The article below was something I have written two years ago at the start of spring. From time to time, it is important to listen closely to the heart and its beat and see whether it is still chanting the same tune. I listened to mine this morning – whether the love is stronger than ever or is now fading – I have yet to “prayerfully listen” more intensely.
Upon arriving in London, there was definitely no love at first sight thing that transpired between me and this place. Serendipity is not at work for I thought I was at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Unlike Forrest Gump who said that he may not be smart but he knows what love is, I felt, for a moment, that I have forgotten some of the very basic things I know about love. Not patience, not gratitude, not kindness – none of these things. The feeling of hostility and alienation swallowed me for weeks. I tried to put on a tough spirit but I was crumbling inside. Everything about London is a pill that is very difficult to swallow and nothing can cure my hemorrhaging spirit but to be back home. But despite the seemingly fatal distraction, I was invited to give this relationship a chance and there’s a spot in me that says this can be a start of An Affair to Remember.
Bloom where you are planted, that’s what I told myself. It was the end of autumn when I moved to this City and trees are slowly shedding off its leaves. Yeah right, where can I find inspiration when even the trees looked as if they share the same resignation I have inside? Both the trees and myself are destined to face a tougher, sadder time ahead – the cold, bitter and frustrating season of winter.
The cold weather didn’t bother me as much as the unfamiliar faces I see on the streets. The new language and accent didn’t upset me as much as the silence that welcomed me in my apartment every night. The taste and type of food didn’t concern me as much as the emotional and spiritual nourishment I needed. It’s a battle with no known enemies but a change in inner disposition. It’s a voyage with no known destination but consciously sailing on with God as my guiding star. It’s a mission with a corporate mandate but with apostolic invitation.
There is a constant struggle on how to embrace the reality that I am far from home. Every thought about home brings me indescribable sadness and emptiness. I would try to entertain myself by discovering more about London but the more I see and appreciate things, the more I miss my family and friends and how I wish they will also see this place.
The first months were really difficult but now I have started to embrace the situation and very much trying to replace every negative feeling to a sense of gratitude. God has truly blessed me with so much that I should not in anyway focus on what’s missing or what’s lacking but what is present now. I may have left a lot of friends in Manila but I didn’t lose them. I may have given up a lot of comforts back home but this experience is teaching me how to be comfortable with discomforts. I may be far from my family but I feel closer now to my Father who ensures that I am looked after and well taken cared of. He never ran out of giving me little surprises and miracles everyday just to confirm His presence. Spoiled brat, yes that’s what I am.
Let me share one of the lines in the movie, Here on Earth.
It says “I love this spot. It’s like heaven. Right here on earth. Maybe that’s what heaven is. Maybe we go through life collecting people and places we love, and they become our heaven.” Now I believe that it is not enough to just simply bloom where we are planted but to make and find heaven right at the spot where God has placed us, here on earth – whether back home in Manila or here in the place which I have slowly learned to accept and love, one of the best cities in the world – London.
All the pessimistic and depressing thoughts and feelings are all gone with the wind – the freezing wind of winter. As I write this, spring is on its way together with my buoyant, cheerful and grateful outlook. Wikipedia defines Springtime as a time of growth, renewal, of new life being born, and of the cycle of life once again starting. It is also used more generally as the start of better times. I couldn’t agree more.
Looking back, I realized God has brought me here at the most perfect time of winter – for me to experience the worst so I can appreciate Spring and Summer better. Serendipity is at work. It was not love at first sight but He certainly taught me a deeper meaning of love. Now, it is not only an Affair to Remember but a wonderful, pleasant and grace-filled Walk in the Cloud experience.