Hari pertama dalam dekapan ibu…

Perjalanan itu terjadi dua puluh tiga tahun silam. Jarak enam puluh lima kilometer yang ditempuh terasa abadi, seakan tiada ujung dan akhir. Masih tersimpan dalam ingatan yang samar-samar ketiga wajah yang menemani ziarah hari itu: seorang pengemudi, sang ayah dan ibu.

Tempat yang menjadi tujuan akhir perjalanan hari itu sudah kuketahui sebelumnya. Sejak duduk di sekolah dasar, banyak orang menuturkan kisah tempat itu. Di akhir cerita, mereka biasanya menyelipkan pesan yang selalu terdengar ulang di kemudian hari: “Semoga kau juga sekolah di sana.” Dan, hari itu, aku memenuhi harapan tersebut. Pada tanggal yang tak lagi kuingat, aku resmi memulai satu babak sejarah yang tak kuketahui ujungnya.

Oto yang ditumpangi hari itu penuh dengan barang. Sabun, deterjen, buku tulis, sabit, sampo, tas berisikan pakaian, makanan, dan banyak lagi. Entah mengapa, dari semuanya, aku terkenang akan satu barang yang kemudian menemani aku di banyak tahun mendatang: tikar pandan. Menimbang memori manusia yang umumnya selektif, aku menduga ingatan tentang tikar pandan itu pastilah diseleksi karena alasan tertentu.

Kami akhirnya tiba di tujuan. Dari luar, tempat itu terlihat sepi. Aku masih ingat barisan pohon di tepi barat laut tempat tersebut. Mereka terlihat hijau dan subur. Yang tidak aku sadari saat itu ialah kenyataan bahwa pohon-pohon itu kemudian menjadi bagian penting dalam sejarah keberadaanku di sana.

Lalu, kami memasuki gerbang bagian barat laut. Tak ada hal yang benar-benar kuingat saat memasuki gerbang itu, kecuali gerbang besi tua dan pohon ketapang yang menghiasi depan dapur. Di bawah pohon ketapang tersebut, kendaraan-kendaraan lain sudah terparkir ramai. “Rupanya, teman-teman lain sudah tiba duluan,” ujarku membatin.

Benar, saat berjalan menuju asrama SMP, banyak orang sudah memulai kesibukan masing-masing. Para orang tua mendaftarkan anaknya di ruang kerja prefek atau kamar dua frater yang menjadi asisten. Para pengunjung lain melakukan tur keliling. Sejumlah besar orang duduk bercengkerama dalam kelompok-kelompok kecil di bawah rindangnya pohon ki hujan.

Kami masuk ke bangsal tidur. Tempat itu sesak dengan tempat tidur besi bertingkat. Para bocah berusia belasan tahun yang ditemani orang tuanya sibuk mengatur tempat tidur. Masuk ke kamar pakaian, terlihat lebih banyak bocah dan orang tua. Mereka sibuk mengatur lemari pakaian masing-masing. Lemari itu adalah sebuah kotak persegi panjang yang dipasang mati pada dinding. Ia hanya memiliki empat rak. Ukurannya tidak besar, hanya pas untuk menampung sejumlah baju dan celana, peralatan mandi, makanan dan barang pribadi lainnya.

Aku mencari lemari pakaian yang sudah ditandai dengan kertas bertuliskan namaku. Ia terletak tepat di bagian sudut, sisi kiri pintu masuk. Kami menuju ke sana. Setelah membersihkannya, seluruh barang yang dibawa dari rumah dimasukkan ke dalam. Lemari lalu dikunci dengan gembok kecil.

Dari situ, kami kembali ke bangsal tidur. Setelah beberapa menit mencari tempat tidur yang juga telah ditandai, kami akhirnya menemukan obyek dari besi yang kelihatannya pernah menampung sekian banyak tubuh dari lintas generasi yang berbeda. Tempat tidur itu terletak di bagian tengah ruangan, dekat pintu tengah yang menghubungkan aula dan bagian belakang asrama. Aku membentangkan tikar pandan di atas per besi tempat tidur tersebut. Setelah meletakkan bantal dan selimut di bagian kepala, kami duduk di situ.

Ayah dan ibu terlihat bahagia. Mereka mengantarkan putera sulungnya ke tempat yang jauh sebelumnya sudah mereka impikan. Aku tidak ingat apa yang mereka sampaikan saat duduk di pembaringan itu. Apapun itu, air muka mereka tampak bahagia. Aku tak bisa membaca pikiran mereka. Namun, aku selalu menduga bahwa mereka menganggap hari itu sebagai salah satu hari penggenapan tugas dan tanggung jawab mereka sebagai orang tua. Para orang tua lain pun kelihatannya memiliki perasaan dan pikiran serupa. Di tengah hiruk pikuk pagi hingga siang itu, aku tak mengingat satu pun percakapan yang terjadi. Namun, aku menduga banyak orang tua menitipkan pesan kepada anaknya. Apapun isi persis pesan-pesan tersebut, aku yakin kata-kata yang memenuhi atmosfer hari itu penuh dengan harapan dan impian tentang masa depan para bocah berusia belasan tahun tersebut.

Hari itu adalah pertama dari dua ribuan hari aku mendiami tempat tersebut. Ada banyak hal yang bisa dituliskan tentang hari-hari aku berada di sana. Namun, hari pertama itu, sebagaimana halnya hari pertama di berbagai babak historis lain dalam kehidupan, meninggalkan bekas yang mendalam.

Aku datang sebagai bocah yang penuh keingintahuan. Aku ingin tahu bagaimana rasanya meninggalkan rumah dan hidup dalam sebuah komunitas dengan regularitas yang selalu berulang. Perasaan waswas menyelinap. “Akankah aku bertahan di tempat yang selalu melakukan proses saring di setiap caturwulan? Sanggupkah aku menggenapi sekian banyak harapan dan impian, bukan saja dari orang tuaku, tetapi juga banyak orang lain yang mendukung aku?”

Mungkin, teman-teman lain membatinkan pertanyaan yang sama. Atau, mereka mungkin saja menanyakan lebih banyak pertanyaan. Apapun yang menghinggapi hati kami masing-masing di hari tersebut, aku selalu yakin bahwa ia pasti meninggalkan jejak yang tidak mudah lekang oleh waktu. Dalam lintasan waktu, setiap kami memenuhi harapan dan impian dengan jawaban yang berbeda dan beragam. Namun, yang pasti, hari tersebut mengumpulkan dan menyatukan kami untuk memulai lembaran sejarah baru secara kolektif.

Setelah tujuh belas tahun meninggalkan tempat itu, lalu melihat ulang perjalanan selama enam tahun di sana, aku sadar bahwa aku tak pernah memiliki memori tentang hari terakhir berada di situ.

Entahlah, mungkin saja tidak pernah ada hari terakhir di tempat itu. Sebabnya, tempat itu selalu ada dalam diriku. Dalam urutan kronologis, hari terakhir itu tentunya ada. Menurut kategori spasial-geografis, aku bukan lagi salah satu penghuni tempat itu. Namun, dalam dimensi lain, yang tak juga bisa kunamakan, hari terakhir ini tidak pernah ada. Sampai hari ini, aku masih merasakan kontinuitas sejarah yang tiada putus. Tempat itu selalu menyatu dengan diriku dan mewarnai perjalananku hingga kesudahannya.

Seringkali, aku mempertanyakan apa saja hal-hal yang sudah kupelajari di sana. Jujur, kami tidak selalu belajar dari sumber-sumber terbaik. Kami tidak selalu dididik dengan formulasi dan formasi terunggul. Kami tidak selalu menyantap makanan dan minuman bergizi. Kami tidak selalu melaksanakan disiplin rohani dan disiplin intelektual yang paling manjur. Kami tidak selalu didampingi oleh para formator yang kudus dan saleh. Namun, satu hal yang pasti, kami belajar banyak hal di sana: kemandirian, ketekunan, kedisiplinan, solidaritas, kekeluargaan, usaha, keseriusan, kesetiaan, kemerdekaan, kesederhanaan, kesalehan, dan banyak hal lainnya. Perlu digarisbawahi, saya tidak menguasai semua hal yang baru disebutkan itu dengan baik dan benar selama enam tahun tersebut. Namun, seperti halnya tikar pandan sahaja yang selalu kukenang, kesahajaan formasi di tempat itu telah menjadi alas kokoh dan tak tergantikan dalam hidupku dan juga hidup orang-orang lain yang pernah menjejakkan kakinya di lembah itu.

Selamat hari ulang tahun SANPIO, alma mater tercinta. Terima kasih kepada semua guru, karyawan-karyawati, para om dan tanta, para formator yang sudah membaktikan diri demi perkembangan kami, para anak didikmu. Tuhan memberkatimu di usia ke enam puluh tiga ini. Berkaca pada Bunda Maria, semoga engkau selalu menjadi ‘ibu murah hati’ (alma mater) dari lembah Kisol yang setia membarui diri dalam misi ilahi membentuk manusia yang berkarakter dan berintegritas. Ad multos annos!

A boy and his grandpa

It was a moving moment: a little boy visited his bedridden grandpa after receiving his first holy communion. It was uncertain what that boy might think when making that visit. He might feel proud to tell his grandpa that he finally went through that landmark rite. Yes, he was eventually made the full partaker of the communion his grandpa already entered long, long time ago. The probability was he intended to make certain that his grandpa was fully aware of his newfound privilege of being fully integrated in the larger community of the initiated. It was a game changer indeed, as this initiation would possibly shift the balance of power at home. From now on, his parents might treat him a little bit different, as now he could join his older relatives queuing up in front of a man who distributes that gift from heaven.

Or, another probability was he might be completely oblivious of that. He didn’t think about any of it. He might simply think that every 3rd or 4th grader would eventually go through the same rite. This was not unusual, he thought. Therefore, he might pay a visit because it was his dad’s call. And, remembering his mom’s insistence, he observed the call with reverence. He simply knew that his grandpa would not partake in the next all-day celebration. Unlike other relatives, his grandpa would not make his way to his house and congratulate him on that special day.

His grandpa was happy to see him entering the room with his typical shy gesture. Looking at his grandson, a stream of memories rushed in. He couldn’t stop marveling at how time had flown so fast. Here he was, having been tied to his bed for these past few years. He already absented himself from many familial occasions. Today, he wanted to get up of his bed and shake his grandson’s hand on the platform they might have prepared for this special day. However, it was not the lack of enthusiasm that set him back. His feet are not what they used to be; those external limbs couldn’t do much to support his mobility. His physicality has long been incapacitated by that unfortunate illness that struck him twice.

Looking at his grandson, he couldn’t hold his tears. He knew that those tears were not unanticipated. He had to cope with the fact that he couldn’t make his way to the spot of jubilation. But, it was not the reason why those tears rolled from his downcast eyes. He had long been reconciled with himself and avoided any bitterness that could grow out of that distressing handicap. He might cry because it was precisely his grandson’s first holy communion: a common landmark that has betokened his own life. “God, time has seemingly flown so fast. My last daughter’s first holy communion feels like yesterday to me. And, today, I have my grandson receive his. Tomorrow, I might see him graduating from his primary and hear him speaking of his first infatuation with some girl. I wish I could make this one day a little longer, so I could contemplate on the special day that my children also once celebrated.” Looking at his grandson’s sympathetic eyes, this man kept this thought to himself. He might surmise that this contemplation was alien to his unsuspicious grandson who stood motionless and let him roll those tears.

I was unable to witness the moment from up close. Yet, thanks to the omnipresence of the internet, that moment was captured and instantly shared. The image filled me with indescribable emotions. I suddenly felt that life had moved faster and caught me unawares. Yesterday, that boy, my nephew, was still in his cradle. And, today, he looked dazzling in his occasion suits with enamored smile on his lips. Up to this point, I realized that in the long history of evolution, humans have used celebrations to mark progress in this short-lived life. This progress needs to be inscribed in the slate of history by certain symbolic actions. Without any celebrations, day-to-day life would be a mechanistic progress of uncompromising time with no milestones to remember and no stories to tell the would-be progenies.

Life without celebrations would be unthinkable to symbolic humans whose learning practices always include commemorating history and extracting lessons from it. I began to wonder that that grandpa, my dear uncle, might cry because the today’s celebration had reminded him of passing years. He realized that his life had changed over time. He was grateful to witness how younger generations continue to come after him.

I can only speculate. Indeed, the true meaning of those tears is known to himself alone. I don’t bother finding their true meaning. It’s beside the point. What I realize now is that when I nearly shed tears when looking at that now historic image, I realize that this life, my life, is beholden to generations that come before me. Seeing that little boy is like seeing myself encapsulated in the embrace of that life, larger and older than myself. I thank that life, that unbroken chain of lives, that makes our lives, my nephew’s and mine, possible. We are all indebted to those who come before us, who make all those celebrations possible and worth celebrating. I wish all heavenly and earthly blessings to that boy’s grandpa, my uncle. I hope, he continues to remember those celebrations. In them, we are united by the same binding force we call love.

Alumni

It was a milestone in the history of this nation, when the alumni of a historic movement again assembled and commemorated the one-year-old event. My wildest guess says that many will likely remember this day as a witness to a certain type of populism that successfully brought down an unwanted ruler, an abomination that made some people cross and nervous. And because they’ve called themselves ‘alumni’, I suppose that they must be a product or a certain type of  school that they gladly choose to sit in and cherish. 

Choosing this school might have not been the result of a conscious decision or well-thought response on the part of its attendees. However, I suppose there was psychological satisfaction to attend this school of thought. There must be an ecstatic feeling of being in the midst of such an enormous crowd, holding those emblematic banners and experiencing rare unifying solidarity. Whether you were fully aware of the ideological underpinning of that gathering was simply beside the point. You didn’t have to go through that meticulous self-reflection when mass hysteria simply overtook sanity and moderation.

And, going all the way back to the basics of thing, does it make sense to address such a crowd as alumni? Is it defensible to employ such a lofty concept to this temporary assembly?

To be honest, I was initially bewildered by this seemingly pompous use of word ‘alumni’ to designate the crowd of such occasion. I was inclined to think that ‘alumni’ is exclusively associated with the formality of having graduated from a conventional school, where regular attendance is obligatory while its learning process guided by certain curriculum or methodology. While this particular crowd didn’t fulfill any of those criteria, I choose to take another angle and see the scene from a different perspective.

To start with, careful etymological research might help provide alternative interpretation. ‘Alumni’, the plural form of ‘alumnus’, literally means ‘foster sons’. To be precise, ‘alumni’ refers to the ‘nourished or fostered ones’, those who are literally fed or nourished by certain food or sustenance. In the context of the said event, the crowd was truly alumni in the sense that their mobilization was partly fed or sustained with the common ‘food’. And speaking of food,  you know, you can be picky sometimes. That’s plausible since you’re free to eat whatever you want. However, whatever your choice is, this clichéd saying still seems to be true: ‘you are what you eat – so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake.’ And, that’s what I’m afraid of. This alumni chose to have insalubrious, unbalanced diet. Much have been said about this ‘diet’ and no reiteration is needed here. But, getting to the core of it, this alumni infamously fed on thought of avenging a blasphemer. Blasphemy or not, I basically tremble at the idea that people could rally around the discontent and fear of having their belief questioned, challenged, interpreted and brought into open discussion. Easily getting offended when a certain article of faith is questioned or criticized simply means that that faith has been fed on fast, cheap, easy and fake food. The outcome? That faith looks solid and well-groomed, but in principle, it’s hollow, flaccid and wobbly. The proof? It couldn’t even withstand the edited clip of an official speech that, among others, addressed the need to do self-reflection and conversion.

Leaving the complexity of interplay between multiple factors aside, I think these alumni pinpoint the prevailing school of thought in the country: religious absolutism. My religion is absolute so it’s unacceptable to question its propositions. My religion is absolute so it’s acceptable to call others infidels and reject plurality.

I hate to state the obvious: plurality is factual, not imaginary. You have to live with it. It’s like having different types of food on your table. You might detest the idea of taking a scoop of vegetables, but you cannot ban veggies or hate anyone who gladly swallow greens and continue to do that until eternity. Surely, nobody pushes you to choose veggies or healthy diet. Nonetheless, criteria of diet, determining what is good and bad, is objective and verifiable. It’s the result of painstaking empirical researches and studies, supplemented by a lot of experiments for centuries. Well, you might choose to go against the tide and discard any diet recommendation as fake news. However, it’s not the reason to bring down those who want to disseminate information on healthy diet. This latter information might be repulsive to you, but it might benefit those who are less informed and want to lead a healthier lifestyle; this also might disillusion those who have dwelled too long in a deeply entrenched misunderstanding about the nature of diet; or, this might simply prompt others to switch their diets to healthier choices.

Putting this insight into  political context, I believe, any democratic society, in order to keep faithful to its quintessence, must stick to certain principles or constants. That society might evolve over time, but in order to maintain its democratic legacy those constants need to remain in place. They cannot be compromised, unless you want to have the simulacrum of democracy or completely forsake the idea and embrace another alternative. 

When we speak of this country, I believe this choice of democracy happens for a simple noble reason: plurality. If democracy is compared to diet, I concur that this diet is not arbitrarily chosen as it guarantees the wholesomeness of our coexistence. Religious absolutism, on the other hand, threatens this historical fabric as it eclipses the importance of rational discourse on religious doctrine or interpretation that may overlap with democratic principles and practices. When we annihilate this discourse, we let certain power colonize our public sphere and suffocate the very democratic right to speak, give opinion and dissent. No matter how noble or dignified this power may understand itself, this self-undertanding has been already corrupt from the very beginning. Obviously, that clichéd saying still rings true: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Therefore, alumni or not, I am afraid that compromising our democratic legacy makes any school of thought that promulgates absolutism can easily gain ground and attract crowds. Well, I’m not afraid of the dissemination of any  ideas, this last idea included. But, what worries me is the absolutization of certain idea followed by the forced censure and closure of open debate on the validity of this idea by means of violence or intimidation. 

In the age of uncertainties and insecurities, when people tend to look for any person or institution that offers immediate sense of certitude, we have the indispensable duty to keep thinking and questioning. Another discussion with a friend this afternoon makes me remember a saying popularly associated with a rigorous thinker from Königsberg: “Sapere Aude!” Dare to know! Have the courage to use your own understanding! With regard to the use of understanding or reason, this was a thinker who already long long time ago made a special mention of religion: “I have emphasized the main point of the enlightenment – man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage – primarily in religious matters… Above all, nonage in religion is not only the most harmful but the most dishonorable.” This man didn’t really explain the reason of this last assertion. But, inferring from his writing, I could say with certainty that when religion stops any human from exercising his or her sacred rights of using reason, that religion simply stops emancipating humanity. Instead, it becomes the powerful tool in the hands of self-serving rulers or business people who want to fish in troubled waters. These two kinds of people cunningly manipulate those firebrand agitators into becoming “guardians [who] make their domestic cattle stupid and carefully prevent the docile creatures from taking a single step without the leading-strings to which they have fastened them.” 

Needless to say, all this brouhaha ends nowhere. We end up quarrelling and fighting among ourselves, and think that we have won this sacred war. What a ridiculous thought! What we might be oblivious of is the fact that while we lifted all those problematic banners and uttered those redundant insults, those people who benefit from this temporary uproar burst into incessant laughters, deriding our stupidity and innocence.

And now, well, to prevent such gathering of alumni from happening again, it’s our ever pressing duty to advance another type of school, the one that promotes courageous use of reason that counters the blind trust and subservience to any authorities that demand submission to any unexamined beliefs. I believe, this courageous use of reason won’t make them fool us again. I believe, this courageous use of reason won’t make the manipulators of the aforementioned guardians sneer at us again. Instead, we, ordinary citizens of different religions, will heartily laugh at our  naiveté, laugh back at both of those people and then walk hand in hand to build a common future, solidly based upon our one and common humanity.

A teacher…

It was no ordinary day. I remember vividly, it was like a very first day in the life of a novice. Yes, I was a novice in that grade level, doing my grade ten. I wasn’t sure of what my other comrades thought at that very day. But, to me, that day was anticipated with anxiety but curiosity at the same time.

We were expecting a teacher. But, this was no ordinary teacher. We’d heard from our older brothers, this teacher was of different species. Getting seven out of ten (perfect ten was simply unthinkable) was already an achievement, they said. Even smallest punctuation wouldn’t escape his scrutiny, they warned. Minutiae of your writing wouldn’t go unnoticed, they confirmed.

All these prophecies conditioned that waiting. Unsurprisingly, the air of our classroom in that dusky afternoon was full of tension. At least, that was my perceived reality. This feeling loomed in a novice who was about to enter an uncharted territory.

Despite the anxiety, I was at the same time consumed by the unquenched curiosity to start the class. This was strangely amplified by somehow the burning desire to showcase the worth in front of such a formidable figure. Still, like a novice, I was enkindled by the spirit of conquering my obscure fear of failing his class.

And there I was sitting in my classroom, waiting impatiently for his class to begin that afternoon. When my whole being was heavily gravitating toward this much discussed personality, we suddenly heard light steps outside the class. The man we had been waiting for was walking towards the door.

He was a priest with no extraordinary physical features. He was small, of average height, bespectacled and dark-skinned. He was a little hunchbacked, not because of anything but, I guessed, simply because of age. He was approximately in his late sixties. And he carried a cassette deck, a microphone and few books. He entered in. The room was in a total silent mode, as if the volume control of his legendary deck had muted us all. That very afternoon initiated the subsequent afternoons of the rest of my three years of study in that valley.

Like I said, he was a teacher. I have had many others and I can still recall some of them perfectly, with all their characteristics. But, when you mention one teacher in particular, this usually brings certain weight, with a certain degree of seriousness. And the priest teacher I am speaking about right now is not ordinary. First, he taught Bahasa Indonesia. Second, it wasn’t exactly the case. He taught us “Komposisi”. Composition is an integral part of linguistics. He didn’t simply teach us Bahasa Indonesia, but he taught us something deeper: putting words together and forming sentences, paragraphs and finally writing you could proudly call ‘decent’. That sounds trivial. Every other teacher could do that with ease. And, precisely, that’s the common error.

After three years of study under his tutelage, I finally came to the realisation that putting words together was not a small enterprise. And it is not mainly due to the complexity of language rules or grammar in general. It’s deeper than that: language is related to your mode of thought. Thoughts can be expressed clearly and effectively if you’re able to arrange those words well and correctly. And this organization of thoughts needs discipline and attention to details: logic, syntax, semantics, punctuation. Since language plays the greater part of our communication, confusions in our common milieu can accordingly be straightened up by the serious effort of upscaling the way we use language.

Agamben, another distant teacher, once said, “The home of truth is language… We must take care of language.” Yes, truth resides in language. It’s a small wonder then to find that those who are against the truth try to oppress the language. Those who are afraid of truth try to control thoughts by controlling the varied uses of language in songs, poems or writings. In a similar vein, when Orwell speaks of ‘Newspeak’ in his influential and still relevant ‘1984’, we realize that in order to maintain its operability totalitarianism works by distorting the language; truth is suppressed by corrupting language.

Now, after years of being taught by that special teacher, I realize that his love of language makes sense. Obeying and observing those details happens for a certain noble reason: the service to truth. To me, it was no coincidence that my teacher was a Divine Word missionary. For mPater-Franse, he also epitomised the dutiful reverence to the Word by paying attention to those ordinary words. Those words used in his class might not life-changing or life-saving. But, his perseverance in righting our wordings, perfecting our logic, bettering our writings and improving our thoughts forever impact our lives, one way or another. This is not only about ‘teaching’ language, but ‘taking care’ of language is a means of caring for life: our lives, his students’ lives.

And, that teacher has just gone. For good and all. I believe, he has met his Divine Word, whom he passionately and steadfastly served in his long teaching career. I haven’t had another chance of meeting him after those fruitful three years. I might resent it one day, but not today. I’m now simply thankful that he didn’t fail to show up that afternoon. I’m now simply thankful that I got few bad grades in his class. Indeed, they have taught me lessons since, unfading things that simply shape who I am now. I dropped few tears. I guess, they were not of sorrow but gratitude to the special one who has shaped my reality.

My teacher was Father Frans Mido, SVD. Eternal rest, father. Pray for us who are still struggling to mind our words, mend our words and keep those words…

Daud

Pada kisah Daud kita menemukan misteri panggilan yang tak utuh terperikan. Di awal kisah, Daud bukanlah andalan manusia, yang cenderung memilih berdasarkan preferensi terhadap kualifikasi tertentu. Paling kurang, Samuel, sang nabi itu, sama sekali tidak pernah menduga bahwa dari kedelapan putra Isai Daud bakal menjadi pilihan Allah yang kemudian ia urapi.

Bila pilihan manusia pertama-tama berangkat dari penampakan lahiriah, atau “apa yang di depan mata” (1 Sam 16:7), pilihan Allah justru terletak pada “hati”. Karena itu, tidaklah mengherankan bila kesaksian biblis mencatat bahwa Daud adalah satu-satunya tokoh dalam Kitab Suci yang disebut sebagai “seorang yang berkenan di hati Allah” (1 Sam 13:14; Kis 13:22).

Namun, mungkinkah hati itu selalu bisa diandalkan? Mungkinkah hati bisa menjadi fakultas intrinsik yang konstan, tidak berubah dan selalu terarah pada kehendak ilahi? Samuel mungkin tidak sempat memikirkan pertanyaan-pertanyaan tersebut pada hari ia bertandang ke Bethlehem. Namun, dalam perjalanan waktu, kita akhirnya toh tahu bahwa kisah Daud adalah juga kisah tentang hati yang rapuh, yang tidak selalu dapat diandalkan.

Dari banyak kisah yang dialami Daud, kisah perselingkuhannya dengan Batsyeba serta konspirasi untuk melenyapkan Uria, suami Batsyeba, adalah testimoni kuat tentang kerapuhan hati itu. Bila pada kisah keterpilihannya, Daud dipilih bukan karena penampakan lahiriahnya, pada kisah kejatuhannya ia justru memilih penampakan lahiriah. “Apa yang di depan mata” justru menentukan determinasinya. Fisikalitas, yang dinegasi pada hari keterpilihannya, justru menjadi variabel dominan pada saat pengambilan keputusan yang ia lakukan dalam kisah ini.

Daud jatuh. Namun, bisakah kisah Daud dan kerapuhan hatinya dipakai sebagai argumen untuk meragukan Allah dan keputusan ilahi yang Ia buat melalui Samuel? Mungkinkah kisah Daud dapat dipakai untuk mendelegitimasi panggilan ilahi dan menjustifikasi sinisme terhadap ‘orang-orang terpanggil’ yang juga sering rapuh dan jatuh?

Masing-masing kita barangkali memilih jawaban yang berbeda. Namun, kisah Daud tidak berakhir pada cul-de-sac, jalan buntu yang pengap dan gelap. Kisah Daud adalah juga kisah penebusan ilahi yang bermula dari metanoia, pertobatan. Bila dalam kisah keterpilihannya, Daud didatangi Samuel, dalam kisah penebusannya Daud didatangi Natan. Natan, sang nabi itu, menegur Daud untuk kejahatan yang telah ia perbuat. Dengan menggunakan alegori si kaya dan si miskin, Natan mengantar Daud pada kesadaran moral tentang kejahatan yang telah ia lakukan.

Kisah penebusan Daud tidak dapat dimengerti secara paripurna bila kita tidak memindai apa persisnya dosa yang ia perbuat. Berkaca pada alegori yang dipakai Natan, kita bisa melihat bahwa kesalahan Daud bukan semata-mata terletak pada kegagalannya mengendalikan energi libidinal yang purba itu. Toh, Daud adalah arketipe poligami; hidupnya diwarnai kehadiran banyak perempuan yang menjadi istri dan gundiknya. Karena itu, bobot kesalahan Daud pastilah melampaui aktus kopulasi yang banal tersebut.

Memandang alegori yang dipakai Natan, kita melihat bahwa perkara Daud bukan terletak pada nafsu yang tiada terpermanai kepada Batsyeba, melainkan terutama pada kejahatan yang ia lakukan terhadap Uria. Karena itu dalam traktatnya, The Aggravation of Sin, Thomas Goodwin menjelaskan bahwasanya perkara Daud lebih merupakan ‘perkara dengan Uria’ (the matter of Uriah) daripada perkara dengan Batsyeba (the matter of Bathsheba). Di sini, hal yang hendak disoroti terletak lebih pada deliberasi dan determinasi Daud dalam merancang kejahatan terhadap Uria, daripada dosa hawa nafsu yang Daud miliki terhadap Batsyeba. Tentu, kedua perkara ini sama-sama jahat. Namun, aktus menipu diri (self-deceit) , kemunafikan (internal hypocrisy) serta kebisuan yang dibarengi pemaafan terhadap dirilah (self-forgiving silence) yang mendatangkan kemurkaan ilahi.

Saat mendiskusikan perkara yang kedua ini, Goodwin berbicara tentang ‘dosa melawan pengetahuan’ (sin against knowledge). Dosa semacam ini termanifestasi dalam wujud penyalahgunaan pengetahuan moral di mana orang menutup-nutupi dosanya dengan menggunakan pretensi yang masuk akal dan baik. Persis, hal inilah yang dilakukan Daud. Untuk menjustifikasi kematian Uria di medan tempur, ia mengemukakan argumentasi tentang keniscayaan korban dalam perang: “…[S]ebab sudah biasa pedang makan orang ini atau orang itu” (2 Sam 11:25). Di sini, magnitudo kesalahan Daud terletak pada upaya penuh kesadaran dan kemauan yang ia lakukan untuk merasionalisasi serta menjustifikasi sarana yang ia pakai untuk mencapai tujuannya.

Bagi Daud, ‘dosa melawan pengetahuan’ itu adalah sesuatu yang ia sadari sejak awal. Hal itu jelas terlihat pada pengakuan yang ia buat dalam mazmur yang sangat personal itu (Mzm 51): “Kasihanilah aku, ya Allah, menurut kasih setia-Mu, hapuskanlah pelanggaranku menurut rahmat-Mu yang besar! Bersihkanlah aku seluruhnya dari kesalahanku, dan tahirkanlah aku dari dosaku! Sebab aku sendiri sadar akan pelanggaranku, aku senantiasa bergumul dengan dosaku (1-3).”

Pada akhirnya, Daud pun bertobat. Pertobatan yang membawa penebusan itu diawali dengan kesadaran bahwa “hati yang patah dan remuk tidak akan Allah pandang hina (Mzm 51:17)”. Memang, ‘hati yang patah dan remuk’ adalah awal kejatuhan dalam dosa, namun hati yang sama itulah yang senantiasa Allah terima. Barangkali dalam aras ini, penerimaan Allah terhadap hati yang patah itu adalah garansi dari kekudusan pilihan ilahi itu sendiri. Tindakan purifikasi, pentahiran, hati itu bukanlah tindakan manusiawi. Itu adalah semata-mata tindakan belas kasih Allah sendiri. Dan, di sini, kita melihat bahwa tindakan penebusan terhadap ‘orang-orang terpanggil’ adalah inisiatif ilahi Allah sendiri.

Namun, tindakan penebusan itu pada saat yang sama juga menuntut kolaborasi dari pihak manusia. Daud dengan jelas mencontohkan hal itu. Pentahiran yang ia alami hanya dapat terjadi tatkala ia berani mempersembahkan jiwa yang hancur (Mzm 51:17) itu kepada Allah. Di sini, kita melihat bahwa dimensi ilahi keselamatan Allah tidak dapat dilepaspisahkan dari dimensi manusiawi partisipasi manusia dalam keselamatan tersebut.

Dan, bila kita sekarang ini sedang dilanda ketegaran hati yang menakutkan, marilah kita sama-sama berdoa semoga Allah yang maha rahim itu memberikan kita kerendahan hati untuk membuka diri, mengakui kesalahan dan mengupayakan pembaruan.

Lalu, bila prahara yang mengguncangkan ini sampai-sampai melantakkan optimisme itu, baiklah kita sekalian mengingat bahwa keselamatan itu bukan disediakan manusia, makhluk dengan hati yang mudah rapuh dan lemah. Keselamatan yang menjadi aspirasi bersama itu datang hanya dari Allah sendiri. Asal ilahi keselamatan itu hendaknya menjadi alas kokoh dan wadas perkasa bagi harapan dan kegembiraan kita.

Dalam kesadaran itu, bersama Daud marilah kita berseru: “Bangkitkanlah kembali padaku kegirangan karena selamat yang dari pada-Mu, dan lengkapilah aku dengan roh yang rela (Mzm 51:12)!”