Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Yellow Paperclip Goes to Ateneo and Meets Fr. Balch

Climbing uphill is never an easy task, but going back "up the hill" (as compared to the proverbial "going down from The Hill") of Loyola Heights is always a joy, a comfort, and (as cheesy as it sounds) a coming home. Four years spent in the Ateneo changed me into the ever-idealistic Nikki I am today and I wouldn't want it any other way. Walking around campus on a gray Saturday afternoon brought back a flood of memories and a pleasant little yellow surprise... yes, a paperclip in the North Parking Lot!

I drove all the way to Ateneo to meet up with Fr. Asandas Balchand, S.J. (or simply and fondly called Fr. Balch) who is now based in Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro. He was my TH131 professor and Sadhana retreat director during my senior year. We kept in touch via email and SMS and had always planned to meet up but our schedules never coincided. Except this weekend... and what a blessing!

To start, we had a one-on-one Eucharistic celebration! "I was just about to celebrate mass," Fr. Balch said. "Would you like to join me? (Nikki looks a little surprised at the thought of a mass for one. It's almost as awkward as having to whisper "yes, a table for one" in restaurants!) Of course I can say mass for you, Nikki." We went into a tiny chapel at the Jesuit Residence, he handed me the book of readings ("You say the first and second readings, and I'll do the Gospel.") and asked me to just sit quietly and pray while he prepared the table. It was the most unique and intimate celebrations I have ever had, complete with a personalized homily just for me!

Then we went to Seattle's Best across the street to catch up with each others' lives over a cup of cappuccino. He was thrilled with my life's story (as I was with his) and I was only too happy to share with someone who I know truly listens and hopes the best for me. And what is my life story without The Yellow Paperclip? He was visibly happy and proud and said that he'd link me up with former students of his who are also into children's literature. (Thanks, Fr. Balch!)

The Yellow Paperclip has made many Jesuit friends (including Fr. Stein, Bro. Charles, and Bro. Ody) and looks forward to many more. If I had been born a man, I would seriously have considered going into the Society. But since I'm a woman, I suppose being a Jesuit priest is not my calling, right? But these musings should really be in my prayer blog. (Now I realize why bloggers don't have separate blogs but have categories within one blog. Hmmm. Like I told Jayvee, I feel like such a newbie blogger... and yet I'm getting my guts up to go to my first blogger meet! I'm anxious and excited at the same time. Okay, now I realize I'm babbling.)

We stand on a hill between the earth and
The sky;
Now all is still,
Where Loyola’s colors fly
Our course is run
And the setting sun ends
Ateneo’s days;
Eyes are dry at the last good-bye;
This is the Ateneo way.


jun said...

Oh cool. Am going there too. I hope nothing comes up that day...

Yes, use categories. Yours is a personal blog and prayers are very personal. Sometimes it's very hard to jump from one blog to another..

CloudWoman said...

Yey! Looking forward to see you next week then.

Yes, you're right. It is hard to jump from one blog to another, especially when everything (from paperclips to prayers, from travels to random thoughts) are all interconnected since there's really just one Me. Sigh... Is there an easy way to "merge" blogs? Hee-hee.