People says, that to dream is free; we can dream dreams as many as we can, anyway it is free.
When I was in Grade Two, in a demonstration drill, all of us twenty pupils were asked by the teacher what we would like to be in the future. In other words, each pupil would say something what we wanted to be when we grew up. I was seated in the third row, second desk to the last. Recalling why I was in the last row when I was early to come after our class, I remember I was asked to erase or clean the board even before I got the chance to have a seat. But I went in the room with the two boys but they seated in the front desk of the second row.
When it was my turn to say what I would like to be in the future, I stood up but I could not say anything because most of them had already mentioned like: doctors, nurses, engineers, med-techs, pilots, teachers, and many more. Almost all eyes were looking to me, waiting what I would say. I repeated the teacher’s question: “What I would like to be when I grow up?” I paused and look around, shyly I stammered saying, “I want to be a hero.” Some of the teachers around laughed and I could feel blood flooding to my face and when I was about to sit down, then one of them asked me, “What do you mean, you want to be a hero?” I stood again but this time I was no longer shy, I was so firmed with my answer, “First, Mam, I do not have other choices because they all mentioned ahead of me, second, I want to really serve the people in need, with no condition but either I was correct to use the word hero or not but I want to be different from what they said.” Then the teacher approached me, “Please, don’t get me wrong but I am just curious because this is the first time I heard that one wanted to be a hero for the rest of you here now want to really render services with your professions in the future. So what is the difference with the service you said?” I was confused but was still able to reason, “I think, Mam, what I mean is I will do service which can really help the people.” Then the teacher turned with her comments, “Alright then, be what you are and please be seated.”
I can never forget that experience because I felt so ashamed afterwards and the coming days for fellow pupils were teasing me and it spread in our school that “I want to be a hero.” Wow, that was almost forty-one years ago!
Looking back, maybe it was some kind of a joke for a two-grader to say something not commonly said nor dreamed from the rest because there were no choices anymore, but trying to feel and understand the word “to be different from the rest” makes sense, really to me now. As a woman priest, surely I AM DIFFERENT FROM THE REST! I render service very different from them. Either the word hero was a right term but I know my calling is very different from fellow Grade-Two pupils forty-one years ago. But God knew, never I wanted nor dreamed to be a priest though a thought of a woman priest/bishop was nowhere to be heard in the early seventy’s in the provinces.
As a priest, mother, wife, lover, advocate for peace and justice, my only dream is to have a world with positive vibes, a beautiful just and peaceful world for everyone, where humans and all God’s creations live in harmony and order; no more wars, no more poverty because all will be sharing God’s bounty equally. By so doing, I will have to free my self first from my own caves, to let go from my own fears, shame, hurts and pains so that with the rest of them who are dreamers like me, I can soar high, struggle hard and continue to dream of a world that is totally free and abundant.