When you have to retreat

One thing which not a lot of people know about me is that I particularly do not like December. There is the traffic rush, the heavy workload before the shutdown, the pain of arranging Christmas reunions with friends, and so much more. These are recurring things which could be anticipated, but there’s really no way to get around those. Unfortunately.

Beyond those, which I am certain a lot of people encounter, what doesn’t excite me about December is the surge of self-doubt and uneasiness that I feel as the year is about to come to a close. It comes with the whole “reflection” of how the year was, but this year, it’s different.

The past few days I’ve felt quite “defeated”. I have been sharing with a few friends how this has been the most stressful December in my entire career. It’s quite surprising how we have so much events still lined up. At the same time, we have quite a number to prepare for as well for January 2019. It’s not self-doubt that made me feel defeated the past week. No. What has been causing me this weird feeling is a question thrown at me by someone not even close to me.

“Are you happy? Have you found your proverbial ‘corner in the sky’?”

That stunned me.

A few months back I confidently exclaimed that I found myself in the place where I truly am where I’m meant to be. A few weeks ago I revisited that exact Instagram post of mine and I reflected on it. Am I really in the spot where I’m supposed to be? Am I doing what I’m truly meant to be doing in life. Believe me, it’s such an uneasy feeling to be questioning one’s raison d’être all over again. Quarter-life crisis? No. I don’t think so. It’s something else.

I took time to visit my alma mater on a Sunday, and prayed fervently inside the Church of the Gesù. Ever since I could remember, it was the place where I’d retreat whenever I go through these moments.

Church of the Gesu

Silence. Prayer. Silence. Prayer. Silence. That’s always the pattern. Trying to listen to Him in between doubts, joys, tears and gratitude. Sometimes, I am fortunate to leave with much more peace. Head clearer. And with certainty what to do next.

Tonight, unfortunately, it wasn’t the case.

I left just a bit before Mass started, and I stayed a bit more outside to continue praying. After spending a bit more time, I was still lost. I didn’t find myself to be in a more peaceful state and I was confused more than ever what to do next. Where do I go now?

I walked the stretch from Gesù to Katipunan thinking maybe I’d be more at peace. While I still didn’t exactly feel much better, I remembered that these moments of doubt and uneasiness, for the most part, are fleeting. Temporary lows that may not necessarily mean anything other than the fact that I’m just going through a rough patch.

I remembered the two questions thrown at me: “Are you happy? Have you found your proverbial ‘corner in the sky’?”

I usually tell people, “It’s okay not to be okay”. But tonight, it was different for me. A part of me wanted to be able to answer those questions. Am I happy? Have I found my corner in the sky?

While I am no longer certain if I am indeed where I’m meant to be, I do know that I’m trying to live my life with purpose. That realization was followed by me reciting the serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

In that moment, some things became clear, and I think He finally gave in knowing how much I needed some peace before entering into another work week.

To be honest, I am still disturbed. I am still praying to affirm if I am on the right path, or if there are certain things I have to change up. And while I am still lost, there is peace knowing that He is listening.

When you have to retreat

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