I walked through the gates of my alma mater, Ateneo de Davao University earlier. Walking past the gazebos, I looked up at the trees and was struck with a startling realization that Ateneo has never felt more like home to me than it does now.
Maybe I will grow to love the building that I will now work in 8 hours a day. Maybe the time will come that I will call it “home” also. But I doubt it.
I have no regrets in my life’s decisions. In time I grew to appreciate the wisdom behind every brick that life throws at me. Because no matter how hard you try to plan and control your life, you can’t. There are things that are beyond your control. And these things are crazy and devastating and amazing and heartbreaking and beautiful… anything goes.
And as I was walking down the familiar path on the way to the Atenews office, I thought a lot about how much I miss feeling the breeze from the trees caress my cheek, or hear the birds sing. I miss the steady hum of activity that you can hear in school.
I will miss the cafeteria and its aircons that are on full blast. I will miss the shakes at Juice Ko Day. I will even miss telling the tindera that I will not buy the viva water because it tastes bad. 😀
I will miss the library and its endless array of books that you can get lost in. I will miss scouting the buildings, looking for the water fountain that had the coldest water. The ones at Wieman were always the best. 😉
I will miss seeing the familiar and comfortable, yet also imposing image of our building when I get down from the jeep. I will miss the clean, fresh air inside. Ateneo was always a welcome respite from the heat and pollution outside.
I will miss the freedom to learn whatever you wanted to learn. The world is literally at the palm of your hands when you are in Ateneo. You only have to choose.
It was in Ateneo’s walls where I had discovered myself and discovered what I had wanted to do with life. It was there where I had met the worst and best people. It was there that I realized that everyone can be nice, but not everyone can be your friends.
It was there that I realized that I am not, after all, as stupid and shallow as what my siblings used to make me feel. I am quite the contrary, in fact. It took the opinion of other people to change the way I thought about myself.
It was there where I had my heart broken too many times by too many people and yet I never failed to look forward to life.
My experiences are far from conventional. It is something that you might never experience. And it is something that is so rare and fragile and sacred.
There is a kind of beauty in pain. There is grace in handling shame and embarrassment. There is a kind of beauty in you, one so deep that one cannot see on first sight, and something that you cannot see unless you have your heart, your soul, and your whole being broken.
Many will give up on a bird who is trying to fly with broken wings.
But look at where I am now.
Just remember, when you get your heart broken or your soul wounded, fly with a broken wing. Only when you are burned and blinded by the sun will you see your true capacity to heal.
Only then will you be new again. 🙂