Doing the Math

John answered and said “No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase; I must decrease.” John 3:27-30

I was never good at Math. I disliked it. In fact, I feared it. I cringed at the thought of it.

After high school, I wanted to be an architect. As a child, I fancy recreating home scenes especially with mahjong tiles. I remembered waiting patiently for my Mom and aunts for their mahjong breaks when they had coffee and snacks. I would build rooms upon rooms with matching furniture and appliances, all of mahjong tiles. Imagine how amazed I was with the introduction of Lego.

So I was determined. I would design houses. Much to my Mom’s disappointment. She wanted me to take up AB English. She believed I would be a fine journalist or a great teacher. But then no, I was a stubborn girl. I followed my heart’s desire.

But reality showed its ugly face… I flunked College Algebra, then Analytic Geometry and more. I loved designing, but I refused to see that I have a weakness. Because I thought I can do anything, reach anything, achieve everything. Then slowly my dreams fell apart, like mahjong tiles that were stacked up in a rather crooked manner. It took two grueling years to wake me up from my most dreaded nightmare. The dream was gone. I would never be an architect.

There is nothing wrong with having to dream. In fact, it is the stuff that success stories are made of. But if our dreams cause us to be insanely proud and self-righteous, then we are doomed for disaster. If our dreams become the vessel that separates us from the innate kindness and innocence from within ourselves, then our definition of success is meaningless.

Yes, I should have listened to my Mom. My case is one example when the statement “Mothers know best” holds true. It is too late for me when I have proven that. I was young. I was proud. And I was a fool.

I was raised Catholic. I studied in a Catholic school. I prayed. But I never really acknowledged God’s presence in my life. All along He was there. Patiently waiting to catch me the moment I fall from my own folly. But I was too busy looking at myself proudly. Not because I was seeing the beauty of God’s creation. But because I was blinded by the vision of a false image of success. I was blinded by myself, I failed to see Him.

It didn’t stop there. My journey was a series of unfortunate events. It is a painful process. But if it would take that to keep my eyes open, then I would take the painful path over and over again.

We are not kings of our selves. The Creator is always greater than His creation. Only God rules over us. He knows the way, because He is the Way. And if Jesus Christ humbled Himself as a man to show His perfect love for us, then why can’t we, in our lowliness, be humble like Him?

Our pride and ego are formidable structures that are difficult to break, a potent combination for self-destruction. So it is truly essential that we keep our feet on the ground while reaching for the stars. Lest we shoot for the moon and get burned by the sun. We must decrease. Jesus must increase.

Bloom Where You Are Re-planted

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them…” 1 Corinthians 7:17

I just celebrated my 48th birthday a few weeks back. As part of my annual sentimental “look-back” at what have been, I realized that there is one constant that dominates the story of my life- and that is MOVING.

Before I finished my studies, I lived at 5 different houses and went to 8 different schools. from the time i got married until now, I lived at 9 houses and worked in a commercial establishment, a government agency, a bank, 2 schools and a hospital. That does not include where I live and work now.

Sometimes I wonder what my life could have been if there wasn’t too much action. How stress-free it could have been if i work at the same office table until i retire. And how comforting to live in just one house until my last breath. But who really knows?

So S also wondered how it could have been if I was stuck in only one corner of the same office and worked consistently on the same assignment everyday. by now I would have probably mastered the grooves and accomplish all without batting my short lashes, but how bored to death I would be now.

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I also wondered how many places I would not have the privilege to visit if it was my destiny to normally age within the four corners of the same house i was born to. How I would have missed the rapid beating of my heart whenever i experience the rising of the sun and its setting from different perspectives, the changing of the seasons under a different view of the sky, the genuine tastes and sounds of various societies.

And yes, I wondered how many people I would not have met… and known… and loved, if I was just bounded by the walls of my immediate family. I would not have known people from other nations who are as diverse in our culture and tradition, yet so similar in our humanity.

Moving is actually a joyful adventure for me rather than a futile exercise; like a flowering plant that is constantly being pulled from where it has grown its roots and re-planted to a new and strange spot. It may be a new pot or a beautiful garden. It doesn’t matter where, only its purpose is to bloom.

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I believe I am God’s little flower. And I am repeatedly being uprooted and re-planted to serve my purpose. I am in the here and now because God planned this from the beginning.

When it is time for that little flower in me to move again, I will no longer wonder. because all I need to do is bloom.

love and bad hair days

“Remember the days of old; consider the years long past.  Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you.” Deuteronomy 32:7

megan had a bad hair day. literally and otherwise.  the other day, some newbie in the salon she went to, did quite a job on her crowning glory and caused her tears to fall.  not to mention strands of hair too.  it was such a mess that she can’t help but  write about it.  what disasters can do to ignite that passion to write!

what was remarkable was this particular line which i quote“I was one of fortunate people on earth who might run out of hair, but not of the people who would love me and care for me no matter what.”  OMG! her hair taught her a lesson 🙂

i had my share of falling hair too.  but just the right number of strands that are due to fall like leaves in autumn.  and i’m amazed that these too can motivate us to reflect past the hairstyles and hair color.

megan will always be our sweet baby with that pretty hair and perfect eyebrows (no need to have it shaved little lady).  but she’s eighteen now and in love with a guy.  and we are happy that she’s happy.  though there is concern over the sudden change in her behavior and taste.

like her delicate hair, love can make her shine.   some other time, “exposure to harsh elements” could break her. but as long as she remains rooted to what she learned at home, school and her Catholic teaching, she will always “grow back” to the same sweet human being that we always know.

now my hair is tri-color (black at the tips, white at the roots and gray in between).   my mommy, almost all white. my prayer is that when megan look our way again, she would  find the wisdom in each strand that age had rebonded…and eventually relaxed.

the view from the moon

“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,  and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.  God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.  God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth,  to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.” Genesis 1:14-19

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forty years ago today, man first set foot on the moon.  as i read and watched interviews with the austronauts who were blessed to experience this life-changing and awe-inspiring moment (which is an understatement of course), i noticed one common thread that bound them to that scene over and over again.  Apollo_11 crewhow they went to the moon and only saw the beauty of the earth.  how they explored the moon and “discovered” earth instead.  how they marvelled at the earth’s jewel-like appearance amidst the endlessness of space.  how the earth was so small and fragile, that they could blot it out with their thumb.  and how  “its most beautiful and eye-catching sight sent a torrent of nostalgia and sheer homesickness”.  it took millions of miles of space travel for them to realize how much of a home they had left behind.

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this earth is our home too.  and we sure can’t possibly all go to the moon, sit back and enjoy the view just to realize the grand design of this place we all have grown so familiar with.  but we are parts and parcels of the earth.  we are its essence.  we are part of that beauty that the crew of Apollo 11 saw.  and if only for that, we are as blessed as they are.  only we didn’t realize it yet.  i just hope and pray that we would, before its too late.  for the way that we are wasting away God’s creation by the minute, i wonder how the earth would look like from the moon 40 years from now.

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surely all of us would want to do something for the preservation of the earth, in whatever means possible, not only to save it from destruction and for our own survival.  remember how we all treasure a gift that we receive from someone special to us? the earth is a gift, and if we love the Giver, then so we must cherish and care for it. moreso, let us all do it to glorify God through the magnificence of his creation.  so that whenever God sits there from the viewdeck on the moon, He shall be pleased with what He sees. 

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hidden ko

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden; or under a bowl.  Instead, he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.”  Luke 11:32-34

although there were other relevant issues that could affect our well-beings like the ah1n1 pandemic, the opening of the new school year or the state of the economy in general; the recent scandal involving prominet names in showbusiness and the medical profession have been hugging the headlines  for weeks now .  all i could feel is sadness and pity for the women who were obviously taken advantage of, consensual or otherwise.

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yes, much had already been said about it, yet much more have already been seen in the videos.  and yes,  some people did something wrong. their secrets were recorded, then somehow, suddenly they were discovered.  now everyone involved is reacting, each in a way different from the other.  and so too the spectators.   so what now?  whatever have we gained from all this scandal? and what have we lost?

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come to think of it, all of us make mistakes.  some we do knowingly.  but most of them, we carefully hide in the cores of our beings.  we go to great lengths just to conceal them.  until such time that circumstances give us away, and there is no place on earth to run or hide. and sometimes…just sometimes, we voluntarily give them up, because we can no longer stand the guilt.  our conscience overwhelms us.  until there’s no other way to go but confess, be sorry and resolve never to do it again.

but if there’s one good thing that comes out of these, it is that realization that the same can happen to us and we may better be prepared for it.  it may not be in the form of a scandal, but whatever the consequences of our own misgivings and excesses, we all have to face someday… somehow.  we may as well look inwards now, and watch  our own life video play.  is it worth watching over again? or is it too shameful we can’t even stand to watch, much less  play it over again?  does it inspire? or does it evoke only depression and frustration?

i believe this scandal episode is only a part of one big story.  it is one dream of mine that someday, the lead characters in this story, who are the legislators passing laws would rather sponsor bills rewarding people for the good they have done.  i also dream that someday, instead of scandals, crimes and frivolities, the primetime news would headline only the good, the better and the best in every person and the beauty of the world we live in.  perhaps, the inspiration would spread like a pandemic.  and maybe, we would all be stricken with only love and compassion.

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i also dream that someday, videos would be able to expose the real essence of a human being.  maybe then, ang “hidden ko” would just be a thing of the past.

it began as a flicker

“You are the light of the world…your light must shine before man so that they may see the goodness in your acts and give praise to your Heavenly Father.”  Matthew 5:14-16

when I was kid, my mom had that habit to pick out what she’d seen as my really bad traits and to smack them right into angry-womanmy face like a tennis ball.  it hurt really, really bad.  other than that, she also made it a point to find someone to compare me to.  and that someone, in her eyes, would always be better. that hurt even more.  but i always thought it might just be her way to shake out from me what could have been my best.  maybe she was forced to do that out of  love.  and for my own good.  if her intentions were just that, maybe she got what she wanted because somehow i made some remarkable achievements in school.  even though she never really showed she was proud of me at all, i think she really was. 

as i ventured into the real world, the manifestations of my emotional bruises caused by those constant ‘put downs’ became more evident.  i grew timid and self-conscious. i  felt comfortable only with those very close to me. to sum it all, my self-esteem was low, low, low.   indeed, those factors hampered the natural course of my growth as a person.  instead, i tried to stay in my cocoon, and restrained myself from growing my wings and fly. 

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but time has a way of transforming me.  it gave me the opportunity to meet people who somehow served as mirrors from whom i saw myself in a different light.  it took  me to places where i felt needed and useful.  it allowed me to gather valuable  experiences which became seeds of my self-worth that started to grow and bloom.  most of all, time slowly but surely became witness to the grand plan that my Maker destined for me to fulfill.

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now that i am older,  i have come to realize that my birth was never an accident.  and for whatever reason i am here where i am now, the Lord meant it to be.  the same can be said for all.  we are all of great value, no matter what our circumstances in life.  unless we give ourselves that DEFINITION which is true to how the Lord perceive us, only then shall we find our life’s  MEANING.  on hindsight, it’s not for me to judge what my mom did.  whether it was good or bad.  but it did gave my metamorphosis a deeper meaning in more vivd colors at that.

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it is never too late to find our own star within us.  and it is never too hard either.  we just need to  focus our eyes on the Lord, and our own individual light would start to shine.  so that others may also see the beauty that He bestowed on each of us.

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thank you, Lord

(a simple poem i wrote lovingly dedicated to our Lord

on this special day to celebrate

42 years of full life and  sweet love)

 

thank you Lord for the sunshine and moonlight

the raindrops and morning dew, the birds in flight

thank you Lord for the gentle wind and ocean breeze,

the fishes that dwell in the deep blue sea.

 

thank you Lord for the rich wildlife

the virgin forests and deserts wide

thank you Lord for the hills and valleys

the mountain tops and the rivers wild.

thank you Lord for flowers bloom, for fruits abound

for butterflies that flutter all around.

 

all these and more i dearly hold

their beauty, warmth and mystery unfold

i thank you Lord for dad and mom

who had to mold

my childhood memories foretold

my siblings, my friends, my family 

and everyone i’ve met and known

your love they’ve shared and sown.

 

but most of all, i thank you Lord

for this breath of life you breath in me

to feel great love and see such beauty

to make me best that i can be.

for this is the meaning of my life

to give all back to you

the love and kindness and even more

in all i’d ever  hope to do.