I have never been religious and I don't think I will ever be, but going to the college chapel at Gonzaga Hall of Ateneo has always been a balm to my soul.
More than 20 years ago, I used to drop by the chapel every now and then, just to be quiet amid the pressures of school and my young domestic life. It was in the middle of a busy building which also houses the cafeteria, but once you were inside you forget all the noise outside. I did not really go for the mass. I just sat there pondering my situation, my direction, or simply soaked up the moment.
This morning I was in school to borrow some books from the library. Before I went there, I passed by the chapel again. I marvelled at the vivid memories of my solace from 20 years back. On both sides were windows, and lots of greens. As usual, students walked past and even talked among themselves, but their voices did not bother me one bit.
It is a Catholic chapel inside a Catholic university, but the Higher Being there did not seem to have a particular religious bent -- no baggage of history, or dogma, or convention. Just somebody wise and all-knowing and kind to talk to.
So I did.
For the first time I did not anymore wish for things to turn out a certain way. There were just so many circumstances out of my control. I just wished for the grace -- yes, that is what it is, because it is neither logical nor can it be planned or willed or programmed - to be more detached from all delusions of self-importance. I cannot control what happens. I cannot dictate what people do and do not do. I cannot know outcomes now, impatient as I am. What I prayed for was the ability to control how I react to these stimuli.
Because in the end, what is meant to be, will be. It will be easy. The Universe will align to see it happen. My life is a great narrative.
And then descended upon me a sense of peace. When I left, I felt lighter -- I had prayed for the right thing, finally.
I look forward to the start of the semester. I will be able to stop by the college chapel more often.