Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘need’

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

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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.

Unsung Tune From A Bus Passenger

The way home, the way home
A cry for being alone
Lying between existence and numbness
Fighting the urge for obscurity

Lying among the colored throng
No one could hear my broken song
Out of the pains of a demanding day
Not one asked how I survived this way

A burden here and a weight there
Everyone thought I have no story to share
Do not demand a yoke for me to carry
If you do not know how much I am weary!

The day done, the day done
Could you not touch my limp hand
Or at least look at my tired eyes
And understand that I need someone

Balancing Night and Day

I fixed my eyes in the darkness, as I laid down in the stillness of this humid night. I’ve been sleeping for four hours only to wake up to the hour that I have to sleep again.

I’m a sleepyhead these days. No matter how I tried to maintain an active lifestyle, I only ended up in dreamland. These past few days, I demanded much: give me my work and life balance or I’ll walk out after eight hours on duty…or much more, give me my eight hour beauty sleep everyday.

But that was never done.

And yet, I long for this sleep. But with this sleep, it shortened my time to savor the weekends. In just two days, my holidays are all over. I also felt my body slowing down. Still, this sleep became my comforter. It kept me away from a destructive world. It made me forget the stressful facet of life. It gave me a surreal world of who I long to be.

But when I opened my eyes, I only starred at darkness. I missed reading a lot of books. I missed bonding with my mom or with friends. I missed the very moment to reflect at my life — the reality where I exist. I missed doing a lot of activity that would help me grow in spirit and truth.

That’s why, it’s important to keep a balanced time each day. Eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours of sleep. To focus much of your day to one side will cause an imbalance in your body, much like a boat being capsized by a huge storm. I’m trying though, to be honest. It just takes one to learn time-consciousness. When I balanced one day, it gave me fulfillment…and a good rest, enough to keep me going for the next day. 🙂

Here I am, starring at the darkness. I’m thinking of what to do next. Oh well, I guess I’d better be up to find something worthwhile to do in this remaining night.

Filling the Gap

I was hesitant at first. Even though there’s this deep urge to pray for him, I fought against it. I was too sick to pray. Sheila already prayed for him, anyway.

But, Kuya Ar, our anchor last Tuesday, continued to complain about his headache. After the taping, the urge to pray remained in me. So, I had to pray for him and for his headache to leave.

He then asked me to pray for a relative’s baby that has been sick for a while. Not missing the chance, we both prayed for the baby. Then, surprisingly, he prayed for me (who was bothered by colds and coughs for a while).

I wondered how could I be so hesitant to pray. We’re both Christians, but I why was I too shy to pray?

I reflected as I was riding the bus home. The Lord made me realize I was too selfish. I was looking at myself. I thought I don’t have to pray because I was too tired and too sick — I thought I can’t have the strength to pray. But God moves even through the weak. You don’t have to be ultra strong to release effective prayers. It is God who will move through your prayers.

I then realized that if I hadn’t obeyed the Holy Spirit, no breakthrough would be released. No healing would have been brought forth to those who need it (including me). Had I disobeyed Him, it would have surely grieved His heart again.

But the ultimate release here is the power of love. I believe this was a test of loving others. I was so focused to myself, I tried not to bother this tired self in giving a part of me to pray for others. Praying also has the need to exert physically, especially if there’s a deep burden that needs to be released. To pray for Kuya Ar and for other people (especially those I don’t know) is a test for me to release the love of God that has been poured into me. It’s a matter of giving to others and dying to myself that demonstrate what true love is. Should one needs to be perfectly strong to love others? If so, then we can never love anyway. But God proves His love is made perfect in our weak, imperfect human nature.

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for reminding of You and Your love and power. How great is the Lord’s love and grace in this weak and imperfect me. 🙂

The Magic of Dinner Over Movies (Second Bite)

“How are you, Rhema?” April asked as we waited for our orders in one of our favorite restaurants.

I have waited for this moment. These awesome dinners that bind us together.

This time, we were not complete, as it used to be. So many changes have occurred these past months individually, and we have missed heart-to-heart talks outside work. For most days, we’d go separately at the end of the day. I myself try to catch up my beauty rest, for I have been too exhausted by staying up late after work.

But most of the time, I felt quite lonely. My body refreshed but my soul drained. Maybe, simply I had no one to talk with after stressful encounters by the day.

But this Friday, I stayed quite long in the newsroom even after the taping. Oh, yes, just like those good ol’ days.

And all of us left the office altogether. But that’s not the end of the episode.

April, Shiela, and I soon found each other sitting in that memorable hang-out. We missed our other friends, as they had other commitments that night.

When our pastas were placed on our table, I continued talking that I was being OK at work and all those “normal” encounters in the office.

"Shiela, taping's over! The Friday mode is on!" :D

“Shiela, taping’s over! The Friday mode is on!” 😀

April prompted me to be more detailed…more on “heart issues” she said. I smiled, trying to patch up pieces from long forgotten episodes and qualms on another person who had been linked to me, and how I learned that I should not hope too much on these cases. Then April and Shiela shared their thoughts, their feelings, and their hearts.

Once again, we were being ourselves. No talk of politics and hard core issues. Just love and friendship.

And these are the things I always look forward to. To be with the people to love me as I am.

Somehow, I felt we rekindled friendship. There’s no reporter, no PA, no researcher at that time. It was just us. All that was laid down was really ourselves. I slowed down eating, so to spend more time with these two precious people, even though time was too short. Once again, I got to know them more, and they got to know me, too.

I got home too late that Friday night but I did not mind (and so did my mom :P). This night had me feeling fulfilled. I’m looking forward for another dinner and for sure that would be very soon! 😀

Reconnecting Our Technological Gaps

Kuya Gil Boy and Ate Liza learning how to make an email account. I've become a one day computer teacher to my old folks :P

Kuya Gil Boy and Ate Liza learning how to make an email account. I’ve become a one day computer teacher to my old folks 😛

I wanted to chuckle as my brother and my sis-in-law learned how to make an e-mail account. But I couldn’t. They were just too serious then. I can’t believe how we’ve all aged well.

As Kuya Gil Boy and Ate Liza dropped by to ask how to send a file to my own e-mail account (due to the massive lack of USBs in the house), I explained to them that they can’t send it without having an account themselves. So, I had to help them make one. While explaining why a username should be unique or why a password should be complicated, Ate Liza made notes on the step-by-step process on paper. I smirked deep within as they argued between themselves what username to create or what to jot down on their paper.

It was a funny moment for me. And yet, I am surprised what a huge jump my generation has gone from theirs.

Oh, by the way, I’m more than a decade younger than my two siblings.

Looking at them, I couldn’t believe how fast our generation has accelerated. From cassette tapes to micro USBs, we’re now beyond our parents’ imagination. My mom, just like most of the retirees in her generation, is afraid of learning how to use the computer. She told me how the older teachers in the school she once taught lost enthusiasm in learning the computer because of that impatient, rude, young instructor. Somehow, the gap between the older and the younger generation is not only through technology, but in values as well.

My parents lived in a time when everything went slowly. Even my Kuya was torn between the provincial society and the cultural revolution in the 70’s and 80’s. My generation is a microwave generation — we want it all fast and instant. The thinking and mindset between our generations varies. Because of the slow pace of the first decades after Commonwealth, I observed how old people in my mom’s generation tend to be patient. Most kids in my time have the tendency to be impatient.

And so, just like the young computer teacher my mom described, I felt I had the tendency to be impatient, too. It’s because in our viewpoint, we expect everyone to know what we know and learn as fast as we kids do.

But here is a lesson my generation should learn. I could have raised my voice while teaching my folks, expecting them to catch up as fast as I expect them to. But I have to remember that their thinking is not my thinking.

The style of education they received is not the same as mine.

I realized that while teaching my folks the art of e-mail creation, I felt that technology is a way to connect between our generations. I was able to share to them what I know, and somehow helped them in their need.

As we young people teach our older folks, I hope we learn how to reset our value of patience. In this way, we can connect with them.  Not only would they learn from us, but we learn from them, as well. Love is needed while teaching, whereas we set aside their incapacity and help them get through it.

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