For some reason, I even got more interested about religion and divinity because I thought of myself as someone enlightened. I belonged then to a group of seemingly self-professed-evangelicals-so-and-so.
By Cecile I. Vizcaya
I was christened Cecile six days after my birth on September 13, 1980. The family I have grown up with is a happy and contented one. It was a fortune to have finished a degree and work for a family which has supported my endeavors since I started schooling.
To be specific, I work full-time as English instructor in a college in the city where I live. Having that job and profession is enough because it gives me the opportunity not only to share what I know, but to influence others to think, act, and behave the way I do. However, it also entails heavy responsibilities on my part as an educator and a molder of the mind of the young. To make it short, my work is quite stressful, yet I enjoy it.
Inclinations to favorites are not new to me. I have passions like the typical. One of them is reading, but it’s a wonder why I don’t read too often as I did before. Perhaps, because I am choosier, unlike then when I used to indulge in reading even run-off-the-mill works. Perhaps, I have developed taste, or should I say a critical bite. Parallel to that liking is this intense desire for writing. I use two mediums – English and Filipino. As a writer, I’m more satirical and questioning, a little of a show-off, but not impressive. If based on content information, I do not recommend my write-ups to be read. Nevertheless, not being boastful, if someone wishes to look at life with a twist, try exposing yourself to a few of my priceless and prized collections.
I believe that these gifts that I have are neither incidental nor accidental. Serendipity, as one would put it, was the key why I use it. But then I had this question that has bothered me for so long a time. “Why such gift? How do I use it? For what are these?” It came to a point of reaching the “paranoia state”, but I’m glad it did not stay there. I thought schooling would give me answers to the problem, but it only made things vaguer.
At age 20, I started pulling out all my energies to search for what I think would be the best ventilator for my already confused condition. And for some reason, I even got more interested about religion and divinity because I thought of myself as someone enlightened. I belonged then to a group of seemingly self-professed-evangelicals-so-and-so. I used religion to look for answers; unluckily, I did not find it. But then I believed my venture is undone. From the inside, someone told me that I must proceed, until my confusion fades.
The idiot box came to the rescue. Thanks to my father who kept on pressing the remote control leading to my daily affair with the most unique religious show on earth, the Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). It was hosted by a Bro. Eli. Somehow, my consumption of that show gave me a little rest of the shadows which would haunt and taunt me every time.
After months of continued exposure, I became more sensitive on religious issues. Even my college pals, that time, exclaimed, “Oh, Cecile, you’re such a saint!” It was a surprise to hear them say that, but I did not mind it. I was even happy about it, contrary to my expectations.
I really got hooked to watching that program. It was the newest addition to my passions and addictions. Everyday was a delightful engagement as I discovered and understood more things about myself, my fellows, and God. I was becoming religious.
March came in fast and preparations for graduation were quick. But I was not in a hurry. It even made things easier since vacation was around-the-corner; I would have more time to ease up and expose myself more to my newest crave. I stressed to myself that I had to enjoy the two months vacation because next would be work.
Everything ran smoothly as planned. Then April came in like a lightning bolt. A few days before April 9, an announcement for an assembly in the Church of God was brought to me. I welcomed it without doubts. First, it had something to do with my addiction; second, an unexplainable power or force had pulled me to be there. When it was time, I found myself with so many people.
I got particularly fascinated with women wearing long skirts and untainted faces. Most of them had either bundled or braided locks. I looked at myself and, as if in shame, wanted to head home because I didn’t look decent – with just slacks and a tee! My clothing was inappropriate. Women in this church didn’t wear pants and use of t-shirts is not encouraged. Again, something told me not to move out. So I just seated, with my family beside me.
I was given the opportunity to ask a few questions with the man I enjoyed listening to. I really wanted to ask him so many things, but time was very limited. Yet after that experience my disillusionment vanished.
The curiosity I had at first developed to a round-the-clock habit. I had given myself 15 days before making that critical decision. Should or shouldn’t I?
The last Thursday of my immersion was quite critical. Why doubt? After all, it’s what I really wanted.
The next day, I was off. It took me two hours to reach the place called Apalit. Wow! Quite spacious! My hair were all like trying to reach up to heaven as I neared a pool full of people. I had really feared depths, and a pool is certainly not the place for me. As I got near the water, every nerve seemed to jolt out of my body. I might drown, but in a little while; my palpitations rested. A gracious lady come to the rescue.
After a few minutes, I felt all the water covering me and pulling me in. Finally when I got out, a vivid light greeted me, and walking out of the pool was a relief.
The man I’ve been slaving for to see came out to greet the almost 2,000 converts that day. He was Bro. Eliseo Soriano, Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God International!
And so my disillusionment was off. Thanks be to God!