Fr Louie made mention yesterday at some point in his brief sharing that God’s glory dwells on high places such as the sky scrapping mountains and hills. A thought flashed back my own experience in Tumahubong where people constantly share their stories of repulsion and realities of nightmares, and pictures of high places come into sight on my mind screen simultaneously.
Whenever I hear the word high grounds when I was in my exposure area, it always threatened and scared me, for high ground is the place where the rebels positioned themselves and to surprise attack innocent people in vehicles, such as the gomeros, motorist, and travelers. It is also in the elevated grounds that the four canyons of the army are situated, the place where the rebels are trained and encamped, and the place where the bandits hide their hostages.
All I thought that this place is only known for such occurrence, yet I was wrong, the place history has so much brutality dealings to tell yet it was not seen when we were there because of the smile they wear, lively community, and different enjoyable social affairs. The people have so much wisdom to say, how they face their own fear with faith, tears, aspirations and hope knowing and believing that this happenings will not hinder them to be active in church activities and to move on their lives. Even if they feel like they want to surrender because they cannot take the incidents happening anymore, still they live faithfully strong with the Lord and didn’t blame God for such undertakings. I was silent, idled, and dismayed knowing my own limitation that I could do nothing but just to offer attentive ears, a heart to hold their own stories, and lips to offer encouragement of having faith in God.
I remember one time when a youth sat besides me while seeing a truck with Gomeros standing and few guards and told me happenings that saddened her the most. She said: kuya di mo alam kung anong mangyayari sa araw na to. Sa umaga masaya ka kasama mo papa mo maghahanda ng pagkain seo tpos magsasabing mag-iingat ka pero pagbalik nya galing sa trabaho bangkay na pala. I didn’t say anything and I was so silent until the topic was changed. After she left, I walked around our compound and tried to ponder on the word she said. I brought it up into prayer and ask several questions to God yet not even one was answered. This reality has left many hearts afflicted, teary eyes and close fist because of so much pain. Yet I asked God why am I send into those mountains?
To this day the question is left unanswered and continuously searching for its deeper reflections. Yet it only teaches me to pray more ardently and to ponder more deeply upon such actualities. My exposure there granted me a bottomless impact to persevere in following the footsteps of the Lord, that even in the point of surrendering like the people there, they chose to carry on, even in the point of leaving they chose to follow and that even in the point of blaming they chose to love. I hope I could also carry such values as these that I may follow and continue to serve God faithfully.
Tumahubong and Cabintan holds the same pictures of mountains yet has different life scenario, different people, different anecdotes of life experience and different ways of experiencing God. Yet still I continue and will climb those and the other mountains because it has so much to tell behind that it even challenges the comprehension of the mind. Here in the novitiate, where the place is surrounded by towering mountains. Maybe we can ask ourselves: are we ready to meet the Lord into the mountains? Let us include in our prayers the safety of Gomeros/tappers and the people of Tumahubong as well as cabintan, that may the good Lord bless, protect, keep them safe and journey with them in their life challenges in their day to day living.