2013, the year of the snake=the year of ordeals. According to the Book of Genesis, the very first book in our Holy Bible, the serpent tempted Adam and Eve to eat the Forbidden Apple. A snake by common human thought is very cunning. When looking for a prey, the snake waits and ambushes its prey at the best first opportunity available. Some snakes of course use venom as a way to quickly kill their prey. Many unfortunate humans have suffered from attacks by snakes. Their characteristics make it one of the most deadly and vicious predators of wildlife. When you discover a snake in your house, the first thought would be, “It’s dangerous!” You will tread with care so as not to be attacked. Snakes often means Trouble. Another word for ‘trouble’ is ordeal.
For me personally, 2013 was a tough year of ordeals indeed. It was the first year of my ITE course. As usual, we needed to make friends, and make good ones. In places like this, you have to make good choices to succeed. Thanks be to God! I have good friends in ITE though they did cause problems for me. Oh Nick, Nick….. How do I start with him? In the best way possible, Nick is an unlucky guy in love. Already on his first day, he had a crush on a girl and then, in the months to follow, he had more crushes. . . . crush after crush as the months went by.
Well, he did meet a nice girl (She will not be named so as to protect her identity) who had promised him a good relationship till the intervention of the girl’s parents. Then some confusion resulted. They eventually broke up. Breaking up is only a good thing when it is for the best of interests. Whenever things go sour, it is the job of his friends ( Sya & myself in particular) to stop him doing anything rash. He has a very aggressive temper when he’s angry. To solve this comfortably, I taught him forgiveness and Jesus’ teachings on loving our enemies even though we just can’t stand the sight of them. Sya… Not much to say about her except that she is a good friend and that I’m grateful to have her as a friend. I have many other friends but the people I have mentioned are always together with me and we are like buddies. I hope that it will remain the same after graduation.
Well, Nick’s problem was one of the ordeals that I faced, at least in school. Worse ordeals I faced were the challenges I had in my faith journey. I always have to encounter Satan’s temptations. Challenges I had included being forced to question the loyalty of my friends whom I hold most dear. Then I questioned my self-confidence, my morality, my identity as a son of God by adoption, my identity as a Catholic. Times when I fell into darkness were mostly in 2013.
Adding all these problems together equals very big “ordeals”, thus the title. I was in distress whenever I had all these problems in my mind. My ITE friends were of not much help to me (Yup, sorry guys). Well let the truth be told – I wouldn’t actually look for them if I had any serious problems. In fact, the very problems I had to solve were often not mine at first but somehow I would get pulled in, and I must say, rather innocently.
One single group of friends that I always speak highly of are my treasured friends, and for them, I would be willing to make some sacrifices. Yes, these are my Church friends, my RCIY crew. Despite differences in age, we hold a friendship that can never be broken though Satan often tries to divide and destroy us. Their prayers and regular 99% successful advice are normally just simply reciting the teachings of our Lord Jesus, especially of forgiveness and love.
My church friends include my catechumens, fellow sponsors, catechists and the priests. Only recently, a week before Christmas, Fr. Ben healed the rashes that I spotted on my arm. Now currently, by the grace of God, it is clean like how Jesus healed the sores of the many lepers who came to him and made them clean. If it weren’t for them, hah, I would be on the one-way smooth road to hell; but instead with our fellowship, we know that all of us are on the bumpy road to heaven. Yes, we are on our way to paradise to meet the Lord. We are moving to the Kingdom of the Lord, where all souls will rest eventually once having completed their perilous journey on Earth.
Academically, 2013 was the calm before the storm. 2014 has just begun and it will be hell. Spiritually, all is well, though it’s always turning right or left, making the right choices. To end this, have yourselves a Happy New Year! May God bless you all!