Originally posted on May 2, 2011
by Pat Nogoy SJ

You Change My Life In A Moment
Janie Fricke

The night’s disguise was filled with clouds
My world with mine was filled with grief
I couldn’t count all the lonely hours
Spent with memories and tears

I never thought I would see the day
When I could throw all my sorrow away
But then you came and you showed me the way
You have made all those times disappear

You change my life in a moment
And I’ll never be the same again
You change my life in a moment
And it’s hard for me to understand
With the touch of your hand
In a moment of time
All my sorrow is gone

I never thought that I could change
Could change so much in so many ways
I’m still surprise when I look in my mirror
To see that I still look the same

You change my life in a moment
And I’ll never be the same again
You change my life in a moment
And it’s hard for me to understand

With the touch of your hand
In a moment of time
All my sorrow is gone

“All real beings, including not least our own very selves, are for us human knowers always a shifting blend of known-unknown,of chiaroscuro,light and shadow.”

–Norris Clarke, SJ

Measures and Changes

Change happens given the dynamics of the relationship between the lover and beloved. Once intruded, the person adjusts to include the Other and these adjustments transform into alterations. Adjusting with the Other includes the stretching of patience, understanding, creativity, among others. The lover and beloved become “better persons” as the cliché goes, because of the reality of growth. I am not the same person as I was before.

Norris Clarke, in his metaphysics, pointed out the reality of becoming. Being is one in so far as it is whole but this wholeness is not only given but a goal of becoming. Further, he states that the subject of change is really affected by what it does and receives but its pregnant fullness–total potentialities–is never exhausted by the change itself. Thus, the subject endures the change—it truly becomes even in a moment. Here lies the hope of a Yes.

Becoming means the realization of one’s full potential. We aim to become the best that we can be and best is equated with fullness. The promise of change is made flesh with every potential realized, with every good done, with every act of love expressed. The shine of this promise of change is inviting and does put weight in the hope. Yet every shine, every ray of light, can also be blinding.

The issue of measurement cannot be avoided especially with the perspective of better. Better requires comparison, imprisons us in the narrow confines of judgment. Comparison necessitates standards and criteria. And what criteria or standards can we employ that are fair (even the word fair is relative and difficult to pin down)? And who will be the judge? The beloved? The lover? Both? Better is the forbidden fruit—inviting, juicy, promising yet treacherous.

No one knows the full extent of a person’s potentiality since potentiality or potency can only be known through an act. However, though act is self-communicating and self-revealing, it does not unveil the fullness of being. Thus, being is always veiled-unveiled–we are struggling with the shifting blend of known-unknown, of the chiaroscuro. To hold on to comparison, to a better, as guarantee is to be like the man who built his house in sand. In the end, despite the promise of change, it is still a wager.

Measures and Love

Hope in change is a precarious one because of the reality of wager. The future cannot be known, what is only given is the present. However, we cannot help but be forward-looking—to anticipate a bright ever after especially after sufferings. Expectations weigh heavily and formulating them cannot be avoided. If this is the situation, either one chooses to not expect or the opposite, to not opt for a wager by not loving at all.

But if we cannot avoid to expect or measure then if there is any measure than can be applied, it is none other than the measure of love—true love that is beyond comparison or measurement. Love asks and gives nothing but the best and by best it means everything, including suffering. That is why it hopes on the promise of change because of its all-encompassing scope that enables the subject to realize his fullness, his total potential. This goes beyond the will as love itself becomes the will, it erects itself as the reason, and it lays itself as the measure. Love’s grand scope is overwhelming to the point of dying. And in this realm of martyrdom, only the saints reign.

Though it appears ideal or romantic, life readily presents us with saints walking amongst us, those who chose to lose their very selves in order to gain the Other. Simply look at our mothers or sisters or brothers or friends or teachers or OFWs, among others. In the obscurity of routine and steering through the unwelcoming sea of our quirks and idiosyncrasies, dwell our brave families and friends. Though imperfect, their constant Yes, though hard to understand, changes us in so many ways.

This was what Laida realized when she decided to turn and run back to her imperfect Miggy. In the scene where each expressed their promise to reconcile, Miggy mentioned future possibilities of misunderstanding, career demands, even instances of forgetting. He was transparent of his imperfections, giving Laida the conditions of her wager. Despite that Laida said Yes and she captured it succintly saying, “tatanggapin ko ng buong buo.” Miggy, before the reconciliation, chose to be better by running after Laida, prioritizing her over his new duties as OIC of a telecoms company. They both said yes again, realizing how love is not a passing feeling or emotion but the very meaning of being alive. In the mysterious depths of their Yes lay their almighty hearts—bruised and battered but beating; hearts of saints nonetheless.

About Pat Nogoy

Pat was sent to Zamboanga to teach high school students. Despite this mission he shares in the Society of Jesus, he also discovers that philosophy left a trace that continually gives. Time and again, this trace asks him to engage life deeply especially Zamboanga (its cultures, places, and peoples) and prods him to share his reflections. Aside from thinking and writing, he enjoys his other jobs as moderator of the high school choir and of creatively seducing more men to help make God’s dream a reality in the present as Jesuits.

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