Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘peace’

Perfection From Imperfection

Imperfection irritates most of us. I’m sure, all of us have come to a point wondering why we’re imperfect, wishing we got the qualities that others have. But I believe there is a purpose to our imperfection.

It has been said that there are dangers to being perfect. It can make us arrogant, as if don’t need God and man. I’m sure you’d expect me to say that we are made imperfect so we would depend on God. Yes, that’s true. But more than that, I believe that in our imperfection, we are also taught to love others, as well.

I learned this in our prayer group, whom I always stay with every weekends. It’s not a perfect group, each of us have qualities that the other wouldn’t like. There are times that we would be offended to one another. But together we grew, and through each other, there are some qualities in our characters that have been sharpened or filled. When one needs help, like a prayer request or advice, the other would share a piece of wisdom that may be of help. Sometimes, a constructive criticism or rebuke can awaken us from flaws that we have. A word of encouragement brightens a part of ourselves that could be wearied. It’s like that some of us have a missing puzzle piece that only that other can fill.

I have heard of church fights and church splits so many times and the reason that I could hear is due to out of offense of their leaders or other churchmates. There are no perfect churches. Each of us is a broken jar. When we cast aside our bitterness and pride, we can see the value of each other and help mending the character of each other. Though we may be right at one point and the party that offended us are wrong, rebellion is a sign of pride. Instead of reacting in bitterness, why not pray for that person’s welfare? I believe, each of us needs to be covered in prayer, and it can uphold the character of the person we pray for and molds us to love others dispite of the offense done to us.

Never question God why we are made imperfect. In everything, there is a reason that only He understands. In time, we will know how this imperfection molds us to become better in love, humility, and righteousness.

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Capturing the Broader Perception

May bayad po yung bata (Is the seat for the child paid)?” A pregnant lady asked another bus passenger rather loudly, her voice sounded quite scandalous in the fully loaded bus to Manila.

Sitting comfortably with a little boy beside her, she said “Oo (Yes).” I was ignoring them until an older lady sitting with the boy and mother began to retort.

Kaya nga nakaupo yung bata kasi binayaran (That’s why the child is sitting because his seat has been paid)” She said in a croaked voice. Now the pregnant lady was already given a seat by a younger man. She heard the old lady’s loud murmur and answered back. “Nagtatanong lang naman po (I just asked).” But the old lady kept on murmuring and even called the pregnant lady crazy.

Now, I wondered to myself, if she, a grandmother herself, had she not been into the pains of childbirth, too?

Besides, all the pregnant lady wanted was a seat, as she was already heavy with a child.

But instead of offering her a seat, she was shunned away…maybe offended at the tone of her voice or her seemingly strong presence. The woman was trying to be strong though I’m sure was feeling uneasy.

But sadly, the grandmother seemed to have lost the broader perspective.

I understand they have paid the child’s seat, and the boy deserve it in place of that payment. But should these people have had the broader perspective of understanding the pregnant lady and her condition, I guess, they would have been even more blessed.

Most people have lost the broader perspective and have only focused on themselves. We have the right to for their rights, to shun off every offense, but we don’t see the need of others.

The Bible tells us to regard others better than ourselves. The call of humility is easy to scream at, but the endowment of this trait into our system is not that easy.

We have been taught to get our rights, but our culture has not taught us to open our eyes and be sensitive to the needs of others.

Thus, we fight against each other to get our rights, like dogs eating each other for a piece of stale bread.

How should we get a broader persepective? Only when we silence our own selfishness, try to get into the shoes of others, and sacrifice even a little bit of ourselves for them.

I admit, I’m still at this battling stage. And with this society, the need to learn humility, as my fellowmen also has the same needs and rights as I do.

And as a fellow human being, I must not disregard to my fellow man their needs and rights as I do have.

But it’s a long road before everyone in this society, even me, to capture the broader perspective.

But let’s begin that journey now.

Forgiving the Forgiven

I could have completely cut my ties with him. He used to be a dear friend, but the malicious public made us rift apart. I hated him for being too inexpressive while playing along with the teasings of the multitudes. He himself thought I was playing along.

But I was already too offended.

In my resentment, I expressed myself through a text message that he was a fool, a promise-breaker, and a liar. He was surprised and saddened, asking me to forgive him.

I tried to keep my silence and ignore him forever. But deep inside, I can hear the voice of Love saying, “Forgive him…”

It was the Lord Himself. He reminded me on why I started praying for this person and with it I said, “Let’s fight for him in prayer.”

So, I braved myself to ask him to meet me at the canteen the following day, or I’ll leave in five minutes.

He did show up immediately.

For the first time we had a very serious talk. It was so different from the other conversations we had, which were not that deep and serious.

He explained his side to me, telling me that everything he promised are true and was hopeful they will happen.

But due to circumstances in our jobs, he was trying to juggle with everything he considers, his family and his friends including me.

Yes, for the first time I heard it straight from his lips. And looking at his eyes he was sincere.

He told me much more that I did not know, the deep side of him that I did not understand.

I was too proud to ignore him, without really hearing him.

Should I have not initiated to talk to him, our friendship would have been ruined and bitterness would have swallowed me up.

It is true that when you love, you must learn how to bravely confront and listen with love and humility.

In the end, I understand how precious this person is as I have been precious to him too.

I guess this is how the Lord loves him too, for He is faithful to begin answers to my prayers and how He heard me to continually fight for him.

All in all, I learned that love takes one to communicate deeply and love is not to be kept in frustration as it can be released through forgiveness.

Shifting Focus

I left Monday with an angry and stressed outlook.

It’s so frustrating when one day you’re empowered with the Lord’s promises and restful atmosphere on Sunday but suddenly shifting into a furious worker on Mondays. I almost thought of myself as a modern-day Dr.-Jekyll-slash-Mr.-Hyde. What’s even more frustrating is when I realize I’ve broken another testimony. It’s like shattering a new golden ball you received as a gift before your folks can appreciate it.

The Kingdom of Heaven is righteousness, peace, and joy. But absence of these three things reflects the loss of them. Only through Christ can we receive these things. But they can only manifest if we fully have faith to let go of our selfish ways and let the Giver of these things take over our lives.

It requires a change in focus. Whatever I focus affects my perception, and much sooner, my emotions. Should I focus with what I see or what I hope for? Blessed are those who have not seen yet believed, the Bible says.

I hope for excellence. But I cannot move forward if I focus on the failure of one step.

I hope for alliances. But I cannot have it if I focus on the character flaw of one person.

I hope for promotion. But I cannot obtain it if I focus on self-pity and insecurity.

I hope for world restoration. But I can never be part of it if I focus on myself alone.

I cannot dwell in the lack that I see. All I have to focus is on the One who can fill the lack. If I have no cards left, only God can change the game to my favor…not because of me, but because I’m part of His team that brings His glory and love to a broken world with a distracted focus.

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. ­čÖé

Darkening the Depth of Humanity in “Zero Dark Thirty”

While watching “Zero Dark Thirty”, it left me the impression that there’s no work and life balance in being a CIA agent. The tortures (which sparked controversy) and the manhunt operations seem to leave you with almost nothing but danger. Still, I find the film quite intriguing in a way, especially its main character.

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenplay writer Mark Boal had complimented well to bring up together the unspoken cringes of history and humanity in this docu-drama film. The film, I find, is not solely on victory of an operation alone but on how history can never be founded solely not on the cold texts of words but from a silent litany of humanism that tries to be hidden in a harsh world.

While much points from this film is worthy of discussion, I’d like to focus on Maya’s character. Actress Jessica Chastain had pulled well such a character; the humanity of a woman covered beneath a steel-like character in order to prove herself in the tough world of men.

Maya is one tough CIA agent whose determination to get Osama Bin Laden (who has been code named as UBL) tend to show her as hard as she can be more than the men around her. The film seem to have emphasized her to be of a stronger personality even over her male superiors. While one played golf for a pastime in his office and the other passes a few minutes by talking idly on the phone, Maya is the one pictured as totally focused on the manhunt for the notorious leader of the Al-Qaeda group.

I find her character almost inhuman; her focus on her job gave her no time for a lovelife or even having friends. When she arrived late┬áat a dinner┬áin the before-then bombed Mariott Hotel in Islamabad because of delays over checkpoints, her colleague reminded her “We’re socializing; be social”. At the run of their conversation, she was asked if she had any friends at all; to which her silence marked “yes” as her reply.

Here is a woman who was willing to disregard feelings to make sure they would find what they was looking for. In her disappointment that no team was deployed at Rawal Pindi to search for the man linked to Bin Laden, she told her team, “I don’t really care if you guys get sleep or not”; even though the team leader told her that to look at such a place is dangerous and that how tired they were. She told the Navy Seals who were to pull off that operation that would be the death of the Al-Qaeda leader, “You’re gonna kill him for me.”

Yet, in the end she reveals herself as a woman, almost broken because of the cruelty of such an operation. No matter how she was bent and focused to make sure that the one she was looking for was found after more than a decade, she did not gave herself regards when the body was brought to their camp. Rather, she cried over the ordeal that was crushing her humanity within her from the beginning.

Maya, as she cried alone in the plane, must have not told anybody how heavy the weight of this manhunt operation had been on her. She lost colleagues and the few friends that she had, pushed away the balanced normal life anybody could have, while maintaining possessiveness on this mission. I just got lost on what pushed her to be almost obsessive in this mission for all those years. She could have left herself almost nothing just to make sure it’s done. I just wonder after all that manhunt ended, how her life would be after?

There’s humanity in every one of us. Whether one is a soldier or a terrorist, he’s still human. No matter how we make ourselves look tough or cold before the public, there is still the soft edge within us that make us human. We are not created to be emotionless as machines. Maya tried to disregard emotions as she focused on the strength of her mind. Although she got what she looking for, in the end, I believe she was never fulfilled at all.

We might have been totally focused in our tasks. It’s good to be determined, tough, and focused. But though being successful in what we’re doing, if we don’t have the most important things in life, there is never a balance. It has always been said that the most important things in life are unseen. The mind, the skill, and your career may be lost but yet recovered again. But love, friendship, hope, and peace are just some of the things that will forever stay…unless disregarded in vain.

The manhunt operation was a success. But if Maya had balanced herself with the friendship and love of the people around her she might have been a stronger woman from within. But I guess she had another secret for this ┬áshe did not want anyone to be weakened by revealing her weaknesses as a woman. Rather, in order to see this operation pull-off in success, she sacrificed herself much…for her country and for her people.

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