New Year's Eve.
I was slouched in the sofa after coming from the annual long walk along C6 in Taguig, when the Favorite Aunt asked me to lead the Media Noche prayers. I have been asked to welcome the occasion with an invocation. But given the very advanced notice this time, I was able to put my thoughts into words, and come up with a rehearsed petition that is befitting for a blog entry.
"Our Father, we gather here tonight to celebrate the coming year as one family. We are here to thank you for the bountiful providence, as well as for looking after our loved ones and keeping them safe. We are deeply grateful that despite the highs and lows of our days, you never fail to lift us from our sullenness. And for all the times we have hurt another, we ask for forgiveness, and ways to make amends.
We offer our prayers for those who are not with us tonight, namely [insert the name of the sister here, who spent the New Year with the in-laws] and her family. May you keep them safe and away from harm, our prayers also go..."
For some strange reasons, the phone I was holding went sleep mode, and the text I was reading disappeared. I tried scrolling down the app where I put the draft, but the touch screen refused to follow. There was the awkward pause, while everyone around the table was waiting for me to conclude. Even the Favorite Aunt tried to continue the invocation, yet being unused to spontaneous thoughts, I was forced to follow through by scrolling down the text until I come across the part I was supposed to supplicate.
"... to those who look after us. May you also bless their loved ones. Lastly, we offer our prayers for the uncertainties that lie ahead, that you may guide us and give us strength when hope seems to falter. Please bless us, our father, as you have been, in Jesus name, we serve your will. Amen."
No side comments came after the prayer, as everyone was eager to begin the post-midnight feast. All I heard the next day was a commendation from my mother, who actually liked the prayer. I told her that I panicked when my train of thought was disrupted.
In hindsight, though it was embarrassing to lose your poise during a solemn moment, the delivery actually sums up how my life has been in the past year: On another note app on my phone was an outline of the things I sought to accomplish. There were pleasant surprises that were not part of the draft, and disappointments too, when notions of order suddenly crumbled just when you thought things were going according to plan. In the end, I had to live through the setback; of that mistake of relying in the strength of another, and carry on with the task I had to finish with little fanfare, or praise from those who were my life's quiet observers.
To this day, sticking to what I was set to do, despite the circumstances, remain my biggest accomplishment.
Happy New Year.