Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘pain’

Callouses On My Fingers

They are shedding once again. Gaining them was painful but they were my prized posessions. After the guitar has been returned to its owner, they were lonely, useless and dying. The callouses on my fingers are being taken off my fingertips and they can only be revived if I have my own guitar.

I am willing to endure the pain again. All for the love of music…

My Father’s Smile

20150622-174253.jpgWhenever I see daddies alongside their children, there’s always this tiny pang of jealously from within. I have had this love-hate feeling against my dad, who at most times seemed absent even though he was still with us in this abyss called life.

It has been eight years since he passed away. Complications due to kidney disorder was the medical conclusion. He had lived a life of excessive smoking, and then drinking towards the end of his life. He had done this to ease himself of muscle pains and to drown himself from the depression he plunged himself into. His life was marred with self-pity, not knowing that his loved-ones were suffering for his self-redemption.

I’ve tried to be distant from my dad as he was always distant from his children. I would admit that I had this secret fear against him. At the back of my head, I sometimes thought that he could assault me anytime. Perhaps because he did not love us…or perhaps he really did not know how to express his love toward us. He had been a victim of countless rejections since a child, and he carried this spirit of defeat until his last days.

But for a short season, I had shared a time of laughter with him. That was when I was a small child, not knowing the pains he was bearing in life. Months before he was confined to the hospital, I tried to create light moments with him. He himself did not know how to reach to us, as he tried to hide his pride in his robust but frail stature.

And suddenly his time was up. Away from home, I broke down when I received a text from my sister-in-law. My mother was too frantic at what happened she could not reach me. The burden was gone and so was the chance to see him change.

But his change only came at the last minute of his life. He had turned back to the Lord days before he passed away, my mother said. But we children never had the chance to witness it. Until now, he remains distant to us.

Every Father’s Day seems like a blur to me. I never had a clear picture of my dad except the one where I was sitting on his lap when I was about four years old. He was not smiling then, and until the last days of his life he tried not to smile at anyone. No one thought of taking pictures of him as he did not want to show his almost lost teeth. Not one of us ever had a grown up picture with him. Perhaps, we never thought that he could grin at all, or think of us that we can be his closest friends.

He is now free, shackles now broken off his hands. We are also free, from the misery that he had been carrying all along. The choices that we had made were a struggle, as we tried to link each other’s understanding. That smile, rarely seen in him, might now be seen everyday in heaven. Perhaps, he is a man I never imagined, as he leaps with joy at our Heavenly Father who watches over us.

Curtain Viewpoint: Finding the Missing in “Katre”

To lose a loved one through death is tragic, but to lose them without a trace is more devastating. Such is the pain that relatives of the missing go through, which was brought to life by Christian Tordecillas’ masterpiece, “Katre”.

It’s an honor for me to see a friend’s work come alive on stage. Christian, or X as we fondly call him, had written plays that imply social relevance. One of them was the one-act satire, “Dyip” (Jeep, short for jeepney), which won him the Carlos Palanca award in 2006. I was already impressed by his brilliance in provoking critical thinking of life’s realities through artistic writing. This time, “Katre” touched my heart as it brought up the issue of desaparecidos in the country.

In the play, an aged Lea awaits for her missing husband and child. Everytime she rises and returns to her katre (bed in Visayan dialect), she recollects her life when her family was still with her. Not knowing their fate, she clung on the hope that they are still alive.

Lea is the epitome of those left by desaparecidos, or those who are missing due to forced disappearances. We remember Jonas Burgos, who still remains missing since he was taken in 2007. We remember Karen Empeño, and Sherlyn Cadapan, whose whereabouts remain unknown even when alledged abductor Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan had been caught. We remember the rest of the desaparecidos since Martial Law, who had been forcefully taken into the seclusion. Just like Lea, those left behind by desaparecidos struggle between hope and despair.

Because I did not want anybody to see I was a crybaby, I gulped back my tears when Lea battled against that hope she treasured for years. The actress convinced me of the pain and frustration Lea tried to deny before. Her story rings the message of the consequences of impunity — which the Philippines has struggled for a long time.

Without glorifying the political overtures of impunity, “Katre” brings to thought the ordeal of those who have been victimized by it, whether the desaparecidos or the families they left. Simply portrayed yet deeply movong, “Katre” awakens the fact that the issue of impunity should not be ignored.

“Katre” is one of the plays featured in “BA-WAL: Mga Dulang Bagong Luwal” by Project Mayhem Productions. Also featured here is the dark comedy “Over My Dead Body” by Christian Dagsil. You can watch them at Ateneo de Manila, at the ISO complex. Remaining theater dates are at September 7, 13, 14, and 15. These plays are shown at 3pm and 7pm, except on September 13, as show is only at 7pm.

Meet the master behind, "Katre", Christian "X" Tordecillas. To see one of his works come alive on stage is an honor

Meet the master behind, “Katre”, Christian “X” Tordecillas. To see one of his works come alive on stage is an honor

The Magic Of Dinner Over Movies (Fifth Bite): Faith and Courage For Food

It was a almost a month since I had my second meal with this wonderful woman who is an epitome of courage and strength. For me, this is one of the most unforgettable dinners I had. Her story is better than the burgers, fries, and sundae she blessed me. I guess I was more fed with encouragement with the testimony of this admirable woman of God.

I usually meet Dianne in Christian conferences like JRev (Jesus Revolution)

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. Couldn't be any better than the dinners I've had.

My good friend Dianne with tons of fries and burgers. My past dinners couldn’t be any better than this! 🙂

Night. But I did not expect that on this last JRev night I’ve attended last February 17, she was there. I was comforted to see an old friend after thinking I would be going home alone. Like a feather in the breeze, her bright smile filled up my tired spirit. I find her like a lamplight energizing me in the night, even though the event was over.

If you think her positivity is overreacting, no. It’s something natural in her. Glad to see each other, we decided to have dinner together before going home.

I missed having large fries and burgers in the night. I know this would be a wreck in my diet, but I’d rather take this opportunity to bond with a friend. I took all the ketchup for my fries because she wanted her fries to be in her burger!

We called it a post-Valentine date which we really enjoyed. As a single lady, I’ve always enjoyed being with friends at dinner. But how much I’ve enjoyed this date as her testimony marked meaningfully in my life.

I am aware of the hardships she is facing in her life. She has been taking care of her mother, who has cancer. It’s not easy for her and her family. Not only financially, but physically and emotionally. I must admit I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing a loved-one in pain. But Dianne has to endure her mother’s screams of pain everyday. Add to that, she was juggling a lot of tasks like taking care of her little nephew.

As she shared to me her pain, she also shared to me the encouragements she has been receiving. Not only had she received kind words, but she and her family had been receiving financial and emotional support from different people. I was blessed when her church family had come together as a big group just to pray for her mother (and because of that, her pain lessened!).

But the battle she faces goes on. And she faces it everyday. She would be tired, I know, but she has this amazing strength that keeps her smiling. I was somehow ashamed, because I would be so tired at the pressure of my daily tasks. But Dianne has bigger and painful problems than mine. I could see how these refine her well: in spirit and in character.

In another rare moment, I was chewing my burger slowly. I almost gaped while listening to her story of faith and determination. I wondered how she kept on holding on to this thin wire hanging over the dark cliff. Deep in her heart, she knew that it’s not her mother’s time to go. Her faith kindled mine. I agreed with her — her mother will recover, indeed she will.

What amazed me more was how she keeps her eyes on the Lord. No blame-throwing at Him, she just clings to Him. Last hope you may say, but He’s more than that. He’s everything, a faithful Father and Friend from the first to the last. Dianne wouldn’t exchange Him for anything else. He’s the One strengthening her and sustaining her all along.

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. :)

This post-Valentine date must be more remarkable than any romantic dates I never had. 🙂

It’s an honor to have a friend a woman who stands strong in the midst of great testing. I believe that this season in her life is preparing her for something greater. At this point, I could say that she has blessed me more than I could have blessed her. Such people like her has received more than most of us have had, I guess. Despite of great pain, she receives great strength, courage, and faith. But the best of all is the great love of Jesus that had caused all the positive fruits in her life to bear. These fruits she shared to me as seeds waiting to sprout in the upcoming seasons in my life.

Truly, I was enlightened that night, sweeter than the sundae I’ve had as my finale in that dinner. Her testimony had nourished my tired body. Truly, it’s an amazing dinner with her, better than any romantic dates I’ve never had. 🙂

Birthed After Refinement

The death of one seed is the birth of many blossoms.

Have you ever wondered how beautiful one can become when tested?

Think of the majestic butterfly after it struggled as a hated caterpillar in a tightly-squeezed cocoon.

Think of the powerful eagle that was once helpless and weak at its birth.

Think of the beautiful diamond that endured intense polishing after discovered as an rough and ugly volcano rock.

Think of the pure, shining gold that has passed through refiner’s fine.

What would these trials and testing make you?

Think of what you would be after passing through them…

Overcoming Mountains and Caves

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAI had the fear of heights.

And I did not realize this until my last vacation in Sagada just this Sunday.

After a long time, I had to chance to get out of this fast, city life for a while. Sagada was my dream place. I’ve been longing to trek nature and discover the unseen places never found in Manila. But who says it was easy? The biggest battle was not against nature but against self.

I was the slowest in the group. I lagged behind my friends whenever we trekked

Rock climbing at Sumaging Cave. It was here when I learned that I had a very weak grip. I managed to reach the top though :)

Rock climbing at Sumaging Cave. It was here when I learned that I had a very weak grip. I managed to reach the top though 🙂

the mountains. I could hardly catch my breath, but that was only the start.

At the Sumaging Cave, the slower I became. What slowed me down the most was that I was actually fighting the thought of crashing into the ravine. Yes, I trembled at every step. Not because it was cold or I was tired, but because I was scared of taking a step to the next jagged rock. I starred at every foothold I was stepping on so to keep my eyes away from the unseen end point shrouded in darkness. Whenever I did, I wanted to faint, struggling against an alter ego that whispered that I can never make it.

I saw my weakness. I felt the pain. But I saw that out of this, I learned much.

I was reminded that I cannot do all things without Christ who strengthens me.

Having fun with friends at the mountain top...Sagada, here we are!! :D

Having fun with friends at the mountain top…Sagada, here we are!! 😀

I saw the goodness in people. My friends encouraged me as I starred at every step. Instead of being sullen at my cause of delay, one of them said how she appreciated us city people for not complaining along the way. I did not realize how patient I was, that all I was looking forward was to get to the end point of the hike.

But most of all, I saw the beauty of God’s creation. I felt even more alive as I moved on. If I had stopped and left behind, I never had seen the unseen inner beauty of the caves, the culture of the people in life

Hanging coffins at Sagada. Through these, I learned how the natives valued their loved-ones as well as the afterlife.

Hanging coffins at Sagada. Through these, I learned how the natives valued their loved-ones as well as the afterlife.

and death, and the loveliness of the hills and mountains.

God left me awestruck with who He is. Opening my eyes, I realized how big He is while how little I am. Here’s this little me googling in His big, big world of mountains and cave. I would never have experienced His amazing creation if I ended up looking at postcards. The passion that had brought me out of my box for a while rewarded me with a whole range of experience to my senses and to my knowledge of Him. The industrialization that man tries to expand are nothing compared to God’s great works. The roads, bridges, and houses I see clustered on the mountains are too small to compare to the Creator’s handicrafts.

I could have hesitated to stand by this cliff and look beyond there. But, I would rather see myself conquering my fears and uncertainties. Sagada, I came, I saw, and I conquered! :D

I could have hesitated to stand by this cliff and look beyond there. But, I would rather see myself conquering my fears and uncertainties. Sagada, I came, I saw, and I conquered! 😀

Unconsciously, I soon learned to place the right foot at every downward step and move a little faster. Too bad I only learned it on the last day. True, I obtained cramps and muscle pain like my other friend from Manila. Yet, the two day visit to Sagada was memorable. Perhaps the pain we had was a reminder that one had to break from his shell in order to feel a whole new world we never had before.

Nursing Irritants

A few minutes left to 6 am. I wanted to scream to keep going. The jeepney driver slowly paved the road to get more passengers. After that, traffic at the tollgate. Soon, I was late. The service left me.

I sat in the jeep almost dumbfounded as they texted me that they have to go without me. Only a few minutes was left to get there. Only a few meters to run and I could have reached them. But what can I do? The service has to leave earlier an hour earlier than its normal departure schedule for an early appointment.

I wanted to cry as I took an FX to work. I felt I wasted my time. I wasted my energy to wake too early. I wasted my money.

Then, I checked myself. Yes, I tried. But I’ve been too confident that they would forgive me for a few minutes of being late. I guess I have been complacent. I have lacked discipline.

Again, I asked the Lord what else was I lacking. A thankful heart, a praising breath — to bring out such things is hard when you wanted to blame everyone for leaving you.

Out of a bleeding heart, came a soft whisper:

“Thank You, Father, for this day…

This day You have made to show me Your love and grace…

This day You have been planning to open my eyes to see Your beauty in the midst of ashes,

This day You have thought along to let me hear that greater things are meant to come,

This day You have had written long ago to reveal to me Yourself.”

I realized this has been my prayer for a long time. To see, to hear, and to know Him more. Yet, these things will come when I call out to Him. I can only call out when I’m being pushed into the mire.

Why should I cry over spilled milk when there is a promised land flowing with it waiting for me?

It’s painful. Yet out of the pain I have to learn of the little weaknesses to be corrected. I realized this is how to rejoice in my sufferings. My prayer is being manifested. And so, He comes alive…

When I stepped out of the FX, I have forgotten my bitterness. I have lost my indignation. The irritant I’ve tried to nurse was chased away by thankfulness and grace.

End of part one. I’m expecting that more of such moments will come to test my character. But through these I pray I’ll learn more His ways, and learn to keep my eyes away from myself and more unto my Great Daddy in heaven. 🙂

Reclaiming Destinies and Breaking the Waves

Twelve months. Twelve fruits. Twelve opportunities to undone me, mold me, and bring me closer to my real identity and destiny.

My 2012 was a year of shaking. The Lord was teaching me out of my stubborn self — to die from selfishness and to abide in Him fully. When my prophetic friend asked me what was the Lord’s promise for the past nine months, I was dumbfounded. All I could remember was the anguish and pain during those times. The emotional battles against the law and the lawmakers, the prayerful times shifted to complaints and mourning, my beauty nearly turning into ashes, my hope almost brought down to the cliff as I contemplated on resignation. I wanted to get out and give up. Yet, the Lord, who had other things in mind, held my sleeve as I let go of my grip. He had a promise, I’m sure He had — yet my ears were covered and my eyes blindfolded.

Yet, I faced 2013 with hope and expectation.

I still couldn’t remember what He was trying to say (and I haven’t even checked my old journal).  Yet, I clung on one word given to me almost two years ago: Romans 5:5, “…and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our heats through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

As I contemplating this verse a few months ago, the Lord led me to turn to verses 3 and 4. I never have this hope until: we rejoice in our sufferings, that it leads to perseverance (verse 3) and from perseverance, character, which leads into hope (verse 4)! I believe such is the word for me for this season. And such is the shaking I received.

Through these shakings, I realized a few more things at the beginning of this year, even though the nine months has been ended. Despite character flaws, I’m taught how to react in grace and love and confront with wisdom during dire situations. From my silent struggle against insecurities, I’m taught to reclaim the authority vested upon me as a co-heir in Christ. The most striking lesson that I’ve realized and am still learning (though it was said to me a number of times) is to worship him despite of the fire and testing that I pass through.

My friend told me that the shaking I’ve received (and will receive) are just part of His refinement. This is the time that I have to open my eyes and ears and recognize the Lord in ways I’m not used to. I don’t know what would that be. All I have to do is to ask Him. And see Him move in ways I won’t expect. I just need to open my eyes and my ears to recognize what He’s doing.

There are three kinds of people in the midst of struggles: one who gives up, one who shrugs his shoulder and get into that routinary “survival mode”, and one who wants to learn out of that struggle. The third one is the kind that grows. At this season, the nine month conception should be over. So, what I’ve experienced were just birth pangs. The full birth of one’s destiny is after the nine month period. But if not, that means I haven’t learned my lesson.

I just realized I’m just at the beginning of what He’s teaching me.

Get out of the boat and walk on water, he said. Goodness, that quite scared me. But should I be scared when I’m with the Silencer of the Waves? It’s a step towards acceleration. I need to get out of the box. And I need to ask the Lord ways on how to do that.

To ask the Lord on a daily basis is a way to die to myself. It will keep me from storing up pride as He breaks me with His tender love and awesome glory.

Then my friend gave me the a word that this year is the year of bearing fruit. Seeing in a vision a clock with twelve hours, it indicated that in every month I will bear fruit. But in order to bear fruit, I must learn a lesson. I must ask what the Lord is teaching me at this point of time. When the pruning and honing is over, a fruit will grow…but not only in one month. That means, I will undergo even more fire and testing twelve times!

I need to ask. I need to see. I need to know. Such are the things that I must learn. But most of all, I need to seek the Lord more. Only in Him I will find the answers I need. For He knows the plans for me. And I am claiming His perfect will and His best for my life.

I’m almost 28 years old. But this is not the end of my dreams. Who says life ends at 30? I believe I’m still a little child being disciplined and taught by the Great Father. Why should I copy to the normal trend of human life? The Lord has plans that are way out of my normal blueprint. All I have to do is just step out, walk on the waves, and hold the hand of the One who called my name. What are twelve months of pruning when I got One Great Dad to back me up! 🙂

The Wiles of the Heart

I was so disappointed with a person I liked. He never considered my considerations. I blamed him for wasting my emotions over his sweet nothings. But there was no agreement, there was nothing really between us. They were all assumptions; I hated myself for almost falling for him. But a friend reminded me: what’s my purpose for wanting to see him? I need to check my heart.

I realized I was selfishly wanting to feed my earthly desire. It was turning out to be a fatal attraction. I did not realize, my Father was protecting me.

I was reminded by my spiritual mother that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). The world tells us to follow our hearts, but the Father tells us to follow His heart and His ways. The heart is so deceitful, for it is in our humanistic nature to be born with twisted desires (Matthew 15:18-19). Yet our own passions are so different from His desires for us. And yet His dreams for all of us are for our best, and our most of our passions and our dreams lead to the second best — or nothing at all.

I remembered how imperfect I am. Though I move with His Spirit, there are still so many issues of the heart that need to be addressed. With this, I have to die to myself again.

When I decided to surrender my emotions, I felt that a dark veil was removed from my eyes. My perspective changed. My heart renewed. I believe a part of His heart was poured into mine.

He made me see that my destiny is not as this world planned for me. This world just wanted me to take all, without asking the Father about it. It’s like being a rebel in a free world. But He reminded me that His plans for me are above that I dreams for myself. He loves surprises, I know. And I wondered how His dreams for me will be in His time. He’s teaching me to wait and to abide in Him as I do. When I do, there’s an ever greater blessing…and a big, pleasant surprise for me.

But in waiting, there’s pain. Pain because I’m tempted to be impatient. Pain because my flesh is battling with my renewed spirit.

And so I received revelation what my prayer means: Romans 5:3-5…”let me rejoice in my sufferings, so that it would produce in my endurance, then character, and then hope that will never put me to shame because of the love of the Father that has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit.” Such is the given Word for this season since last year.

To rejoice in my sufferings, I have to worship. There is real joy when I delight in the presence of my God. When His presence envelops me, these sufferings are nothing compared to His peace and steadfast love.

I remembered that it is a mandate, and a destiny, to bring His love and His kingdom down into this earth when I earnestly seek Him and call out to Him. In abundance, in trials and pain, His love and glory is above all…and we should rejoice in this truth.

So, what was I disappointed on? Oh, I almost forgot. The joy of leaning on His bosom and hearing His heartbeat filled with love just washed away the pain I had.

To be a Wallflower, Anyone? (Movie reflection from “The Perks of a Wallflower”)

I hated prom nights. I was very glad I never had been to one in high school. Due to forgotten circumstances, our school decided to postpone such an activity in our batch alone. To justify my joy, I reasoned out it helped us save supposed-to-be-wasted-money…but the truth is, I wouldn’t have the chance to be lonely as a wallflower.

Much was my anxiety as a teenager. It’s so natural how I wanted attention and how I wished I was every boys’ talk of town. I was not a typical popular girl and had this secret jealously with the pretty and popular.  (I was quite childish, boyish, and a bit nerdy.) But perhaps, being an unattractive wallflower has its perks, too.

When I treated another friend to watch The Perks of a Wallflower, we expected it as a typical teen flick. But my reason for seeing film was Emma Watson. Appreciating her since those Harry Potter series, I expected her to break off from her bewitching character as  Hermione Granger. At this point, she surprised me on how she Americanized herself as a typical high schooler named Sam.

The film’s protagonist, Charlie, was a shy freshman who mingled with a group of seniors who helped him out breakout from his shell. He was utterly close to Sam and her stepbrother Patrick. These guys did not mind Charlie’s introvert character as they had him tag along their parties and school lunches (they were totally loud and fun-loving). Being older and more liberated, they were able to share to him their self-expression. In reciprocation, Charlie mingled well. But as their friendship progresses, they began to pour out and even share their inner frustrations and even pains.

As a light, realistic teen flick, it lightly dealt with difficult issues of teen sexuality and abuse. It’s more of a picture of how adolescence, despite of the promising hope of youthfulness, can be a painful can affect one’s mind and being. On the lighter side, these young people tried to live day by day by shoving off each other’s differences and try to turn away from the pains by living loud and free.

I loved the friendship that was built despite of their differences. In high school, factions and groups were made according to your kind. But not Charlie and his friends. Together, they explored the wonders and even the hardships of a teenager. Senior or freshmen, they go through the same realities.

Being a teenager is never easy. Being a wallflower shouldn’t be a big deal since dealing with the pains of adolescence is much harder. I guess, if Charlie had not been with these older people, he wouldn’t have dealt with his dark secret at all – even at the point of almost bringing him to insanity.

So, Charlie isn’t really alone. And I’m not alone, too. I guess a wallflower is really better since I’m no heart throb too focused on myself not realizing the joy of sharing adolescence with the oddest friends. Prom night or no prom night, unpopular wallflowers like me is no big deal at all. Differences will never be an issue as long as there are real friends who understand your difference. It is only fellow teenagers who can understand teenagers, despite of the misfits they do in life. They learn from one another and carry what they can as they age more.

If ever that prom night pushed through, I guess I’d have some of my fellow misfit friends stand with me on the wall. I don’t have to be popular to express myself, right? Charlie was not popular, yet was accepted because of friends who had some crazy fun and shared frustrations with him.

If I were the person now back then, perhaps I’d just dance crazy just like Patrick and Sam. Then towards the night, with some 90’s rock music, stand on the top of the pick-up truck and wave your arms like an eagle.

To be a wallflower, anyone? 🙂

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