Some farewell piece

You bid goodbye late last night. It’s a goodbye which was, in more ways than one, became true to its word: good.

Past 30 minutes since our coffees had been served, I note that we did not touch them. Perhaps, they could wait. My thirst in knowing how your discernment unfolded–and your desire to narrate it–seemed more urgent. It’s a ‘brand of farewell’ good friends wish to have. Just in case, leaving becomes inevitable.

That moment last night spelled the definiteness and the imminence of your departure.

I honestly thought that there would be crying. But surprisingly, no tears fell (Okay, there were moments when eyes welled up. They’re yours, let me just underline). I am consoled with the thought that though you’re heading to a different path,  we’ll still continue to keep in touch. 

Last week, somewhere in my homily, I said these lines:

Ngayong panahon po, sa seminaryo namin may mga kaibigan akong magpapatuloy. Pero mayroon din namang lalabas muna. Naalala ko po ang sabi sa akin ng isang pari noong papasok pa lang ako. Kapag iniisip ko na daw pong lumabas, alalahanin ko daw ang dahilan kung bakit ako pumasok sa loob. Alam po ninyo, isa po iyon sa mga bagay na inaalala ko kapag dumaraan ako sa pagsubok.

I think you also did the same. But you went deeper. I shared with you last night that whenever a seminary companion leaves, I cannot but breathe out a sigh of relief, with the thought that, “It’s over for him. He’s off to a new start.”

That same feeing I have for you. But with a tad more. After hearing your version of things, I am confident that you’ll do better. You’ll be better.

Nearly five years ago, I joined the seminary community in welcoming you. Now that you have made your decision not to continue, I am humbled that you’ve made me privy to this well-guarded choice. It’s indeed a priviledge.    

All good-natured seminarians who leave the seminary grieve. They show remorse over the thought that they betrayed their calling; that they turned their back on their friends who are still inside. I am sure that you, too, will experience this. Don’t worry. It it normal. Cry if you must. This is one ritual we humans do in order to heal our woundedness.

I’m just an sms/phone call/fb message and prayer away.

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5 comments

  1. Today my two teenagers left for a one-week extreme sailing Hobie Challenge down south. Their absence would leave the house immaculately clean but insanely quiet…no internet complaints, no dirty bathrooms, no messy kitchen… A week of me-time in silence frightens me now. It was in this somber mood of an empty nest that I read your essay. Grief comes in different contexts and your loss is probably bigger than mine but my risks may be higher. For what it is worth, let me share a part of C. Day Lewis’ poem Walking Away that helped me say goodbye this morning…

    I have had worse partings, but none that so
    Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
    Saying what God alone could perfectly show-
    How selfhood begins with a walking away,
    And love is proved in the letting go.

    I always enjoyed reading your reflection as it prompts me to reflect; hence, this unsolicited comment.

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