Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memoirs of a Young Traveler

An old friend invited me to visit Loyola a few months ago. She has been calling me forever and I finally granted her request. I lived there for almost two years. 

While travelling, I relived the memories of my youth there where, at 23, my ideals of living in poverty with the children and the dying were realized.

Saturday afternoons were spent with the children for catechesis and Sundays were alloted for home visits to the elderly. I had tons of fun then. I remember Lolo Tinong who usually prepared softdrinks for us tired young "girandilonas" (Italian for one who walks a lot)...

At night, I never failed to find excuses just so I could go to the backyard to listen to "Parokya ni Edgar's" song practice that included throwing garbage outside...

My Loyola days included meeting a very special friend whom I always had the notion of marrying someday...Oh well, God had better plans for him as he chose to become a priest...

My friend welcomed me with a huge smile and a big bear hug. Has it really been a long time?I always admired my Italian friend's wisdom...despite the disparity of our age, we got along well. I loved her for her firm but gentle ways.

There were some modifications in the house, I noticed, but it has preserved its original simplicity. That good old St. Francis statue still stood there with a bird on his hand. The smell of the freshly mown grass reminded me of our "stargazing" nights together with some friends...

We updated each other, feeding each other with news of this and that...but my real mission for this "homecoming" as she fondly calls it was to be healed.

She captured everything with one simple straight-forward question, "ARE YOU HAPPY?" That meant a lot! I answered almost without blinking, "YES, I AM!"

With that, I felt an inner peace surged within the whole of my being and it rested there for a while. I felt a sort of relief having finally verbalized that. It has released me from all the bonds that chained me for years. It took me a long time to realize that God was fortifying me for bigger challenges in life. 
It's time. 
I'm ready.

We hugged each other before I finally bade goodbye. I was beaming as I walked along the road...

My home isn't the different places I've been in...

I've traveled a lot looking for my space...My REAL home is where my HEART is...

I've met all kinds of people along the journey...

and my HEART tells me to continue my mission...
outside the boundaries of my own comfort...
here where I am now.

Il cuore e tutto di me The heart is all of me
E la stanza segreta It is a secret room
che custodisce la mia identita that keeps my identity
ME STESSO MYSELFe dove si svolge and where
la MIA VERA STORIA. my TRUE STORY is revealed. 
Fuori del cuore, Outside the heart
sono fuori di casa mia. I am out of my house.

E laggiu It is down there
nelle sue silenziose profondita in its profound silence
che si affaccia where I see
il volto di Dio the face of God
...mia struggente nostalgia. whom I yearn

-St. Augustine-


  1. You are right Melissa a house is not a home...Your at home where ever you are at peace with your life.


  2. Melissa, I sense a deep abiding peace in you, and in your words. This memoir reveals a heart seeking for the divine - where it longs to find itself. When you mentioned Loyola I immediately thought of St. Ignatius. Holy ground, both where you traveled, but where you dwell always… for yes, it’s right there in your precious heart, where the ground is fertile for much fruit-bearing.

  3. Melissa,
    Such a beautiful reflection... You are light and love in one.... Home is where the heart is... Your heart is in you my love never forget that..

  4. Melissa, you are gifted and extremely lucky to have attained inner peace at such a young age. Your trials have made you stronger and more understanding of other peoples pain.

  5. Billy Joel sings a wonderful song, echoing what Jim says above, home is where the heart is, and if you were singing to a Lover, where that person is. I've always found that home is what you make it. In my home, I am most at 'home' in my room of my own. To me, it's where you are most at peace within your soul - this doesn't mean it has to be a dwelling that a person returns to everyday. I have favorite places where I am one with the place, which sounds as if you are too. Lovely post, and site.

  6. A house is no home unless it contain food and fire for the mind as well as for the body. — Margaret Fuller

    your reflections for a true home in the journey of life has crossed the minor feasibilities of life to enter a wide open zone of accomplished peace and tranquility for soul.

  7. Home is where the HEART is ..


  8. Melissa,
    You couldn't speak any truer words. Thank you for this. YOu are right, your home is where your heart is at peace and as long as your heart is at peace you will always be happy.

  9. There's No Place Like Home (Wherever Home Is)
    Although it should go without saying, home means more than just your house or apartment. It's wherever the people you love—and who love you—are found. I have many different "homes," where I am loved and made to feel HOME..beautifully written..

  10. Hi Melissa, you are so right. Home is where the heart is. That is one of the things I love about travelling. You take something for every place and find a home for it in your heart.

    Great post!

    Nelieta travel blog

  11. Truly spoken Melissa. Home is in our heart, looking inward and finding god there and being at peace. Loved your post as always.

  12. What a beautiful experience, Mel. It's amazing how God speaks to us in the still small voice but also through people, places and experiences. I'm glad you felt the healing. When you said Loyola - is that a place in the Philippines?

  13. Home..where I can hear the laughter my young ones, and suddenly everything will always be ok..

  14. AH a mix of travelling and meeting a fri wow ..thats great,Thx for sharing this wonderful post and i agree that Home is in our heart !!.

    Sheril Benedict

  15. "My next painting would be on a small canvas and would take as long as it took." I love this sentence because it made me realize that I put other people's expectations and my false expectations into whatever I am creating at the time instead of just enjoying the moment of creating and realizing that it is the joy of the journey and not the overall outcome or fiished work that matters; thank you! Bill