Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Melo's Touch

“Do you believe in soul mates?” I asked Fr. Roel. He let out a chilling “no.” But knowing Fr. Roel He followed it up with “…that’s a term of New Age, you know…But I do believe that there is an innate capacity for a person to sense and feel most at ease with someone.”

Like Fr. Roel, I don’t believe in soul mates. But, I do share in his view on the very essence of what the term “soul mate” means.

Today, a good friend of mine is celebrating his nth birthday. And I consider him my soulmate an individual whom I am “most at ease with.”

His name is Melo.

I met him when I entered the seminary eight years ago. That year, he was also making a comeback. He re-entered after two years of seminary respite. There, our paths crossed.

Perhaps, he may not be aware of this, but the congeniality innate in him has made a great impression in me. For one, I admire his warmth as a person. I still remember that he lets out a sincere and warm brand of smile whenever we bump into each other in the hallways of the seminary. Yeah, he’s also the funny type who is always ready with his witty remark on things (and people!) that tickles my funny bones.

And to think that we’re mere acquaintances back then.


A great friend

I recall that he had his own circle of friends (Alex, Bunso and Richard) while I had my own world to be busy with (I was with Rob, Allen et al.). On the second half of the year, I was asked to teach. I didn’t know he knew about this. But I was pleasantly surprised when I found out a voluminous photocopy of a book on teaching strategies lying on my table. With it came a yello post-it note that reads:

“I hope this could be of help to you."
-melo

From that point, the budding of a healthy friendship between us has taken shape.

I would soon realize that my friendship with Melo is one of the best gifts I received when I entered the seminary.

One of our talents is that we can read each other’s penmanship even if in its worst form. I would soon realize that we would finish each other's sentence, without interrupting each one. We have developed a language which transcends the existing linguistic archetypes.

We used to check each other's sermonettes and speeches. But we stopped doing that. We've transformed to seek and pursue greater things. Now, we ask each other to check academic journal articles! Melo, hindi ko pa tapos! hahaha

Soon, we would be sharing not only these; But also our fears, prayers, plans, even friends (not all!) and enemies (again, not all!).

Mentor

Years after, we were both assigned to teach in another department. He handled social studies while I was assigned to teach language. Our common work experience has cemented our friendship. But more than that, I learned so many things from him.

For one, his expertise in terms of ‘our’ pedagogy has become a big help in me.

Melo came from the juniorate, he did not only receive inputs about Preventive System from the classroom lectures and conferences. He witnessed how the pedagogy was lived—both in its best and worst.

This I can say because I saw it in his life not only as an educator but a would-be Salesian. And even up to now, I still look up to him.

Confidant

Now, this can be told. One of my main motivations why I entered the seminary two years ago was because he was the assistant of the seminarians. I agree it’s an impure one. But I trust that with him around, I am secured.

Early this year, in the height of preparing for our religious profession, I was tasked to prepare the line-up of songs for our profession. And being a non-musical entity that I am, I immediately thought of him to lend me a hand. Oh boy, he did not only check the songs, he even came not as a mere "audience" but as a “performer,” as he gave a stunning rendition of the psalm. I told you, I am not into music. The title of the song now escapes me.

Last na ito. Before he flew to Cebu, I shared with him some concerns that may affect me as a religious. He assured me that I should not worry about it because things have become better now; A lot better than it was a year ago. And I agree with him. I’m happy about it.

I don’t know how to wrap this up, but Melo is a great friend, mentor, and a confidant. And our being confreres is a mere icing on the cake.