I was talking with my dad earlier today while we were waiting for mom to get off work. Instead of heading to the badminton court immediately after my work, he asked me if I wanted to eat and stay somewhere first. I said I’ve wanted to eat KFC since we last played badminton (last Monday), and because he’s the coolest dad in the whole wide Jee Geronimo world, he indulged me.
So we were in our car, on our way to the nearest KFC branch, and our conversation flowed in this order: Tito Sotto > RH Bill > Responsible Parenthood > My college love life
Don’t ask me how, it just happened that way. My heart was pounding like crazy, because I have never talked about it with my parents ever since, well, ever since things “ended.” That’s more than a year ago, and I’ve gotten over it a hundred times already (exaggerating, of course. Siguro ten times lang), and yet talking about it with my father is a different experience altogether.
It felt like another closure to that chapter of my life. Maybe this time, the ending has become even more official.
Interestingly enough, this week has become a let’s-revisit-your-nineteen-year-old-self-shall-we week. From an unexpected but quick exchange of text messages with ~him~, to a Wednesday Revealed sermon that tugged at the depths of my heart–this week’s trip down memory lane has been in turbo mode.
And my head could not have been any more clearer: I’m thankful my brief–and only–college love life ended (1) the way it did and (2) as quick as it did. You know why? Because it’s one of the greatest–if not the greatest–wrestling matches I’ve had with God.
Last night, Pastor Gershon talked about how Jacob’s life could pass up as a Pinoy teleserye. He wrestled with so many people and so many issues in his life:
- his brother, Esau
- his father-in-law, Laban
- his love life! (this one’s a different wrestling match between Lea and Rachel, but Jacob was the title they were fighting for)
When he was left alone while his entire household went first on their way to meet Esau–first time after he ran away with his older brother’s blessing–a Man met him. Jacob wrestled with this Man–He who is so powerful that if He wanted to, He could win over Jacob even with just a flick of His finger. But He kept wrestling with him ’til the next day.
“I will not let You go unless You bless me!” Jacob said. But the Man needed to know his name if He would bless him. Without any hesitations of how meaning-laden his name is, he said: Jacob.
He said: Deceiver.
He said: Accuser.
The Man was not shocked with this name, but He changed it for Jacob. No longer Jacob, but Israel: the man who wrestled with men and God, and prevailed.
The encounter with the Man left Jacob limping. And the Bible is silent if he remained limping for the rest of his life. But if he did, Pastor Gershon said that maybe he did not mind. Because it was something that must be done in his life. All his life, Jacob wrestled with everything but God. God saw it fitting that Jacob end his unending wrestling matches with a wrestling match that will finish everything, once and for all.
A wrestling match made in Heaven. A wrestling match with Jesus Himself.
As I sat there, listening to this message, the Lord gave me the wisdom to understand what happened to me over a year ago. I struggled for months, getting over someone who has been a huge part of my college life. I did not understand then why the pain was taking so long. It was agonizing to have to always cry myself to sleep for many nights. It was heartbreaking to suddenly be left on my own after always being with someone.
When I listened to Jacob’s story, it dawned on me: I actually wrestled with God myself. And the wrestling match began as early as the friendly exchange of text messages. I bargained, I pleaded; I did all I can to get my way. Until one day, I couldn’t any more. I had exhausted all my energy, and I was tired.
Oh Lord, if only You will bless Me.
Are you sure? It will be painful.
The ending was the touch on the limbs that I needed. He took away someone, and the most painful part of the entire experience was the letting go. But it was the price I had to pay. Not only as a consequence for trying to do things my way, but also as an opportunity to cling on to God. In my weakness, He was my strength. He was there when everybody else around me was fed up with my rants. He kept supporting the limping, trying-to-get-over me. He never let me go.
I also learned that my love story shouldn’t have to be the you-and-me-against-the-world type. Sure, it’s romantic, but a God-given, God-planned relationship between a Christian couple shouldn’t have to be full of struggles, doubts, and wrestling. He makes all things beautiful in His time.
The talk my father and I had a while back was refreshing not only because once and for all I was able to “come clean” with what happened, but also because I can recount my story in a totally different light now . No bouts of bitterness and I-was-never-in-the-wrong tone this time around.
I acknowledge the great moving of the Lord in my life for these past years. Only by His grace can I write all these down with peace and joy in my heart. He rescued me, and maybe a part of me died while the rescuing was taking place, but He replaced it with a heart solely for Him.
I may still be limping, but I know I have been changed forever.