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9 years ago I said…

CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 14, 2020 - 12:00am

Nine years ago, I was faced with quite a dilemma when someone from the past, 30 years to be exact, suddenly sent an apology for breaking my heart and “leaving tire tracks in the process.” I honestly did not know what to make of it. I am happily married, was 30 years older and only then getting the same “explanation I deserved and an acceptable reason” that Piolo Pascual demanded from Toni Gonzaga in the movie “Starting Over Again”. Yes, that movie was too close to home on many points. In any case, like many people that have gone through painful break-ups, let downs or for others, betrayal, I found myself doing a schizophrenic tug of war: to be polite and grown up about it or to totally ignore the apology, not to respond and instead think of ways I would want to get even.

Ex’s do it a lot, whether it’s an ex-spouse, ex-partner or ex- associate. People normally turn affection, love or respect into hate, spite and trash-talking once the relationship turns acidic and acerbic. I know I did it before I became a “Christian”. We say, we are simply being human, emotional and getting even. So what was it going to be for me? Do I put the ex-girlfriend on spin cycle or do I add to “friends” on FaceBook? It took me a long time to sort it all out. My friend and Pastor Steve Murrel taught us many, many moons ago to leave Ex’s in the past, cut all ties and whatever you do, do not recycle. Lose the pictures, lose the number and move on and “Thank God for unanswered prayers” just like Garth Brooks sang. Pastor Steve evidently has lived a long time in the Philippines to know that the temptation to reconnect and rekindle has higher probability here than in some other port. Fortunately, the 30-year late apology came from abroad and the person already had her own family and was happily married as well. I guess she simply needed closure as much as I did. Again, that too was in the movie!

By God’s grace, I can honestly say that my many years walking in the grace of the Lord has made me understand what love, respect and relationships are all about and how to handle them on God’s terms. We need to be honest with ourselves, recognize that past relationships were for the most part true and sincere, gave us hope and brought us joy. Yes, pain or anger happened and it was enough to ruin and end what we thought was perfect at the time. It’s part of life, we have realities, circumstances and individual destinies that are different than what we had imagined. While I was hesitant and had misgivings about reconnecting, I could not dishonor or lie to myself. What I had back then was good and it was good while it lasted. To distort or malign the memory or that past relationship was like lying to myself or saying it meant nothing.

I simply could not jump into the hater’s pool because of the hurt I endured, the loss I had to recover from and the anger that I had to fight off. Why? Because what I felt, what I expressed when the relationship was working, were true and sincere. Why should we dishonor those memories just because things got ugly or disappointing in the end? Recently, I experienced a similar but different sort of relational disappointment where the person involved tried hard to leave emotional scars and stir up anger in me. After all I had done, shared and given to that person, what I got was a page of accusations and hate. Again I reflected on the fact that what I did, I did with and for love. To be honest, I struggled for a day over the rebuff or betrayal, but after lots or prayers, I once again reminded that just because someone spits at you or walks all over you instead of saying “Thank You”, it does not give you enough reason to discard the fact that my conduct was true, sincere and well-meant. It’s not our fault if people ultimately give in to their hate, hurt or delusions. As Jesus taught us all, “Do unto others, what you would have others do unto you.”

By coincidence you might say, my niece recently reposted something I wrote nine years ago and posted on FaceBook:

“No matter how disappointing things may get, never let the disappointment or the pain lead you to say or do something that may ultimately discredit the love you had for someone. You cannot talk about “Love” while it’s good then lash out when it’s gone bad. Real Love is dignified, it’s private and when it brings pain should never be part of public or private conversation” (Cito Beltran Dec. 9, 2011.)

Reflecting on both the past and the present, I have also learned that what is broken can be mended, what is lost can be found. But what prevents any of these from happening is our decision, choice and action not to honor or value what is broken or lost. If you choose to “throw away” what’s broken in the trash bin of life, it loses its value. If we declare something lost and forget it, chances are someone will find it first before you do or it will simply remain lost or hidden, never to be appreciated, used or be part of our lives. Whatever it is, it has or had value. That is why we loved it; human or otherwise.

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E-mail: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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