Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘sacrifice’

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

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. 🙂

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.

Pain Beneath the Shadows

Must I forever lay silent
Among the same-shadowed faces?
Must I keep to myself the pain
When your eyes pierce through the shadowed throng?

From the sea I saved you
For second chance to live
Out of the darkness I pulled you
For another chance to love

Yet you pull back into the shadows
Telling me it’s not worth it all
The love I offered you freely
You sold for a empty cup of cherry

Fools roam around my existence
Forcing me to give up all
For a thousand deaths, I am ready to die
Until you take me once and for all

Love in the Midst of the Danger

At NLEX northbound: Braving the way home

At NLEX northbound: Braving the way home

I never learned. I guess this is how hard-headed journalists can be.

For the sake of duty, I braved my way through the strong, heavy rains this morning. Just like August last year, torrential rains caused by monsoon rains (or habagat in our Tagalog language) are causing floods in much of Metro Manila and the National Capital Region (NCR). Since Saturday, the rains did not stop. But I felt no fear as I took a van to work. Only discomfort because of the cold. I’m quite used to this though. For me, it’s not an obligation, but an honor to be part of a team who will bravely go out and witness history.

But due to lack of so many things, operations have to be cancelled. And just like last year, I received the announcement when I am already in the office. *Sigh*

On the positive note, I hitched a hike with people who are going the same way…unlike the last year when I was stranded for hours before getting a bus home.

Almost the same scenario but I never learned. I had this mindset that I have to move towards something unless it’s really impossible. Deep inside I have this fighting spirit that keeps me moving despite of storms or unkind circumstances.

It’s just too bad not to out into the field today. I don’t know why. I love danger. It’s not because I love to see humanity suffering. But I love to see how love is poured out from humanity when the danger sets in.

Marikina River yesterday at below critical level. However, due to continuous rains, the water rose up again

Marikina River yesterday at below critical level. However, due to continuous rains, the water rose up again

Volunteers at Marikina preparing food for evacuees. These guys were opening cans of sardines for lunch. (8/19/2013)

Volunteers at Marikina preparing food for evacuees. These guys were opening cans of sardines for lunch. (8/19/2013)

In my coverage yesterday, I saw a glimpse on how the Marikina government was looking after its people, especially the evacuees who had to flee their homes because of the rising river. The city administrator explained to me how 50 volunteers were able to serve breakfast, lunch, and maybe dinner for about 2,400 evacuees. Most are already leaving the evacuation centers as the waters were beginning to subside. Seeing the ratio of volunteers, I wonder how much grace and patience they have to give to serve more than a thousand.

But the weather seem to have gone worst today. I just haven’t seen how things have been now.

With memories flashing back, I will never actually forget the horror of being a stranded passenger last year. No other way to go home, I walked meters to find a ride that would at least make me come closer to home. I’ll never forget the regret and frustration I felt that made my head swirl a lot. I felt so embarrassed for looking so lost and drenched while being too well-dressed. And most of all, the fear of not knowing what’s next as the waters were rising.

But it is at these moments when strangers, who might because have this empathy of being lost too, would try to share a seat in the bus or spare a space for you. Some of them would even offer you their only bread — their lone meal for the day. I wanted to cry, because of the goodness I felt in the middle of a cruel situation. They don’t know how they have become heroes in their own small way.

Such is the heroism of humanity. With this, I salute my fellow workers who brave the torrential rains just to bring in fulfillment in their duties; the media who go into danger just to update the public on the latest news, the store owners and sellers who opened their stores to offer food and shelter to stranded passengers, the rescuers, military and those involved in disaster response management just to rescue thousands who are trapped in their own homes, and the unknown volunteers, just like those in Marikina, who are ready to leave their homes and families just to serve the needy and the lost.

Workers like me might never learn to stay at home in dangerous times in order to fulfill duties. But I hope we should never set aside to give sacrificial love for the sake of our fellowmen.

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 at a dinner in 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  she 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.

Reaping the Seed Sown in Sacrifice (Song reflection on “Alla Vill Till Himmelen Men Ingen Vill Dö”)

For a few weeks, I’m re-enjoying Swedish music. One is that I’ve enjoyed its language (although I’ve forgotten most of it already). Another is that I’ve discovered new songs from my fave Iranian-born Swedish artist, Laleh.

She’s not your usual pop-rock artist as she echoes depthness and reality. Unlike most modern artist who sings about relationships or materialism, some of her songs are facets of some of life’s realities, without making them mundane or morbid to the listener. Example are her songs “Invicible” and “Some Die Young”.

Her version of “Alla Vill Till Himmelen Men Ingen Vill Dö” is a breakout from its original dance upbeat version by the Swedish rapper Timbuktu. Although not her original, I love how she strummed it with her usual rock-acoustic rhytym. Of course, I wouldn’t listen to it without knowing what it means. And for once again, I’m fascinated with the reality of its verses.

Here’s the main refrain of this song:

Alla vill till himmelen men få vill ju dö
Man vill kamma in vinningen, men sår inga frön
Alla vill till himmelen men få vill ju dö
Man vill kamma in vinningen, men sår inga frön

Thanks to an electronic translator and my very limited Swedish, here’s the translation:

All wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die,
Everyone wants to rake the harvest, without sowing its seed
All wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die,
Everyone wants to rake the harvest, without sowing its seed

To my Swedish friends, I hope you can tell me if I’m right. 🙂

I once thought that the title speaks of mortality alone, in which her song “Some Die Young” followed it. When I checked the rest of the lyrics, somehow, it actually spoke of the reality of man’s selfishness. The rest of the song echoes how human beings want to grab whatever they want, without wanting to sacrifice or give up anything to achieve their goals. To think that everyone wants to be in heaven without dying sounds funny, but it is actually a sad truth that only a few realizes.

What I’ve captured here is the idea of sowing and reaping. In science, in every action there’s always an opposite and equal reaction. A soccer ball can’t go to the goal unless you start kicking it around to bring it there. Everything has kinetic energy, but can never be released unless you do it by moving it around.

Of course, what will you harvest if nothing is sowed into the field? The Bible speaks that you will reap whatever you sow. To know what to sow and for what you are sowing for, one must realize that decisions should always be carefully made. Unwise decisions can create huge disasters, especially if the motive is for selfish gain.

Just lately, huge investment and pyramid scams made the headlines. Due to offers of multiplied kickbacks without doing much (and more perks by becoming an agent), they invested huge amounts of money into those so-called corporation.

It was shocking that some of the victims were prominent people. As I discussed this with a fellow reporter, it was evident that the idea of “easy money” and mere greediness caused them huge losses. It was also appalling to see how one’s greediness can cause one to lose the sense of wisdom, making the eyes see the end result without investigation and consultation.

We want to reap the harvest, without sacrificing right. We want abundance through easy money. We want fame without the willingness for discipline and humility. We try to reach the top without knowing the right way to reach it. There are always the terms of losses in order to get to the peak…unecessary baggages are hindrances to an end goal.

And of course, I’d never deny how I was almost trapped in that mindset. To get rich, I tried to join networking groups with products I’m not really interested in. I just liked the perks it offers. Gladly, the networking groups that I was invited into required hard work and good training before reaping that reward. In fact, there’s still sacrifice into it, and idleness is not required.

As I thought about the song, I agree how man can be so selfish and idle all along. Here’s another point to the song, a sacrifice worth keeping.

Contemplating on the idea of going to heaven without dying, I look at it in a different way. There’s another kind of death that paves the way to heaven. In fact, no one can really go to heaven unless we give up ourselves to the One who died for us.

Jesus died for you and me. When He gave His life on the cross, His death and ressurection sowed eternal life to those who are willing to reap it. His blood has become a seal of righteousness and cleansing to those who are willing to give up their own selves and exchanging their selfishness to a relationship with Him. In such a sowing, I believe this one with the most wonderful offer. We can never get into covenant with the true Covenant Maker if we don’t break our covenant with the world that had infilled us with selfishness from the beginning. As the world teaches us to gain without giving into discipline, righteousness, and selflessness, Jesus teaches us to die to our old sinful nature, more so give up negative baggages that hinder us from getting the inheritance that He has set for us from the beginning. Just like the eternal life that He promised to those who accepts Him as Lord and Savior.

In my walk with the Lord, I must admit, it’s not easy to die to myself. Until now, I’m battling with my selfishness and pride. But in order to live a fulfilling life in Him, I must give up the baggages that hinder the prize Himself. Jesus is my prize. His love is worth than millions of kisses. Actually, heaven is just a perk in this. But it is Jesus Himself who’s worth it all.

So going to heaven does not only require dying physically. So does getting the abundance and the inheritance the Lord has set for us. To die for one’s self is hard, but when we do, it’s worth the freedom and the joy that comes from Him.

His Faithfulness for My Unfaithfulness

I love reading news. Somehow, I think I’ve quite become obsessive with it. My fingers always itch for my phone just to look at the latest tweets on what’s happening around the planet. Even when I’m very sleepy still tweeter wins the case! Ayayay! O.o

And because of my love for news I sometimes felt myself better than anyone else. I thought I was more intelligent than any of my contemporaries; politics was slowly becoming my game. And because of this mindset, I did not notice that was heart was drifting away from my Beloved’s heart. My glass was becoming empty. I was forgetting what it means to yearn His presence like an innocent child.

But my Beloved is so faithful, I’m always in His mind. You know what, He revealed Himself once again in one of the soaking songs, Misty Edwards’ “Beauty Arise”, that I’ve been listening to over and over again.

You say, “I’ll take that harlot,”
You say, “I’ll make her My Bride,”
You say, “I’ll take that pauper,”
You say, “I’ll make him My king…”

Until now, I don’t understand how a holy God desires a poor, wretched girl like me. I’ve been impulsive and very proud. I have been faithless, ready to give myself to the world. Oh, that You would refine me still more! I don’t want to face You with soiled clothes. It’s scary when you try to come to His throne because His holiness can burn you inside and out…but…there He is, inviting me to sit by His side.

I am His creation. I am His beloved. I might not understand His deep, deep love for me for a thousand years. Can I just stay even at Your doorposts for one day? This is better than getting the biggest scoop in human history!!

Tag Cloud