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Young Blood

My lost and found in 2016

The year 2016 is in its twilight. Surely it has been a very fast year, and a lot has happened. I have had my fair share of the roller-coaster ride that brought me to both extremes of my life.

I am a seafarer. Most of my year was spent on board an international seagoing vessel. Nevertheless, it did not deter me from living a life that was filled with many occurrences, including changes that I did and did not wish to happen.

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I lost my love. Yes, I got heartbroken. Funny, though: I have been both in love and out of love this year. I guess it happens. What kills me now is that I lost someone so close to me that I actually gave my whole heart away, and it was returned to me in pieces. Cheesy as it may seem, the pain is very much like that. I grieve for the friendship more than the romance, and for the person more than the feelings.

I lost my best friend. When you are a man and you have this ideal girl friend as your best friend, it would probably be very hard for other people to accept that the friendship can be and is actually platonic. Well, I guess the six years of having someone as my rock had their end, or a pause (I am praying it’s the latter), when I had to understand that my best friend’s intimate relationship could not flourish with me in the picture. So, yes, it was another pain my heart should deal with. Again, I had to let go.

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I lost my drive to succeed in my profession. Probably, my passion for the arts and community service is minimally aligned with navigation and seamanship. I may also have had experiences which were too tough for me to handle, such as distance and homesickness. From time to time, I wondered whether this seafaring stuff could still bring out the best of me—or not. Yes, with all these questions, I lost my drive. But I ain’t quitting.

I lost my fun. Transitioning from fun-filled college days to early adulthood hit me hard. All the friends that used to be available at any time are now hard to find. All the college fun and activities became scarce. Well, “scarce” is a hyperbole.

I lost my self. With all the changes that came my way, I blamed myself and I thought something was totally wrong with how I dealt with everything and everyone. So there, I hinged my happiness on liquor and parties and rebellion. And in the process of what was supposed to be healing, I lost the version of me that I wanted to revisit.

And one post on Facebook moved me. It was about a man who epitomized what I needed to do to heal. It taught me to forgive. It was a photo that reminded me of the greatest love there was, and is. It was the photo of Christ being crucified, with a caption: “The love on the cross.” From then on, I knew I had to be more than just flesh.

Gradually, I found happiness. I learned a lot of lessons coming from all the pain of what I have lost. I realized that my happiness is not found in someone else. I also found out that the best way to move on is to not put yourself in a bar with random people and drinks. The best way to actually heal is to stay at home, wear old clothes, read old books, do your old routine, and be surrounded by people who will never intentionally break your heart—your family. I learned that I have so much to discover about myself, and that there are still a lot of mountains to climb and seas to span.

I actually realized that I was just fine with my siblings and parents around me. I found myself again—as a son and as a brother. I found myself in the haven that God built for me since birth.

So, to the one who broke my heart, I forgive you because you were so true that you had to stop loving me. Because you do not anymore. Thank you for not choosing infidelity. Merry Christmas!

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To my best friend who is still for me, I forgive you for not being there when I needed you most. I know it is also hard for you, but the bond between us will always be great enough to build bridges than walls. Merry Christmas!

And to myself who lost the fun and drive, I forgive you because you deserve it. We all have to deal with life, and I admire you for not giving up right away. Everyone gets lost at one point, and it is a choice whether you want to be found or not. I thank you for choosing to find your way back to me. Merry Christmas!

Those who forgive are those who can truly share love and live the happiness that this holiday season brings. Before you throw out your 2016 calendars, remember the greatest forgiveness recorded in history. When it becomes hard for you to let go and let God, remember the love of the Crucified Son. He was once the baby in the manger. He became like everyone of us. He loved. He lived. And He did not just forgive, He died to save the most undeserving people who crowned him with thorns, whipped him hard, and nailed him to the cross. Yes, “the love on the cross.” When it is hard to forgive, remember the love on the cross. Everything you lose can be found again with Him. You do not have to search alone.

May the new year heal our wounds. I wish us all the happiness we truly deserve.

Elijah Jose Cancer Barrios, 22, from Santa Barbara, Iloilo, is an officer in charge of navigational watch working for Pacific Basin Shipping Ltd.

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