Expressways for healing
You will hear these words if you borrow my headphones during travel: “Beginning of a sunrise bores a big hole in the sky.”
This line is from my favorite song “Hell on Earth” by the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. I used to play other “sonoric” genres when I was in college. But Maiden’s symphonic melodies and thrusting lyrics hit differently. Playing in a band is my stress reliever; listening to music is where I express my feelings and thoughts.
Since traveling relieves me of negativity, I made some personal descriptions of the usual places that I pass.
The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) going to Manila is my top priority every time I go for immersion. It makes travel much easier in less time. You don’t have to go through different municipalities before reaching the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx). Whenever I see the grayish hills, dramatic rays of the sun, and the meadows in Clark International Airport in Mabalacat, Pampanga, it gives me psychological and emotional healing. “Sympathy, Care, and Tenderheart Expressway” is my new meaning of SCTEx. Sympathy for those who hurt you because they failed to pull you down. These people need care and they need someone who has a tender heart to make them realize they have erred.
Whenever I ride Victory Liner going to Tuguegarao, I notice that they’ll take the Dau exit in SCTEx going to Mabalacat Terminal. About 30 minutes later, you will find yourself passing through Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx). One time, I took a power nap to relieve my wooziness. When I woke up, we were already in Licab, Nueva Ecija. That 27.1-kilometer distance was fast, even by bus. What I learned from this is that in times of difficulty, always remember TPLEx: “Thankfulness, Persistence, and Love Expressway.” Be thankful that opportunities knock on your door to strengthen and give you fresh learnings. But be sure to be persistent and love wisdom. Time flies so fast, just like my TPLEx experience. Seize every opportunity to learn, grow, and live.
Part of my vicarage assignment is Tiaong in Quezon province. Every time I ride a bus southbound, I always pray that C5 is not heavy with traffic. This circumferential road traverses cities such as Pasig, Makati, and Taguig. But before reaching South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) and finally entering the Turbina exit in Calamba, you will first experience impatience and discomfort. Perhaps, the heavy load of traffic is the main reason. As a warrior living on earth, I have to be tough. I have to take the “Sacrifice and Live Expressway.” In life, you have to sacrifice some things for the greater ones. As my father once told me, “Big dream means big responsibility.”
In the north, whether you’re going to or from Manila, you will have to traverse NLEx. You have three options to take: Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue (East) and Port of Manila (West). The route of the buses going to Cubao and Grace Park is in Mindanao. I become calm on this expressway for the reason that 75 percent of the journey is already completed before reaching Aurora Boulevard. That is why I call it “Nonagressive Learning Expressway.” Learning is the reason why I go to Marikina for ministerial supervision. But the devil will always bait you to become boastful and self-centered as you learn. My professor once reminded me, “You cannot fill a glass full of water.” It means being a learner and always leaving space for improvement. But if learning makes you haughty, its true essence is lost. It was meant for the benefit of others, so you can serve them in humility.
Expressways were built to make travel faster and more convenient. Road trips may serve as a stress reliever, bringing you another form of healing. In the journey of life, you have to take either the expressway (shortcuts) or AH26 (main road). They have their own destinations that will take you to where you want to go. But be sure to look back and thank those who helped you reach your point.
It’s my habit to thank the driver for the safe trip before alighting. You should thank God for bringing you where you are now.
* * *
Juan Pablo Karlo Marko Kristiyano N. Cortes, 23, is a graduating student at Lutheran Theological Seminary and Training Center.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.