Just returned after leaving the blog for weeks. Another one of those instances where I just lost the appetite to post partly because of other tasks that presented themselves—family, work and sideline.
The deadline for the book I am writing (history of Tudela town) just passed with me still stuck in Chapter 4 of a seven chapter job. It’s becoming a burden, but I have to finish it. So this blog got affected.
I could not help but be amused by the exchange between Lucy, Renie and my good friend “Babes.” I thought everything here got stalled when I was away. But there was this three keeping the blog afloat. My good friend even wrote a kilometric comment. But then again she’s a writer.
Discussing one’s beliefs often churns emotions, that’s why I often let it go. I was once a full-time Marxist and passed that stage when I would challenge the religious among my friends in a lively exchange on God. I thought I was an atheist until I was arrested for the second time in 1988 (the first time was in 1987).
It was like this: After I was subjected to intense grilling for a day or two (was it more?), largely without sleep, I was left alone in a pelota court. Courts like this have lines on the wall to delineate the area where the ball should be allowed to bounce.
In this particular court the line, about four inches thick, was red. I was strapped on a chair near it, with the lights on. It was a time of uncertainty, when I didn’t know I would live for another day. I had promised to myself that if ever I would survive I would attend Sunday masses again.
Now the red line had small parts where the paint had started to peel off. As I stared at one of these areas, I made out the face of Jesus Christ, or the usual image we have of Him: long hair, beard and all. I closed my eyes and tried driving the image away, but it was still there when I stared at the spot again.
One can say I was seeing things, and I would agree, although grudgingly. I remember the moment I was grabbed and blindfolded and muttering, “patay na ko ani.” At that very instance I asked myself what would happen when a man dies. In times of uncertainty, you hold on to a power greater than you. To your God.
Months later, when the worst had passed, I remembered that episode at the pelota court. I got back there, placed a chair near the wall where the red line was and sat. I tried making out the same image I saw nights before and couldn’t do it. It must have been a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
If you ask me now, I will tell you I believe in God. I live my life based on that belief, and making sure my family is imbued and guided by it. I am raising my kids as believers, hoping that they would be strengthened by that belief. It is the only way I think that they would survive this dog-eat-dog world.
But I no longer talk much about that belief with other people. For me, believing is enough.