‘Realization is nothing without a change of heart’

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. - The Philippine Star
âRealization is nothing without a change of heartâ

I’ve been watching on YouTube the homilies of Fr. Dave Concepcion of Sta. Maria Goretti parish in Manila and his words are like balm to the soul in this most precarious time of the pandemic. With Omicron rearing its ugly head in every nook and cranny, being safe does not only mean observing health protocols. Being safe also means being with God — or hearing His wisdom, like hearing it in the tone, voice and conviction of Fr. Dave.

In one of his videos, he mentioned that “realization is nothing without a change of heart.” He added, “Ang malungkot na kwento ay: natutunan mo na ang tama, ipinagpatuloy mo pa rin ang mali (The sad story is: you’ve already learned what is right, yet you still continue to do what is wrong).”

Those words remind me of some people I know, people who said enough is enough when they realized they were losing at the end of the bargain.

The story of A

Like “A,” a 30-something common-law wife whose partner verbally abused her. After a couple of years, she gathered her wits and will and left him. (I sent her the YouTube link of Fr. Dave’s homily and she replied after watching it: “I surely made the right decision!”)

A Filipino psychiatrist, based on her clinical experience, told me that domestic abuse in middle-class families was felt more clearly when the pandemic began. One reason is couples being cooped up 24/7 under one roof during lockdowns. “A”’s experience is part of the story.

Abuse is about power. Power is about the strong and the weak. Power is control.

“A” was weak. Her partner, because he was the bigger provider, was strong. He did not physically hit her. Not once. But his verbal and mental abuse almost drove “A” to lose her mind.

Their six-year affair ended last year when “A” finally decided enough is enough. She went back to her parents’ house. She’s been seeking therapy for a year now because, to this day, though not that often anymore, she still dreams of a wolf devouring her.

“A” was scarred and scared. But she proved that “realization is nothing without a change of heart.”

What good is it to realize the good things we deserve in life if we continue to waste them by sticking it out with sticky situations? Many times, the human brain understands what is wrong and detrimental and yet the body, the weak body, still subscribes to being shortchanged.

When one doesn’t give oneself enough respect to break away from anyone who does not see one’s worth, that is a great disservice to oneself. There should be respect for the self — and anything great in life emanates from that. Self-respect is self-love.

Self-love, as experience taught me, involves the heart and the mind. It is abandoning pain inflicted by others in pursuit of something worthwhile for the self — be it gardening, washing the dishes, or biking. When the heart is subjected to too much

hurt, the tendency is to be forlorn. But self-love dictates that the mind needs to be trained to be stronger than the heart.

The story of Q & U

Realization is nothing without a change of heart. Stand up to bullies. That’s what happened between my two male friends. “U” and “Q” were inseparable. They were each other’s concomitant variations; where “U” was, chances are “Q” would be there, too.

The pandemic happened and “Q” saw himself partly dependent on “U” — financially, emotionally. The latter did not mind at all. After all, they were friends. “U” always looked back to the time when “Q” was there for him. That was enough. So he thought.

“Q” became a monster of a friend when he got broken. No amount of kindness from “U” would assuage him. He disrespected “U” in many ways — showing lack of concern when he bumped “U”’s car, going straight to “U”’s connections for “Q”’s own benefit, getting upset when “U” did not lend him money. No remorse. “U” tried to help “Q” by giving him free access to a psychiatrist only to be turned down.

Later on, “U” said enough is enough. He would not be a victim to “Q”’s maneuverings. Realization set in. And a change of heart took place.

Fr. Dave is correct: “Realization is nothing without a change of heart.” Even if it hurts the heart.

What is happiness?

Happiness is almost elusive in the time of COVID-19. But happiness is a friend to those who know it.

Happiness is…

Finding joy to cultivate faith over fear.

Listening to calming voices in your head rather than entertaining apprehensions.

Celebrating life with all the safety precautions amid the threat of the virus.

Rising above life’s challenges albeit on a glacial pace.

Being unaffected by other’s misaligned and misinformed opinion of you, in the time when kindness is all you need.

Reconnecting with the child in you and making sure, despite the challenges of the present situation, that your life is still filled with awe and wonder.

Extending generosity even in times when you also need help.

Eating the simplest fare on the table with gusto.

Having the ability to smell the flowers, even the earth, because others have yet to regain fully their sense of smell due to their COVID experience.

Shooting the breeze or riding the wind.

Drinking more than eight glasses of water daily.

Sleeping for eight hours uninterrupted; even five to six hours.

Smiling even if uncertainties are a common happenstance.

Meeting a deadline.

Saying no.

Knowing that you don’t know everything, that your knowledge is not limitless.

Feeling not okay and not concealing it.

Seeing your mother or your father smile.

Baking bread, watering the plants, washing the dishes.

Playing with your cat or dog; even running after a dragonfly.

Looking at yourself in the mirror to see lines and crow’s feet on your face and you are perfectly okay with them.

Witnessing sublime or subdued sunrise or sunset.

Getting an unexpected text from someone you’ve not heard from for a long time.

Moving on, moving up, moving forward.

Appreciating someone’s work or effort.

Reconnecting with friends when we need to check on each other.

Sleeping with joy in your heart.

Waking up with enthusiasm for a new day.

Celebrating your birthday.

Going back to your happy place.

(For your new beginnings, e-mail me at [email protected]. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed weekend.)


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