never alone

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

yesterday i experienced the scariest and weirdest moment ever. 

you see, there is no company transport provided for us,  so i have to go with bhoy every morning.  that means i am always an hour and a half early for work.  that also means that it is my duty to unlock the office main door and switch on the lights. it also means that i could enjoy some peace and quiet before each stressful day.  there’s time for me to pray the rosary, retouch make-up, clean my desk, read the news and update my facebook status, even before everyone else arrives. 

except for some familiar sounds that come from the kitchen, which by this time i’ve already gotten used to, nothing unusual happens.  not until yesterday morning.

as i placed my bag and packed lunch on my desk and was about to take a seat, a loud banging on the glass part of the wall divider behind me swallowed the silence that i’ve grown to love now. BANG! BANG! BANG! as i turned to look at where the eerie noise was coming from, my heartbeat raced really fast that i felt it was out of the building within a sec.  but then, the rest of my body froze in my seat.  I WAS REALLY, REALLY TERRIFIED!!!  (thanks to my love affair with horror movies, my imagination became gory and gruesome OMG! )

the first thing that i could think of was a remote possibility that there maybe somebody locked inside the office the day before.  the second thing was oh well!  i could not think of anything more other than how scared i already was. as i sat motionless for like an eternity, i just prayed “Oh God, please don’t leave me. I’m all alone.”  minutes were transformed to forever.  you can just imagine my relief when my officemate and friend, mila, eventually arrived.  it was then that i got my heart back to its rightful place…my frightened heart that seemed to have taken a flight back home to laguna.

of course there may be spirits or souls that roam around, whose energy may have caused that really loud banging. and so, i was really wrong when i thought i was all alone.  in fact, i realized now that indeed, i was never alone. and never will be.  to quote Pope Benedict XVI during Sunday’s Angelus prayer, he stressed: “Every time we recite Our Father, our voice becomes entwined with that of the Church, because those who pray are never alone.” http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=37525

in connection to my weird experience yesterday, this legend about the cherokee indian youth’s rite of passage was sent to my email this morning. here goes:

his father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.  he is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. 

he cannot cry out for help to anyone.  once he survives the night, he is a MAN.  he cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

the boy is naturally terrified.  he can hear all kinds of noises.  wild beasts must surely be all around him.  maybe even some humans might do him harm.  the wind blew on the grass and the earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing his blindfold.  it would be the only way he could become a man!

finally after the horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.  it was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.  he had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

we too, are never alone.  even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.  when trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Moral of the story:  Just because you can’t see God, doesn’t mean He’s not there.

oh yes God is always with me.  but question is, am i with him? or will i rather be elsewhere? how many times did i go astray and got lost along the way? do i sometimes get ahead of Him who is supposed to lead me instead? 

next time any sound breaks that precious silence again,  my prayer is that the presence of God would build up my courage and strengthen my faith.  let it be a resounding assurance that He will never ever leave me, even when most of the time i am not worthy.

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a boy named CJ

“And He said:’I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself  like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’  And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”   Matthew 18:3-5

once in a while, i stumble upon stories of real people that deeply touch my heart.  even after the stories end.  this morning, i met a beautiful child named CJ.

his father, benette, who works abroad and was about to celebrate his birthday, called home and talked to his son, CJ.  he asked his father to look for his gift when he comes home for vacation in his ‘aparador‘. father and son also talked about plans to celebrate his sister Camille’s birthday and CJ’s becoming an altar boy, and eventually a priest someday.  the conversation was really sweet and touching, as detailed by benette in his facebook account.

that same night, tragedy struck. CJ was ran over and back by a ten-wheeler truck.  half of his frail body was crushed. he was with two of his cousins, Melai whose right arm was seriously injured and Melvin who was pushed by CJ to save him.  this happened three years ago.

it’s really hard to lose someone we love.  but to lose him unexpectedly and in a really gruesome way is even harder.  i recently lost dear loved ones recently too – my daddy, my childhood friend and best friend roobee, my aunts: tita fortune, tita estela and auntie bebeng, dearest friends boeing and eugene.  though really painful until now, i draw strength from the sweet memories they left behind.

but now, the parents of this little angel are still grieving, not only for the loss of their precious son.  but also for the elusive justice that they seek.  indeed as Catholics, we are taught to forgive.  but what is there to forgive, when the sinner does not repent? and where is peace, when there is no justice? 

i write this by God’s grace, so that readers may join hands in prayer to find justice for CJ and his family… to hope that this tragedy would never happen again to any family… and that  a boy named CJ would finally rest in peace.

love at first kick

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  Proverbs 11:30

yesterday morning, the world cup for me was just one sport spectacle that shouldn’t be missed.  just like the olympics or the NBA. in the philippines where basketball and boxing were like religion, it is understandable if football was not in my sports vocabulary.  but since i’m now at the mercy of the king of the house who holds the remote as if it is his sceptre, it’s amazing to discover that there’s a more exciting world of sports out there.

just recently, i was introduced to formula 1 and the likes of  hamilton, webber and alonzo.  but no matter how curvy and tricky the tracks are, i get bored by the 10th lap, unless of course a crash occurs in the following laps.  only during the last lap would my heartbeat join the race again.

as for football, bhoy and i were like followers of the world cup.  who wouldn’t be? what with shakira’s “waka waka” which has since become bea’s personal anthem.  another reason also is the Saudis’ intense passion for the sport.  it’s hard to describe, so you should see for yourselves how they celebrate whenever their national team wins in any international event.  the thing is, the farthest that we ever got was to see updates on team standings on the internet or  accidentally watch games (which we obviously didn’t get to concentrate on) when we dine out, and then again of course, sing “tsamina mina zangalewa anawa aa…”  other than that, football for me was just a vision. 

last night was unexpected.  since it was the finals, we did not want to miss out on all the fun. we also wanted to find out finally if the  octopus would turn out credible afterall.  but it was already late and since we had to get up really early for work, we just decided to let the live streaming on, regardless. a week before, since bhoy’s bosses were mostly dutch, my bet was for netherlands of course.  but earlier during the day, while i watched video clips of cooking demos on youtube, i changed my mind.  who could ignore paella, lengua estofado, menudo, afritada, embutido, callos, arroz caldo, calamares and adobo anyway.  besides, centuries of  Spanish colonization obviously have a significant influence on me.  in fact, Spanish is my 3rd language. (haha! un poco senor!)

so we watched the finals – SPAIN vs NETHERLANDS, although we don’t know anything about the game, except that the ball must go inside the net to score.   i was sleepy already when the game started.  but there was this kick that kept me awake till the end of the game, and even later from then on – a kick that made me fall in love…  and i couldn’t believe that the romance would last long after Andres Iniesta scored that one precious goal.  haha silly me!  now i even think that my hero, Iker Casillas looks a bit like justin timberlake and orlando bloom combined. 

but there’s this secret that i want to share.  last night, i was getting impatient because the ball seemed to eternally avoid the net like a plague, but i really wanted to see the final scene where the players would raise their arms with clenched fists and do that group hug thing.  i really thought that if somebody scores, the game would finally end.  and because i have only 3 hours left to sleep, i finally uttered a short prayer “please Lord, just one goal please. just one.”  and not five seconds passed, there goes the ball swak directly to the net!  i froze not knowing if it was because of the goal or the quick response to my prayer. 

“thank you Lord!”  i thought i could finally go to sleep.  but no, of course not. love has its way to make us stay awake.  (i even managed to post my overwhelming joy in my facebook account). now the waiting begins to renew my love affair with football.  afterall, world cup happens only once every four years.  but for the meantime, i’m good with no less than the one who comes only once in a lifetime…”wink”

the coconut nut

“Should you then seek great things for yourself?  Seek them not.  For I will bring disaster on all people, declare the LORD, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life.”  Jeremiah 45:5

fely comes to our house regularly to do the laundry.  she also helps mommy with  stuff.  she runs errands, cleans and cooks too.  sometimes, she just drops by to check on mommy and if there’s anything else that she can do for her.  but at the end of  every day’s work, fely walks to her humble abode to be with her family, for whom she works very hard for.

fely, who did not take an oath, serves our family the best that she can.  with her frail and thin physique, she is able to do things which seem incredible for us to do.  she doesn’t demand to live in our house, much less sleep in the master bedroom.  her husband, who drives their family-owned pedicab for a living, follows simple barangay traffic rules and regulations.  though life is hard, they do their jobs diligently.  and i am certain that they are happy and comfortable with whatever they are blessed with –  jobs to do, family to belong, a small rented house.

fely and her husband are simple people with simple needs,  but that doesn’t mean they live without dignity. 

what is dignity then? it is the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect.  we don’t have to be rich, or pretty, or hold a high government position, or live in a coconut palace to have dignity.  dignity is not something that one should demand from others because it emanates from one’s innate nature of being treated with respect.  dignity comes from within and radiates spontaneously. 

for a newly elected public servant to even consider a grand residence and office for dignity, is an insult to the poor people that he promised to serve, a great percentage of which live in shanties.   we are made to think that our house is what we are.  that thinking only reduces the self-image to inferiority and helplessness. no less than President Noynoy said “Kayo ang boss ko.”  can’t a vice-president also serve his countrymen and perform his functions with dignity if he lives in a modest house in a modest neighborhood? was his predecessor less dignified? now more than ever, it is worthwhile to recall what lolo and lola once said “Mabuti pa ang kubo kung ang nakatira ay tao, kasya isang palasyo na ang nakatira ay kwago.” 

isn’t it ironic that the new president whose official residence is a palace, humbly chose to reside in a small guest house across the river, yet his vice-president asks for a palace with the famous view of the manila bay sunset to be his official residence? if this is a tumor, there’s something benign here that must be treated soonest before it turns malignant.  seriously…

we are all equal in the eyes of  God.  He placed us exactly where we are now, because he has a master plan for the natural order of things. my fervent prayer is that each of us realize what our role in that plan is, in order to fulfill the ultimate purpose of our existence.  otherwise, the tale of the coconut nut in the palace will go down in history.