Saturday, February 14, 2009

After all

"After all"
Sun.Star Davao, Feb. 14, 2009

Many say that you find love in the most unexpected times and places.

For Analisa “Ana” Nasser, it was during a vacation from her work as an international flight attendant of Cathay Pacific Airways when she met her future husband Jose Salvador “Pittjun” Batu Jr.

“I can still remember the date, June 29, 1998, the day when I had my intro-dive at Ekran Berhad Samal Casino Resort. Pittjun was one of the seasoned divers sitting across the boat from me. It was a magical day because diving was the one thing I liked equally with flying”, Ana narrates.

During her college days at the Ateneo de Davao, Ana already saw Pittjun for a few times. “To me, he was this arrogant and smug-looking boy. One of my friends even had a crush on him but for the life of me, I couldn’t see why!”, Ana giggles.

But, a few years after, Ana found herself smitten like a school girl at 24 years old. Not only that, she was into a five-year relationship with her first boyfriend, a pilot from Philippine Airlines.

“Everything should have been dandy and cut out for me but I got into a whirlwind romance with Pittjun and became pregnant which only proves that you can’t fool around with fire without getting burned”, 34-year old Ana discloses.

Some friends were opposed to Pittjun because he couldn't commit. He was still studying and was an only son whose parents did not want him to marry yet. Pittjun was also into vices that Ana didn’t know about then.

“He didn't offer marriage. It was my ex who did with me being pregnant and all with Pittjun's baby”, Ana shares.

“I wanted to go back to my ex but I was thinking my baby deserved an effort from me to make the relationship work and give her the chance to know and grow up with her real dad”, Ana explains.

Moths to a flame

“I loved him as I only knew how to love, totally. Pittjun had a very short temper and we fought a lot violently. I was staying with him at his parents' house and I would always be the one at fault. I thought I could handle the temper not knowing it was deeper than that. I kept silent even when I discovered about his vices”, Ana recalls.

Every time, Ana would go home to her parents' house after a fight, crying and bruised inside, she would still keep quiet. She did not want Pittjun to appear bad, always forgiving him and believing his promises to change.

“When I couldn't take it anymore, I told his parents about his vices but they were in denial at first. They talked to him to change but without seeking professional help so it still became a recurring problem”, Ana reveals.

Both of their parents agreed that breaking up was the solution to their constant quarrelling. However, Ana and Pittjun were like moths to a flame, even with all the heartbreaks.

“Since I couldn’t go to his parents for support, I went to God. I prayed to Him constantly to change Pittjun day and night. I prayed with my whole heart, crying out to Him”, Ana divulges.

Wanting God to be at the center of their relationship, Ana would always encourage Pittjun to join her in attending prayer meetings, Life in the Spirit seminars and mass.

“I would always ask him to go with me. He would say yes. I would be looking forward to these rare events for weeks but on the day of these activities, we would always have major fights so much so that I had a fatalistic hope in my heart and would almost dread these days. So then we would not be able to go”, she laments.

“I don’t know if Pittjun was doing it on purpose or if, as they say, Satan would be working double time also to stop us knowing we were making an effort to strengthen our faith in God”, Ana continues.

Shining moments

But, Ana clarifies that Pittjun had his shining moments too. Ana would see glimpses of a very good man.

“Pittjun is an excellent father. He was there in the delivery room when I gave birth to both of our kids. We had Lamaze lessons and Lamaze babies, Katriana “Yana” (now 9 yrs old) and Jose Salvador “Pitoy” III, (now 7 yrs. old)”, Ana fondly remembers.

“I kept believing in this very versatile man. A musician, an athlete and boy, could he charm his way especially into the hearts of older people!”, illustrates Ana.

Pittjun was a favorite of his parents’ friends, uncles and aunts. He could converse with people from all walks of life. However, when he was into his vices again, it was like living with two different men: “The Pittjun I love and the Pittjun who broke my heart and my spirit endlessly again and again”, says Ana.

Because of the exasperating cycle of fighting and reconciling, Ana requested to be assigned in Manila for her work as a dealer at the Casino Filipino in Hyatt Manila.

“I left the kids with my father and my brother John and his family. I couldn't afford to bring my kids with me. All my savings from before were long spent after I chose to stop flying, another step decided hastily in an effort to make the family whole. My mom died last March 6, 2006. She died never seeing Pittjun and I settled down”, Ana shares.

When Ana left for Manila, Pittjun’s world turned upside down. “Maybe he couldn’t believe that I could finally leave him. He also thought the kids were in Manila with me. My family was protecting me and the kids”, Ana discusses.

Eventually, Pittjun’s parents got professional help for their son’s vices. They also realized that what their son needed most during that crucial time was for Pittjun and Ana to be together.

“And, then, I realized too that no matter how bad I thought Pittjun was, God loved him. He was still one of God’s creations. Afterwards, I felt a kind of peace and stopped praying for God to change Pittjun. I told God, “Bahala ka na sa kanya, Lord” because I knew hindi siya pababayaan ni God”, Ana says.

After all
Not too long after, Pittjun asked for forgiveness for the nth time but this time, his promises came true.

Ana likewise became less demanding, more patient, trusting and responsible in her decisions, especially with the kids. Together, as a couple, they became stronger, prayerful and accepting of the trials presented to them by God.

“We got married last August 5, 2008 at Redemptorist Chapel and the reception was held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel. Pitoy was Pittjun’s best man and Yana was my maid of honor”, Ana smiles.

“It was said to be a beautiful wedding. Many looked forward to it. Family and friends were there for us. Many cried. Some even said they really felt God's presence in our wedding. Pittjun and I as well as our parents talked during the ceremony at the chapel, not at the reception. Father Danny Montaña, our officiating priest and a friend, put us all up to it. He was privy to our journey and struggle”, Ana reveals.

“We still have a bit of a trial, now and then. Everything and everyday is a work in progress. We now go to mass every Sunday, attend bible studies when our schedules allow us and last December 12, 2008, Pittjun’s parents hosted their own bible study at their house where we are staying again but this time in much happier circumstances and by choice”, Ana states.

“I was so excited to tell my family about it specially my brother John but he died the next day, at 42 years of age, days before Christmas. My sister-in-law, Grace, the bereaved wife, said that my brother once told her that his one wish was to see me happy. I guess he knew that one day, it was going to happen. And, he was right”, Ana says.

Pittjun and Ana’s message to other couples is not to focus too much on each other but on God.

“Very basic, right? If you put God first in your life, everything follows, literally: peace, happiness and economic stability. You need not worry too much because these will be provided for by God”.

“After all the stops and starts,
We keep coming back to these two hearts,
Two angels who've been rescued from the fall.
After all that we've been through,
It all comes down to me and you.
I guess it's meant to be,
Forever you and me, after all”
-from the song “After All” by Peter Cetera

May all the couples be inspired by Pittjun and Ana’s touching love story. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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