2004/02/10

Healing Through Our Story-telling

Not all memories of IHMS are good. There are painful ones. But telling them may prove to be good for your health.

In the seminary, we were trained in the tradition of telling stories. It is close to our heart. Our forefathers were good at it. Jesus practiced it. It must be in our genes.
After waking up in the morning, we pray with our prĂ©cis and listen from the Gospels the story of salvation. We heard, in our drowsiness, the priest’s homily, and we participated in the story of the last supper.

We exchanged stories with each one. Perhaps, those stories even sustained us through the tumultuous period of adolescence. For we must have found solace in those stories, knowing that we were not alone and that we were in the same lot as the others.
We grew up in a sequestered environment--quite unnatural a setting for teenage boys. We were malleable--and clueless. Yes, we did not have a clue as to how our personal development was being shaped in the seed box. We never saw a blue print, if there ever was one at all. We didn’t know the direction our formation was moving towards, or what type of person we were trying to become. We only saw the Boholano priests--in the flesh, so to speak--and in them we saw our own future--which was really not that encouraging! We were not edified at all by them, except for one or two priests who were serious about their vocation--or so it appeared to our idealistic eyes.

So we dabbled in what was given to us, only to realize years later that there were shortcomings. Hindsight affords us this perspective. And we understand the pain that some of our classmates may have harbored through all these years.

Intellectually we were trained well--even if we thought so lowly of each other when we were together. (It must have been the morning Mozart that woke us everyday, but certainly not the arnis stroke on the steel bed and the milk--i.e.“letseng ya . . . yo!”--that shook us to the bones.) We barely expected each other to succeed in life. We never even expected our brand of education to be at par with those of the big schools in the metropolis. We realized later we even had the resource to beat them in their own turf.

In terms of spiritually, we may have been schooled well. We have kept our faith in God, even if at times we cannot fathom His design for us or sometimes we doubt that He has a design and purpose for us at all.

Developing our social skills was a natural result of our constant exposure to the public. And we realize that indeed we have been prepared for life in the community or society.

Things may not turn out well, however, for some of us. And we understand that emotionally, we were ill-equipped for life after IHMS. Our EQ or “emotional quotient” was not one of the aspects of our formation as IQ and spirituality were. It was taken as a given. A sink or swim. We were well and contented adolescents. Like Peter Pans in Never land. And we were happy that way. Growing up was not our plan.

There were some of us who endured the aches of community life. There were others who simply did not fit in. They found their place outside.

For some of us, after IHMS, we had to accelerate our maturity, on the job--as they would say. A painful experience it may turn out to be for some who faltered, somewhat, along the way. Some ended up bitter.

So, not all of us have grand memories of IHMS. There are those that we prefer to tuck in the hidden recesses of our hearts. And we want to keep them there … for good.

But as we have read from self-help books, re-telling them is the start of the healing process. We know that we have come to terms with the ghosts of the past once we are able to tell those painful stories to other people . . . and laugh at our selves.

So, continue sharing your stories. You may only be healing yourself. (msa)