It’s been more than three weeks since I deactivated my Facebook, and more than three months since I’ve been working and living in GK Enchanted Farm. So far, it’s been a roller coaster ride of personal milestones, revelations, and unraveling emotions.
The city has been a wonderful hiding place for me. I could easily roll-up like a ball and blaze through its routinely busyness, ease of transportation, and good internet connection.
Being in the city all my life, it was way too easy for me to not spend enough time for solo reflection, as it is easy to throw myself in the company of family or friends and entertain myself with whatever is readily available there. But I was depriving myself of much needed further awakening to personal growth.
Living in the farm for over three months now made me become even more vulnerable to knowing myself more and others. As Brene Brown puts it, “vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”
Without the aid of entertainment that’s often triggered for me by strolling in the city malls, TV, and faster internet, I was left alone in my ruminations.
Being new in the farm, I still haven’t found enough of my kind of people and haven’t comfortably felt that sense of belonging to this place just yet.
- Being the oldest in the management team has been quite challenging for me in terms of finding common interests and building friendships.
- Having whole day Sunday classes for my Certificate in Teaching program in Manila also means I couldn’t attend worship services like I regularly used to.
- For workers like me, not having affordable stores for healthy breakfast also made me lose a lot of weight.
It was difficult for me to admit it at first, but I have been terribly feeling lonely and alone.
These three lessons I’ve been learning have really startled me because they came to me unexpectedly.
- The farm is a refuge for broken people and this is the place where we could find healing and restoration.
Joni said something like this in a gathering of new hires one night. She’s one of the pioneers of the farm and in-charge of replicating the GK community model in Pasi, Iloilo. It was that same week where I’ve been praying to God to help me see living in the farm from a fresh perspective. I teared up when she said that.
- Working in the farm, we want to be a hero so we could rescue others. But surprisingly, eventually we realize we also need rescuing. That like the SEED students and the villagers here, we are “beneficiaries” too of how living here transforms us.
This happened in a night of celebrating the October babies among the management team. Mia, the Head of External Partnerships said this in the staff house we’re we gathered until around 12 midnight.
- The essence of living here is knowing how to truly love others and how to feel truly loved.
The “Walang Iwanan” (No One Left Behind) motto of Gawad Kalinga and the culture of “caring and sharing” that we encourage in the farm carry in them so much promise, and to unsuspecting newbie like me, also evokes certain expectations which I am now learning how to let go of. It was Louis, the French guy who speaks fluent Tagalog in-charge of French interns and Head of Training and Development where I’m part of, who mentioned this in that same gathering. He said that if you take away all the minor issues that the interns are going through in the farm, it all boils down to that: loving and being loved.
These were exactly the three revelations that I needed to hear that are now helping me not just “survive” but to “thrive” in all the darkness and difficulties I’m going through right now.
Question: What lessons has life been teaching you nowadays? Care to share it with us in the comments?