five years as a permanent teacher in the school near
home, I was assigned as the officer-in-charge of a newly
independent high school department quite far away from
home. This situation caused many changes in my life
and my career. I had to spearhead the school’s
operations, as well as guide the new teachers who were
initially considered volunteers and funded by the provincial
government with rather meager compensation. The school
continued to run smoothly for the first three years,
and everyone enjoyed good interpersonal relationships
with the others in spite of the economic situation.
2004, I met the life of unity in a summer gathering
or Mariapolis. What struck me most in that event was
the encouragement of Chiara Lubich to love all, to be
the first to love, to love our enemy and to love Jesus
Forsaken or in short, the Art of loving. I thought it
was quite easy to practice all these forms of loving—until
I was put to the test…
never expected that problems would arise after my first
three years as an officer-in-charge of that high school.
It happened when my locally paid teachers who were not
yet on a permanent status became dissatisfied. When
two positions for a permanent teaching position became
available, those volunteer teachers tried to find ways
to be the first ones to be hired until a number of misunderstandings
rose among my co–teachers and spoiled that harmonious
relationship among us which we had built up over the
last three years.
of the teachers had such an overwhelming desire to get
that position that she put down others just to boost
her own chances to be hired. Her desire to secure that
post was so obvious that I realized that she even wanted
to take my job as school head. When she did become a
permanent teacher, she started to ruin my reputation.
Eventually she became a burden to the school, affecting
not only myself as the school head, but also the other
teachers and students.
reported to the school auditor and even the regional
officer that I was mishandling funds. I thought that
would have been the end of my job! She worked hard to
destroy my reputation and good name. I thought my students
and teachers would come to despise me. Although I tried
to talk to her, she often refused to accept the wrong
she had done, and would give me a number of excuses,
defending herself. At first I couldn’t understand
her behavior at all. But I kept trying to see the good
in her. Eventually, I came to know that she had a problem
in the family, and I realized how her family problems
might have influenced her at work and everyday life.
I understood then that she was suffering and hurting
inside, so I really tried to be patient, ready to go
extra “miles” and with “smiles”.
she gave me so many headaches, but I knew and continued
to hope that someday she would change. I tried to show
my love for her because Jesus was in her and this motivation
helped me to understand her. Finally, I noticed that
she was responding to the love and care I was showing
her by at least not spreading any more rumors about
me. I really started to see changes in her as she tried
to be my friend too.
for my fear to be without a job because of the rumors
spread about me, quite the opposite happened. The regional
officer spoke with me and I was able to explain the
situation clearly to her. She believed in me and instead
of being demoted, I was even promoted to become principal
of the school.
was a blessing indeed, like roses from heaven that blossomed
among thorns which I hadn’t expected, thanks to
the Art of Loving and a special love for Jesus Forsaken,
the very first lessons that struck me when I encountered
the spirituality of unity. I never really thought that
they would keep me survive in stormy seas.