“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go.” John 21:18
my daughter megan was compared by my mom with Christmas lights that blink and blink. when she was younger, she had a temper which she undoubtedly got from me. fortunately she got the ‘flash’ type temper. ’twas here, next second pfft, nada, gone.
i wish i could control my temper like that when i was younger. like a switch, i could have just turned it off as quickly in a flick. and so should the spanking too. (if that caused my behind to be this plump, something good came out of it somehow, ha-ha.)
this is just to point out that as we grow older, the more subdued and considerate we become. when as infants, we cry when we were hungry or wet, no matter if it was in the middle of the night when everyone else was asleep. or we smiled and giggled when we feel like it, even when there was no one around to smile with us. who cares? as kids, we were carefree. no worries, no inhibitions. walang pakialam sa mundo. at walang kamalay-malay. we didn’t care what time of day, or night it was. our parents took care of everything we need.
when we matured as teenagers, tougher rules were implemented. parents stared at the clocks longer. tick-tock, tick-tock. “time to do this, time to do that”. “you’re late again”. darn! these were played on and on like broken records. that’s the reason we couldn’t wait until college graduation was over. when finally, we would be able to find decent jobs and meet financial bliss minus parental restrictions. aaaahhh sweet freedom! haha! or so we thought…
we don’t realize it until later that as we went about to build careers and eventually settle down and raise kids of our own, that we were never free afterall. when we signed employment contracts, we were bound. when we get married, we tied the knot. and the marriage contract didn’t even have an expiration date. and the power over our own life would remain a dream, because our sense of responsibility decides when to turn on and off our self-indulgence. we will forever be prisoners of time, jobs and loved ones. or on a grander scale, prisoners of our own organization, company or advocacies.
by prisoner here meant to be involuntarily restrained. as adult human beings, it is an instinct to belong. and to belong means that one exists no longer for himself alone, but for someone else or something that he puts higher importance to, at times even more than himself. this requires sacrifice and self-denial especially when one’s desires and comforts are set aside for the well-being of another.
when we stretch out our hands to be tied down or when we allow ourselves to be taken and girded to be carried to where we would not want to go, we are perceived to be prisoners by human standards. but when we conform to a higher spiritual order, the restraints become the most profound symbol of freedom. chains are made of love instead of steel. and the prison walls of warm embrace, instead of concrete. when we are finally freed from the bondage of our own selfishness, we finally taste freedom of the sweetest kind.
Jesus stretched out his hands to be crucified. He allowed himself to be girded by others and carried away to where we would not want to go, to Golgotha where His body and blood were sacrificed so that we may be all be free from the bondage of sin. it was not about weakness. but obedience. and love.
the fate of St. Peter was predicted to be like that of his Savior, only upside down. though he “blinked” 3 times, when he denied Jesus, he freed himself from the anguish and shame by accepting his designated task on earth. to be the rock upon which the Church would be built. to be the shepherd of Jesus’ flock after His Ascension.
wouldn’t it brighter, if instead of blinking lights, we would rather be spotlights?…ever radiant and focused where the hand of God sets us upon.