Law of Diminishing Affections

How many indices of affection does one count before a thesis is born?

I recount the inception of some plague one brisk morning. I was born a trooper. My toddler pictures document this fascination. I wore a cowboy hat down to spurred boots all day while chasing imaginary coyotes. When the cub scout season began, I begged mother to enlist me ASAP

It was our first troop meeting. As soon as I got dropped off, fun was profuse. 

And then came the nightmare of dismissal. The kids were fetched. One by one. Until there was none. I had no clock, but the sight of our school gate screeching to a lock sent me trembling. It is not easy for a four year old to imagine abandon.

Home was some 7 miles across the public market and MacArthur highway. My mind went numb as I calculated the possibility of a hike.

Picture this: a confused cowboy-kid, clad in starched scout uniform, knee-high socks, neckerchief and all, drenched with nervous sweat and gooey snot. Crying my way each step, I tried to improvise GPS. The stares I got from strangers seemed like verdicts. I cannot recall how I managed to eek through the puzzle but when I reached the highway, I turned stone.

Something happens when paralysis and fear tango: adrenalin kicks and the weak become strong. I dashed across, ignoring speeding buses, not looking behind ... stretching to reach nothing but home.

What killed me was what happened when I finally kicked the stupid door:

Papa and Mama with all my siblings were gathered at lunch, oblivious of my absence and psychological rape. I broke down and headed straight to mother. She looked at me, with quixotic surprise and said: "Oh, I thought Ana (our house-help) fetched you."

No empathy, just a psychopathic prompt to move on and join the feast of fried chicken and white rice.

I was so hurt. Deeply hurt. That day, I went on a bank run: I pulled back my affections away just so I can stop the bleed.

I have since earned a doctorate in perfecting the art of diminishing affections. I not only drop friends but I cage them in sealed quarantine. This seemed like the only way to keep my heart safe from social brutalities.

But the bleeding is never abated this way. The drip turns into a clot. The clot turns to a tumor that turns my self-absorbed ego into a monastic recluse. I am with people but they cannot touch my heart. All they can have is my nicked-Name.

Redemption begins with the heart.

And that's where Christ enters.

Through my restless wanderings, the only Person who truly understood my cardiac-perdition was the One who deemed it to pulse. 

I still hurt when I get ditched. I am just awed how my affections have now been altered to welcome the pain and weep until joyful pearls appear.

Oh, the Sweet Heart of Jesus, my true fount of love and mercy has transplanted mine!

photography by Renchi Arce / Art and Soul

photography by Renchi Arce / Art and Soul