Jesus knew that He will be be lied of three times by Peter and that He will be betrayed with a sweet kiss by Judas. He was also aware that the people He served with good deeds and those who called themselves holy will crucify him to death. However, despite knowing His life’s purpose, He wholeheartedly honored His Father’s will of physical torture and death on the cross to save men from their sins and rebuild the church.

As early as age 9, my late grandmother, who was deeply devoted to the Church, had me join the Legion of Mary. A religious organization in the Catholic church. We gather to pray the Holy Rosary every Sunday and talk about bible verses, stories, especially the life and purpose of Mary. It was also through that group that I was able to piously serve our parish for 11 years until the age of 20 as a monthly gospel reader in Holy masses and a prayer warrior prior to the start of the mass, most solemnly everyday during Holy Week. This was the season when we help cover saints’ memoirs and holy symbols, arrange flowers in different corners especially the place where the blessed sacrament is transferred, and had to wake up very early for dawn processions. We also had yearly reformation program at the parish joined by other chapels under it.

When I got married, life has changed 360 degrees as I had to work abroad, focus on family, and when I came back to the Philippines for good, my time was dedicated to business where I was too naive but ultimately learned big time through the stages of experience.

August 1st, 2019, when I put up a tutorial center and hired about eight teachers based on the need of our operation. After which, I absorbed four or five more as our number of clients grew. I made sure I trained them well and monitored their daily tasks based on the lesson flow that they had to follow. One of whom, I trained and paid extra how to create marketing materials. I further shared with her my future plans, and that she knew I was about to make her a head teacher as to the preparation I was getting her ready for.

On the other hand, one of my closest friends, warned me to be cautious with my decision and not invest too much trust on people despite their connections on me. I brought it along but not really seriously because I believed in honesty, sincerity, and integrity, questioning, who would dare? Within three months of service, I actually even brought 13 of them to Boracay for Christmas vacation, even when they haven’t proven their worth yet, because many of them haven’t been there and I was very thrilled to make it possible for them. Of course, to make them happy! By January, three resigned. By February, two more. By March, when the Pandemic hit, only one teacher stayed. I tried to keep my connections with them and updated them of the company plans, but only one was committed to keep going! What’s worst was when I offered that teacher I trained to handle our company page and online promotions, she reasoned she would never teach again because teaching was not in her plans. I asked, “For the rest of your life?” She surely answered, “Yes.” And I believed her. I was aware that along the way, people will leave. I was also warned that along the way, there will be one or two who will stab your back.

Days after, that same person who said she will never teach again , formed a pack of teachers and created exactly the same business as I started with her. I was about to sue her. I consulted my lawyer friends about it, but my college friend and a lawyer manong advised, “If you find the pain in your heart unbearable, sue her for causing you distress. But if you think you can stand again, and can manage to survive, then it’s not worth it.” From then, i meditated on his advise and did not pursue the case. Stood, rebuilt the center online, two weeks after the lockdown announcement, started with just one student and that one teacher who was determined to stay, and made the Juku tutorial the biggest in Iloilo Province with five branches and a kindergarten school.

The path where I am now was quite full of thorns, I have felt excruciating pain of countless wounds and the process of healing that leaves scars. I wept, dried and wept tears because of repeated lies and betrayals but not as unbearable as the first, which on the positive note, has transformed me stronger and more insightful, trusting but this time, more careful. That one person is still with me for five years now . As you cross that rainbow, you would realize that at the end of it, the most valuable treasure beneath is loyalty, that overpowers anger, pain, mistakes and lapses, making you able to forgive countless times. For as long as there’s one person who believes in you, you would never go wrong. This Maundy Thursday, as I write this article, I reflect on how our Lord has already decided to forgive Peter and Judas prior to committing their sins because He also knew that they will repent. As for those who have trespassed me, wether there has been repentance or not, I will leave the process to them while I pray for God’s grace of forgiveness. After all, it is their journey, their life, their choice, their story to tell God.