Saturday, August 24, 2013
As promised, I'm back. Though I highly doubted that I would actually be back to write this post tonight. To be honest, I've been traveling with a slightly heavier heart than usual. And it is exactly for that reason that I have halted myself from writing this post. I felt (and sort of still feel) that writing in this particular state would hold me back from completely expressing the genuine beauty and bliss that I witnessed and felt - That genuine beauty and bliss that I wanted to record and remember. Yet, I also feel that reflecting on conference weekend may be the only thing that can save me from drowning in my own misery. So let's give this a shot, shall we?
Similar to RYC, I walked into conference unsure of what to expect. Therefore, I kind of just found myself blocking the entire idea out of my head until the day finally came. I'm finding that this is a developing habit of mine. (Simply blocking out ideas because I'm often too exhausted to think, that is). All I knew is that I was excited to finally be able to go on a trip on my own and... That I was afraid.
"When the day finally came, I was struck with a number of emotions. I felt as if I had just stepped into a room of darkness, not knowing what to expect had I taken another step. I really did not know what I was doing–but it was through coming in with nothing that I was able to realize how much I have walked out with from this experience."
His Message to Me
Firstly, I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed each session and workshop that TNC2013 had to offer. It seemed as though each of them were meant for me as they were all able to target recurring struggles of mine in their own way. Some key notes that I have absorbed and would like to remember:
- THEOLOGY OF THE BODY Workshop - The body and soul are one and we are made in God's image and likeness. / The body is not meant to be seen as "bad". It is sacred. We have destroyed the image of the body. / God wants us to "make love". "Making love" = The giving of self as Jesus did. It is forgetting yourself and thinking of the other person. Learn how to love selflessly, Camille. It does not always have to be reciprocal at all. Love because you love, not for anything in return. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails.
- TIME MANAGEMENT Workshop - Before doing anything at all, we must pray. We must surrender everything, including our time to God. / Always leave time to rest, BUT do not rest for too long. / You do not need to do everything at once. Prioritize and put first things first. Work in order of importance. / We are not superheroes. We cannot do everything. / Live a balanced life. Desire a life with time for everything. "The past is history. The present is REALITY. The future is a mystery. Do NOT focus so much on the future, Camille. Focus on today and what you can do NOW. Take your daily bread and remember that the prayer only asks for today's bread. It doesn't complain about the stale bread we had to eat yesterday, nor does it ask for bread to eat in case of a drought next fall. It asks for today's bread only.
- Session 2: MORE THAN ENOUGH - Even Mother Mary knew that she would never be enough. In knowing this, she relied on God. In her emptiness and awareness of her own nothingness, she drew closer to God. She surrendered all of herself to God. Remember that whatever we lack, our Lord fills. When you are struggling Camille, remember that God is there. When you come to a victory Camille, remember that God brought you there.
- Place the big rocks in first. This will allow the smaller rocks to fall into place. Don't sweat the small stuff, Camille. Worry about what matters and everything will fall into place in the end.
Becoming a Fool for God
It was also through this experience that I finally understood what it meant to do something for God and "become a fool" for Him. I found myself doing things that I never in my life thought I would do. Typically, I am one to stay in my own comfort zone. I always chose to remain in the safe area by doing things that I was accustomed to doing. (i.e. banner, singing) I didn't think that I would ever dance again and put myself in a spot that completely devoured me in the past and became a great source of insecurity. I never expected to actually enjoy it. To lift up every drop of sweat, every four hour practice, every move to Him. I ran onto that stage knowing that whatever the result was, it didn't matter. Because if I gave it all I had, I knew that You would be proud of me. And the exact same feeling returned every. time. that weekend. Learning praise parade right before, singing in the front row of the Liveloud choir without having memorized all of the songs, and playing soccer. Those were by far, the most rewarding performances of my life. And it was all for You.
Part of His Plan.
I would also like to highlight the journey to and from Calgary. Throughout both rides, I was pretty much a grumpy witch. All I wanted to do was keep to myself, plug my earphones in and sleep. I completely disregarded that this bus ride was meant for bonding with my brothers and sisters. Somewhere along the road, I was able to realize it and for that, I am so grateful. Although our bus was delayed a couple of hours as we were heading back, it gave us the opportunity to sing together, to share, to play games, to have worship on the bus... And it was so beautiful. It was truly God's plan. Along the literal road, I was also able to see the mountains, rivers, trees, waterfalls, rocks, stars in such close proximity and the first time I had ever seen shooting stars. I was in complete wonder and awe.
Secondly, to see Armand there. And to make him cry for two-three hours. I know I rubbed it into his face a lot, but I couldn't get over it. Seeing how I had affected him only affirmed my past actions all over again. I felt it again. The peace that forgiveness brought me. I felt none of the pain that haunted so much of my past. None of the pain that came from the toughest situation I have ever encountered in my life. It was all gone. Praise God for that. I have witnessed a miracle.
Lastly, being able to experience conference with the people I hold so dear to my heart. It was nothing short of amazing. (Seriously, why is amazing such an overused word? I wish the word sounded as amazing as it's meant to sound.) Aside from my cousins, being able to experience conference with Paula, Ina, Kuya Mike, Nathan, David, Angelica and Jeffrey. And the rest of my chapter and PAC Region. Wow. Thank You. So, so much.
Yeah. I was right. In writing this, I am content again.
I'll probably add, edit and remove some things when I can focus properly.
But Thank You. Again. A million times.
I can sleep in peace.