Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for November, 2013

Life for Death, Creation for Destruction

Smash my bones
I offer you mercy

Rip off my skin
I hand over forgiveness

Gouge my eyes
I lay down kindness

Break my heart
I give you love

All I am is a seed sacrifice
Burying me in this dying earth costs much

From my blood shall come flowers
Hope and faith that destroys death

New life springs out of barren ground
To give breath to dry bones worthy of grace and love

Everything I give to see you break forth
To have you forever, my dream, my creation

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Arms Open Wide

I stopped and looked at her eyes,
Inching towards my direction
Like colorless glass in the shining sun
They tried to animate above the dark circles

She smiled with that lifeless smile
Forced out of her dire humanity
Her face sagging in soot and smoke
Her cheeks covered in her burnt-colored hair

Knocking at the car window so secure,
She hoped for a coin to live for a day,
I looked away beyond the foggy air,
Waiting for her to forget my I am in this ride

When she vanished by my car,
I turned to see a horrible sight
My reflection dying in painful pride
Of not accepting the needy with arms open wide

Fulfillment of My Coming Days

Help me not to count the months
As I wait for the end of a bond
Waiting patiently for a door to close
To move forward to a pasture untold

Let each week flow like a silver stream
Passing my fingers so gently
My eyes must never fall on the pebbles
So that I will not stumble on my knees so feeble

Such a burden of waiting be lifted
Soaring above the waves that have shifted
From expectations that never came
To a destiny that had me changed

Once the end of half a thousand days has come
I will see the fulfillment of a purpose
That I never imagined or expected in my life
But Christ perfected from the beginning of my life

Leveling Down the Contention of Words

This is what Typhoon Yolanda left in this once thriving city of Tacloban, Leyte. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

This is what Typhoon Yolanda left in this once thriving city of Tacloban, Leyte. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

“There has never been anything at the magnitude of what we are trying to do now,” Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told palace reporters at a press briefing last Nov. 13, “Not in size, not in volume, not in even the breadth of it.”

As the national government admits being appalled at the disaster left by Typhoon Haiyan (or Typhoon Yolanda as its FIlipino name) ten days ago, the rest of the world feels mutual. It’s like watching a horror movie, except it is in the primetime newscasts. However, being in the very scene of it still feels surreal to me.

I would have loved to tag along with one of our teams assigned to Tacloban City last week. Tacloban, Leyte was one of the greatly devastated places left by Yolanda. But considering the place’s limited necesities for a woman like me, only an all-male team was sent.

As first hand witnesses to a storm’s aftermath, I tried to understand the hardships they experienced. They had no place to stay, no food and water to sustain them (as they have given their provisions to the Tacloban people), and they have to endure the stench of the dead and of human waste. But how much more I tried to feel the heart break for the people who endure the loss of what they have owned and the loss of their very loved ones. What was left was their very existence, coping with the last strain of humanity nearly being snatched from them. They try to survive in a desolated town unfit for living.

It might be easy to say that the rest of us who stayed wish to come to

The people of Tacloban almost at a loss as they have lost their homes --- and even their loved ones. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

The people of Tacloban almost at a loss as they have lost their homes — and even their loved ones. Photo by Carlo Damalerio

Tacloban just to give out a hug…or maybe a small act of kindness through food and water. But how far are we willing to go? How far would we be willing to sacrifice time and your comfort zone to feel their pain. Living there sounds too inhumane for most of us. Helpless, all we can do is sigh and speak out our thoughts and symphathy.

As I watch from afar, it’s a pain to hear criticisms and politicizing at all sides. There’s this underlying contention between the main government bodies, the private entities, and the vox populi. We can talk too much. It’s easy to give blame. But can’t we just shut up and try to feel the pain of the victims themselves? Perhaps, it’s easy to make conclusions in what goes on in their everyday life. But can’t we think of focusing at their basic needs first? These people, are just like us — human, limited, and in need of one another.

Perhaps, most of us can never understand how it is to be in their shoes. For us living far from them, we try to comprehend what flashes through our screens or what blares through our airwaves. But we can never see the whole picture. Who are we to judge conclusions, then?

Perhaps, some of us can never get the chance to reach them personally. Perhaps, most of us might never understand the whole picture of what’s happening and why it happened. But setting aside our own conclusions and criticisms might help rebuild a new future. A little grace, a little love, through our what-we-have can uplift their spirits. Behind the camera, must be a more drastic story beyond words.

Sowing Away the Hidden Seed

IMG_0490[1]What do we gain when we give away love through our money and other material possessions despite having nothing? Sacrificing what we have is not easy, especially when what we see is enough for ourselves.

Let’s admit, it’s not easy to give, even for a cause. My mom has seen this in some of her comrades at their senior citizen’s group. She suggested that instead of spending for their Christmas party this year, she urged her fellow officers to give money to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (or Typhoon Yolanda as its Philippine name). However, most of them were hesitant. The reason: they’re not sure if it will go to the victims. But soon enough, they were convinced, as the organization she suggested is legitimate and has been doing outreach missions for years. She was just saddened to find out that most of them handed down less than half of what each spend for their Christmas parties.

I’m not against Christmas parties. I enjoy them. It’s just our security on our money that binds us from sharing with others.

I must admit, I’m still struggling in this area at this point of writing. We have heard countless times that what we sow is what we’ll reap. But due to our culture of gaining and fighting for our rights, we have disregarded the principle of sowing and reaping many times.

Most of us have been pampered with material possessions. As a yuppie, I’ve grown to the idealism of treating myself, causing me to buy things and food I don’t need. I’m one of this generation’s impulsive buyers, which regrettably had me at debt at most times. Lofty food is one of my weaknesses. I am one of those willing to spend big bucks for expensive meals. However, when someone is in need, I would think it over before giving anything — and when I give, I give too little.

I realized today that I have lost much because I’m not a cheerful giver. Actually, I am a good saver, but due to bank closures and joblessness two years ago, I lost my savings. I have been selfish in my own principles of handling money, not realizing that everything we handle is temporary. I never give much, not even love and mercy, for I was a skeptic at humankind. I viewed that everyone is not a good steward of whatever I lend or give. But I’ve judged too much. I was the one who’s not a good steward.

Right now, I am in the learning process of being a good steward of money. The more painful part here is learning to give money to the needy. In every fruit of our labor is a seed we need to sow. Of course, we cannot eat the whole fruit, right? So, we have to sow the seed into good ground to produce a hundredfold. It’s the same with money. We can’t keep it all. So, we have to give part of it to the “good ground”, let’s say an organization or to the needy. We might be surprised how much will be given back to us.

A friend of mine had taught me this before I went to Ireland. Having no money to go there, I was holding on to what I have. But my friend, a prophetic fellow, sensed that the Lord was teaching me to give despite of having nothing. It’s a hard process to learn. But there is blessing in obedience. I was surprised that a few friends supported for my pocket money right after, even though I did not ask them. Right now, though, I’m still settling my plane ticket! But I know God is faithful and that He provides all my needs. πŸ™‚

It’s a Biblical principle. Believer or no believer, I’ve seen how this principle is fulfilled when done. I’ve heard testimonies on how blessed are the people who sacrificed much. It’s no wonder that some rich people become richer, for they have secretly given part of their income to foundations.

It’s not money that matters at this point. It’s how we view it. Everything we receive is meant to be shared, even the kindness and love we receive. We might not see the results when we give part of ourselves away, but in time we will realize what kind of harvest will be grown when we sacrifice what we have — even a part of it. Just as the seed that grew into a hundredfold when planted into good ground, it would be the same when we give love through acts or money. Sacrifice of love will reap an abundance of love. Sacrifice of our money will reap an abundance of income. May we live the lifestyle of sowing into good ground and thus reap back a hundredfold in our lives.

Touchdown Ireland! (Second Landing)

Almost all stores are lined up with green things: leprechauns, shamrock trinkets, green mugs and boxes. You'll enjoy shopping in Ireland :)

Almost all stores are lined up with green things: leprechauns, shamrock trinkets, green mugs and boxes. You’ll enjoy shopping in Ireland πŸ™‚

Leprechauns, shamrocks, and everything green. That’s what Ireland is known for. Stores have been lined up with these trinkets that sing of the magic the Irish culture bring, inscribed with Irish wishes to bring you luck.

I’m not into luck because I don’t believe that blessings come in chances (and because our good Father in heaven gives His ever-increasing favor and blessing to those who will ask). But I appreciate the culture Ireland brings, one thing you can learn as you travel.

An aunt of mine told me to experience culture. This is one advise that I will never disregard. In order to appreciate another nation, one must endow himself into its lifestyle, food, music, and language. This is how I began to love other nations, as well as cherishing the friends I have from these nations I’ve visited.

Because Ireland is totally different from the Philippines, here are a few points I noticed.

The fashion sense. Never, never go to a cold country in only t-shirt and jeans.

Me and my favority red coat while waving at Dublin Castle. I have no other coats like these, of course! And I can't wear this in the Philippines!

Me and my favority red coat while waving at Dublin Castle. I have no other coats like these, of course! And I can’t wear this in the Philippines!

Bringing layers of clothes can add weight to the luggage, but this is how you can survive or you won’t be able to get around town. Ireland has rainy weather on October, as cold, biting winds prevail even when it’s sunny. So, I have to wear long sleeves, boots or rubber shoes and leggings when I wear dresses. It would be good to wear a scarf and gloves that match your clothes. It would make you look classy as well as warmer.

At one of the doorways of the ruins of Clonmacnoise Monastery

At one of the doorways of the ruins of Clonmacnoise Monastery

The transportation system. If Manila is swarmed with jeeps, trycicles, and pedicabs, Dublin has a lesser transport system. Usually, they have buses and cabs that can take you around. But they are not awake 24 hours! In fact, they have scheduled stops, so it’s better be street-wise or you won’t catch up that ride! Because that’s a usual thing in Europe, my aunt said that it would be advisable to learn how to bike in case you’re too late to take a bus ride. It’s no wonder we would walk around the city to get to the next destination in the conference. But I loved these walks. It’s good for the heart. πŸ˜‰

Food Trip!Β Mashed potatoes, poached potatoes, and all potatoes. That’s real Irish diet. But they also have varieties

Fish and chips...very popular in Ireland. I never thought that "chips" are actually fries! :P

Fish and chips…very popular in Ireland. I never thought that “chips” are actually fries! πŸ˜›

though, like pasta, pizza, and sausages. In almost all their meals, they have bigger servings, which was quite a bit heavy for an Asian like me. But because of their weather, I believe, I even became hungrier. Fish and chips is one of the commonly popular meals in Ireland. But I was surprised that the “chips” were actually french fries!

Work and life balance. Most malls in Manila would close at around 9 or 10pm. But in Ireland, at around 7pm, most malls and businesses are already closed. The Irish people value family time, so most of the work would really cease at 5pm. The only ones open are pubs and restaurants (for those who want to extend the nightlife). I believe that workers here are well-compensated, so they don’t need to work overtime. My aunt, who studied in Netherlands, noted that the European working condition is not that pressured, compared to the American working culture which the Philippines has adapted.

Classic European apartment beautifully draped by colored vines. Not one like this in Manila :)

Classic European apartment beautifully draped by colored vines. Not one like this in Manila πŸ™‚

The warm people. You don’t have to ask, they’ll approach you and ask if you need help when they see you looking at an open map in your hand. The warmth of these people is so contrast to the cold, biting weather of Dublin.

The Celtic strain. It’s no doubt that the music and culture of the Irish people still has the tinge of the Celts, which I’ve fascinated me through literature and movies. Until now, I can hear the sound of the Irish jig in my head. Even pubs would play traditional Irish music. Enjoy your fish and chips while listening to it.

The Irish people no doubt has preserved history. Old churches and buildings attributed to great writers like Oscar Wilde still stand to this day. Even modern day pubs echo ancient Celtic ambience within its walls and furniture. One thing I regret is not dancing the Irish jig before going home. I just wouldn’t know if I’d get it right.

IMG_0448[1]“So how does Ireland smell?” A friend asked. I couldn’t give her one concrete description. As the sights and sounds vary, so does my beautiful memories of this country. I believe that our one week stay was too short. So, I swear to myself I’ll return to Ireland even by myself.

Touchdown Ireland!

Landing at Dublin Airport. Can't believe I had breathe in fresh Irish air ;)

Landing at Dublin Airport. Can’t believe I had breathe in fresh Irish air πŸ˜‰

Six months ago it was an invitation I never planned on going but dreamed to be into. Three months after, it became a compelling choice for me. Two weeks ago, it became a reality.

Ireland — a land I only thought of just hearing about. I never thought the soles of my feet would touch this very ground.

When a friend invited me to come for the annual 24/7 International Prayer Gathering, I thought it would be grand. Europe’s one of my dream destinations. But I’m more particular with United Kingdom, thanks to the influence of Victorian British literature. On the other hand, I wanted to see how this prayer movement goes in this part of the world where Christianity had once its strong roots, as well as where the shadows of Celtic history still emanates within its walls.

I had no plans though, since travelling was too expensive. But friends supported for my money. Yet, I was still undecided and I thought it was a crazy dream.

Not until the Lord spoke deep into my heart one night: whatever I’ll encounter there in Ireland will have an impact in eternity.

Ok. That’s it. It’s my choice to be a part of whatever impact there is for eternity. But what is it? It’s for me to find out.

And so two weeks ago, I am for it. I got my Irish visa, had hassles in my first booking (which the travel agency had weird reasons for cancelling it in less than 24 hours before my flight), booked again while still traumatized, and enjoyed my first lone travel outside the country.

Failte go Baile Atha Cliath!

A strip of Ireland, as viewed from my plane :) Failte go Baile Atha Cliath! :D

A strip of Ireland, as viewed from my plane πŸ™‚ Failte go Baile Atha Cliath! πŸ˜€

Or “Welcome to Dublin”.

I love the smell and sight of the city. I love the warm people, and my new friends, mostly those from Asia. I enjoyed the gathering along with the city tours. But despite all these, I kept on asking the Lord what was really in store for me there.

He gave me only two words: “nations” and “connections”.

Uh, wait. I came all the way from Asia for that “eternal impact”. Now, I tried to comprehend what’s the connection of these two words.

Until I got home, I did not understand. What I had is a small but important piece of the big puzzle God is putting together for eternity. I had thoughts that might be this or another. But God’s thoughts are higher than mine. I will see soon…and I will come to understand what He really meant.

But at this moment, I’ll cherish the good memories I brought along from the land of shamrocks and amazing writers, as well as its biting cold and various potato dishes. Nyaha! πŸ™‚ I’m so glad to

Gifts from my new friends. I just regret that did not bring anything from the Philippines. Lesson learned!

Gifts from my new friends. I just regret that did not bring anything from the Philippines. Lesson learned!

mingle with new friends despite of our differences in culture and thinking. I will not forget how different nationalities joined together to pray for nations. The intercession meetings and the worship at the boiler room are memoorable. Aren’t we one global community? πŸ˜‰

What I have discovered was that my prayer that I wrote at the beginning of 2013 was granted. I prayed that I will go to three new nations this year. And these are my connecting flights at Taiwan, Amsterdam, Malaysia, and Ireland!

So, what would be it’s impact in the future? I don’t know. But I had this deep feeling that I will never regret going to Ireland one day. πŸ™‚

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