'Nurture the seeds we planted'

Goodbyes 

We watched this reform evolve from a young vision, to a myriad of policies and programs that broke barriers and reached for the farthest stars. But we were more than watchers; we were the catalysts for its growth, and in the process we too grew with it. It has been our life for the past six years. As you have also been my life for the past six years.

I will return to a more private life with my Brothers in a religious community setting. But every time I would pass by a public school, I will always remember all the good times we shared and the tears we shed in our pursuit of a better future for our learners, and ultimately, for a better Philippines. Six years is too short a time to see big results. The seeds we have planted need to be nurtured for years. We need patience and faith that underneath the dark loam, the seed is alive and is growing. We need to see it through before we can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Everyone who has been with us in this journey will remember that it began with a simple dream to make a difference in the lives of our Filipino learners. Over time, we saw ourselves not just doing the tasks and responsibilities required of us but eventually investing of ourselves to make those dreams happen. And then one day we woke up to realize that we were not just working to reach our goals but have actually fallen in love with those whom we sought to serve. There were disappointments and disagreements along the way. We made mistakes and at times hurt those who shared the same dream. Our convictions were not always solid and we also wavered and doubted and compromised. When the road ahead does not seem as straight and clear, it is important that we return to the compelling reason for embarking on this journey—and bring it back to life. When the fervor wanes, we need to reconnect with an anchor for our dreams and create new fire.

I cannot bring myself to say goodbye to a family that I have learned to love and which has been my life the past six years. With you and for you, I have fallen deeply in love with the only country I know. For me as it is for you, one chapter ends but a new one is just about to begin. I am excited to see how much more you will be able to accomplish in the years to come.

With everything that I hold dear in my heart, I will always remain, your brother, – Rappler.com  

Br. Armin Luistro served a complete 6-year term as the secretary of the Department of Education under the Benigno S. Aquino administration. A feat only accomplished by two previous secretaries in the department's history. 

This letter first appeared on Br Luistro's Facebook page and is republished here with his permission.