Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Archive for the ‘Outbursts and Meditation’ Category

Ending An Old Dream

I am beginning to cut myself from various organizations I’ve worked with a few years ago. For the last two weeks, I’ve been sending text messages and e-mails to their media officers to remove my name from their list of recipients. I have nothing to do with the press releases I have been receiving for a long time, now that I am not a part of any media body anymore.

I’ve come to a moment in time that I would want to completely turn away from a career I once esteemed highly: a reporter. For four years, I’ve been part of various coverage that had made their niche in history. I have witnessed newsworthy events that tingled my adrenaline to grab a good story, as well as having the privilege to brush elbows with the popular and even the notorious. But I have to leave that all behind now.

I guess I’m getting old. I have become tired of spending countless hours of staying up late just to finish a story. I am also tired of being ubiquitous wherever the desk or the executive producer demands. I want to work in peace. I want to live a normal life.

But it doesn’t mean I regret having this career.

I would always cherish this season in my life as memorable, not because of the prestige its label bring, but because of the lessons I’ve garnered and the character -refinement have undergone. I’m not as brave as I look, but it boosted my guts to go out and face silly questions like “Does anybody watch your station?” or try not to panic at a raging rally. It shifted my views from being apathetic to being sober to the things happening around me. But most of all, it humbled me to be the one to deliver the story and not to be the one the story centers at.

This season has ended. The moment I turned away from it, the moment I also turn away from the bitterness of being unrecognized for a long time. Being a reporter does not last forever anyway. What’s important is that I keep my focus to the God who carries me from season to season, His overwhelming love and grace washing away the disappointments I’ve received from the past.

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Growing Up Late

imageI couldn’t wait to come home on a Friday. I’ve missed my mom over the week since I moved in to a friend’s boarding house last Monday. For the first time, I gathered my courage to live a life of independence. I consider this as another breakthrough in this season of change…and, just so, it’s a beautiful breakthrough.
I am already 31 but there are just normal things for grown-ups that I couldn’t dare face. It was at this stage that I realized that I need to workout and I need to have a regular dental cleaning every six months. It was also at this stage that I have to get out of my comfort zone and live independently. I have to do this as I begin to work at a new company in the heart of the busy Ortigas suburbian jungle, where monstrous traffic choke EDSA endlessly and expensive UV express rides drain our wallets ridiculously.
I need to move in to a nearer place to keep a clean slate from tardiness. I have wasted enough time travelling and sleeping in the bus while missing my social life. I don’t have to wait until sixty to know how I have missed so many dates on my calendar.
But the first day of independence was quite a dread. Without a mom who would cook for me and nearly having nothing except clothes for the next four days, I was nearly battered with homesickness.
I missed my own room, I missed my stuffed toy Eeyore, and especially my mom and this place I call home. I tried to sleep at my first night despite hearing the mosquitoes buzz tauntingly at my ear. I tried to dream the night away while wondering what to eat the next day.
My mornings became easier during the following days. I familiarized myself on how to get to the office easily, kept myself neat and tidy at that short travel time, and shared my breakfast time with the other trainees at the office pantry. My mind began to plan on what I need to buy and looked for a zumba class at a nearby mall.
Here I stand as a late bloomer. Still, I enjoyed my first week of independence and I’m getting used to it. But as much as possible, I need to get home on weekends so I could bring all my dirty clothes to the laundry. Now, that’s a good reason to see your folks.

Words Of Might On the Walls

I was getting ready to bed after a long day when I was captivated by an old framed picture in our house with these words…

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This gave me encouragement and a reason to be thankful for having real friends. I’m not rich with a millionaire’s bank account, but I realize I’m richer in God’s love through friends who don’t mind my status quo but who just love me for being myself. This wall decor has been with us with years and I never thought it would speak again powerfully. Here it quietly lies along the others in a small corner beside my room, where our eyes pass by them everyday but their existence is nearly taken for granted.

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I used to muse at each one of them when I was a small girl scratching the walls with various colored pens. I thought some of them was too dull to look at, so maybe I could make up a little story on one of them:

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As I was growing up, I would meditate at each of them from time to time. I believe this one has been the motto of most Christian families:

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This one is also a favorite verse during Sunday school days because it’s easy to memorize.

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As for this one, I pray the same for you.

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One little framed picture above them was a prayer for marriage. I have not mused on that yet, maybe because it’s not yet the season. 🙂

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My favorite among them is this framed poem of “Footprints In the Sand”. I’ve always wondered if real sand was used in this mixed artwork and marvelled at how Jesus can be that loving after reading the poem over and over again.

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Topping them all was this short but popular quote among Bible-believing Christians in my generation. That used to scare me as a kid because I haven’t had the grasp of what salvation was all about. I once thought that heaven was boring because I thought that we’d do nothing in eternity but play harps among the clouds.

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Lastly, the sides are furnished with these decors made if shells with a nearly fading handpainted blessing.

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Dust has already settled on them but the words they contain still carry the same power that can change lives. From time to time, I can’t help but stop and stare at one, and let me consider God’s promises in my life. I guess this is the reason they remain hanging on our wall. We just can’t take away God’s Word off our lives because it makes us alive. The time will come that these decors may deteriorate just like us, but for a season they have served the purpose of bringing back to our hearts of God’s covenant with us.

Good-mannered Surprise Visits

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One of my goddaughters came to our house recently. There was no occasion for the visit, she said she just wanted to hang around. I would have gladly received her, but her visit was unnanounced. Worst yet, it was an unholy hour for a ten-year old girl to come a long way from her house.

Her visit bothered me (and my chores). First of all, she came without adult supervision. Second, she did not knock at the door but tried to get in as if it was her own house. She had this rude sense of familiarity to others. Lastly, she had a little friend that was a complete stranger to me. They came without a purpose. All she did was talk a lot and poke around my unfinished projects. My mom guessed that she just wanted to brag her pretty godmother to her friend. My guess was that she just wanted to catch the attention of some people by bothering them. In the end, we shooed them away nicely.

It’s good to have visitors in the house. But there has been this sense of over familiarity with others that we have lost courtesy to them. So, instead of being welcomed, visitors tend to become bothersome.

Maybe a few of my good-mannered lessons in life can keep one from being labeled as an unwelcomed guest:

1. Have a winsome purpose in dropping-by.
Usually, an occassion (like a birthday or a wedding) is enough reason for visiting a friend or a relative. But if you are to ask for favors, please don’t drop by again and again just to ask for a brush, a stereo, and to borrow money and borrow money again. What would touch the host’s heart is that you would visit to just to see them because you love them.

One of my mother’s former students has been a regular visitor at home. But he is always treated as a welcomed guest even if he would just see how she’s doing or he would be simply asking for advice. He has never been a nuisance because he has always shown courtesy, which leads me to my second point.

2. Show courtesy. Knocking the host’s door is one. Another would be giving your host a heads up by texting or calling them before arriving at their door. I’m not against surprise visits, but it would be an embarrassment for the guest when the host is not at home.

I also mentioned about familiarity. Please, don’t poke around the house (and the fridge) as if it’s your own. Only high-leveled, close buddies can do that. Try to be courteous by not touching anything (except for coffee table books and magazines) when you’re in. If things in the host’s house are interesting, you can talk about it. But if you find it irrisistably interesting, you should ask permission before you can touch (or poke) it.

3. Bring a little blessing to your host. My mom taught me to bring something whenever we visit a friend or a relative. You might think it will cost you much but doesn’t necessarily be a smogasboard to please your host. I guarantee you that generosity can bring happiness. An old friend I gave surprise visits before was happy with the take-out meal or small pastries I gave her. Bringing something to the host can be an expression of love. Visitors should show their appreciation by giving a little something to their hosts.

The next time you give somebody a surprise visit, be sure to be called a welcomed guest. Although guests should be treated highly, the guest should also show their appreciation to the host by being well-mannered.

Movie Perspective: Revealing the Reeking Societal Cancer in “Heneral Luna”

heneral lunaI was never been a fan of General Antonio Luna. Known for his infamous temper, I ever wondered why he was enlisted in the roster of Philippine heroes. At the first week of the “Heneral Luna” screening, I dismissed it as another average period film. Until the social media buzzed with endless accolades for the film.

Although oozing with curiosity, it took me four weeks before seeing it. Notwithstanding the fact I watched it without a date (which I never ever had yet), I got more than what I’ve bargained for.

Much of the movie plot revolves on the Philippine revolution, which coincided at the close of the 19th century. Here was General Luna, pompous and ready to defend his principles — in a defensive move. Not the wimpy kind of general who would shrug his shoulders when the government was ready to deal with the American conquerors, Luna was stubborn to push the Westerners off the newly instituted Philippine Republic.

His ways in disciplining his soldiers, mostly the cowardly ones, and his laid back fellow generals was offensively harsh to many of them. Those who resisted his orders were immediately slapped with Artikulo Uno: those disobedient to the general’s orders can be subject to punishment and death without undergoing military court.

His defense on his stance offended many of President Emilio Aguinaldo’s cabinet members. This had triggered a conspiracy to eliminate the headstrong general. But one thing made Luna’s name forever etched in the pages of history was his love for his Motherland. Never mind the women that he had, the rough way he dealt with his enemies and even allies. Until the end of his life, he was brave enough to stand as a man for his country’s freedom and not for his selfish priorities.

With the the film’s quick plot, I was surprised when it ended after almost two hours. In a short span of time, every historical personality became much alive, and even personal, by the way the actors portrayed them. John Arcilla, who played the role of Luna, convinced me that the general was more than a rash character from my school textbooks. His eyes had this hint of madness that made Luna look much like him (add it with the general’s mustache). Yet, he had also embodied the other dimensions of his character very clearly.

No need to impose how realistic this film should be, as the facts in this part of Luna’s life was well narrated even with a few symbolisms, especially his assassination. (Oops, sorry for spoilers) Jerrold Tarog, the director of his film, had been ingenious in weaving history and relating it to our social consciousness. He had reintroduced a tragic but praiseworthy figure once forgotten in our classes. With that he brought an awakening to a demoralization that has never been cured until now.

This film showed us more than Luna’s character. Though it was not proven in history who killed Luna (though most viewers had implied it to be the president himself), his death had shown how much we are still dealing with the so-called cancer of society: treachery, greed, and selfishness. As Luna was eliminated by Filipino soldiers, the film revealed how his own countrymen was ready to put away unity for the sake of their own selfish agendas. So it is with our society today. I’ve seen this scene many times with our leaders, eliminating one another through character assassination. But I believe it’s not only hitting the political arena, but it goes out to all of us, as well.  Luna’s question echoes to many, “Kaya natin magbuwis ng buhay sa pamilya pero para sa isang prinsipiyong makabayan? (If we can sacrifice our lives for our own families can we not do it for our country?)”. What I got was more than a story, but a reality that we have to tackle and address.

I once thought that Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s Jose Rizal (1998) was the best period film my generation could see. Jerrold Tarog had proven himself a genius in recreating a period film, making it worthy for Oscars. It brought back my faith that we Filipinos can create noteworthy period films that can be entertaining, mind-opening, and worth the sacrifice to see it.

Crossing Over

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It’s like dying. You are conscious of the things you are leaving behind. And the people who have been a part of you. You want to make sure you are remembered. So, you give these little objects — the useful and the bizarre — to friends who could use them soon enough.

My last week in this company has veen odd for me. I have not felt the surety of leaving all behind until I began to sort out my things. I remove mugs here and give them away. Pick the wallet-sized photos off my wall. Carry my most trusted notebooks from the dusty shelf. The moment I leave the table clean, the moment I knew my presence is detached from this place once and for all.

Four years of dirty desks. Four years of touching a world wild with national controversies. For years of struggling with dreams and frustrations. Then, this one moment of realization breaks the cycle. It’s time to go.

Why leave it all behind? For a breakthrough I’ve been expecting in all these years. For a shift that I am unsure how it will happen. For a destiny I’m about to cross over. I have sowed this four years with tears and heartbreak, of prayers and praise. And now this remarkable four-year ride is about to be replaced by an even greater adventure.

Thus, I give my bow. I am grateful, forever grateful, of what I’ve learned and loved in those four years.

Another season has ended. Another is about to open. I have crossed over. It’s time to conquer.

With these, may what I leave behind becomes fruitful, as I am about to be pruned again for the next harvest. With this, I bow, saying thank you for what I have become and what I shall become.

Receive Much When You Give Much

‎It was a cold and friendly morning, bringing in whisps of that early Christmas sensation once again. As usual, I greeted neighbors on my way to work. I was startled when one of them said:

“Good morning! Cold, isn’t it? It’s gonna be Christmas soon! Why not throw in some gifts to us?”
I only grinned, bluntly said, “Budget’s tight,” and went my way.
I was quite disturbed at that kind of greeting. Do I look like Santa’s daughter? Sorry, I don’t wear red.
Ok, I can pass that out as a joke. But I wonder why it is a common mindset to most of us to ask for a gift this Christmas instead of the other way?
Somehow, her greeting’s a bit off. Maybe because I’m too thrifty (and I admit that), but being generous dosen’t mean you can throw your money to everyone in the world.
Somehow, I can’t help but think that the poverty mindset had made most of us obsessed with the hope of being treated by another well-off person in your neighborhood. It’s a sad thing to use the Christmas season as an excuse for asking “aguinaldo” or gifts for the sake of self-gratification. We have had much of the culture of receiving rather than giving. The worst thing is when we receive we ask for more without ever thinking of giving back.
In the Philippines, parents accompany their children during Christmas to their “ninong” and “ninang” (godfather and godmother). When your inaanak or godchildren dropby your house, you have to give them gifts or money. But my mother taught me differently. Whenever I dropby to my ninong or ninang, I give them a gift. Usually, it’s a chilled refrigirator cake that I made myself (yummy!)
Remember the cliche it’s better to give than to receive. I guarantee you that when you give, it’s equally fulfilling as receiving — much better actually.
But when I give, I think about it. I don’t just throw boxes in the neighboor all around while laughing, “Ho ho ho!” I make sure that my gifts are given to the right people: ones who are good stewards of it and to your generosity, and not the abusive receiver. These are the ones who are always thankful whatever they receive. Much like planting a small seed on good ground.
I guess we have to shift mindsets. It’s time we give for the sake of love. Whenever we do, we receive much more than when we ask to be given.

 

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