Rural views | The path of my life

LET me continue sharing selected essays my Computer Technology students wrote during final examination at the College Education Behind Bars. A common theme of their stories is development of personal relationship with God. Here is the story of Mr. Sheldon JM, a junior engineering student before entering the jail.

“Life is God’s gift that should be cherished and treasured. We must know and value the purpose of our lives.

My parents got separated when I was still one year old.

Taking me along with him, my father left my mother while she was pregnant. Due to depression on one hand, she attempted to commit suicide through medicine overdose.

Luckily, she survived. However, my sister bore the consequences. She was born with hydrocephalus.

My mother felt so sorry and guilty. To compensate or make amends perhaps, she raised my sister well with all her heart.

On the other hand, my father married another woman.

Under the confusing circumstances, I grew up in limbo about my parents.

One day, my father revealed who my real mom was and decided to take me back to her.

When they met, they reunited, and we became a whole family again.

As time goes by, my parents became too busy with their careers and lose time for the family. They always quarrel at home.

To catch a little of their attention, I studied hard. I excelled in all subjects in school.

Sadly, despite the awards and honors I earned, my parents never attended a single recognition ceremony in school.

Time came when my parents parted ways again. After the second separation, neither my father nor my mother looked after their children.

I had to stand on my own and look for means to continue my college studies. Luckily, I passed a scholarship examination. To pay for basic needs and other fees in school, I also worked part-time.

But no matter how hard I worked, my earnings were not enough.

Seeing my vulnerability, a college friend convinced me to join a group. Due to my needs, I fell into the trap and got involved in that notorious group.

My involvement temporarily solved my financial problems. But I felt guilty. And so I made the heart wrenching decision of giving up my studies in order to leave the group.

After asking for his help, my father sent me to relatives here in Davao.

However, their relationship was not good. Caught in the crossfire, I eventually ended up in jail by some twist of fate.

Detention is an unexpected part of my life. I thought it was already the darkest.

Later, I realized that maybe God has a reason why I ended in jail.

Maybe, my detention has a purpose to change things. Maybe it is God’s way to teach me and help me find the missing puzzle that I have been looking for.

I am thankful to the people behind “College Education Behind Bars.’’ They gave us a chance to renew ourselves and start all over again for brighter future when we re-integrate with the free society.

Every action and decision must be with God’s guidance. All I wanted is to live a happy, peaceful, fruitful, and meaningful life. I wanted to live with contentment for whatever blessings the Lord God may grace upon me. I wanted to live a life that is acceptable to God.

I wanted to live without confusion, desperation, frustration, guilt and uncertainty. I wanted to move ahead confidently through life, and find greater joy in pleasing, serving and glorifying God.

May God lead me to walk the righteous path of my life.”

In the next issues, I will share more beautiful, liberating, empowering and inspiring stories of student – detainees.

(Note: The columnist is a vegan lawyer, holding law and realty offices in his hometown in Calinan, Davao City. He teaches part-time at Holy Cross College of Calinan and College Education Behind Bars at Davao City jail. He serves as Director of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Davao City Chapter.)

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