Sunday, December 13, 2009

a certain degree of callousness (28.02.2007)

i found this in my diary and i don't remember if i posted it before. i wrote it as i was staying in the nikko hotel in narita, japan on my way to go home to geneva from the philippines.


a certain degree of callousness

saying goodbye requires a certain degree of callousness of heart that enables a person to go on to the next part of the journey invariably intact. goodbyes have the tendency to break the heart and wet the eyes as it wells ups with tears of the thought of imminent separation or departure.

yes, a certain degree of callousness is required when you leave the people you love. just enough to dll the pain or to keep one sane from the suffering of breaking apart or being apart.

just how much callous must one envelop his or her heart so that contact will be cherished but removal won't be so searing?

just a certain degree, enough to let go when the time comes to say goodbye.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

When Trying Again Makes the Difference by M. Blaine Smith

When Trying Again
Makes the Difference
Finding God's Best Through Simple Persistence
M. Blaine Smith

When I became a Christian at 19, one of my strongest hopes was that God would quickly make marriage a reality for me. I was certain I was ready for a permanent relationship. Surely within the affirming atmosphere of Christian fellowship I would learn the secret of winning a woman's hand for life.

After two stunning disappointments, I concluded that I wasn't learning very well. Late one night in desperation I woke a pastor friend from sleep, and poured out my frustrations to him. "What's wrong with me?" I asked. "What do I need to change to keep this from happening again?"

His response was startling: "Maybe the chemistry simply wasn't right," he said. "You may not need to change a thing." His answer wasn't terribly satisfying. It would have been easier to have some concrete problem to work on.

Another friend whom I greatly respected responded with one of those annoying spiritual clich�s: "When you've found the right woman, there won't be a whole lot you can do to keep the relationship from working out."

When I began dating Evie Kirkland several years later, there wasn't a whole lot I could do to keep the relationship from working out. We had problems and issues to work through, as is true in every relationship. Little about me and my approach to relationships had changed, though--yet for some reason the relationship was working (after thirty years, it still is).

The Missing Element

Sometimes when we fail, there are clear lessons to be learned. In seminary I once flunked a course because I didn't include any primary sources in the term paper. I learned it was a good idea to include primary sources in a term paper.

In my years of writing for publication I've had manuscripts rejected and several sent back for revision. Such responses from publishers have always been frustrating. Yet in every case I've learned volumes from editors' comments about how to communicate with readers more effectively. I cherish now the growth that has come through each of these experiences of disappointment.

But there are times when failure doesn't mean that we've done anything wrong. It is simply that God's time for success hasn't yet come for us. God isn't telling us to change the way we do things, but to wait on him--and in time to try again. There is a mystery to God's timing that we can never fully understand, anymore than we know why one seed takes root and another doesn't (Eccl 11:6). But one thing is certain: we're often ready to abandon a dream long before giving up is justified.

Once shortly after Jesus' resurrection, Peter and the disciples spent an entire night fishing, but caught nothing (Jn 21:1-8). In the morning, Jesus appeared on the shore and shouted to these weary, discouraged men, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat." They obeyed, and their net quickly filled to capacity with fish. What is striking is that Jesus didn't tell them to do anything that they hadn't already been doing. He didn't advise them to change a thing. Undoubtedly, they had spent half the night dangling the net over their boat's right side! But now they had the one missing element--the command of Christ--and with that they succeeded.

Not Changing a Thing

The worst part about failure is that it can cause us to become dreadfully introspective. We browbeat ourselves, wondering, what is it about me that caused this miserable situation? What can I change to keep from blowing it again?

When failure offers obvious lessons, we need to learn them and move on. But sometimes a different dynamic is at work. Christ is speaking to you and me as he did with his disciples, telling us to cast the net on the right side. He's saying, "Don't do anything differently- -simply do it again; this time, because I'm telling you to do it, your efforts will be successful."

But how can we know when Christ is prompting us to try again, and when he wants us to abandon a goal altogether? We can't always be certain. God's timing is a mystery, and this is part of what makes the Christian life an adventure. But I believe there is a rule of thumb we should follow in most cases: If we have undertaken a goal out of the conviction that God wants us to pursue it, then we should put the burden of proof on him to show us if we should bail out. Barring strong evidence, we ought to assume he wants us to stay the course. We should remember that God not only wants to teach us lessons through failure but to develop resilience in us--a willingness to forge ahead in the face of risk and challenge.

Do It Again

Genesis records a time when Isaac and his servants made three attempts to dig for water in the valley of Gerar. On the first two occasions, native herdsmen quarreled with them over property rights, and Isaac's men had to abandon the wells after putting considerable effort into digging them. But their third try succeeded, and this time the herdsmen offered no resistance. Isaac named that well Rehoboth ("a broad place"), declaring, "Now the Lord has given us room, and we shall flourish in the land" (Gen 26:19-22).

Less hardy souls would have given up after the first or second try, concluding that God didn't want them to succeed.

In their classic book In Search of Excellence, Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman observe that the oil companies which are most successful in finding oil typically are not the ones with the best equipment or the most competent staff. Rather, they are those which dig the most wells! Persistence is the critical factor separating the firms that succeed from the ones that don't.

Yes, it is often difficult to know when we should try again in the wake of failure. It can be even harder to find the courage to make another try. Yet we can meet these challenges when our relationship with Christ is strong and growing. Nothing helps us more than spending regular time alone with Christ, in which we allow him to clarify his will and to stir up our determination. Ask God to give you a heart that is encouraged in Christ and the resolve to take bold steps of faith for him. It's in that spirit that we can best understand when he's saying, "Cast the net on the right side."

God wants hope to characterize our lives. We should expect that he will often call us to try again in the face of disappointment. Casting the net on the right side is a vital principle of the Christian life.


I received this from a mailing group I belong to and it came at just the right time. So many times, the easy answer is to give up, but after reading this, it helped me change my perspective and lift up to God the plans He has for me. Difficult and challenging life may be, with God commanding us to throw the net on the right side makes all the difference.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Overcoming disability

That seemed to be the message of God for me this week ...

Yesterday evening, I was privileged to watch Jeffrey Tate conduct the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (OSR). Tate was born with a spinal condition called spina bifida which is taken from Latin meaning "split spine". As I got into the hall, I saw him conducting sitting in an elevated swivel chair with one foot on the ground and the other rested on the foot rest of the chair. His left shoulder was lower than his right shoulder and he seemed to have a hunchback on the right side. He swung his baton up and down forming a diagonal line from left to right shoulder. I also saw a cane hanging from the conductor's stand indicating he walked with a cane.

He conducted John Mark Ainsley, a tenor who sang Benjamin Britten's nocturne for tenor (7 instruments and strings, op. 60) and Jean Sibelius' Symphony No. 2 in D Major, op. 43.

I didn't know who Jeffrey Tate was and neither did I knew he had a disability.

I was vaguely aware that there was a meeting on persons with disabilities. Looking at the UN schedule of meetings in Geneva, from 19-23 October, was the UN human rights' (OHCHR) second session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I say vaguely because I noticed we had more disabled people around the grounds. Usually, if there was a meeting on the rights of indigenous peoples, you'd also see people dressed in their native attire. So, I figured there must have been a meeting.

Then seeing Jeffrey Tate, who was disabled, I figured, they must've chosen him to close the session of the meetings and to top off the yearly concert of the OSR at Victoria Hall on the anniversary of the United Nations.

Today's gospel was about Bartimaeus who was a blind man who sat on a dirt road begging and shouted out to Jesus as He walked by to heal him. Jesus, moved by the faith of this man, healed him and said "Your faith has saved you". (Mk 10:52)

Later on today, at the Marian Conference I attended, I heard a testimony of one woman, who everybody knew as a jolly lady who had risen from her past trauma. She had a bipolar mother and a womanizing father, who eventually left them and she was sexually abused as a child and only recovered a few years back. You wouldn't be able to tell that she underwent these trials in life if you met her because she always seems so happy and jolly.

All of the stories I mentioned speak of disability. Some physical others spiritual. Tate initially took up medicine but gave it up because he wanted to pursue music. How difficult it must have been to conduct with lopsided shoulders? I don't know if it hurts but even if one doesn't have a disability, beating a baton for hours on end is tiresome. Try holding up your arm at shoulder height, bending your elbow for even 5 minutes and see how it feels. But his disability didn't stop him from pursuing what he really wanted. He probably beat the odds.

Second, Bartimaeus' leaped from his place, disregarding his cloak - who, from Fr. Richard's sermon, was a sign of letting go as for a blind person, his cloak is everything. It protects him from cold and it is his home during the night. But he didn't care because he believed that God would heal him and the benefits were far greater than a blanket but recovered sight.

Third was a story of a woman so broken, she wanted to take her own life. She was paralyzed by the ghosts of her past which almost ruined her marriage and destroyed all hope. But after joining a Christian community during her youth, she began the healing process and the road to full recovery took almost 30 years. It required a lot of faith and a lot of help from family and friends and brothers and sisters in community.

I feel blessed and inspired at how these people have overcome their disabilities.

Often we think, the world or even God dealt us a bad hand in life. I'm too ugly, I'm too short, I'm not good enough, why do I have this family, and so on and so forth. I don't have a good nose! I often hear this from people who look perfectly fine to me, no real physical disabilities whatsoever but complains of the blessing that is their healthy bodies. Then I meet a blind girl who shares her singing talent giving testimony to God's love for her. I meet a blind man who translates at the UN. I see a conductor with a spinal problem leading an orchestra producing angelic music. I cried listening to them play because it was so beautiful. The movement of the music as he conducted was really wonderful. As he points to each section to play, I feel the rising and lowering of each note. He received three call backs after the concert as the audience ceaselessly clapped. I hear of a hearing-impaired man playing piano at church.

Their lives are testimonies to God's never-ending goodness to create something wonderful from what initially seems to be a curse.

We often create our own disabilities that paralyze us. There are our insecurities, our fears, our hangups, all those things that stop us from fully realizing our potential. But the stories prove that nothing is impossible with God.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 153-158, "The ability to see beyond the present is wisdom. To see beyond the possible is faith, a grace from God. The Spirit of God empowers us with spiritual intuition and insight. We cannot arrive at faith by ourselves."

This is true because God doesn't force us to believe. It is a choice. In the same way, it is a choice for us to rise up from the things that cripple our bodies and spirits. With God, everything is possible. Faith in God can help us get to that place where the impossible becomes possible.

Friday, October 23, 2009

last day at work ...

today was my last day working for the english text processing unit of the language services of the conference management division of the united nations office at geneva ... phew! a mouthful!!! but more than a mouthful is the love and appreciation i felt working with my colleagues.

i shared with my colleagues that it was a job worth getting up for. i never dreaded going into work and i would actually look forward to going and spending the day with the people i work with. and because we work in text processing, we saw the product of our labours every single day. day in and day out, we would produce finalized copies of conference papers, resolutions from all types of meetings including the infamous economic commission for europe (ece) documents that regulated and standardized fruits and vegetables to the more disturbing transport of dangerous goods.

i learned a lot on this job ... and i really felt appreciated ... and my boss interrupts me, "so why are you leaving? i thought you were intelligent." to that i just politely chuckled and smiled. because i knew the answer, it was time to move on because opportunity had presented itself.

i got a promotion. that promotion was God's hands at work. it was one day in may after getting back from holidays in the philippines that the head of personnel called me. he asked if i was interested in a possible move and a promotion. i said "yes" because it's not every day that you get asked that question. so i went to see him and he asked "why didn't you apply for this position?" honestly ... i didn't even know there was such a vacancy.

as a backgrounder ... i had prayed earlier on, i don't remember if it was the same week or month, because i had started getting bored at work. i wasn't usually like that. so, i prayed that if He willed it that i would be able to get another job. the problem was, i never applied for anything because i never really looked at vacancies. and here was my answer. how good is God to answer my prayer so quickly even if i did not lift a finger to realize my prayer. and to not act at this stage would probably be smiting Him. so, i applied and was e-mailed for an interview. after the interview, months had passed. i knew the post was due to be filled on sept. 1 but i had not received any indication that i had gotten it so i applied for leave and went home to surprise my mom on my bday. my boss granted me the leave maybe because she had wanted me to stay. she knew i was offered another job.

i went home thinking nothing about the other job offer. when i got back to work, all of a sudden, my boss calls me in. she shows me an e-mail saying that i had gotten the promotion and she didn't know whether to say congratulations or not. she said to think about it. i thought about it.

i accepted the post because this was the answer to my prayer. even if it is scary to start in a new place with totally new responsibilities, i have to because it will help me gain new experience and broaden my horizons.

and to top of my leaving, my colleagues planned a surprise farewell that left me crying. they even gave me a watch. the regular watch i used to wear stopped working at 12 noon yesterday. and a friend showed great insight and said ...

"the watch is really a reminder of God's perfect timing. and perfect plan."

she was right. everything happened in perfect timing down to my getting my marching orders just yesterday, a day before my last day. i got my official memo from personnel saying i had been promoted and a call from my new boss saying i will start come monday morning.

i wasn't able to take any pictures of the farewell because it didn't occur to me to take pictures. i was so happy to be among them eating and talking that i forgot.

after the party, i cleaned up the rest of my stuff. i had already cleared my other things the day before. i now needed to say goodbye to my office with its wonderful view of the lake. i was supposed to savour it and walk out slowly. but my colleague offered me a ride home and having to carry much, i obliged. but i didn't feel right. i almost forgot i was supposed to run an errand and had to catch the store before it closed, so again, i got home in time to buy what i had to and then still make my way back to say my goodbye properly to my desk and chair and view, take my last call on my office telephone, and to walk out slowly from the unog ... up the hill and out its gates ...

on monday i will be starting at the documents processing unit of the office of the united nations high comissioner for human rights ... where the old league of nations used to be seated.

a new chapter begins ...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Far far away

How have your pains and sorrows strengthened you? At times, does being separated from the comfortable company of your family and friends help you to bring God's kingdom to the bigger world? - In His Steps guide question, 22.10.09

I laughed at this question when I read it last night ... I wasn't being heretic or anything but because it was so true for me, at least, in my life. The question spoke to me. I was amused because it reminded me of my life.

I entitled my blog "wanderer" for the exact fact that I've traveled or lived far from home most of my life. And it's been painful as well as joyful. Moving requires a lot of energy and strength because you have to say goodbye to the people that you've met or have made friends with. No matter how often you say goodbye, it never gets easier. It is also a logistical nightmare! Packing is nostalgic and tedious at the same time. My brother would often comment why our garbage made it home to Manila. Firstly, the packers were like hurricanes who put anything that wasn't nailed to the ground in a box. So, garbage came with. :) Secondly, we couldn't or rather my mom couldn't watch over every single piece of paper but as a safety precaution, she took everything, including folded tissue papers in between photos, etc. It's all very funny and also very sad for some.

But going back to the question, being away from the comforts of home and family indeed makes you more dependent on people. You begin to crave the attention and company you left back home. You strike up new friendships. Church becomes a place of solace. And you appreciate the people that really keep you company and make it less lonely being alone in a strange land without your family and old friends that have grown up with you through the years.

Since I grew up everywhere, I've had friends that grew up with me and those that grew apart from me. I've never returned to any of the places I've lived in before except Manila.

But I always carry the memories of the good ol' times.

That's why I cherish the Philippines so much. It'll always be my home.

And that's why I also appreciate Geneva so much, because it's become my second home. I was asked once where I would live if not in the Philippines, I said Geneva.

Not just because of the beauty of Geneva but because it has helped me grow in service and grow closer to God. Here I was able to know God deeper through community life and Church and I was also able to share my faith with others - people like me, far away from home, in a strange land and in need of a helping hand. I was and still is often at the receiving end of that and when the opportunity presents itself, I try to do the same.

So, long story short, it is difficult to be far away from home but in the discomforts of living far away, there is a new comfort, the possibility of striking up new friendships, having free time on your hands and being able to share God's kingdom in any possible way - be it to help others, serve in Church, go on missions, etc. And having had the sorrows and pains of life, I can also be a wounded healer to those that need it. And in that, it has helped me to heal and gain strength because I know I'm not alone.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

nothing is free

i learned this lesson painfully. i'm not proud of what i will recount here but i hope that in my sharing you will also learn not to be victims of "free" items.

i said to myself i will not be duped again by promos or by seemingly "easy" products. all you have to do is fill in a form, listen, etc.

today, i saw a free shopping bag brought home by my flatmate. she said it's free with a 3-franc hand cream. so, i went to the store and tried to buy that said cream. i also asked with a smile, "does it come with a shopping bag?" she said, "only if you buy something worth 5 francs". so i decided to look around. while looking around, i called my flatmate to ask. she said that she just bought 3 francs and she was given the bag. so, i go for another walk ... thinking to myself, i can buy a hand cream triple the size of the one on "sale" at another store albeit no bag. think ... think ... think.

i see if the girl will give me the bag. i buy the cream. she gives me the bag. yes! then, all of a sudden, she says, the bag only comes free with a 5-franc purchase. otherwise, the bag costs 1 franc, meaning 4 francs in tot. that's already 1 franc more than the budget and i only set out to buy that lotion on the premise it came with the bag. so, i say, "i'm not buying the cream". then ... there was a problem with the machine. she already punched it in. she asked me again, "so you only want the bag? you don't want the cream." i say, "yes". so, she gives me the bag with the cream because she couldn't work the machine.

so, i got what i wanted ... but i wasn't proud of myself. this was another lesson to a more painful lesson i learned while i was in the philippines.

i was at church service. i had to get something from my mom during that service. when ... i was harangued by a salesman saying this and that, i get a free bag, i just have to fill in this form, i just have to listen 5 minutes. the first time i got away. i was able to get the thing i had to get from mamu and i made my way back and again i was intercepted. this time, i wasn't so successful in getting away. i found myself walking away from the church, following this salesman, going up some escalators, meanwhile feeling "what am i doing?" i should be getting back. i said ... it's only 5 minutes.

i went to church with a friend and that friend was waiting. she called me up after service and asked me where i was. i said across the street at the other store. she was so shocked. i would be too. i had made a big mistake. she stopped talking to me on the phone.

i had been duped by a promo and i missed church for a bag. i told you i wasn't proud of it. the bag came with a chance to win a new car. what was i thinking???

so the lesson i learned is that we are often tempted by "easy" and seemingly "free" things but behind those items ... are strings ... that stretch a kilometer. and you find yourself blinded.

and in the aftermath ... the value of hardwork takes a back seat ... i believe in earning your keep ... you have to work for the benefits you reap. but thank God ... God really is good ... He really gives us something for free ... His blessings. and no human "promo" can top that.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Chicken a la carte by Ferdinand Dimadura§ion=&combo2=&text1=Culture%20Unplugged%20Video&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=&

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thank you God

There was a time in our lives when my family had to split an apple into five so that everybody could have a taste. My mom would buy the most-bruised bananas because it was what we could afford. It was Mamu's policy that no one gets left behind or is left wanting and not being able to taste what's at table. So, early on, we learned to share. And early on, we also learned to guard what was ours what we didn't want to share.

There were times when we'd rather eat outside what little we had so we didn't have to share. Because once you went home and you had food with you, you'd have to share it with everybody.

Now, it's different. God has been good to us. God has been so good that He gave my mom a wonderful job. She gave her the drive, the dream to lift us up from our situation. We no longer had to share one apple. We could now buy grilled cheese from the local McDo, Burger Machine. That was our treat. That was what made us happy. It's what we looked forward to every pay day.

And looking back at where we were, it's made us all appreciate what we have now. Yes, we still feel sometimes that we haven't eaten enough, as if we're going to run out of food, so we eat as much as we can. But at the same time, we've learned to give and to share.

My brothers have become very generous. Gorby would give the shirt of his back to help someone. Paul would always give to the beggars without looking back. Buddy would feed us, his family to our heart's content and Christopher would give of his love when he makes "lambing". I've also learned to share of my talents and resources and not to be so stingy with my time.

God has blessed us with such a wonderful mother who imparted us with such values.

Eating my lunch today I was brought to tears. I can't contain the feeling of blessedness because now, I can buy what I will eat. Be it simple or grand. Today I ate a sumptuous vegetarian sandwich and chickpea soup. It may be simple for some but for me, it was perfect! It brought tears to my eyes to eat every bite and to savour every flavour. We've moved up from the grilled cheese.

And I have God to thank for all of this. My heart wants to explode from the feeling of blessedness.

Thank you God.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Loving like the sandalwood

I was talking to my mom today and she shared with me something new and interesting. I really love talking to my mom exactly because she has so much information to share. Today it was about Sandalwood, how it doesn't "cry" and how God loves us.

She learned in one of her retreats that the tree sandalwood leaves a perfume on the ax that cuts it instead of bleeding or as my said "no bitter cry". I would like to paste here what she said:

Mama: the sandal wood is a tree that when cut leaves its perfume on the ax that cuts it.
Mama: with no bitter cry.
Mama: the song with the same title says true love comes from a broken heart.
Mamal: if the heart is true and the emotion is real.
Mama: remember that.
Mama: so leave perfumes with your true love, anak.
Mama: like CHRIST's .
Mama: HE loves us like the sandalwood.
Mama: HE broke HIMSELF for us.
Mama: and gives us the perfume of HIS Love

Unfold by Marie Digby

A song recommended by Missy ... Thanks Missy ... I love it!!!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

For Jowan on her wedding ...

Dearest Jowan,

As requested, here is your tribute. :) It's by no means exhaustive of my praises for you. Like Tito said, hindi naman kami nagkulang sa pagbigay ng wishes sa iyo. :) Hehe. I hope you like it.



Joanne signs her letters to me and probably to most "love and light" because she is love and light. For most of us who know Jowan she is love embodied in a joyous body who you'd love to be around. That even in her own dark moments, she can be a light to others. I can personally say that Jowan has been there even if I was in Geneva and she here - the distance was never a hindrance. I felt her friendship and her sisterhood. She was the sister I never had.

She may look petite but she is very strong. Very strong - yet very gentle in her ways. She doesn't pass judgement quickly and is very understanding.

Everybody could fall in love with a girl like Jowan - and I'm happy that she was able to find her partner not a rainbow away. We would often stay up to the wee hours of the night discussing anything under the sun but most especially the matters of the heart.

Jowan's heart is so good that our friends in Geneva took an instant liking to her because she was genuinely a happy person.

Jowan is not only a great friend but a great daughter. Like all the Barriga children she is the apple in her parents' eyes. She is a wonderful and caring sister.

She is our own love and light. In her own times of darkness, she in her great faith in God also found her way out. She is truly a remarkable person.

The love which she gives her dogs - "Pooh" and "Dell" - and all the living creatures that crosses her path, is immense, all the more with the people that really matter to her.

Jowan on your wedding day, I pray that your love and light will be multiplied and with Paolo as your partner in this journey called life.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"Non-transferable ang kasalan"

That's what Lemon told me when we saw each other. I can't tell what the specifics are but it's about a person who would like to take on another person's sin. And it made me think of Jesus. I thought how appropriate the topic was since it was the beginning of Lent.

There are times, when our loved ones would like to take on our sins or we'd like to carry the burden of our loved one's sins but most of the time, we would not even like to acknowledge our own sins.

It is heavy to carry the responsibility of a wrongdoing. All the more when it's not yours. But what about Jesus? What made Him carry all our sins to deliver us from them? His Father's will? His Father's love? His Great love?

I would like to believe that indeed God so loved the world that He did give His only Son. And yet Jesus in the garden asked His own Father to let the pass cup from Him. But it was to be. And He did it willingly.

And I think of the person that Lemon said ... and she retorted with that quote. I'm just glad that Jesus did take on our sins. Imagine if God told us that ... you and you alone will carry the burden of your sins and you will live in eternal damnation and you shall go to hell. Hmmm ... I would be totally scared.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

when are you closest to God?

missy said yesterday "isn't it funny that we are closest to God when we are in pain?"

another friend said "but we can also be closest to God during our happiest moments".

i think it's both true ... we should be closest to God in our direst and happiest moments because He makes possible these moments that wrench our hearts as well as fill it up to the brim.

quotable quotes from my wonderful brother, atty. buds

(And let me clarify to my other brothers ... yes, you are all wonderful to me. :) I love you all equally. :) Mwah!)

"Writing is a passionate courtship with patience."

I was very inspired and motivated by what he said as he keeps egging me on to write and to have persistence and to have discipline. He says he writes every day. They're called pleadings. :) Haha.

I'm so happy that he tries to push me so hard so that I can write the book that I so much want to write. I bought my first laptop thinking I would finish my book on that. That laptop has since died and I still have yet to produce a manuscript. Yes, I will write. I will. :)

I was just reading Allende's "Ines of My Soul" and it said there "the ultimate form of vanity is an autobiography". Hehe. And my brother asked me to write our story. :) Oh well ... I'll still write it. :) Why not, coconut?

So, Buds, just wanted to say "Thank you from the bottom of my heart!" I love you!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

feast of candles

yesterday was the feast of the presentation of the temple of Jesus. it's also known as the "Candlemas", purification of the Virgin Mary and meeting of the Lord.

it marks the end of the advent season 40 days after the birth of Jesus Christ. by Jewish tradition, each male child should be presented to the temple with a pair of turtle doves or pigeons (that was what the commoner could offer). that was what Joseph and Mary offered for Jesus.

in the temple was Simeon whom God bestowed the Spirit and the prophecy that he could only go in peace from this life after seeing the Messiah. and so he did and he declared that Jesus would be the cause of glory and downfall of many in israel and that Mary's own heart/soul would be pierced. so the prophecy came to pass.

fr. richard preferred the term "candlemas" best to remember the feast because it reminds him of Jesus' light shining in our lives and how we are called to be a light to others. that has been the message to me these past few days, that we should be a light to others. coming from our own darkness, God has put Jesus to light our path and we are called to share His light especially to those who are closest to us - our family and our friends.

as we lit our candles yesterday we remember Christ's light in our lives.

touching moment

talking to my colleague here that looks like julie andrews, i felt so touched by her story of christmas giving. she and her husband gave their garderner in africa a bright red bike so he could travel to and fro to any place he wanted to be. she said she had tears in her eyes as the man began to clap in the way that they do when they are excited and happy. i love stories that tell of self-less giving. it is so moving and it's a reminder that we are not here for ourselves but to be of service to others and to give our lives as testimonies to others so that we are walking witnesses of God's goodness and love. and this story just reminded me of how good we can all be. i had a swollen heart myself listening to my colleague because i can't only see the joy her gardener felt but the joy she felt when she gave it.

how much does it take to give? especially of one's self?

taming the tongue

they say words are like two-edged swords

... for me ...

it's like a bullet that once released by the cocking of a gun, can kill someone. if unintentional, i pray it doesn't hit any major organs lest i be accused of murder - premeditated murder. at least let there be an exit wound so that the bullet doesn't kill the person while it's lodged in some important body part.

i used to be a "fire-at-will" kind of person shooting my loaded mouth into the major organs of people, leaving a trail of bloody people behind. i hope they survived their wounds though. i'm very sorry for the way i used to be and have become very sensitive nowadays with regard to saying things because i was once hurt by words and it felt like i was stabbed in the heart and the blade was then traced up and down my body (imagine kill bill) to leave me in a state of utter brokenness if not death. only Jesus was able to help me out of that wound and the people that ceaselessly mended me with their kind and loving words. slowly but surely, my wounds grew scabs and i could walk again.

being at the end of that sword is painful, very painful and i would never ever want to inflict that kind of pain ... at least not intentionally. but it sometimes happens that we do open our mouths, forgetting the "safety" of our brains, we let out the words which can't be recuperated. after shooting a gun, one can't run after the bullet because the speed at which it was fired is too quick for our hands.

i read last night in my Bible devotional, Our Companion, that oftentimes, those that utter careless hurtful words don't remember or could care less that their deadly bullets were fired. on the receiving end, the wounded, never forget or limp with broken limbs or broken spirits and hearts.

i felt blessed that i was actually hurt that much because i felt what it was like to be at the receiving end. i would never wish that on any person, friend or foe.

remember to keep the "safety" on at all times. :)

sweat the big and the small stuff ...

yup, you read it right ... sweat the big and the small stuff ... or so my daily Bible devotional says today. i read that it's so easy to lose one's cool after a busy day and to want only to have one's way at the end of it. but Jesus' example in today's Gospel after healing the old lady which had been hemorrhaging for 12 years, raised a girl-child from the dead and made sure to remind her attendants that she have something to eat too.

it was an eye-opener for me that human as we are, can easily fall into the trap of "i, me, my", and forget about the others that need more attention than our petty concerns. it's difficult, again due to humanity's imperfection, to think of others when we ourselves are overburdened, in pain, suffering and the like. there are those that overcome the self and try to follow Jesus' example - mother teresa for one and the many saints like st. francis who embraced suffering and poverty to serve in God's name and be a man for others.

if God was the most important man of His time, yet He made other people feel that they were the most important in His life ... what prevents us from doing the same?

i remember a friend of mine who recounted a neighbourhood "aunt" who would make her feel special every time she came over as if the world stopped for her and this aunt prepared everything for her arrival and made her feel like she was the only person she was attending to. i sometimes feel like that with certain friends. i feel so blessed that there are still self-less people that make me feel so important and special. i cherish them. i try to do the same for others, although, sometimes, i am lacking.

go out and make someone feel special ... i dare you. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Building "relationships of hope"

After my father died, I felt an outpouring of support from all corners of the world, from family and friends, and people that I never knew would show up at the wake. It was a wonderful feeling to be loved and to be cared for. I am not used to it as I am usually the care-giver but as a friend pointed it out ... why not think of it as not being reminded of your loss but a reminder of how much you are cared for and loved? Very salient point indeed!

And then my mother tells me of her learning on "relationships of hope" and those that "encourages" from the Feast of Bo Sanchez.

Yes, relationships should always build up hope and encourage the people in it. Encourage in a good way to be good and loving and self-giving. I often hear that in the homilies of Fr. Tony at our church, John XXIII Parish. We must always be self-giving and be Christ-like to others. And at one of my lowest points in my life, I experienced that from the people that rallied to support me and my family at our moment of grief.

It was a loving ceremony ... we remembered my father and all his good qualities. We shared in the many good memories we had of him ... relatives, friends alike. It was a hopeful meeting. A hope that my father left in peace. He was smiling when I saw him. He looked at peace.

And I imagine what relationships of hope look like ... a big invisible web of love that wouldn't let anyone fall through the cracks of life. That even in the darkest moments, there are people to support you and to help you bounce back. And that web is supported by a greater web ... the web that is God. Because God is a God of Hope. And I'm happy that I had such a web to support me.

I would like to thank everyone for sharing in that hope. And I encourage everyone to build relationships of hope ... with the people that matter most and to strike up new relationships that continue to encourage and to build up hope ... because life is too short to despair.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Remembering my father ... Bye Pa!

My father died this morning.

I had just celebrated New Year's at a good friend's house. I was asleep and I had woken up to go to the toilet. I received a text from my brother and mother saying there had been an emergency. I immediately thought one of my brothers was hurt due to the fireworks. But when I called, our eldest said "You know Papa ..." and something like he passed away this morning. And we both broke down crying.

For all my friends reading this, please pray for the repose of the soul of my father. For those in Manila, the wake is at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish beside Claret School in Diliman, Quezon City.

I will go home probably tomorrow or Saturday and stay a week.

Thank you for all those who sent their messages already. I really appreciate all of them.

God bless.