Admittedly, I wasn't able to take care of my spiritual life during this Lenten season. I've missed one of the Lenten masses, abstained and fasted on mere technicalities, did not go to confession, spent the past three days watching downloaded series and/or playing The Sims 3... I even watched a *Lenten* special on the Shroud of Turin, but the documentary ended with an argument stating that it was actually a medieval hoax. Some exercise to strengthen one's faith, huh.
The only thing I actively abstained from was Plurking. And it wasn't a clean job of abstaining, either. True, I was able to control myself from posting, but checking my timeline still became one of my daily activities. Not exactly the kind of sacrifice I was aiming for.
Yeah, you could say that my Lenten efforts were a bit of a failure. But looking back at those 40 days, I have to say that Lent was still quite eventful. True, I wasn't able to take care of my spiritual life during those days, but there still were events to reflect upon; hopefully learning something from them.
*Looks into my Project 365 to recall those events*
1) A lot can happen with a relationship in 40 days.
I had a friend who got married, another friend who got engaged, another friend who will be having a baby, another friend who HAD a baby, and another friend who just got out of a long-term relationship. It all happened within 40 days.
Not all stories ended on a happy note, suffice to say. I had my own share of drama, as I started Lent in a long-distance relationship. Between hearing about friends breaking up and friends not wanting to be friends with other friends, adding the fact that your personal support group is missing one person sure made Lent a bit harder to endure.
The hardest part in a relationship is realizing how different you are from each other. The worst part is knowing that these differences do not help you make yourselves better people for each other. Knowing that both of you aren't in the same page anymore... I guess this is the make-or-break moment in a relationship. I have to admit that I've been there lots of times; each time hurting more than the last.
Hope lies in the resolution to make the best out of these situations, no matter how you decide to handle it. Some people decide to end their relationship, while some people try to fight a little longer. Regardless of the outcome, we have to believe that whatever we do is always for the best. We decided to fight for our relationship, because we believe that we can overcome our differences as long as we share one ideal goal. I take comfort in the testimonies of friends who, despite the challenge of long-distance relationships, stood strong and came out even stronger. I want to be like them. I don't want to give up.
2) Sometimes, all you need is a vacation to refresh your outlook in life.
May it be lounging in your room for one long weekend or visiting a different part of the country/world, we all need a break from life's routines to get a better understanding of what we want from life.
Ideally, experiencing new things should not only help you gain a new perspective, but also make you appreciate stuff that you've always had. An adequate dose of vacation should make you want to go back to your usual routine with a recharged zest for life.
Unfortunately, there are times when, no matter how long you take your leave, you still end up dreading the day when you have to go back to the *normalcy* of your life.
Sadly, I do have those moments, and I have yet to realize whether it is because something is lacking in my life or if it is because there I something that I dread going back to.
Whatever the reason may be, life should be enjoyed in every which way, and routines should be seen as a blessing that we get to wake up alive to experience a new day.
3) Milestones happen even when you don't plan for it.
...or even if it isn't part of your Bucket List. Two rather big-time entertainment events happened within the last 40 days; one of them happened during my birthday.
Labelling a concert or a boxing match as "milestones" might be a bit trivial, but those who witnessed these events would have to admit that they were pretty significant and probably won't happen again (at least for a time... sana bumalik ang Paramore dito hehehe).
Perhaps this is the essence behind the cliché, "Live each day like it's your last" not because we have to make each day extra-ordinary, but because we have to appreciate each day in its simplest form. Many of us are caught living in the past; holding on to memories that are merely ghosts of events that will never happen again. We don't have to do this, actually. All we have to do is learn to accept that things happen for a reason, but it doesn't stop there. Things will keep on happening, and it is our challenge to make the most out of it.
4) Sometimes the only way to get people to listen is by making them witness a tragedy.
...and if they're REAAAALLY stubborn, make them experience it.
There was this one day within the 40 days when people thought the world was ending. A vehicular accident happened at the intersection adjacent to our office building, and a few hours later, an earthquake of intensity IV rocked the building. People came rushing out the building, and a few days later, our bulletin boards were covered with emergency guidelines on what to do should another earthquake happen. That, and Global City finally decided to put a traffic aide on that dreaded intersection.
Ewan ko ba kung bakit ang titigas ng ulo ng mga tao, at dapat meron pang mangyari para matauhan tayo... But I guess this is how the world works. Tragic events like these further magnify the frailty of life, and this is what makes us want to treasure it all the more. I just hope that we don't turn into masochists and depend on the tragedy just make us feel alive.
5) We all have to move on, and it won't be easy.
This is just but a snippet of Goodbye Emails received these past 40 days. Things aren't going well in the office, and the morale is sadly in its all-time low. I don't blame the people for not wanting to weather the storm; being where we are right now means that there are definitely better opportunities elsewhere. I'm not sure how long I will be able to hold on as well, but I'm still hopeful that things will look up. I just hope that, should that time come, there are still people who have waited along with me.
These experiences won't be as fulfilling without the company of friends who were with me during life's ups and downs. I may not realize it then, but the greatest blessing I had during my 40 days of Lent is that I never had to go through it alone.