Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wonder Weekend

Obviously I don't write a lot about what happens in the everyday. So maybe I'll make a difference today.

I really haven't had some downtime until tonight, starting Wednesday. After a media launch, I watched Big Bang's concert, which is the first major concert I ever watched. I thank God for my cousin, Precious, who drove us to the place. I never really pictured myself hanging out with cousins because we're all so far apart. And she's my only cousin who's about my age. And we didn't really plan on watching together, but we shared the same interest, so!

Thursday was a big of a downer. The effect is present until now. Haha. Well, I was supposed to go to work and document something in Laguna. So I hailed a cab to get to the place (yea the morning after the concert) only to find out they already left and they didn't even text me. Danggg. So much effort on a rainy morning. I was pissed and wished that I went to Square One instead of wasting my time there. So I did. Impulsive choice. My boss didn't allow me to, and she was a bit angry for me bailing out on a regular workday. But I threw my cares in the wind and said I'll deal with the consequences later (AKA tomorrow, Monday). I just thought, in ten years, I would probably regret not witnessing the baptism than going to work one day. Still short-sighted, but I can't be forced out.

It was my fourth Square One. I feel a little sad for not making it for a whole week, but no matter. Just that one day, the baptism, was worth it. Has it been four years since I celebrated loving back? Woah. And has it been only a few years that we were the "new people" and now there are newer new people. Woah.

Next morning was the most amazing day in the WORLDDDD. Chos. But I still smile as I remember playing Ultimate frisbee in the mud. First at the amphitheater and second at the track oval. I never really enjoyed Ultimate because I sucked at it and my teammates usually never pass the disc to me HAHAHA so I end up running to and fro, aimlessly. But for some reason I got better. Don't really know why because I avoid every chance of playing the game, but thank God I enjoyeddd. So much so that my limbs are still hurting and my arm has a small bruise.

We had a boodle fight for lunch. Another first! That meant lining up tuyo, tomato with salted eggs, lumpiang shanghai, and rice topped with Chooks to Go in a banana leaf. Homemade, or should I say, Mahiyain-made. Grateful for the people who provided for it! We chowed it down in less than ten minutes, with leche flan afterwards :))

Then I went to the Saved Festival at SM MOA (two concerts in three days. Did I mention it was still Friday?). Another first! No words for Saved. <3 a="a" above="above" check="check" just="just" p="p" song.="song.">
Saturday, my parents woke me up so we could visit my lolo's grave. I was supposed to go to a Halloween event for work, but we won't be going on November 1 so I chose the family trip. We took a trip to Laguna, to Lolo's grave, and to an amazing place in, I think, Calauan. We were taking photos of this wonderland like crazy, especially mom and me! Negligibly, I didn't text my boss that I will not go to "work".. I won't discuss the details here. But sleeping in my grandparents' place was nostalgic. I remember how there used to be chicken pens and leaky ceilings. Now everything is tiled, the rooms are air conditioned, and Dad's mini-office is installed there. All those childhood summer and Christmas breaks spent there.

Early morning we traveled back. I went to work (finally). That's today, Sunday. I went to Rockwell for a Halloween party. I'm not a photographer, at all, but I loved taking pictures there as I do a lot in my work. Just watching the kids dressed as the Avengers, as princesses, walking skulls, receiving candies with smiles on their faces and capturing them. Too sweet :> I laughingly thought to myself that when I have kids, I'll take them to these events. And I'd preferably have five boys and one girl to be Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, Iron Man and then Black Widow. HAHAHA. OKAY.

And now finally, Sunday night, I finally had time to pause. Wednesday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday, concerts, games, graves, events, food.... I was a roll but I like myself busy. Now I pray for what will happen tomorrow as I face, probably a lecture. But I hope it won't erase the good memories of the past days. God's grace will push me through another week.

Have a blessed week!! :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

When someone pisses you off

One of the best life lessons people have to learn is to be ~*kebs*~.

To not be too affected of issues. I guess I am a little indifferent and insensitive because drama can be exhausting. Maybe  I trust people to be the same. To know that if I say something that sounds offensive, they'd immediately think, "Oh she didn't mean that" instead of reacting out of proportion.

I hope this could be help for me if I ever get angry in the future, or my friends.

K. For Kebs. :))

The thing is, we are too suspicious of people.

There has been a lot of sarcasm and trash talk that when it comes to serious conflict, we start putting up a tacky carnival of hate statuses, harsh tweets, flaming blogs, raised eyebrows, silent treatments, and other forms of symbolic violence -- most of the time, over the little things we could afford to let go.

It's hard to notice that anger takes up a lot of your heart! You could be caught up in the moment, you could be on fire because you have all the right words and analyses of how other people should live their lives, but the point is, your hate will not improve anyone, even yourself. The best, or worst, thing you could do is to damage.

How do you know when your anger is sin? I got a few glimpses of my own heart. You know you're badly angered when there is malice. When you wanted to malign/insult/embarrass/ridicule another person for revenge. When, instead of reasoning and dealing with it, you choose to nurse the wrongdoing in your heart and talk about it with another person. I don't think talking about anger with another person is bad. But you should know the difference between telling your story (which is one-sided) and getting another perspective and asking for counsel from a person you know is objective (not the people who would cheer you on in the battle).

I still think that the best way to deal with anger is to humble yourself -- that's right -- probably the last thing you wanted to do when you're angry. Cheek-turning, like Jesus said. But how difficult it is for a world that strives to be assertive, and which promotes a take-no-shit attitude. For a world in which there is only one winner, even in relationships, and where winners are expected to be rewarded.

But who are we kidding? The best way to go about it is still through communication, with the aim of understanding and not just confronting. Understanding, with the aim of reconciliation and not fault-enumeration. You have to hear the other side, and sometimes you don't have to determine who's right or wrong. Sometimes you just have to say sorry for the damage, whether you intended it or not.

People are not always rational beings. They are emotional beings most of the time and especially when they are angry. So even if you settled that the other person is in the wrong, you still won't receive peace or restore the friendship without admitting that you did hurt him/her even if you're right.

"Sorry" can be choking. The hardest sorry's to say are the ones we mean the most. I learned a lot from my dad. He's not a perfect guy of course, but what I admire about him is that he is first to humble himself without caring about who's right or wrong. All he had to do was to get fast food takeouts and give them to me and I know we're at peace again. :)) Kidding aside, I learned from him that nothing dissolves anger more than an assurance of a love bigger than the bad feelings.

So when someone pisses you off, stop making a mental list of what the person did or didn't do. Stop elaborating about what they made you feel. Maybe do so for processing's sake, but don't overdo it. We are not in the business of punishing people until they become lovable enough. That's not gonna happen. People are not always lovable because there is such a scarcity of love. And it's not love's fault, for it is infinite. "Because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold" (Matt 24:12). The problem is that people never stir it up and use it when they're angry because they can't let go of the need to be right and secure.

Next time someone pisses you off, try to surprise your enemies (and yourself) by responding with love. I'm sure they, too, have been taught to fight instead of surrender. Know that fights are costly and bloody. Love counteracts and can heal all wounds.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thank you, Lord

Sometimes, we can be such spoiled brats to God.

We cry out to him when our wish is not granted, when what we hope for does not happen, when what we ask for is not given, when things don't go our way --- typical children.

But sometimes, we are so caught up with what's not given that we forget what has been given. I'm speaking abstract here but this has been true for myself. There are so many things that we want that we fail to realize that we are just on our way to get there. That only God can see the big picture while all we have are puzzle pieces. That maybe, God is the picture that we are supposed to see. And he is in every little piece.

I'd like to take this time to give God the long overdue thanksgiving. Thank you Lord for
  • Not making me commute to work and interact with a lot of strangers in one cramped vehicle for hours only to endure traffic, fatigue, and pollution
  • Blessing me with a job. A lot of people would love to go hotel hopping, article-writing/publishing, and events organizing/covering. I'm doing all of those
  • Giving me enough savings to be secure if I ever will look for another job and even for my meager pay. Haha.
  • Teaching me discipline when it comes to finances long before. It was a childhood training I never knew I had and now I'm reaping the fruits
  • The short distance from work and home that I could actually take a morning walk and an evening stroll to get home
  • A beautiful neighborhood with big houses I love watching that make me miss my family
  • Officemates who are also from UP so we have a common ground of discussing social issues, current affairs, and various events (fairs, museums, retreats, travel, books, plays, etc.!)
  • Having student-friends who are from UP so that I have a reason to go back to that relaxing place to have fun, eat dinners, and chill out
  • Affirming my direction through giving me a group of like-minded people whom I can discuss my wildest dreams with, and a monthly and weekly time to go back to it (although pray that I go to them regularly)
  • A family who always responds when I need them. Parents who love me unquestioningly and who look forward to seeing me during weekends and actually make time when I request for the most random activities like movie-watching and coffee
  • The joy of seeing my mom drive. She deserved her own car, really. And to see her smoothly cruising through the highway with me in control of the radio is just wonderful
  • Breakfast dates, which actually force me to wake up early and actually eat. People who pray with and for me, and who give me encouragement!
  • That kitchen area, which is always dirty and sometimes has a cockroach in the corner that becomes my refuge as I meet with You
  • Roommates I can talk to occasionally, if we stop gazing at the monitor for hours. The many books they own which I have free access to
  • A business and a business partner which becomes my creative outlet which feels so natural. For its affirmation that I could actually put up a business in the future
  • Free times at work. Even though the slow pace is killing me, it gives me time to tend to the business, the blog, and information-gathering
  • A role model boss. She's an achiever and a lover of life. Not a perfect one, but at least I could say that I'm working for a 30-year-old enterprise that handles awesome accounts
  • Living in a beautiful city near everything I love -- church, school, work, after-work, chill-out places, and more. Living a few corners from Maginhawa Street and all its foodie wonders
  • The freedom of wearing anything to work. Not having uniforms or a strict dress code that requires black slacks (I am never wearing those)
God says yes more than you can imagine. He said yes to you not being sick, to your house not being threatened by flood, to your parents being together, to your capability to pay for your tuition, to your friends and all they mean to you. Even if you didn't have all of these, you still have so much more. Don't compare, lest you be compared.

As mentioned by Ali, my PE buddy:

God knew what He was doing when He established the belief system. When you strip away all mystery and leave the truth naked and mathematically scientific, something sweet and attractive is lost.

There will always be the unknown. There will always be the unprovable. But faith confronts those frontiers with a thrilling leap. Then life becomes vibrant with adventure!

--- in the words of Robert H. Schuller

Thank the Lord.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How has it become difficult to love God?

So I heard they asked this question at one service. Now that's new. We've been used to the question, "How have you loved God?" or "How has God loved you?" It was about celebration. Being all right, being on high, being on fire.

But we're not always like that. We're not okay. We're not perfect. We snap at others when we're tired. We miss a gathering that means something to someone because we have other priorities. We think we are broken beyond repair and we're trying to find a way to be satisfied with just that. We try to make up for what we lack by what we will sacrifice. We try to deny how we feel, especially when we hurt, because we can't handle our own emotions that we've become afraid of them.

What's my answer to this question? How has it been difficult to love God? It was so difficult to answer, to be honest. But for some reason I fought tears back as I think about it. And I don't know why. But I guess this song says a lot when I heard it.

I'm good at writing, but only after I have dealt with something. Only I have found a conclusion, only after the questions have been answers. But right now I find myself at a loss for words. And I'd hate to bother you with different versions of "I don't know what to say". But yes, it does get difficult, really difficult to love and feel loved by God.

How about you?

Monday, October 1, 2012


Have you been tired of emotional circuses leaving you shaken and empty-handed? Short-lived highways of emotions that has a billion-dollar toll fee at the end? Have you lost money betting at a lotteries you have no desire of winning, "just for the experience"?

Purity is probably one of the most difficult topics to talk about as a believer. The first time I learned about it in my church, I was turned off. Of course I was against pre-marital sex even then. But I didn’t like the idea of not consciously checking up on friendships, which is a factor of emotional purity. Although, at that time, something about purity rings true.

I’ve not been too good at emotional purity before and it’s not something I was proud of. There was a time when I lead guys on just for the sake of it, even though I know it’s cruel and they have nothing to gain. In my heart there was a fling after fling, and it was destructive and impulsive at the same time. At that time I thought it was completely normal – exciting even.

But when I noticed that a friend of mine never does this, I was astounded. It’s like he is purposefully missing out on the fun. Until I realized, he was probably having more fun than I was. See, the “friendships” I formed, at one point, came to a stop because of that something that came in the mix. When someone throws the ball away, we stop playing, and the game ends there. After all, there was no commitment, just fun. Nobody wins, but someone loses more.  I realized that if only those friendships were not mixed with… I don’t know… charades? they could have been good friendships that could actually last. Have you ever had those friendships?

And so I wanted purity. But I have not always been successful. In fact, I've failed and am continuously failing that sometimes I wanna say “Forget it”. That’s why it’s difficult to talk about purity. It’s like I myself am a rookie at this, and that I haven’t proven anything -- if it’s possible, if it works, if it's better! The leap of faith!

Not only do a lot of people find purity restraining, even “religious”, it was difficult AS IT IS. A part of you never wanted to miss out on the fun. You hear your friends relaying stories about their break-ups, counting boyfriends/girlfriends, meeting cuties (HAHA) etc. and there you are, believing in purity. It seemed so uncool and outdated.

It’s difficult to believe in purity when you desire to be loved. Sometimes I blame it on young adult fiction for filling stories with a lot of romance and you can’t even relate to. Heck, you don’t even know if it happens in real life (and probably it doesn't). But something in those stories make you think, and make you want to find your story, too. You start thinking, maybe the story is just around the corner, and so you search through people and places and hope that you find it! And how heartbreaking it is when you don’t, or when it doesn’t last. Kept your hopes up for nothing but scars and then you feel unloved again. It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s difficult to believe in purity when nothing is happening and you feel empty. The restlessness bothers you, and you look for more adventurous, amorous stories. You get attracted to danger and playing with fire, until you get caught in the flame and find it hard to get out. Still, you find that the gaping hole in your heart remained even after you filled with romance.

It’s difficult to believe in purity when the people surrounding you don’t. Friends wanted to introduce you to their friends, set you up, tease you to someone, urging you to give it a try. You look like you can’t handle situations properly if you refuse, so you give it a try. But you hate it at once that you wanted to forget about the whole thing. None of this was satisfying, but at least you can make time pass, and there’s a story to tell!

It’s difficult to believe in purity when you have already given your heart to someone. A part of you wanted to stop entertaining thoughts altogether in a sudden decision. Yet it never works because it is merely surface-level denial. It’s like planting a tree with no roots. You have no basis, no strong foundation, when someone knocks and suddenly you are filled with hope that maybe it will work and you fall for it again.

Maybe sometimes your family question you, “Why don’t you have somebody? You’re handsome, smart, a gentleman,” and you ask yourself, Yeah, why don’t I have somebody? Maybe you have lost a person you liked to someone else more 'outgoing' than you. Maybe the pain you experienced from past hurts resonates in you, and you wanted so much to forget that you think the only way is to find a substitute. Maybe you cling to a heartbreak so closely that you fail to see God’s grace in saving you from further heartbreak when you stop.

There are plenty of other choices easier to pick than purity! It’s a hard road to take and is less taken.

But right now, I find that my prayer to God is increasingly about purity. It doesn’t make me less plagued with desires, restlessness, doubt, fear, and even shame. Perhaps my prayer would even amplify those! But I guess I wanted to be stronger in God. Sometimes my mind gets preoccupied of these things that I fail to trust God’s timing, orchestration, and choice. To be honest, if I could just forget about it, throw away the deceptive part of my heart, I would. But I can't and I need His help. This time I wanted more of Him than myself with an imaginary person in an imaginary love story.

PS. This is obviously an elaborate topic. More on this next time. :)