I fell in love with a seminarian
If I could slide my hands through the spaces between your ribs, slip my fingers past your heaving lungs to touch your anxious heart, would I find that it is mine to hold?
This is my first time. I have never felt this feeling before. To be vivid, I want you to know that I feel confused, mad, scared, happy, hopeful, and nervous all at once. I can feel my tummy churning and my heartbeat racing. My palms are sweaty and trembling. It’s a whirlwind, chaos, and doomsday at the same time.
There's something that isn't too easily given to articulation – whether in a sentence, a mathematical equation, a scientific statement, or a philosophical term – in the experience lovers share: giving ourselves in love to something or to someone other than ourselves.
Recently, I was working on church-related news in a local newspaper I worked for. I was writing a story for the first vow of 3 novices. Scanning through the list, I saw a familiar name. It was the name of a boy I met in college. It was a name that trips me up and brings nostalgic memories. His name was a symbol of my weakness and stupidity. He was my kryptonite.
We met 6 years ago in the university. He was a seminarian taking up AB Philosophy and I was the sassy lass from AB Mass Communication. For some unknown reason, seminarians and masscom students are always seen together chatting and having fun.
But he was different. We were not very close. He was way too intelligent, shy, and distant. Unlike other seminarians, he mingled a few times but would always prefer an alone time. But one day, out of nowhere, he approached me to borrow my dictionary. I lent it to him, hoping it would be the beginning of a conversation. And it was. We started chatting and greeting each other whenever we met. He also started sending me letters and gifts through his classmates.
He never said that he liked me, or that he was courting me, or that he has feelings for me. But the letters enclosed in an envelope (the old way of correspondence) kept coming. He was consistently nice, sweet, and caring to me. His friends told me that there were nights when he couldn't sleep or eat just thinking and talking about me.
On summers, when they were allowed to use cellphones, he never missed a day without sending me a text message. He became friends with my aunt who's a nun. On our graduation day, he introduced me to his family. His mother was very warm and gave me a tight hug.
After graduation, I vowed to disappear from his life. I was so guilty that I had no more courage to face him. We met at a time I was so naive and insensitive that I didn't return the attention he gave me. He was busy chasing a girl who never knew his worth. He made me so important, when all I did was to refuse to take notice of his passion.
The last time we saw each other was last year. We held hands and I told him to pursue his vocation. I said he'd make a good priest. Then I mentioned to him that I would never want to write an article about his vows or ordination. Yet, here I am in an awkward situation. I realized it’s no coincidence the two middle letters of life are if. For every action we make has a corresponding reaction; the outcome often beyond our control, fragile and fraught with ruinous consequences.
Lately, we began talking again. After a year of silence, there it was, his voice on the other end of the line, whole and piercing. His voice reminded me of a choir singer – a voice that echoes with power to seal all the time and distance between us. Yet, it is also the voice that stings and sucks you completely like a black hole. Maybe I just found myself at the wrong place, at the wrong time. A few weeks from now, he’ll be leaving to study Theology. But before that, I had arranged a meeting with him in a coffee shop. He didn’t come. I called the seminary and they said he’d gone somewhere and was not sure when he would come back.
3 kinds of people
I am going to tell how I feel towards him, how that phone call has awakened a force that cannot be explained and how I cannot understand why I was telling him that I think I love him now. Yes, I want to lay my heart bare and fragile. Like putting it on a table and giving him the permission to break it – as many times as he can because it’s okay – it’s okay to have my heart broken if only to mean it did something. I deserve all his reaction – be it violent or silent or shocked or horrifying – I deserve it all because I was a person who can’t find it in her heart to fall in love with him.
The heart, says Blaise Pascal, has reasons of which reason does not know. Perhaps, there is a reason why it just dawned on me now, why I fell for you at the time you had made up your mind, and why it’s too late for us (if there’s really an us).
There are 3 types of persons in this world. Runners who flee; Watchers, who sit on the sidelines; and Risk-takers, who commit.
Runners are afraid of failing or getting hurt. They fear the challenges that commitment brings, and so they run away. Watchers are the fence-sitters, also afraid of failing or getting hurt, but are fascinated by those who are in the game.
Runners and watchers may never get hurt, never experience pain, but they will also never experience the thrill, the joy, the exhilaration of succeeding. Risk-takers get hurt, they get wounded, and they can in fact fail, but they’re the only ones who know what true victory and triumph mean. And they’re the only ones who will truly know what falling in love with another person or with life truly brings.
I guess I was a runner before. I craved love but I never let my walls down to love someone. I craved intimacy but I shied away when someone showed me affection. I craved permanence but I ended things before anything took root. I detested getting hurt but only let myself find love in doomed places. I was the largest walking contradiction I know. I was a coward.
Imagine if you and me cross the limits and create something that is limitless and beautiful. But that is near to impossible now. In a few days now, you have to go. You need to go. I am letting you go. Slowly but surely I am. And as I let you go, I want to see that God is the reason and I will be at peace.
Jesus says, "Love one another as I have loved you." And yet at the very heart and core of the experience of love and of falling in love is a rather curious statement, "I don’t know."
Why does a woman fall in love with a man? We can give all sorts of reasons. But if the love is genuine, and you ask her, "Why?" she’ll most likely simply say, "I don’t know. I just know I love him; and that’s that!" Similarly, if you were to ask a seminarian who loves his vocation, why he chose that life rather than another, he’ll most likely simply say as well: "I don’t know. I just know it’s what God wants for me."
And that’s the first thing to remember about love, when it’s real. It has no “why." It just is. That’s why it’s called “falling in love” – because you really don’t know why, and you don’t know where it will ultimately lead. You simply have a very deep conviction that it is right, and you go with it. In short, it involves a very genuine risk. It is a “leap of faith” into the arms of the person you love.
PS: If you know Joey, please tell him I like him a lot and I think this is love. I hope he gets to where he's going, and that he will be happy once he does that. – Rappler.com
Valerie Ann P. Lambo, 22, graduated AB Mass Communication in Notre Dame University, Cotabato City and is currently employed at The Mindanao Cross. She says, "I wrote this because he exists."
iSpeak is Rappler's platform for sharing ideas, sparking discussions, and taking action! Share your iSpeak articles with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us what you think about this iSpeak article in the comments section below.