by an inmate of Makati City Jail
I have been detained in Makati City Jail (MCJ) for the past four years.
When I was arrested, it came as a shock. I sat helpless as the life I had built was instantly stripped away — no more condo, no more gadgets, no more work, no more jogging at the Fort, no more Baclaran on Tuesday nights, no internet, no Facebook, no cellphone… I even had to sell my car to pay for attorney’s fees.
My first year in jail was like my first year in college. (I have a degree in Business Finance.) I needed to adapt to new people, a new environment, and a new lifestyle. I typically kept to myself and opened only to people who I could relate with.
Having found God a few years prior and acknowledging that I am not “without sin”, I was able to keep myself together and maintain a positive attitude to this day. I learned that the longer you are stripped from things (distractions), the more you see the things that are really important. I would like to think of this experience as a hard reset on life.
Despite being a little bitter and confused at times, I know that God is guiding me and being in jail is just part of “my path”. In turn, I do my best to participate in the various activities made available to us.
Having been raised in an American, non-Catholic school, the last time I remember joining Catechism classes was more than 15 years ago when I attended CCD in the States. With this humble foundation, I soon found myself attending SSAP/SYA catechism classes every Monday. I remember a short activity wherein they had us create a timeline of distinct moments in our life (ups and downs). I must say it helped me gain greater perspective on this whole ordeal. The exercise helped me see how selfish a life I was living. It was a never-ending cycle of work and play and working harder and playing harder. I was also able to reflect on the greater good that came out from the many bad experiences that I did not really understand before because I was focused on the problem at the time. Making these connections help me find comfort in my current situation seeing all the good that comes out from the dark.
I have high hopes that I will go home soon. In the meantime, I will continue to learn from others and explore ways on how to help others as well. I am grateful to SSAP/SYA for sending us catechists weekly to guide me through this difficult time while am still “in the woods”. Thank you God.
As published in the February 12 issue of the Parish Bulletin.