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Jessie (not her real name) met her future husband in the internet. She was busy with her career and had no active social life. She chose to chat with a stranger instead. The man was working in Dammam, Saudi Arabia as an accountant who seemed insecure and unhappy that she gravitated to him out of pity. After 3 months of chatting, she was caught and became his online girlfriend. Both of them agreed to meet and eventually get married in the Philippines. Unfortunately, Jessie found out too late that the man she married was a liar because he used another name to marry her and was in fact still married and had 2 grown up children. Jessie filed an annulment of her civil marriage and nullification of her church wedding. She had to endure three long agonizing years while waiting for the final decision of the family court. She also had to contend with an interview reliving those moments of betrayal as she talked to the priest. She got married hoping that she found her one true love but her marriage turned out to be a nightmare because it was all a farce.

Are you scared because your biological clock is ticking and haven’t found your life partner? Are you crushed because your fiancé went to the arms of another woman? When you decide to get married, are you disillusioned because your husband turned out to be a stranger if not a monster? Are you tied to a relationship that is complicated?

When you’re betrayed by someone, it would seem like you’re a prisoner with your arms and legs chained to the wall. You can’t get out and you can’t leave. You’ve lost your freedom because you’re in a limbo. Every day drags and every task seems heavy. You feel like Atlas because you’re carrying the world in your hands. In Filipino parlance, “Pasan ko ang daigdig!” FORGIVE When you feel like drowning in an ocean of problems and have no one to turn to, it is time to surrender to God’s bigger Hands. Have faith that everything will turn out all right in God’s perfect time. When people fail you and renege on their promises, learn to forgive, better yet to forget. Let go of the pain. Reliving the past especially how you’ve been hurt by an ex- lover or betrayed by your so-called best friend forever (BFF) will only deepen your misery. You’re digging a deep pit where you may never get out of. The more you hurt yourself, the more the wound becomes deeper. Besides, the person who have inflicted the pain may not even remember what he did while you wallow in self-pity. As Brother Bo once said: “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. When you forgive, you are first of all giving yourself the gift of freedom.” REPENT If on the other hand, you’re the one who have done something bad to another, like failing to pay a long-standing debt, especially from a friend that you promised to settle, repent. Be more responsible. Honor your obligations. If you’re unable to do it because you’re no longer in contact with each other, just pay it forward. If you’ve unwittingly maligned someone, stop and say sorry. Acknowledge the wrong deed and slowly aim to change for the better. ENJOY Whenever you feel like locking yourself inside your room or refusing to see your well-meaning friends, learn to be excited and enjoy the moment when you decide to talk to your BFF. What better time to reminisce about the fun times you had together, especially when you don’t have money to spend to go somewhere. Take a walk in the park. Play like little kids. Sit on the seesaw or on the swing, “kung kaya ka pa.” However, don't forget the health protocol while still in general community quarantine. Observe social distancing by standing at least 7 feet apart. Wear a face mask and a face shield. Wash your hand for 20 seconds with soap and water or bring your own alcohol or hand sanitizer when you go out. ENCOURAGE What better way to heal and be free of the past, when you learn to empower yourselves and awaken the healer within. Then, when you’ve worked on yourself, it is time to help others. Listen to their cries, especially if they are like your own. Because you, yourself was tested through what you've suffered, you are able to help others who are being tested. Encourage them that time will help them heal if they help themselves recover from the pain. Like an eaglet about to take that first attempt to learn how to fly, a person who is free decides to spread his wings. It is time to be F.R.E.E. (FORGIVE, REPENT, ENJOY, ENCOURAGE)

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