Joy Or Misery?

By Bo Sanchez

I now realize that joy or misery is a choice that we have to make daily. This came to me strongly when one day I was driving in Novaliches with my family to visit some relatives. Because of the enormous road work there, we got lost taking alternative routes. Besides, Novaliches is famous for an amazingly circuitous network of streets, reminding me of my intestines. “Can you help us find this address?” my Mom asked a guy driving a little jeep. “Sure,” he said, “Follow me. I’m going in that direction.”

Long and Winding Road

And we did: For about two hours! He led us through the inner labyrinths of Novaliches. Through dark alleys. Through pot holes. Through dirt roads. In total, we took 32 rights, 47 lefts, and 13 U-turns. All the while, my family was complaining like crazy. “Were lost!” they whined. “Oh, why all these roadworks at the same?” another grumbles. “And there was a tense-filled pause. Finally, one family member said, “Oh my God. We’re being kidnapped! We’re being kidnapped by that man!” (Divulging identities of who said what has proven hazardous to my health, so I’ll refrain from mentioning names here.)

I laughed and said, “C’mon, the guy doesn’t look like a kidnapper at all!” “Really? Good!” sighed everyone. “He’s no kidnapper,” I shook my head, “I think he’s serial killer.” Boy, were they mad and miserable.

Thrilling Adventure

What was I doing all this time? Aside from driving for them, I was singing. I was having the time of my life. I was excited making those zigzags. Under my breath, I prayed, I prayed, “Lord, I thank you that I feel like Indiana Jones trapped in a maze. What a thrilling adventure.” Gradually, I was thanking God for blessing us. I was thanking God for those rare times that I’m with my family, no matter how crazy they can be. I was thanking God for my car. I was thanking God for the relatives we were visiting. I was thanking God for sending us an angel as our guide, using a serial killer to lead our way. Because I was so busy being grateful, I realized I didn’t have time to be miserable.

Joy or Misery

When we finally reached the home of our relatives, my family stepped down from the car with angry exasperation. And that was when the real performance began. (All the complaining they did in the car was just dress rehearsal.) “We had a terrrrrrrrrrible time!” as they were replaying their sad ordeal to them, I opened the door, step down, stretched my tired muscles and smiled, “Ahhh! Now was that exciting or what?”

You know what? One week after, every time my family got together, they’d still grumble and relive the agony of that trip. (At some special days, the “Nightmare in Novaliches” had matinee shows in the afternoons and main performance in the evening.)

But I recall the event with sweetness. And fun. Because every morning, I face the mirror and tell myself. “Bo, no one can take away my joy. This is the day that the Lord had made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Because I believe that in every trial, there’s treasure waiting to be unearthed.

Salamat sa Kerygma

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