Paperbag Treasures

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Today, I paid a visit to the National Office of Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ (PCCC), where I previously worked (volunteered/interned) two years ago before resigning and pursuing graduate studies.

As I was leaving, the guard (the same guard who had also been there two years ago)   stopped me, and told me: “Ma’am, may mga gamit pa kayo dito.

He told me it was in the parking lot. For a minute I considered just leaving my stuff and let them dispose of it, but at the last minute, I decided to retrieve them. So kuya Guard led me to the parking lot and pointed to a brown paperbag. Indeed, there was all my stuff, everything that had been on my desk for a year.

I rummaged through the contents of the paperbag this afternoon.

And oh, the memories.

Nostalgia. Has it really been two years ago since I worked at that office?  Just thinking about it brings back a truckload of memories. I remember walking everyday from my house in Madrinan in heels and smart-casual clothes to the office. I remember the first three weeks in the “Bat Cave,” until I was instructed to move out. I remember the cute desktop they had installed for my use.

I remember the Painful, Awful Happening that led me to work at the office.

I remember being in so much confusion and pain and anger, and not knowing what to do with all of these emotions, yet still smiling for everyone, because I doubted that anyone would understand what I felt.

I remember trying to numb myself to stop myself from feeling the pain.

I remember feeling so alone, despite being in the same space with people for 8 hours.

But as I dug deeper in the paperbag, I found some cards and gifts from friends. I really feel most loved when given gifts and affirmed through words, and I’m sentimental like that, so it was a delight finding them (and realizing where they were all this time!)

Seeing those cards and tokens make me appreciate those friends (who gave me the gifts and cards) even more. I was such a mess at that time that I probably didn’t fully appreciate these people, and I probably didn’t realize it at that time, but I hung on to them like a lifeline, as if reminding myself that there was still some good in the midst of all this.

I am not there yet, but I do believe I’ve come a long way in healing from that Painful, Awful Happening. And I didn’t recognize it then, but God had already started healing me through these very committed friends.

Surely one outcome God intended from the Painful, Awful Happening was for me to appreciate the gems I have in friends. And oh, what treasures they are indeed! I think I can live with that.

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