Sunday, September 03, 2006

Am I the most terribly selfish person I know?

Muffet Villegas is one of two very beautiful persons I came to know since I lost Maia. The other one is Lele Martinez. If not for this painful event in my life, I would never, ever, have gotten the opportunity to know these two ladies - and they stand before me as shining examples of how I should also live my life.

Ma'am Muffet became a friend although we never met. Without meaning to, she became my sounding board and mentor as I groped through what could only be called the darkness and emptiness of my spiritual life.

We write to each other quite often and I am taking the liberty of posting her letter to me. She has so much wisdom to share and I would like to share it with as many as possible. I am also posting excerpts of my own letter to her as I tried to make sense of one very confusing being - me!

Dear Ma'am Muffet,

I'm sorry I did not reply to you immediately. Again, I did not know how to respond to all the wonderful things that you wrote about me. You think so highly of me, and I am not worthy. I am not even sure if you, or I FOR THAT MATTER, know what my real motivations are for doing the things that I am doing. Did I lose you in that Ma'am? Sorry I am lost too. I am really confused right now.

I keep asking I helping Kate because I have compassion and want to do good for goodness' sake? Do I really value all human life, ALL FORMS OF LIFE, as I profess to do? or I am just selfishly pursuing my own selfish goals?

I claim to value life. Fine. But how come that whenever I would hear news that the vigilantes have gunned down another drug pusher/financer, I would have no feelings of outrage? Rather, I would secretly say "serves them right!" How come I favor the death penalty for scums like Echegarray? How come I commented that whoever raped-slayed that poor 13-yr old girl in Candau-ay should not be taken to court anymore ... that they should be executed right away? POOF ... there goes my claim.

I honestly thought that I valued life, no matter what, that even the scoundrels of society deserve their day in court. But when I examined myself, I realized that I was nothing but a hypocrite who maintains double standards, maybe, in everything that I believe in.

Even my desire to help Kate came under my own scrutiny. Is it because of compassion? Yes. Could it also be because I could easily imagine Kate as the baby that I would probably have, had Maia been born to me? Most certainly yes! Am I hoping to reap heavenly rewards for good deeds? I do not think so. Could Kate merely be a means to an end? That is what I am scared of. What if whatever help would come Kate's way through my efforts now, would merely be a fortunate by-product of my pursuit to find the meaning and reason for my baby's loss? What if I am simply selfishly pursuing my own goal - that of finding my closure? Had I not lost Maia, would I still have lifted a finger to help this baby? If that is so, would that not make me the most terribly selfish person I know?

So many questions! How I wish the answers are as easy to come by. But how can I find answers to my questions when I doubt everything? even myself?

Ma'am, thank you so much for your patience in answering my questions. You cleared up some doubts but stirred up more questions, I'm afraid. I hope that I am not being a burden to you as I grope through my doubts.

Ma'am thank you for wanting to help Kate. Please do not think that I am using our friendship to solicit help for her. I just felt that I would not have done everything for her if I had not brought her case to my friends' attention. As what Ma'am Lele Martinez said to me - just leave it all in God's hands because I have done my part already.

Finally, may I wish for more of God's blessings to come your way? You have so much goodness to share, like guide the likes of me through our confusion, and you will need your health and all your strength to fulfill that mission. I have complete faith that God has touched you with hands that heal and that you will continue to be our shining example for the long years ahead.

With love and the highest regards,


Dear Olga,

It's good to write long letters, I think we are both on the same boat. We just love to write. I am talkative sometimes. Especially when I talk about something I am really passionate about.

Before I answer your question, let me tell you that I read your mail about that child, who was needing so much help, but she can't avail of some help from the heart center because she's a mongoloid. In every inch you are right when you reasoned out to that person about your contention to help that little girl. I admire you for that. I say that you are a person with determination and substance and who is willing to stand for your belief, and for what is right. I would liken our situation as cancer patients to that child. Some were given 6 months or 3 months to live and a relative of my husband went through chemo for the second set every week at St Luke, even if she was given one year to live. Like that little girl, some of these cancer patients are no longer productive in the sense that we could live like a vegetable with morphine for the rest of our short existence. Yet life is of the greatest value, no matter what. That little girl deserves to live, no matter what kind of situation she is in. Why are there sick people? Why are some so poor? Why are there children who have this kind of illness? Why do I have cancer?

Sad to say, I don't have all the answers. All I know is that, it is not a mere accident that we know these people. God designs a plan, and for everyone we meet, there is a reason behind it. Just like what you said, that there is a reason for every pain. For me for those of us who know about that little girl, God is giving us the chance to respond,in His own way. Do we respond with compassion? or with calousness? is it right for that person to say that since she is not an asset to the community, then, those who decide that she should not avail of those benefits are right? olga, for every person, God gives us a chance to show to Him, our God, who even gave His only Son to die for us that we, in our little ways could respond and be merciful. I am giving to that little girl. Its a small amount, but you know what? God, just wants to test our hearts. You are one person whom God is using as an instrument for others to see with eyes of compassion.

Also, God does not measure our love for Him by going to church. He sees our hearts. he knows our desires to be close to Him. Our prayers may not be answered for now, but God is never too late.

Now your big question. Was I spiritually close before I had cancer? Yes. But my faith was not this BIG. I am not a good person. I am like the others. I scold my kids, and nag my husband. I have missed so many opportunities to help. Although we have just barely enough, I discovered that being poor is not a hindrance to help. But my belief since I was little is that, it is better to be hurt by others than me to hurt someone. I believe that I can handle the hurt and I can forgive. But I can't handle or control the other person if I hurt him with words. I can't sleep thinking that I hurt somebody. I always believe that there is a good thing in every person even if he is the worst for others. So I would go for those who are hurt, or needy. I find ways to cheer them up. But you you know what? I thought it was enough to be good hearted, I failed to realize that I was doing it to merit God's love. To make him utangan to me. Which was wrong. The danger of being self righteous was there.I still felt empty, Olga, it was like I was doing it for nothing. One thing strange with humility is that once we realize that we have it, then we lose it.

Many years ago, I thought I could be saved by good works. Wrong again. if this is true, then I didn't need a savior, right? Christ death on the cross would be in vain, because look, I could save myself by being good. I grew up with the nuns for seven long years. I almost became one. My parents made me as "interna" since first year up to first two years in college. Again, we were not even well to do, but just enough that we could get a good education.

Yet I was yearning for God. I didn't feel Him close. As if he was too too far away. I would go to church everyday, but it was like nothing. There was that vacuum. even if I have a good husband, and nothing to complain about my life, there was still that nagging pain of emptiness. Then one day I became so desperate. I asked God to show me the way. To make me feel that he is real. I was brought to to this full gospel gathering , then there , I received the Lord Jesus as my personal Lord and saviour. Yes it sounds like a cliche, but these words have totally changed my attitude of self righteousness. I realized that like others, I was a vile sinner. I sinned in my thoughts, in words,and action, and to God, sin is sin. Jesus said, if we thought about killing someone, because of anger, we have done it actually, so who am I? I thought about nasty things, and never talked about them, and I thought I didn't sin. How many times have I murdered somebody in my thoughts? The bible says, everyone has sinned and fall short. In thoughts,in words and in deed.

Then after several years, cancer strikes. You know what? I can't imagine myself taking this blow if it was not for that personal relationship with Jesus. Maybe, I would have hated God. maybe I would have become bitter and ask a lot of why me Lord? I don't drink, nor smoke, I live a straight life, I am good, etc...why cancer Lord?

But when I heard it, when my doc told me about it, I cried and begged God to be with me, I didn't want to be away from him, and he kept so close, than ever, Olga.. the feeling is so wonderful. Sometimes when pain was terrible, I would ask Him to block it out, just hold me so I could sleep. And He did, many many times. How can I not fall in love with God? He showed many times his power. I bled on the fourth day and my doc said, it was seconds, and they could have lost me on that operating table. Then as I was groping for conciousness, I felt jesus so close. Actually holding me. I know it sounds strange to some, but that experience was so wonderful. So lovely, and won't excnage it with tho those times that i was healthy.

Yes, as you follow God, He will reveal to you all these miracles, like answered prayers for that baby, Olga, God has beautiful plans for you as you follow him,know Him. He's got more to show you. He will provide tremendously beyond your imagination. Continue to trust God.

Much love,


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