Yesterday, I found myself praying in Binondo Church.
There’s an area near the entrance where you can light candles of different colors: red for health, green for prosperity, blue for various petitions, orange for gratitude, and white for peace.
I got a single white candle and prayed for peace.
I prayed for the victims of war.
I prayed for the victims of the daily violence of poverty and exploitation.
For the farmers and farmworkers who put food on our tables.
For the workers who build up the world.
For the indigenous people being driven away from their land.
For the millions of Filipino people who have been duped last election.
I prayed for my own peace of mind, so I could be reminded to be happy still.
At the end, I said my favorite prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
But here’s the thing. I’m not Catholic, nor am I a religious person.
To be clear, I was baptized Catholic, before I became a born-again Christian, before I became what I am now — sort of in the in-between, in that liminal space that’s not quite religious, not quite atheist/agnostic.
But lately, I’ve been praying.
Maybe it’s a response to feeling powerless against everything that’s happening in the world, my way of resistance when despair looms dark on the horizon.
In this season of my life, this time when I’m not yet/anymore able to fight back the way I used to, I feel as if the only thing I can do is pray.
Pray, change the things I can. Accept the things I can’t. And have kindness as my weapon.
I think I’ll keep a bunch of white candles at the ready.
Erika Cruz is a freelance digital marketer. She is also a filmmaker, a photographer, and a writer. Before entering the world of digital marketing, she practiced community journalism for several years and focused on the issues of human rights, social justice, women and children, the environment, and Indigenous Peoples. You may reach her at [email protected]