Amidst all the deadlines and paperwork in front of me, I would like to take this time to let it sink into me that someone is leaving and we just had said our goodbyes. We’ve known each other only for two months but the bonds we had formed are undeniably that of a family.
I’ve known him as the tall, thin guy with a very low and thick voice. As the coordinator, he usually is the first person you will see in the morning, writing announcements on the whiteboard, and distributing stuff, making us fall in line to ride the school service at exactly 7:30AM for us not to be late for our 8AM class. He is also a Bicolano, his family lives in Iriga City. He also graduated Summa Cum Laude.
I remember one instance, we were all so tired and drained after a day’s teaching for Summer Class in the morning and workshops in the afternoon, he was still all perky and happy that he is. He had never let our negative vibes got into him. He continued with his tasks, alert and positive at all times. The following morning, when we opened our doors, just right at the side of it, there were little cupcakes with Flat Tops and Cloud Nine chocolate bar and a little note, all personalized for the 54 fellows. How thoughtful of him to do that! From then on, I had appreciated his presence and efforts for all of us. He even have all of us in his prayer list!
He would also sit in our classes, participate in activities and just be part of it all. In one discussion, we were asked, Why Teach for the Philippines? He answered, “I applied for the children, but I stayed for the Fellows.” Soooooooo heartwarming to hear. He had always been that sunshine we all need throughout every challenging day.
Today, he is leaving to novitiate for the Jesuits. Yes, he had chosen the path to being a priest. As explained by one fellow who is an Atenean, the Jesuit training is a long process, first one has to have a degree to be accepted, then that is followed by two years of novitiate then four more years of Degree in Theology and I forgot the rest. Likely, 10 years after, she said, would be the earliest he could be ordained as a priest.
I don’t want to feel sad about him leaving us today. I should be glad because he will be working on his way to touch more lives and make a huge difference in humanity and spread the good news. He had offered his life to be of service to God. Though I cried more than a bucket of tears, while writing last night my short message for him. Then, cried another bucket an hour ago as we sing him Salamat by Yeng Constantino as our farewell tribute to him. He had been battling the tears from falling, but he failed. His tears had just started rushing down his cheeks. Tears of joy and gladness. He said, that he had never felt appreciate until today. I’m glad that we were able to let him feel that before he leaves.
He was the first one to leave a mark in all of our hearts! We will surely miss him.
Now, let me go back to my Item Analysis, Reading Response Essay and Emotional Intelligence Worksheets.