How do you know if something or someone is meant to be?

JUST BE - Bernadette Sembrano (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2013 - 12:00am

“How do you know if something or someone is meant to be?”

This seems to be the question that a lot of people want an answer to, especially when it comes to finding the right person. 

And my answer is, “You just know.” 

I can say that now because I’ve experienced it with my husband, Orange. And we just knew it. Before him, it was a long-standing question that I so desired to find an answer to, not just in relation to love life, but also in finding one’s vocation in life. To priests, they would define this as their “calling.” Take note: Calling is not exclusive to persons planning to enter any religious order.  

Letlet Paulino used to work in a bank, but was restless to find something more meaningful in her life. She resigned and did mission work until she came to work in Ang Arko ng Pilipinas. She is a community leader/house parent to persons with intellectual disabilities and abandoned by their parents. After years of searching, she “knew” this was what she wanted when she set foot in the home of Ang Arko ng Pilipinas in Cainta, Rizal.

Ang Arko ng Pilipinas is turning 25 this year. Its former chairman Armando Baltazar tells me that most of the house parents there are volunteers! A certain spirit, a deep desire from within attracts their house parents like Letlet to take care of their core members. (They don’t want to call the persons there patients, but core members because they are the reason for their existence.) 

In our conversations, Baltazar, also known as Tito Balty, mentioned the term “spirituality” many times in trying to explain how a small home to abandoned children managed to be in existence for many years. One of the donors, the late Geny Lopez, issued a million pesos to the foundation to help build another house for the core members.  

Letlet, on the other hand, feels that Ang Arko has helped her more than her helping their core members. She belongs in a community wherein she feels loved unconditionally, as she herself is accepting of their core members. However, she admits, it is not always easy. 

Living out one’s calling is never a walk in the park. It will always be a bumpy journey. But “knowing” that you are where you should be gives a feeling of reassurance and peace.

Marriage, my vocation, has its challenges and its share of adjustments. If you look at them as part of marriage, then the challenges are worthwhile. 

What we want — our desires, according to Fr. James Martin, SJ — “is a primary way that God leads people to discover who they are and what they are meant to do. On the most obvious level, a man and a woman feel physical, emotional and spiritual desire for each other, and in this way, they discover their vocations to be married. A person feels an attraction to being a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher, and so discovers his or her vocation. Desires help us find our way. But first we have to know them.”

Again, we’re back to the question, “How do you know?” Until now, I find it difficult to describe that state of knowing your calling, but we can begin by admitting to ourselves when we are restless. What is your heart telling you about your work, about your relationship and about your life? 

When I do not know what to do and feel the need for direction, I pray that God would guide the desires of my heart, for me to want what He so desires for me.

This Lenten Season is a good time to reflect. You may want to read The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, SJ. I’m still at Chapter 3 — What Do You Want? — which is about desire and spiritual life.  

May we find God in everything that we do. 

(I would love to hear from you, e-mail me at nagmamahalateb2@yahoo.com.)

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