Here I am again, sharing what I learned from my Sunday routine. The title of today’s message was “Life Perspectives: Looking at the brighter side.” I know I shouldn’t rely on what I “feel” but should always rely rather on what I am “living.” This is what I learned from last Sunday’s service, which is tough I say, so join me in prayer that we all are able to live through love and not just feel it.
The pastor who was speaking today was the same pastor that spoke last Sunday. He is a looker and a good speaker but I digress from what I am to share today. I think that when you least expect it, God’s timing is and will always be perfect and so was today’s message.
I have been in a rough patch lately and I can’t seem to shake off the melancholy rut that I am in. When I sat down in my chair and saw in the little green pamphlet the title of today’s message, it dawned upon me that maybe to completely shake off this melancholic rut that I am in now, I have to look at the brighter side and change my life perspective.
The decision to relocate to Cebu in 2006 was based on my love for my family and myself. That in itself is a long story to tell, maybe on a different date and time. When I relocated to Cebu, that was the kind of love that I had in my arsenal. I began to develop a new kind of love with the people that I was with that time, a platonic kind of love with my fellow members of the LGBT community. From a love for family to a love amongst my peers, a new kind of love sprouted in me.
D is who I would consider as my first romantic love. We were young lovers, he was 19 and I was 21. When someone lacking maturity paired with changing levels of hormones as I was going through my “adolescence” jumps right into the unstable chemical reaction called romantic love, it ended badly for both D and I. He was the sweetest and most loving, gentle soul that I ever met in my life. During ungodly hours of the night, he would rush over to my place to bring me food since I told him that I woke up hungry. I lost sight of what was good and precious in our relationship, I was not able to appreciate his value. I cheated on him, the greatest act of betrayal that one can do to someone you supposedly loved. I lost D, I lost the best romantic thing that ever happened to me when I moved to Cebu. I am unable to summarize our story worth 3 years and a lifetime. I know I have said my apologies to D over and over again, but I want you to know again and again, I am sorry for hurting you and for betraying your trust. I know that there’s nothing that I can do to make up for everything but let me make things up for you by letting you have your slice of heaven without someone like me by your side. I pray that you find the joy that you deserve and that may you truly forgive me, although I know I may not deserve it.
From that relationship, I learned that one must always value the love that he/she shares with the people that he/she loves. One must build the relationship on the One source of true love, Jesus.
After D, I got myself involved with C. Unlike D, C was someone who I compare to a roller coaster. He was fun, dangerous and exciting. I told myself, maybe this is what I need at this point in time of my life. I must admit though that I have never really moved on from D when I got with C. I think C knew that and as such, the relationship we had was already doomed to fail. We just weren’t 2 peas in a pod. I wasn’t feeling the same emotional connection and security with C thus I looked elsewhere for that emotional solace. Yes, you are right. I ended up cheating again, thereby repeating my history of breaking someone’s trust and the relationship ended. I know I am leaving out a lot of details here for those that really know me and the relationship that I had with C but we will leave it at that.
From another failed relationship, I learned that you really can’t force things. One must not make an emotional investment with someone when you know that you are not yet ready even though someone who seems to be investment worthy comes your way. I think the 2 most important things that I learned are to offer God my relationships and to allow Him to change me since I know I cannot change on my own, and that true love is kind, love is kind…it does not dishonor others…it rejoices with the truth…it always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and True Love never fails. The love that I shared with D and C lacked those qualities so I vowed to ensure that the next time I love, it should have those qualities.
After 3 months of being single post the break up with C, J came into my life. Out of all of them; he was the most good looking, interesting and his body was my wonderland. Sorry to objectify you J. Everything seemed to be perfect with J but he was not in the same zip code as mine. I made plans of moving to Manila to further our relationship but alas, I made the fundamental mistake of not following through with what I vowed to act on. Yes, he would frequent Cebu but I guess he was a good break from the rut that I was in. I had fun with J but no matter how I look at it, God has better plans for me and no matter how good he was and how much fun I had with him, this wasn’t God’s plan for me.
By this time, I was already learning how to look at the brighter side of things. I held on to His promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This was the lesson that I learned from that relationship with J.
I stayed single for a couple of months. While my mind knows about the lesson behind what happened, my heart was “feeling” lacking and because of that, it searched for love online. I was at almost every gay website and online app that I knew existed. Through one of these sites, I met E.
E was also heart broken like me when we met. I don’t recall the exact details of how freshly hurt he was but what I remember was he was someone who caught definitely caught the attention of both my heart and mind. He is a looker but what drew me into him was how he seemingly thrived on sarcasm and how his wit was the first foot that he placed forward. Since he was not ready to jump into another relationship at that time, we dated for 2 months. I told him that while we date, all I ask from him is that he be honest with me regardless of how painful the truth may be. Playing Never Have I Ever under the influence of alcohol, was at first, a bad idea. I will leave the walls of 9C and those present that time to what exactly happened, but to make the long story short, E and I ended up becoming a couple after a couple of days, maybe weeks because of that fated alcohol-induced night.
For the first time, I felt a different kind of love with E. He was out and proud of who he was, and of me, that I was introduced to his family and was present in almost every important family occasion. He sparked the passion that I now have of traveling to different places and not just the beach. He was instrumental in fueling that passion and for opening my mind to what the world has to offer. For the first time in my life, I believed that he was someone whom I want to spend a lifetime with. Alas, all good things not founded on God’s love must come to an end. I know I am leaving out so many things in my 2 year love story with E but to those close to me, you already know any way and that’s what matters. E and I are friends up to this day and I want to leave it at that the least. I still treasure whatever I was able to build with some of his family members.
After all this journey of love found and love lost, one thing I learned is that I will always go back to the first man who loved me unconditionally. I will always go back to His loving arms and how I find peace and solace whenever He embraces me. How I get enlightened whenever He reveals to me some of His plans in my life and why certain things had to happen in my life and how I should see things differently.
I learned during this Sunday’s message that in order for me to see life differently, I must guard my heart. I must only allow true love to enter it. I must not look for happiness but I should look for joy. The pastor shared that happiness is seen as based on our circumstance, when things work out according to our plans, we end up happy but this foundation is unstable. When storms come through our life, it washes away that happiness regardless of how small or big the storm that visits us.
As Christians, we must pursue Christian joy. This is a mood independent of what’s happening around us. The Apostle Paul among other early believers is a good example of how we can still rejoice in the Lord despite of what we are going through. Viktor Frankl also had joy in his heart even though he lost his wife and children and having survived through holocaust. The pastor said that when he was asked why he still had that joy in his heart, he said that when man goes through the worst of situations, the truth of his character is revealed. One is either a swine or a saint.
Guard your heart so that hate never enters it. Do not allow hate to eat you up as hate changes people. Hate brings out the worst in people but love brings out the best in people. At this time in my life, after having gone through all those relationships. I try to make a conscious effort to fill my heart with love, I do so by going to Bread of Life in Ayala and by surrounding myself with people who truly love me.
Most people pursue happiness and not joy. Happiness is an emotion which comes and go but joy is an attitude that comes and grows. As Christians, it is impossible to have faith and to live a life full of worry. I also learned that I must quit studying the problems of my life and start studying the promises of God. Whenever we are going through a rough patch, those are actually learning opportunities that God sends our way. We may not understand it while we are going through it but hold on to your faith as God will reveal His plans to you in His perfect timing.
I also learned that life is more precious because of the experiences that God gives us. The difficult moments are the more fruitful ones, they make the happy moments more precious. Moving forward, I will keep my eyes on that and on His promise that things will work out as they always do but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be tough or painful.
I will not lose sight of what is important. I will not quit. Being romantically alone for now is both a blessing and a powerful experience as He fills me with His love and the love coming from my family and friends. I may not be able to physically hold on to someone romantically special, this time I am at the right place and time even though I don’t “feel” it but I know that right now God is holding on to my hand. I know that He will not let me go nor forsake me and that is more than enough to fuel me. I pray that it also fuels you.
Like what they say, your first love never dies. As February 2016 marks a decade of my journey of finding love, losing love and finding it again, I pray that you intercede for me as I rekindle my relationship with my first love and as I nourish the platonic love of those close to me and I too will intercede for you as well.