Monday 30 April 2007

Facing a confrere's departure

Dear C

So sorry to give you the wrong impression. No, K didn't die. Don't include him on the obituary list! He left the community, not the world. But then, when someone leaves the Order, the kind of heaviness is almost like what death can bring, if not even more unbearable.

With death, we celebrate the completion of life and the fulfilment of vows, even if someone dies young. Departure makes us ask questions that have no answers. We have not yet adopted the kind of attitude that would allow us to host farewell parties when someone in solemn vows leaves, as if agreeing to a feeling that it is time to "move on". The question that the General wrote in his Report to the General Chapter still rings clear in our head: ask not why a friar leaves but ask why the rest stay.

So why am I staying? That's a good question. Rather than telling you why am I NOT leaving, I must answer the question: why I am staying. Besides answering the loving call of the Lover, I desire to follow Him till the end.


Thursday 12 April 2007

Departure from the Order

A month before I got here, I got a message that one of my classmates (same year of entering and solemn vows, etc) had decided to leave the order. He had been having very good prospect - had opportunities for further studies, got elected to important posts and got assigned to important offices, etc. Never mind about why he left but the fact that he left had made an impact on me. I accepted the decision of transferring me here because I knew I would be here with my friend. But he is no longer here. I felt betrayed, cheated, angry, sad, etc. (You know, very typical of me.) He moved out the day before I arrived.
Tonight, a bunch of us went out for dinner as a farewell thing, not a high profile farewell, but a time to say good bye. We men are so difficult to express emotions. At the end of the dinner, after lots of pretty words (or really just euphemism) about let's-remain-friends, we-are-still-brothers and come-to-my-wedding-will-you being said by others, I broke my own silence and said, "Look, I don't know about you all, but I am sad that he is leaving. I really loath to see him go. "捨不得 -Shebude, letting someone / something go." Everyone was kind of astounded by the stark expression - possibly I said what everyone was feeling too. He (the one leaving) admitted he would miss us too.
Well, as good Franciscans, we had a big feast despite everything and now I am too full to go to bed. Possibly indigestion...