It was only last November when I have decided to take one step ahead in my spiritual life and pledged to be a devoted Christian. I don’t mean to say here that I used to be an atheist or an agnostic for that matter, but mind you, not putting your faith into practice is synonymous to being such. Hypocrisy, that is.
Before I was baptized, I was like—“Yes I love God…but I have this terrifying exam tomorrow that I really have to postpone church next week.” Or “I know this is sinful, but I’m only human…”, or even “It just feels good to be bad and not care at all.” Good to be bad. How ironic. I ended up doing that for the nth time. My stomach churns at the thought of running away from what my conscience tells me. GUILTY. My existence wasn’t for His purpose. It was about my will—which would have leaded me NOWHERE in a few years time.
What I’m going to share to you is neither about my baptism nor about the camp itself though. The latter is just an instrument to it. My story is about how God spoke to me through one VERSE. The only verse by far which I’m dying to share. I cannot recall if I had heard this verse, before I learned about it during camp. Sadly, it’s a fact that most people forget what they have heard in mass as soon as they get out of church; they only do remember the things to avoid when they encounter the consequences of it. To experience is to believe. And I’m no exception.
The first name is Lemuel. He’s the team captain of Group 11, The Lighters, to which I belonged. It’s his personal verse he shared with us on our first early morning devotion. He exhorted on that verse with such experience that it struck me– much to the point that I put a written copy of it in the corner of my small room opting to be reminded every day. With this call in me to share the verse, I even texted my peers on New Year’s Eve–“Happy New Year guys!!!…My message for you this year is from Ecclesiastes 11:9…” I didn’t state it out ‘coz I would have had them open their Bibles. My gut says it’s a different thing if they actually read it on the book itself rather than through their cell phones.
However, two weeks since my spirit revival, I slowly retorted to my old ways. It’s such a shame; I could have crawled under the table with my grumbling stomach. This sickness in me of being an escapist… It was hard to put faith into practice for a person who doesn’t want to sacrifice and who still hold on to worldly things. With such, I cannot be spiritually mature. As the song goes, Can you practice what you preach or would you turn the other cheek? Hahaha. Ouch. The verse in my room was unsighted by my blurry vision. Or maybe I really did read it every time I wake up, but I didn’t let the thought of it register in my mind, especially on that day, January 11, 2008.
That morning, I prepared myself to school on my usual routine. But as soon as I put my contact lenses on, my right eye got irritated. I knew I would be late for the first period (I have to wait for the redness to disappear), so I decided to skip the class. Consequently, I then had this feeling to eat a lot, the glutton me was on its ON mode. I’m the type who resorts to that when faced with unfortunate circumstances. Yeah, it was a lame reason. But I felt like such a BUM that I decided to skip the second period as well. The escapist is not to be pressured at anytime.
It was no twist of fate I happened to see the novel, Veronika Decides to Die, in my parent’s bedroom that day. I have seen it there once and I even planned at the back of my mind to read it whenever time permits. I got hold of the book immediately and declared not to be disturbed for the rest of the day. I was too lazy and disheveled to do anything else.
The second name is Eduard, one of the main characters in the story, an ambassador’s son who gave up his passion for painting to please his parents, and who in due course, got schizophrenic. At this point, you could ask me,”What does he got to do with the verse?” Well, the answer is on page 153 of the book. As Eduard, lost sight of his life in the asylum, his eyes were opened by the words of a poet. As Paulo Coelho put it, he didn’t find it in the Koran or Aristotle or any other known philosophers.
He found it in the SAME verse I had been talking about. The same verse I have started to share, but consequently avoided. In it GOD says,
“Be happy, young man, while you are young,
And let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see,
But know that for all these things,
God will bring you to judgment.”
My hair rose as I read it. God is speaking to me then. He reminded me of my contradictory ways. He reminded me of His words. He spoke to me as much as he did to Lemuel or to Paulo Coelho.
God gave us this beautiful life to live. He told us to make the most of our time, while we are young. He don’t mean for us to suffer or give up on things we love, but rather He want us to be blissful and pursuing our heart’s desires. All He asks of us is to REMEMBER Him in all our plans, in whatever we do.
God is speaking to the third person. God is speaking to YOU.
I hope for you to consider the verse of the juvenile in every decision you make, though I do not claim to have made perfect choices myself since then. I’m honestly still in search for His purpose in my life. I am striving to know Him, and in every single day, as I read the verse, I come to realize that what He planned for me, for us, is far greater than what we have thought for ourselves.