Embrace the Sadness

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

It’s been four days now. So I told Bhoy yesterday that I feel sad and I don’t know why. Being the thoughtful husband that he is, he tried to find ways to make me happy. 

He bought chocolates for me. He agreed to walk 3km in the park even if unsure of the heat and humidity. He tried to make me laugh with his antics. But to no avail.

It’s not just him. I also did my part. I worked to distract my thoughts from my sadness. I blogged. I listened to Wayne Dyer’s podcasts. I watched the Pope in New York. But even that made me sadder because there are many issues in the world and only a few care and act.

But that’s getting ahead of my story.

Today we planned to go fishing and moon watch. They said the super blood moon will appear again only after around twenty years or so. So it’s a must to go and witness this rare phenomenon at least once in our lifetime. 

But we remembered it is a Sunday. We go to mass at 7pm. So there, change of plans. Fishing has to be scrapped. We’ll go to the tree of life after mass and hope that we’ll still be able to catch the moon at its grandest.

There you go. I feel this way because life has not turned out the way I planned it. Even the simplest plan for the day would often be cancelled or changed as needed. 

But come to think of it. Life is not about my plans. It is about His plans for me. Since my life is intertwined with all of God’s creation, I should welcome all that it has to offer, including detours, cancellations, postponements and pleasant surprises.

I still feel sad. I embrace the sadness trusting that God has a purpose for its existence. I may not figure it out yet, but I trust God’s perfect time when all his plans for me including dreams, failures, lessons and achievements will be realized. 

It’s never about me. It’s all about my Lord. 

Never Empty

Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Acts 3:6

It was a great disappointment  that i gave in to my weakness on Good Friday.  Fasting was totally deleted as i hesitantly (with guilt that almost choked me), downloaded that salmon carpaccio and tonno. thanks to vapiano.  being in an Islamic country is not an excuse.  In fact, there are no excuses at all. The Muslims fast for forty days during Ramadan and I cannot, even for just one day.  Shame  on me!  God forgive me.

Yes I know if I prayed  hard enough, He will.  And maybe i can forgive myself too.  But not before I could sincerely ask for His forgiveness, do penance and make up for the grave sin that I committed.

So how do i do that?  I need the Helper, the Holy Spirit to get me through this.  Grace to sincerely ask for forgiveness.  Humility to do penance.  And charity to make up.  All these three, I need. Big time.

The first two is between my God and me. The third, I had to reach out to my brothers and sisters.  Be generous and kind.

There is a grave misconception about the word charity for me, that charity is an exclusive exercise for the rich.  So that it becomes synonymous with letting go of material  wealth or possessions.  Until I took into heart what Peter said.

I was waiting to get rich to be charitable and generous.  But i realized that even if I am not, I will never ran out of opportunities to be kind and giving.

My cup of blessings are full and overflowing.  And so does yours.  It  may not be quantified with monetary value.  But our cups are never empty.

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In the same way, that the recipients of charity should be restricted only to those who need money or things.  There is another class of poor in our midst.  There are those who may have all the riches in the world, but think they have no more reason to live for.

Even those who  are in dire need of someone who will listen in times of distress. Who will lend a hand in moments of weakness. Who will offer a smile when the whole world frowns upon him.  Rich or not, we need others to fill in a void in our lives.

God sends us to fill in that void.  Let us be that angel.  Let us be that someone.  Let us be that friend.  Because if there is anything that we will not be short of, it is ourselves.  we will always have something  to give.  Because the Lord fills up our cup.  And refills it each time we pour ourselves to others.

how to turn nightmares to sweet dreams

“Be brave and steadfast, have no fear or dread of them; for it is the Lord your God, who marches with you;  He will never fail you, or forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

i just love suspense and horror films.  especially the part when the lead actor runs for his life, stumbles and looks back to find the serial killer in whatever form (human or otherwise) within arm’s reach.  he then struggles to get back to his feet, runs again for dear life, until another obstacle gets in his way. then again, he overcomes, when i guess it is already his end.

through these series of what seems like a roller coaster ride, my heart beats as if i’m on a treadmill.  only, running is good for my health; and the “surprise!!!” scenes on the contrary, almost always give me a heart attack.

don’t get me wrong.  in life, i hate violence and gore.  the sight of blood even. and i’m afraid of the dark especially during the birthday or death anniversary of loved ones who already passed on.  so what’s with my preference with such film genre?

actually not all suspense and horror films satisfy me.  aside from those that keep me from falling asleep within the first fifteen minutes, which drama usually does to me, those of which good triumphs over evil are what i favor.  even if takes on to succeeding episodes or versions, i knew that in the last one,  only the good will prevail.

i remember the first time i learned that i’d be assigned in our office located abroad.  there were doubts in my mind and  intense fear in my heart.  i was so overwhelmed that one of my colleagues remarked that i asked too many questions which on hindsight, now sounded really silly.  he told me not to worry at all, and that everything would be taken care of.  i realized my doubt and fear caused me undue anxiety that obscured the great prospects that go with my new assignment.

sweet dreams

sometimes we create nightmares in our life that are in fact, unreal.  the only way we can overcome the torture and terror, is to wake up and find there is no need to be afraid.  the Lord is an ever-seeing and all-knowing God.  He sees past the limit of our boundless imagination.  He knows what lies beyond the road we are to take.  and the only way to overcome, is to surrender.  then nightmares would be no more.  only sweet dreams that can actually come true…if we just believe.

He stirs my venti!

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”  Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity.”  Joel 2:12-13

after my surgery,  from the recovery room onto my hospital bed where my kind kabayan nurses gently laid me, my anaesthesia started to wear out.  the images were still a blur.  i could hear them vaguely, but the tone of their voices were clear.  they were amazed at how i could still smile despite the pain.

it was not an inherent trait of mine.  i was a cry-baby.  as a girl, i was impossibly stubborn that my pout has been my trademark long before angelina jolie became mrs. smith.  then as a teener, my temper kinda mellowed when i began to read about personality development books.  that was when i learned that a smile matters.  that it could actually set the mood for the day.  and that the smile that you give away is contagious.  and it is free.

practice makes perfect.  now, even when i cry i still have that tendency to smile when someone else sees me.  smiles lighten burdens, hide the pain, ease suffering.  now even when trouble is way over my head, or when longing for my children almost kills me, no one would ever know.  because if there is anything else that i don’t ever run out of – guess what else? smile, smile and some more…

among many things that could bring a smile to my face, a cup of coffee is definitely on the list.  or should i say, cups of coffee.  i love coffee so much, that it is what i gave up this season of lent.  since ash wednesday, i tried my darn best to refrain from having my usual early morning cup, as well as the other cups throughout the day, and that final cup just right before i sleep at nights.

the best part of the coffee ritual for me is after i stir it. that is when the aroma and the flavor is at its peak, it almost takes over my senses. 

so do i miss my coffee cups?  yes i do! yet i still manage to smile.  because the Lord never runs out of ‘sugar’ and ‘cream’ to pour on my cup of life.  He also continuously stirs my heart, to prevent complacency from setting in. 

my coffee sacrifice is nothing compared to the Lord’s sacrifice when He gave us his life for the forgiveness of our sins.  as i feel the pain from the consequences of my own sins, i surrender my cup of life to Him with complete trust and utter submission. 

for as long as i live, i know He will go on stirring my cup.  but i won’t mind.  the Lord blessed me with a venti 🙂

 

   

a broken heart

“And He said, ‘What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”  Mark 7:20-23

when we heard about the tragic death of Retired General Angelo Reyes, we were all shocked.  of all people, we never expected him to end his life with a single shot to the chest.

how ironic that  a week before valentine’s day, the officer and the gentleman died with a broken heart.

his achievements were eclipsed by the turn of recent events.  highlighted with scandal, his last episode was only a chapter of his life’s book.  we would never get the chance to read its entirety because it is in God’s hands now.

it is now futile to point out exactly who or what led him to do what he had done.  weeks before he died, he was maligned and verbally attacked in a senate hearing.  he was already judged by publicity in media, in streetcorners, in workplaces, in households.  he was betrayed by colleagues and fellow officers.  the final blow was the implied threat that his family would likewise be subjected to the same.

all these so-called ‘attacks’, he tried hard to battle.  his bravery as a decorated officer made him look like he would get through. 

yet he lost.  for the real war was waging within.  whatever his reasons to commit suicide were, only he and the Lord know now.

the general may have messed up.  but the senators did too.  and so did the officers who accused him.  everyone of us messes up.  who doesn’t?

what’s vital here is not to allow ourselves to be instruments of another’s heartbreak ever again.  let us not cause anyone to stir up any evil within that may yet cause him his life.

the truth is there will always be someone or something that would tempt us to mess up with our lives.  that’s okey.  as long as we DO NOT conform with them. our resolve, rooted in faith, would be our best defense.

but in moments of weakness when we do give in, let us not give up.  there is no power greater than the Lord’s.  let Him be our dependable ally.  our best buddy.  our personal savior.  our BFF.  our true love.  He will never, ever break our hearts.

in the spirit of our unity in Christ our Saviour, let us all pray for the soul of Angelo Reyes.  may he rest in peace, and may we all learn from the tragedy so that his death may not be in vain.

happy feet

“And how can men preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'”  Romans 10:15

my birth month is almost over.  as i contemplate on all the blessings the Lord showers me with day by day, the Bible passage above, prompted me to stare at my own two feet.  they are relatively small and dainty, which definitely don’t match my short and fat limbs, nor my chubby yet huggable torso.  but they apparently do the work.  and as i ponder on the value of these feet which i always look down to, i’m amazed how far they already have taken me; from baby steps to short walks to school and church, to long walks to the park, malls, work, airports even.

these same feet which i took for granted, enables me to attend birthday parties, weddings, funeral processions; join campings, hikings, engage in sports or simply climb flights of stairs.  who knows what else my feet can do for me? run for my life maybe.

i remember during high school, there were these branded clogs which were in fashion called happy feet.  they were so cool, probably because they were the classy version of the local bakya.  back then, it was some sort of status symbol.  but since my parents could only afford bantex and spartan, i didn’t get the privilege to wear one. twenty-five years later, as we stroll around the mall and bhoy saw the child-like delight on my face when i saw racks and racks of happy feet, he couldn’t help but finally buy me the bakya of my youthful dreams. but then again, other than slip my feet on them, or to some other pair of sleek, thin-strapped sandals to showcase how pretty they are, i haven’t given much thought how hard my poor, little feet have served me thus far.

until now.

days before my birthday, i had to stop working and undergo total abdominal hysterectomy.  the procedure rendered me totally incapable to do just about anything.  and when finally, i’m able to walk again, that’s more or less what my ob gyn, nurses and internet researches advised me to do. just walk. from baby steps – again, i struggled to move forward without the bend and crouch and the twitch on my face .  you can just imagine how happy i was when last week, i was finally able to walk 1km along the corniche; breath in the fresh scent of the sea and bask in the early morning winter sunshine.

as my birth month ends, life goes on.  and as i walk on through the rest of my journey, i want to share the lessons of joy and hope from my humble, little feet.  at times when we may be looked down or stepped upon; at times when we slip or stumble; at times when the burden of the world weighs us down – stare at the same feet.  they never give up no matter how heavy we are literally.  they won’t really care how sad and frustrated we can become, they are always on standyby, ready to take us wherever we want to be, regardless of the danger and how rough the road ahead maybe.

they serve… and they endure.  because that’s what the happy feet are here for.  and so are we.

when lions roar

 
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

the lion king was the first movie that my then baby, megan ever watched.  i’m not certain if she ever recalls that experience.  but that movie changed how we perceive these creatures from then on. from fierce and savage beasts, to sweet and loving living beings.

thus i pay tribute to the Lions of Al Andalus International School in Al Khobar, who for the second year in a row brought pride and honor to the institution with which they belong.  the Philippine Embassy at the Diplomatic Quarters in Riyadh was transformed into a jungle (pun intended) when the cheerdancers roared their way to the first place, beating the two other groups who had the hometown advantage.  the teamwork, grace and intensity of their performance left the spectators in awe, as the Lions raised the standard for the succeeding teams, who obviously were not able to meet.

as in every competition, some other factors led the champions to victory and made them stand out above the rest.  let us acknowledge the Rafikis, coach/trainor/choreographer who taught these lions the moves and the grooves. 

then there are the  Mufasas and the Sarabis, the ever supportive parents, who despite their hectic schedules and the stress that a lengthy travel from Khobar to Riyadh entails, still manage to be the source of strength and courage of their children. 

but above all, thanks to the LORD for having gifted the Simbas and Nalas with intense passion and superb talents.  yet, intense passion alone cannot sustain the fight.  so does superb talents on their own.  but with these two gifts together, where can they go wrong?  hakuna matata

our son Miguel did not take part as cheerdancer, but was with them all along to  capture their moments in photographs. but as we all go back to “Pride Rock” in khobar, i pray that these young lions, including our own simba, continue to carry in their hearts the inspiration of that twice-in-a-lifetime experience. 

they brought home the bacon indeed, but with it are the most flavorful lessons on friendships, family (as an ever dependable support group), hard work, unity, honor, sportsmanship… and God who made it all possible…

Unto Him we give back the glory.

(photos courtesy of 4Ds – daisy, diane, duchess and derick )

the naked truth

“And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Job 1:21

funny how the word “naked” always evokes that extra interest.  basic instinct maybe?  but come to think of it.  our nakedness is basic in our humanity.  we were born naked.  and would pass on the same way too.  no matter how we would eventually be clothed in the end.

i remember when my cousin khan passed away.  she was in her early 20s.  initially, she wore our aunt’s conservative barong terno especially made for a wedding ceremony.  everyone noticed how khan’s face looked so unhappy.  you see, khan was a fashionista.  it was really awkward to see her that young and dead.  but wear that terno and that short hair? eeewww!  like she was forced by death to look 30 years older.  and we could almost hear her scream, “get me out of here!!!”  in reference to her outfit. not her coffin.

so my sister and younger cousins decided to buy her a more suitable lavender spaghetti strapped dress with a matching see-through  shawl to cover her shoulder.  the ensemble showed how pretty and young she was, yet still retained that statuesque dignity only khan could get away with.  we can always argue about this.  but believe it or not, from then on, her face glowed in serene approval and it was like she smiled all the way to her grave.

the truth is, we didn’t really care how we were dressed up when we were born.  likewise, it wouldn’t matter too when we pass on.  our life is a personal relationship with our Creator.  it will always be between ourselves and Him.  nothing more. nothing less.  whatever we had after we were born – family, clothing, shelter, riches – these are just add ons to our journey that we are trusted to enrich our lives with.  we don’t take them beyond our destination.  because in the end, our accountability is what have we done with our life.  with or without the add-ons. 

remember the story of Job.  he was an upright man who feared God and shunned evil.  he was prosperous and God blessed him with seven sons and three daughters.  but Satan was allowed to test his faith. everything he had was taken away.  even his family.  his whole body was smitten by Satan with dreadful boils.  still he persevered in his faith.  when his wife prompted him to curse God and die, Job replied “You speak as the one of the foolish speaks.  Moreover, shall we receive good from God and not receive evil?”

in the end, Job got well again, regain his possessions and had ten more children living to see the fourth generation and died in peace at the old age of 140. 

when we lose someone or something we hold dear – loved ones, job, home, money, health etc. –  let us remember that all are God’s blessings to us.  He has the power to give, yet take away in His time.  we must be resigned to all sufferings, as much as we delight in all the blessings.  not because He is God and we are just His creations.  but because we trust that God knows what is best for us.  though His mysterious ways leave us often confused and puzzled; so that we tend to ask why, and expect the answer right away.

“there is nothing permanent in this world.  not even our troubles.”  Charlie Chaplin once said.  today may be your bad day.  but from my experience,  from these bad days, the best of mine always follow. 

we may be stripped of anything and everything, but in all our humble nakedness, our Creator clothes us with the assurance that he would take care of everything.  and if we sincerely believe, we could actually feel that warmth of his love.

that’s the naked truth.

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”

how i survived my wedding: love story of a june bride

“But at the beginning of creation, God made them male and female, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’.  So they are no longer two, but one.” Mark 10:6-8 

the month of June was named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage.  for this reason, it is believed that couples who tie the knot during the month of June would enjoy a happy married life.  this explains why most women preferred to be june brides.  aside from harvest time and that flowers are still abloom, this perception about the wedding month of june influenced our choice of a wedding day. 

our wedding preparations began in March right after the “pamanhikan“.  a “pamanhikan” is a Filipino tradition when the parents of the groom meet the parents of the bride and discuss over a sumptuous meal the details of the wedding.  before the meeting, bhoy and i had our wedding plans already written down from the most important such as the church and the venue for the reception, to the most trivial like which ribbon to use for the wedding souvenirs.  but it turned out that both our parents had a different agenda so we considered it was best to let them have their way.

though major changes were made in our wedding plans, one remained constant.  we decided it had to be perfect.  so we did all we could to follow our revised list to the letter, even minus a wedding coordinator or event organizer, which was non-existent that time.

the wedding was to be held in our parish church to be decorated with exquisite flower arrangements ; so must be the reception in our house.  the motif was light yellow, sky blue and baby pink (we call it rainbow though none was even in it).  my off-white gown was similar to Princess Diana’s  (if i had known that i’d grow this ‘bulky’, i would have worn the strapless, body-hugging type.  sigh!) as wedding souvenirs, we bought tiny heart -shaped scented candles which we personally wrapped in tulle in hues that conform of course with our motif.  again, light yellow, sky blue and baby pink.  our invitations were printed especially for us by the printing press of my daddy’s friend as his wedding gift.  everything was right on schedule, and things seemed to work out as planned.  or so we thought… 

the much awaited day finally came – June 15, 1991… the wedding mass was to commence at 9:00 am.  but when we woke up at 5:00 am, it was raining cats and dogs and whatever furry house pet you could ever think of!  a gatecrasher named typhoon Diding came uninvited… and early. we had offered not only three eggs at the altar in honor of St. Clare the day before, but a dozen to ensure good weather on our special day. and yes! miracles of miracles! the rain stopped and the sun shone just in time for the wedding ceremony.

after the wedding march, i can hardly remember anything that followed. and i discovered only later, that bhoy had almost the same experience.  it was like we were both in a trance.  what we were sure of was there were lots of people and that something very special was unfolding.  it’s just that we didn’t see faces or recall how the wedding exactly took place; like a jigsaw puzzle, only bits and pieces of what Fr. Bitoon said during the homily, which now also seem too vague and difficult to connect all together. during the reception, we were still dazed.  we were mentally blank at most, and yet we were absolutely sure our emotions were overflowing with joy and excitement.

but at 2:00 pm, we were suddenly jolted out of our state of euphoria.  the sky turned really dark that most of our guests who came all the way from as far as Pangasinan and Tarlac, suddenly bade goodbye and left hurriedly.  still bhoy and i were still on cloud 9.99, so what looked like a freak weather condition no longer mattered.  in no time, all the guests and relatives had gone home.  wedding day ended abruptly.   it turned out that the same time that our love affair was being written in the stars, a volcano began to shoot up sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere which would affect the earth’s atmosphere over the next few years .  June 15, 1991 mt. pinatubo in zambales erupted.  and the rest is history.

nineteen years had passed since bhoy and i solemnly vowed to God and our families, to take each other as husband/wife, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from that day forward, till death do we part.

the wedding didn’t turn out perfect as we planned.  at some point, i even thought maybe nature was working against us.  even life didn’t happen as we wanted it to be.  but we thank the Lord for each other, for the children that we have and for all the other blessings we have received in our marriage and beyond.

bhoy and i now realize that it really doesn’t matter what season of the year is the best time to get married.  what is essential to a happy marriage is love that endures regardless of what the weather is. ours was nineteen years of laughter, sweet smiles, butterfly kisses, warm hugs and corny jokes.  there were some tears too from time to time, but only to strengthen the episodes of vulnerability that falling in love usually caused.

and it is amazing how, everyday as we wake up in the morning, we fall in love with each other all over again.

do you know what our secret is?  we have a third party between us.  and that is the Lord who bonded and painted our marriage with hues more than that of our wedding motif, and even more than the colors of the rainbow.  that rainbow that will forever hold the promise,  as God made this promise to Noah:
“Never again will I destroy the world with a flood.
I make this covenant with you and with all creatures.
From this day on,
there will always come a time for planting,
and a time for gathering up what was planted.

Day will always follow night,
the warm days of summer
will always follow
the cold and snow of winter,
as long as the earth shall be.”

so too shall our love, we pray in Jesus’ name…