For those who stayed for yesterday’s Ignite Fireside, one of the things I shared was how my Jesuit director told me, I suppose with a little exasperation from all my Type A life:
“Andre, ask for the grace to see Him as He so tenderly sees you”. Mushy advise for this macho man, but I accepted it.
That was Monday.
This morning, I was alone in my usual sunlit corner after Mass, happily descending into that quiet empty familiar space of conversation – when someone tapped me from the back. Rather jolted, I turned around. There was this 90 something year old man on a cane. He gave me a smile, took both my hands in his, then gave me the most tender hug. The man was Onofre Pagsanghan, Pagsi, as he is tenderly known to generations of Ateneans he has taught in the past – the best – 70* years of his life. This living legend walks over to me on his cane and for no reason known to man and no reason that I deserve gives me the tenderness I was told to seek.
Thank you. I am numb and all I can feel is thank you.
*We had another encounter the day after, after Mass again. I shared the backstory. Without batting an eyelash he smiled and started rambling on the Little Drummer Boy: “I played my drums for him pa ra papampum… I played my best for him pa ra papampum… then he smiled at me…” He stopped there and I understood. I also stand corrected. He is 65 years teaching, going on 66. If we’re lucky I will be right someday with 70…