Saturday, October 3, 2009
MY ONLY TREASURE
The past weeks have prompted me to ask the difficult questions in my life. A series of events have led to this: losing my best friend in Singapore, seeking fulfillment and meaning in my craft, financial challenges, the solitary moments living abroad, ghosts from relationships past, and worries about the health of my family members. Without my best friend to cheer me and distract me from my reality, I find myself growing up and facing my current situation. A friend in her 40’s tells me I’m probably facing mid-life. “I’m only 34, isn’t that too early,” I ask her.
For a highly emotional person, who has been described more than once as a drama queen, these sobering feelings can be overwhelming. Stripped of everything, I have no recourse but to turn to God in prayer. This artist rarely follows structure or schedule in her life. But there is something so refreshing about having daily dates with God. At 5:30pm, everything stops. No work, no writing, no other commitments but celebrating mass with a dominantly Chinese community in the heart of Singapore’s civic district. Then I proceed to a cozy adoration chapel. I sit in the cushion in front of the Blessed Sacrament, with my fushia pashima draped over my shoulders or sometimes my legs to keep me warm from the freezing air conditioner. I this silence, I find refuge and peace. And slowly, slowly, I realize He is asking me not to cling to anything or anyone else but Him.
Two years ago, my sister sent me a CD, The Bukas Palad’s Hindi Kita Malilimutan album. The group is a Catholic Filipino Music Ministry, and this was their 20th anniversary album. She stuck a post it with this note, “Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Love, Isabel.” I briefly listened to the CD and quickly decided I didn’t like it.
But a week ago, out of the blue, I played the CD and fell deeply in love with the songs. One has become my theme song, “My Only Treasure.” It is written by Noel Sanchez, and the song won the Bayan Umawit song writing contest. The words capture my exact sentiments. More importantly, it was humble prayer drawing strength from God. The refrain speaks the very words this writer’s heart wishes to communicate right now. And as Typhoon Ondoy badly hit the Philippines, the songs words couldn’t have been more apt.
“Let me know Your will
in ev’ry pain and heartache of my life.
In Your words I find refuge from the rain.
I will find no consolation
In earthly things I have.
As for me, my only treasure
Is the fullness of Your love.” (refrain)
Away from my family, I only get snippets of the devastation of the flood through text messages and brief phone calls. I could only feel for my father helplessly stranded in the hospital away from my mom and sister as the flood gushed into our home, damaging our belongings. My spirit was weak, my heart heavy as I watched the videos on Facebook of my countrymen suffering. The next day as the sun shone brightly in Singapore, I checked on my family. My sister sent me a message saying they had been cleaning since 6am and how sad it is for my parents to see the damage. Mementos lost. Possessions damaged. Many families definitely have lost so much more. And my family realizes that we have much to be grateful for.
This song soothed the pain, gently reminding me of what truly mattered in life, my only treasure. I share this song and prayer with you. I found this video created by the songwriter on You Tube. May you find as much consolation in it as I had.