Everything is still fresh even though three weeks have already passed.
I can still feel the gentle breeze coming in from outside through the attic window, wrapping itself around me, infiltrating my senses, prodding me to wake up. I remember myself squinting at the faint light coming from the same window, my ear muscles flexing at the sound of my roomies’ mix conversations – conversations that had been dropped to churchy hushes the night before and had gradually amplified, thanks to the morning yawns.
I remember myself smiling at the sight of my bedmate, Jhunna, carefully fixing her side of the bed. Taking after her, I would then force myself out of bed and ‘start straightening out the linens’ – something that I am too lazy to do for my own bed. I remember looking around and noticing that the girls from the next beds were done freshening up while some were still towel-drying their hair or putting face powder on. I remember running for the bathroom and getting in there before Jhunna would do. I hated queiung up for the toilet.
Everything is still fresh even though three weeks have already passed…since the EGR.
Encounter God Retreat, in case you’re wondering, and Christian-based, if you must know. It was a weekend that provided opportunity for me to spend devoted time and enter into an intimate relationship with…God.
And now here I am writing this and still feeling amazed, asking myself “What brought me there?”
Was I not, two weeks before that, having pre-retreat jitters and at one point even toying with the idea of dropping out? And “Why did I not drop out?” When Abby (Have you met her yet?) excitedly broke the news that TGCCM (The Great Commission Christian Ministry) was sponsoring another EGR, its second this year so far, and that I should join, did I not smirk at the thought of doing this retreat thingy a-g-a-i-n knowing that it would, for sure, be no different from the other retreats I’ve been to, all of which kind of sucked anyway?
In my quick update here, I told you, beloved readers, that I have been attending Sunday church service lately and that I’m loving it. That was no lie, but, really, this whole going-to-church thing, how did it all come to be, you might ask.
Flashback to (about) five months ago, remember when…
Abby and I swapped stories over a long array of palatable dishes that was served for lunch. Being a devout Christian that she is, Abby also shared stories of her relationship with God. When she talked of God, her eyes glazed over. She would talk incessantly while I listened trying to catch up with all my might. Most of the time I would stare at her as if what she had said was incomprehensible to me. Abby talks to God. She says she can hear His voice in her head. Yeah, sometimes that’s incomprehensible to me.
That Saturday, Abby taught me how to pray. She encouraged me to communicate with Him. To listen to His voice in my head. She closed her eyes and held my hand. I closed my eyes and I let my hand be held. I made my first attempt at praying. She listened to me talk to God. It was awkward. I had to open my eyes from time to time because it was awkward. So not Addie. Once, I opened my eyes and I looked at her. Her eyes were closed. Her face was filled with peace and serenity. She was filled with the glory of God.
Then I remember thinking I wanted that same look to be on mine, too. Peaceful and serene – I imagined it would be nice to be that way.
Nevertheless, the thought of that was not exactly what made me do the church thing. My sheer vexation towards Abby’s inability to spend time with us girls was what actually gave it away. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t give up just one weekend to see us. Thinking that she needed intervention, I volunteered to spend one Sunday just to see what the fuss was all about. Just that. Neither did she have to ram her being committed a Christian down my throat nor did I have to feel so emotionally imbalanced first just to get me to do it. I needed no invitation. The same old chirpy Addie herself had stepped forward. I was simply curious
and hoping I could kidnap Abby and get away with it.
Little did I know that the course of my life was about to change in just a few months of attending some of the worship services of TGCCM, making new acquaintances, being part of a cell group, and doing Bible studies. The repeat Sunday trips take about two hours to and another two hours from, and my friends definitely find it amusing even up to now. Whatever happened to that Catholic church that is just a whole block away from your place?
Be that as it may, I still availed myself of the said fellowship and sure enough it opened a new laboratory for my spiritual growth. By and by, I realized I was the one who actually needed intervention.
Or! A serious medical attention. At least that’s what I said to everyone present in the EGR’s commencement ceremony.
I wish I could recount exhaustively everything that had transpired in that EGR, but we’ve been sworn to secrecy. Here’s the least I could do, though:
In my testimony, I compared the venue of the EGR to my least favorite place, the hospital, and attending that EGR to getting myself admitted to the ICU for ‘heart failure’. I also told them about this one Doctor who was convinced that I have a serious heart problem and, therefore, intervened and convinced me to undergo a heart transplant. I went on by saying that after some hemming and hawing, I finally let the nurse coordinators (played by the EGR’s facilitators) take me to the operating room so that the transplant Surgeon, that same doctor, could begin the process of my heart removal. It was smooth, all right, but! if there’s one thing the nurse coordinators and the Surgeon himself had forgotten to do, it was to put their patient to sleep first with anesthesia.
Meaning there was no anesthesia! No nothing! What the —!
The Surgeon, however, seemed to have just shrugged it off and just moved on to cutting my ribcage, exposing the chest cavity. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, it’s without anesthesia so imagine me twisting with pain. Torture, thanks!
But I did not reject.
And then, he opened the membrane that covers my entire heart and proceeded to removing my diseased heart. My poor diseased heart.
Still without anesthesia.
So there, goosebumps!
He then carefully sewed the new heart to fit the remaining part of my old one. Perfect fit! And again I did not reject it. Successful ‘new heart’ transplant – my personal miracle. Praise God!
Indeed, three weeks have already passed and yet everything is still fresh — everything still gives me goosebumps.
Your turn to answer, folks!