The Broken Road
I remember the first time Joey brought me to Bacolod with him as his girlfriend. Our relationship was about a month old, and it was a joy seeing and being with his warm and jovial family. He took me on a quick “life tour”, showed me where he went to school, where he and his friends used to hang out at, and the church he grew up in, Ikthus.
While we were in Ikthus, he decided to go in and check if Manong (Kuya) Gary, their youth leader back in day, was there. Turns out he is, and Joey proceeded to introduce me as his girlfriend. The encounter makes me smile up to this day.
Manong Gary looked like a semi-mad scientist seemingly up to his neck with the seemingly rowdy teenagers he looks after. (Hahaha sorry Manong but that was my first impression of you hehe!) Or maybe he was just swamped with paperwork and we caught him at a bad time. His greyish hair was an adorable mess and I believe he was fussing about in his desk. In comes Joey with this girl (judging from his reaction, that was presumably not his first time to see Joey with a girl; I have no desire to ask how many he’s actually seen Joey with, ANYWAY):
Joey goes: “Manong, girlfriend ko, si Sitti.”
Me: “Hello po.”
It’s a good thing Manong Gary didn’t recognise me, otherwise the whole exchange would have been entirely different. He immediately became a cluster of flustered nerves. Raking his fingers through his hair, he fired us both with questions:
“Pang-ilan mo na siya? Pang-ilan ka na niya?”
Manong Gary appeared to have had short-circuited. He pleaded with us: “Tama na ha. Tama na.”
Joey and I both offered profuse “opo’s”.
At tumigil na nga kami sa isa’t isa. Yiheeee <3
It’s a funny story to look back on now, but I also realise the good reasons for Manong Gary’s concern. Both Joey and I have had our hearts trampled on, I broke one, we both expended our time and effort into relationships that didn’t turn out well, blindly fought for who we thought were Mr. and Ms. Right when everyone around who loved us clearly thought they weren’t. Such are the folly and obstinacy of youth, the broken roads we walked on before we found the path to each other.
This was what Manong Gary wanted to save us from. He wanted both of us to be sure that if it wasn’t marriage we saw in each other’s future, then we might as well pack up and leave before more hearts get broken.
"I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road"
If only we were mature enough then not to insist on our ways and to heed our elders. You know, it really is true that your parents know best simply because they know YOU best. They have witnessed your character development from the very beginning, from when you were a wheezing toddler to a toga-wearing high-schooler, and if they say that you’re too young for this or that, chances are they are correct.
I know that if you are a teenager or in your early 20’s it is the very thing that is the hardest to do, but I do urge you, try to listen.
"I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand"
This stanza speaks so true. Sometimes I look back and think of those times and emotions I could have shared only with Joey. But then I also reflect, that if I had not gone through those relationships, I wouldn’t have been the girl I was when I met him, maybe we wouldn’t have clicked. We would not have brought the maturity and experiences we’ve earned from relationships past into what we have today.
Still, I wish that Joey and I could have saved some broken hearts on our way to each other, ours included.
"Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars"
I remember when Joey sang this song to me on our first videoke date (he would insist that he never did). I thought that it was so apt for us. That God truly blessed the road that led us straight to each other. With our mended hearts and mature selves, we were both ready for the next step, and the timing, His timing, was perfect.
I was nearly 29 when I met Joey, we got married two years after. I write this as an encouragement to those who might be thinking they’re destined to be single forever - when God moves and appoints a husband for you, He will make it clearly known, and your age or the length of time you and your partner have known each other will not matter. And you will have peace in your heart that wasn’t there in times before. It is true, you’ll just know.
In the meantime, wait patiently for His plans for you to unfold while doing your best to grow in character and spirit.
For when it happens, you will thank Him for all the roads you’ve walked before. Because disobedient and errant a child you may be, He is always there waiting for you to run back to Him, say sorry, and rely on His Guiding Love. Then He will usher you back into that straight road that leads to the fulfilment of His promises:
Life, and not just any life, but a life that is full. (John 10:10)
For me, that is a life filled with love: His, his, theirs, mine to them, and all the actions that giving and receiving love entails. <3
It also must be said that when I stopped looking for love my way, when I sought God instead, did He lead me to my beloved. :)
I have attached Rascal Flatts' Bless the Broken Road for those who might want to give the song a listen. :)
Thank you for reading! God bless the road you are walking on and I do hope it's not broken.