Let me just quote my co-teacher, companion and new brother, Sir Von… “I can’t explain the feeling.”
Sitting at the rear of the room for three days straight during the Seniors’ Retreat last October 17-19, 2007 in Tagaytay, I felt like I was one of my students. It must have been fate that I decided not to bring any work with me. I knew I could have used the opportunity to check test papers, compute grades and the like but I felt like I just wanted to relax for a few days and totally immerse myself in the comfort of being near nature. I convinced Sir Von not to bring any semblance of work either. I found out it was his first time to ever attend a retreat so I took it upon myself to let him enjoy the experience. He took my word of it and I guess it was meant to be.
From the very beginning, we both did everything the students were asked to do. We shared stories, did the activities, reflected and prayed. The next thing we knew, we were crying, laughing and experiencing the healing process. It’s been a while since I’ve had a retreat like that. Oftentimes as a teacher, we are given more of formation talks about Vincentian values. It’s not that I don’t learn something from Vincentian formation. I just never realized how much I needed to unburden myself and finally share my problems with others. I’ve never really talked about certain situations for a number of reasons. During this retreat, I finally talked about it and it was such a big relief. It was a special moment when one student after the other told me that things with my brother would work out in the end. It’s not like everything was perfect when I got home but I finally believe that one day, it will be.
I am thankful I was there because I got to know the students even more. You never really can judge people based on their appearances. Many of the students whom you’d have expected to be noisy turned out to be the most reflective ones while others seemed to be the opposite of what you thought. Heh. It was also pretty enlightening to hear their personal stories. God bless them for sharing a part of themselves. I was especially happy that I got the chance to join the affirmation circle. I will continue to pray that the graces my students, friends and I received in those three days will stay with us always. I wasn’t even back in school for one hour and I could feel the “daily routine” feel suck me back with negativity. It’s definitely going to be a struggle… but as Sister Lily said, the struggle to be good alone is enough for God. So I guess, we must all struggle together.
I realize now that I was truly meant to be in that retreat. The facilitators, Tito Raph and Tita Karn, spoke to my heart. In fact, they’re even in the very same situation that I am in now. Could that have been a mere coincidence? I think not! Furthermore, I got to know a friend on a deeper level. For that alone, I am pretty glad. I hope my other co-teachers get to be as lucky as me.
Throughout the retreat, we kept sharing our magic moments with each other. For me, that retreat was another magic moment in my life.