THE Holy Week used to be a time of quandary.
On the one hand, for the kids who grew up in the province, myself included, it was reunion season, a chance to be with Manila-based cousins for a week of fun and play. On the other hand, there was Lola, whose stringent Catholic beliefs and words discouraged everything that had to do with fun.
“Bawal kayo magsaya,” she would say every time we laughed too hard or played too raucously. “Nagsasakripisyo ang Panginoon, nagsasakripisyo siya para sa atin, kaya makisama tayo. Kahit magsuklay, bawal.”
Her children, our parents, were familiar
with the red flags. They usually smirked following Lola’s litany to us kids, as if they were amused
with the torch-passing of sorts. They also gave us a shrug, as if permitting us to decide for ourselves. We abided anyway.
What was nonnegotiable, however, was the abstinence from all forms of entertainment. No TV, no running, just praying and a lot of reflecting.
The ban would trudge on until, if not more strictly, on Black Saturday, when the day’s name should match its mood, as we were told. That made Easter Sunday much sweeter, from the resurrection of Jesus, the lifting of the bans and the restoration of summer season in all its sunny glory, marked by a beeline to the nearest resort for a refreshing swim followed by lunching on inihaw na bangus. It was the repetitive practice I grew associating the Lenten season with.
But the past Holy Weeks, including the most recent one, have been a little different. We have moved to Manila, most of our relatives have migrated, and what I looked forward to the most was not playtime with cousins, but breaktime from work.
However, amid the changes, a constant remains. Despite Lola’s passing, her words live on.
Today, her words are not mere rules anymore, as maturity has given me the eyes to see them the same way she always had: as lessons. The motives behind her impositions were much clearer. Lola was not only instilling in us the value of abstinence, or the sacrifices Christ made, but she was showing us the importance of channeling time and effort to something more important—for Holy Week, at least.
Monotony and indulgences limit our views to the temporal. Changing gears allows us to see what’s really just smoke and mirrors, and gives us the chance us to reconnect with something beyond us.
This is how I have come to value silence, and Lola’s Lenten lessons along with it. The very thing I used to dread about Holy Week when I was a kid is the same thing I looked forward to today.
Last week I kept still. There were no hustle, no bustle, just praying and a lot of reflecting.