I just miss this woman. Her name is Ana Cielo, the latter name means heaven in Spanish. She used to be a close college friend and we even maintained our bond beyond the shallow confines of school to include working life, until one day she decided to become a nun. It wasn't a sudden, smack-me-in-face revelation for I always knew all along that she would take the plunge, it was just a question of "when." So when she did tell me about it I wasn't exactly shell-shocked by her decision but I wasn't particularly happy about it as well. It's not the same as your friend telling you that she's about to get married, you know for a fact that the change of status would entail lessened quality time together as friends, but for Cielo, her change of status would mean no time at all to share with her friends, family and other loved ones. She has to devote her entire time to her vocation. That is why even her immediate family, who very well knew that she would become one day a nun for she unflinchingly revealed her calling even in her younger years, was not totally accepting of her decision. But in the end, they, just like her friends had to relent as we all knew that this would be the only thing that would ever make her truly happy.
I write this note to let her know that I miss her so much. To say that she got me through the end of my college years is an underestimation. She did that and more. She was the one who inspired me study harder, as I was always determined to get a better grade than she did. She was always my gauge, if my test scores belonged in the median of hers (for she always topped the class), I would be perfectly happy and contented with myself. I was striving to get the better of her and was constanly upset if she received a point higher than mine, a fact I never verbalized though until now. She graduated cum Laude, the only person to do so in our class. However, not everybody knows the fact that she had no idea of her grade point average during her first and second years in college, as it never reached their house in a rural sea village in Batangas. She is a born genius, I would love to say. She is the youngest of four siblings, a product of a late and unexpected pregnancy by her aging mother. So they say, a menopausal baby would either turn out as a genius or "downie." Luckily, Cielo turned out to be the former, as she topped every class, every exam that came along her school days. She even managed to get a flat one in our Physical Examination (PE) classes for Pete's sake. She just topped them all, I guess.
But this not the most amazing thing about her. The world is quite teeming with all sorts of geniuses in variegated fields, both specific and general, both profound and banal, but she is quite extraordinary. She is a personification, a material presence and being of goodness. She has the brains but more importantly, she posseses the heart that makes her stand out as a human being. She also happens to my friend and I am so lucky. Whenever I think about the values of Christian ethics and standards, firsly I am reminded of JPII, the Pope of our century and my lifetime, secondly of Mother Teresa, the great nun of Calcutta, and thirdly of Cielo, my old friend and college buddy. I may not know those two reverred icons personally, but knowing her is enough to attest that truly, good people still exists in this planet. The quality that makes her goodness quite unique is that she extends this not only to a chosen few, which most of us are guilty of, but she gives it generously away to almost everybody and anybody who seeks her help. She offers goodness before you ask for it. I remember this one time that she offered free tutorial services to some of our classmates who experienced difficulty in one subject even if it meant inconvenience on her part. She actually had to stay in the class and spend time with people who are not particularly friendly to her just to simply "help" them. She did not crave for fame and had no political aspirations in our class but she helped them just the same out of the plain goodness of her heart.