My feet aren’t really pretty. It’s rough, calloused and often dry. During my insecure years, it became a source of shame so I had to make sure I always had lotion in my bag and make sure I get foot spa once a month. I didn’t know why then I just really didn’t like my feet. But last weekend, I saw my feet in a different light. I saw that despite the flaws, I had beautiful feet.
From January ’til last week, I have not been able to really let everything sink in. It was only on the Friday just before the World Singles’ Congress of my community that God “caught me captive” in a 12-hour long bus ride due to a missed flight that could have brought me to Bicol in a jiffy. All along I thought I was checked in only to find out five minutes later from the counter check-in cut-off that I should have verified first before I assumed.
So left in the airport with the tarpaulins of Live Life, 20 books of Tito Frank Padilla, flyers for Live Life and Uplift and 2 bags, I took an Uber to the next available bus ride to Legazpi. As I sat at the back of the airconditioned bus after a whirlwind decision, fighting off the what if’s and why’s, I stared out and suddenly in dawned on me that I have 12 hours to sleep, reflect and simply be quiet.
Ah silence. I have been craving for a prolonged period of it since I came back to Fulltime Missionary Work after two to three years “out of it” and since I also accepted to teach Theology in De La Salle University – Manila. In between the two that I’m juggling, some responsibilities remained – I was still a student of Theology in Don Bosco Center of Studies and I was a household servant, a sister, a friend and a daughter to my sick parents. Of course, with all these I had to contend with something that tests my patience each and every time: commuting in Manila Traffic.
So it was not bad after all; God does write straight with crooked lines. Despite the strain in my back the entire congress, I had a different beginning to it compared to the rest of the delegates and it revealed something new about how I saw things and how grace probably changed me…for the better. :p
If last year was a year of testing and grappling in the dark, this year began with a sense of urgency to go out there. It was as if God turned on the switch and said, “Lee-an, it’s time. Go.” From just studying, my schedule became peppered with meetings here and there. Overnights, reading, studying, lesson planning, one on one sessions…it was crazy. I would manage to squeeze prayer in the morning and in the in betweens but I missed how much time I had for it the past year. When I got home, I would try to do an Examen or a rosary only to find myself jolting out of bed at 3:30 am. I fell asleep.
Back to the bus, I was able to savor quiet time with the Lord. I was able to review what happened from December to January and I saw how His faithfulness was pronounced in each moment of joy and pain. It became clearer to me why I had time off to just study – I could better teach now than before. It was also revealed how the dark actually led me closer to the Lord and how being close enough (but not really) can change one’s heart. Somehow, I learned to be a person who would just leave off everything to God.
The old Lee-an would probably be sulking in the airport, crying at the things that were going wrong and complaining about the weight of what I was bringing to Bicol. I was surprised myself at how simple and how swiftly I moved from “What now?” to “What can be done?” How, in my mind, if there was a solution, do it and if there wasn’t leave it up to God. He knows better anyway. I smiled at the thought that I was actually peaceful and happy. That when grace brings you to completely trust in the Lord, things become simpler. The “burdens become light.” Never mind if at the middle of the trip, I was jolted awake by the driver’s sudden step on the brake and the news that we almost slammed into the bus in front of us. Never mind if all the things that were supposed to be checked in had I not missed the flight went flying to all corners of the bus. I was happy. I was peaceful. And I was thinking, “Really, God, did I get crazier?”
I realized that God already showed me what I needed to do in the Kingdom and prior to that, He equipped me by allowing me to stay at the foot of the cross. I was made to proclaim His love in any way I can. I was made to teach who He is in a manner that will “cut to the heart.” I was made to love a lot of people and surrender myself to Him who is Love and who is the love of my life. I was made for mission. And with the “I” came these rough, dry, calloused feet.
Just before going home, I was blessed to be with a group who made stopover in a beach in Sorsogon. While I am not a beach person, I loved watching the sea and putting my feet into its shallow waters. I loved watching the waves crash slightly into me and then get pulled back into the horizon. I loved the smell of the sea. I loved the peace it brings.
Wearing my black sandals which has accompanied me in all the long walks of my life -World Youth Day – Madrid, Asian Youth Day – Korea, Alay Lakad in Antipolo plus the important meetings, talks, events – I slipped my feet into the cold water. The sand was soft and I burrowed my feet sometimes into it. I looked into the horizon and saw how the journey was from last year to that moment. I smiled and closed my eyes, feeling the wind’s chill bite my skin. Even if physically no one was beside me, I knew He was there in the water with me. Watching with me. Breathing in the salty air with me. He was there as He had been with me since the beginning. He never left even if I thought He did.
In my mind I imagined Him beside me. His feet beside mine. His had the bruises that He got from all His missionary journeys. His had the familiar wound from the nails of the cross. And His was beautiful. I looked at mine – calloused, dry and in a way, bruised too. I smiled that my feet was slowly becoming like His. At that instance, I appreciated how mine was flawed. At that instance, I looked at Him and looked back at my feet. They were beautiful too.
These feet have a long way to go. My heart tells me that there is more to be done. There is an ache in my belly to spread His love – fast and I don’t understand fully why. All that my mind can fathom at the moment is that I need to keep walking. If need be, I will even run. Because really, at the end of this race is the fulfillment of something I have been so longing for – one day I will really see Him. Hug Him. Stay with Him for as long as I can.
One day, I shall also kiss His beautiful feet because it was the same feet that allowed me to witness this life like no other.