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Good morning, dear friends.
I was greeted by a very beautiful verse this morning, December 16, and I would like to share it with you. It comes from 1 Peter 2:9, and goes:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”.
Such awe-inspiring words! How encouraging! How uplifting! How empowering!
In the reflection following that verse, I was delighted to see how the author (Renee Swope) rephrased it in such a way that it made this declaration of God’s faithfulness in us, her personal declaration. The author goes on to say:
“I am a chosen woman, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a woman belonging to God, that I may declare the praises of him who called me out of darkness into his wonderful light”
Each phrase struck harder and stronger. Having such a personal relationship with God must indeed be delightful! And it just blows my mind when I think of how our God – the one true God who created the entire, enormous, universe (Genesis 1) – could care and love us so much individually!
That our God – the one true God whose single breath could dry up rivers (Nahum 1:4) – is the same loving and generous Father who knows the very number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30)! Yes, God’s love is never failing! So much so that he gave his only son to save us from ourselves (John 3:16)!
Doesn’t the enormity of his love in our small and simple lives just make you tremble? It floored me!
And as God has blessed me today with these awesome reflections, so do I pass on these blessings with you. It is my hope that in spite of pain or sickness, despair or loneliness, heartache or sorrow, anger or grief, disappointment or discouragement – we remember that we have on our side our God who calls us, chooses us, knows us and loves us – – – a million times more than we could ever imagine.
There are people who can wake up in the morning with a great big smile on their faces. There are those who can walk with their heads held high, chins up.
I am not one of those people. Or at least, I wasn’t.
Maybe I was born shy. A natural wall flower? Perhaps. But one thing was for sure, I didn’t know how to be happy. And being a miserable person alienated others. I thought at first that I could get used to the silence of being alone. But the silence got deafening. And I became empty. Fear, sadness and anger crept in and filled that void. Where was I to turn to? Who was I to confide in? I felt I had no one, nobody, and nothing by my side.
At a time when I thought I was lost, a light helped me find my path. Faith was what brought me back. Through prayer, I found the silence to be inviting – a time to reflect and commune with God. I also found out that I was never truly alone – that I just had to learn to let people in (to no longer be afraid of getting hurt) – and more importantly, to be “OK” with just being with myself. So meals, shopping, or coffee breaks could be had with or without family, friends or colleagues around.
If you don’t love yourself properly, then being with yourself can be unbearable. But the change started with just being OK with being alone. That was the first phase. Again, through prayer, I realized that I didn’t love myself properly. Later on I had to unearth whatever faults and failings I’ve committed towards myself. I learned to apologize and forgive, not just other people but myself too. Slowly, but surely, I worked on taking care of myself, treating myself fairly, and avoiding negative self-talk.
It’s not about being self-centered, but about knowing how to love (yourself) in order to love others too. It’s not about being a victim of circumstance, but being a person who lives life and meets it head on. It’s not just about having the finer things in life but also reveling in the simple things – a hot cup of coffee, freshly baked pandesal, a sunny day, a light drizzle, a glimpse of a rainbow, a discount on a favorite item/brand, finding something that you thought was lost, a bargain find at a tiangge, a warm hug, a kiss, a smile from someone unexpected, or sharing a laugh with a friend.
I owe a lot to my family and friends, because they stuck by me even when I was (unconsciously) pushing them away. And I owe a lot to our church and prayer community for helping me strengthen my faith. I’m still not as strong as I would like to be, but at least my faith is on stronger and sturdier ground. It is built on the rock of faith in Christ.
I was supposed to name this note as “A journey to happiness” but I realized that that would be the wrong title – because it wasn’t a journey towards happiness, rather, this was a journey of being happy. Choosing to be happy. The destination is something to look forward to, and I have my eyes set on it, but to be able to be happy is to live in this moment, to love in this moment. It is a choice.
So now I walk with the wind at my back, the sun shining on my up turned face, and a smile in my heart. May we soon cross paths as we go about our happy journeys.
I sometimes feel that I’m living in my own little world. There are times that I really don’t get, or care, about things that are causing so much “hype”. I don’t think I’m apathetic, really, it’s just that there are things that I care more about than the current fads.
An example is the ongoing Philippine Idol. Although I’m happy that our choice of reality television franchises have evolved, I just don’t feel like watching P.I. I’d rather wait and watch out for Next Top Philippine Model. Or we might have something like Project Runway Philippine version.
Going back to P.I., I can’t help but compare the style of the show and the level of talent to A.I. and the Philippines’ other local singing contests (e.g. Pinoy Pop Superstar!, Little Big Star, Tanghalan ng Kampeon). There’s too much going on (other than singing).
Maybe, just maybe, if the quality of the hosts and talents improve, I’ll start watching. But for now, I just don’t get it.
I was listening to my favorite radio station, Magic 89.9, and heard Mojo Jojo complain about an article by Isagani Cruz, “Don we now our gay apparel“. I got curious so I checked it out in inq7.net.
I have one thing to say – people who are privileged to have their thoughts/opinions posted in national dailies shouldn’t be allowed to write such drivel! I’m all for freedom of speech, but to read something like that, it’s just hatred dressed up!
The following quotes is an extraction of the last 3 paragraphs:
“Now homosexuals are everywhere, coming at first in timorous and eventually alarming and audacious number. Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner. And, of course, there are lady-like directors who are probably the reason why every movie and TV drama must have the off-color “bading” [gay] or two to cheapen the proceedings.
And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, “Aalis na ako. Magpapasuso pa ako!” [“I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don’t mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as “Brokeback Mountain,” our own “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.
Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy? Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and adorned with embroidered frills.”
Although I am not gay, I know gay people – the operative term being people – and many of them are my friends. For myself, my friends and as a human being, I am offended by Mr. Isagani Cruz’ article.
What I find most distressing is that someone who is supposedly an intellectual, someone who is granted the privelege of reaching out and touching lives, can be so callous and irresponsible. It is acceptable for public figures to do inane things when caught unawares, but when you write an article, you dont just write and send it to the publishers. You sit down, think about what you’re going to write and then let the words flow. You also have an editor who goes through it before the day’s end.
Mr. Cruz was given the power to reach out to people, but his recklessness just shows that not everyone granted power will use it wisely. Not everyone considered an intellectual uses his coconut, and not everyone published deserves it. It is my hope that readers know better than to lap up what Mr. Cruz served.
Lightly tapping the keyboard, I hope to write something publication-worthy someday. But I find it more difficult now, the words wont flow. Writer’s Amnesia. *Sigh*
Things have changed – from the way I think, my beliefs, my words, my dealings with others. You could say, that I am more accepting now. Less temperamental. More open. Less wild-eyed. Wiser. Less innocent and idealistic. A bit more jaded and practical somehow.
Does this make me a better person? I honestly don’t know. The only thing that hasn’t changed is this – I am still trying to make sense of things and finding my place in the world.