Pleasure and Purpose
FINDING BOTH IN THE MIDST OF PAIN
BY RICA PERALEJO
Kids are amazing teachers.
Mourning, I realized, is a very complex phase in processing loss. In my case, it isn’t as if you are crying all the time, but piano instrumentals in malls and derma clinics and diagnostic centers are more than enough to make you bawl while waiting. Then you survive the rest of the time. You eat, you drink, you care for your child and then you sleep. You can even laugh at TV series. But you do it all under a dark cloud that seems to be following you everywhere.
Expert grievers say mourning is a must. I think so, too. Though I think there should also be effort in trying to be normal. Extreme emotionalism has never proven itself to be beneficial for anybody. Although there is reason for a surplus of grief for me at this point, giving myself over to sadness still is not to be excused. And though I could very well do it if I wanted to, I must note that it is to my detriment. I know I experienced loss but I don’t think I necessarily have to lose, right?
To the grieving I might advise, “Just look at the bright side of things!” Or to think things like: it could have been worse. But that merits the question, how is losing a baby better? Funny but what this shows is that while positivity is great, it doesn’t work at all times. Blessings make burdens lighter but if by them you no longer feel the reality of pain, then that’s called escapism.
The other day Philip stroked my tummy and said “Baby… This is Philep Kuya. This is Philep Kuya.”
I used to cry every time he said that, especially when everything was still so fresh. But that day I was surprised to find that it didn’t sting. Instead it gave me a revelation of what babies are for. Or maybe more accurately, what they are not for.
That Philip longs for a brother brought me to think that a baby really doesn’t just exist only for his mother – that every child is for his parents, his siblings, his nation, and ultimately for his God. God has purposes for all children, no matter how long or how short they live, in utero or outside, He has a purpose for each which far exceeds the joy of mothers.
Prior to this moment I couldn’t bring myself to think of conceiving again as I am too traumatized. But thank God for my son, who is only two years of age but made his 35-year-old mom realize how selfish a thought that was, not to embark on the precious journey of pregnancy just because it once failed to please herself.
(Note: Please do not think of this as being hard on myself, too. I am going through the due process of grieving and everything has come to me organically, with no one forcing this readiness upon me.)
Surely, there is pleasure in being a mom but I must not claim it all for myself. The purpose of a child surely is more than that which gives me courage to embark the path of pregnancy all over again — fears, joys and all. After all, Philip is wonderful! A blessing to so many people! How do I get to make that again if I am not willing to embrace everything that comes with it?
See this is not positivity, but purpose and hope. I can think and think of what I have instead of what I don’t have, of my cup half full instead of half-empty, but it still won’t be enough. Because I realized that thinking still boils down to the same old problem and the same old focus: the pleasure of myself.
On the other hand, purpose withdraws from a solo and narrow perspective of things. It is able to take into account so many lives and blesses me with peace and courage that even my pains are not in vain.
Ultimately, it allows me to bring my attention to and fix my eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Who, for the joy set before him endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). And what was this joy? To obey His Father and to save the world. Selfless and yet, so full of unspeakable joy!!!
There is truly a purpose bigger than one’s pleasure. Moreover, a pleasure that is derived from purpose. And for that, I can boldly say that Jesus is my ultimate idol!
Have a great day!