New Year

I didn’t intend to create a New Year post. All I know is that a post in this blog is so overdue and I’m in the mood to do one right now. At least it made a lot more sense when I was thinking about it earlier. I can’t seem to find the words now that I am actually doing this blog post.

2014 has been a safe year for me. If I will look back, all I would see are my out of town/country trips, and then those “routine” that I usually do on a weekly basis. Work (of course), volleyball, movies (which is surprisingly low this year), church, family gatherings, etc. There are a few highlights here and there but I can’t pinpoint a moment that can be the highlight of the year. Lazy waltz, that’s how I would describe my 2014.

In 2015, I will try to stir things up a bit. I will try to bolder and active this year. There are so many plans that I have been postponing in terms of my career, personal growth, spiritual concerns, opportunities, love (?), travel, and a lot of other things. I will try to accomplish them, or most of them, this year. After all, I am not getting any younger.

One of my high school teachers gave me a gift during our graduation. It was a brown leather wallet that I really liked. I am not sure why he gave me that but I think it was his way of telling me that I have graduated from high school and that I am a grown up already, that things will be getting serious and I need to face them like a grown up. Of course the wallet has already worn out but I will never forget the note in the letter that came with that gift. I can’t really remember the exact words but it goes something like, do not let the current dictate where you are going, you’ll enjoy it more if you paddle.

That’s exactly what I intend to do this year.

Missing…

Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth
And When Did You Last See Your Father?

Once again, I had the priviledge to watch European films during the 11th Cine Europa Festival here in Manila last September 11 to 21. It kinda suck because I was not able to watch the two films that I was really looking forward to see (After the Wedding and Love Songs). But I was able to watch 7 out of 15 movies so I guess it’s not that bad at all. Haha!

Anyway. Out of the seven films that I saw there was this one film that really struck me, big time. It is “And When Did You Last See Your Father?“, from United Kingdom, starring Jim Broadbent and Colin Firth. And that’s what I’ll be talking about.

The film is about Blake Morrison (Firth) and his conflicting memories of his dying father (Broadbent). As his father’s condition worsened Morrison contemplated their shared experiences, the intimacies and the irritations of their relationship. After his father’s death Morrison questions the nature of the bond between them, articulately expressing the contradictions, frustrations, love and loss bound into the complicated relationships which most of us have with our parents as we grow up.

This film is special to me primarily because of the voice over during the last scenes which stirred a great deal of thoughts and emotions in me. It goes like this:

When did you last see your father? Was it when they burned the coffin? Put the lid on it? When he exhaled his last breath? When he last sat up and said something? When he last smiled? When he last felt healthy? The last time you had an argument about something?

The weeks before he left us were like a series of depletions; each day we thought ‘he can’t get less like himself than this,’ and each day he did. So I’ve been trying to recall the last time I actually saw him, the last time he was unmistakably there, in the fullness of being, ‘him’.

I was teary-eyed all through out these scenes and I know that a lot of the people watching were also crying (I know because I heard a lot of sniffs in the dark.) By the time the movie is over and I got out of the movie house, I didn’t expect that I will feel what I felt.

I missed my dad, terribly.

My father died due to heart attack when I was six years old. Looking back, I don’t think I have any memory of my father, at least the ones that really count. I remember one time when he arrived home late at night. I also remembered a night when he and my mom were having a fight about his alcoholism and gambling. Other than that, I don’t think I can remember anything more.

The next thing that I remember is the night when my Mom had to rush out of the house because something happened to my Dad. Then I remember waking up one morning to find my relatives (from both families) inside our house. I think that was the first time I saw them all in one place. Then I remember my grandma watching me as I have my breakfast saying, “Sige kain ka lang. Ubusin mo na yan para makita mo na si Papa mo.” (Rough translation: “Go on, eat. Finish your breakfast so you can finally see your Dad.”) Then they brought me to his coffin at the house next door. I was wondering why there were lots of people in that place, with lots of lights and flowers. I can clearly remember that I was so silent as one of my uncle was carrying me. When I saw my Dad lying there in the coffin, tears just started rolling down my face. At that moment I didn’t understand what was happening, why he was there. I just knew that something’s not right.

Unlike Blake Morrison, I grew up without a Dad. I admit that i can relate to almost all of the situations in the film when it comes to parent-children relationship. The frustrations, the conflicts, the bond, the love. But still it made me wish I had a Dad who is with me as I grew up. It made me ponder what would my life be like have I had a father. Would it be much better or would it be worse?

I’m not complaining about what I, and my family, have right now. God has been good and faithful to my family, how he turned our life around, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything else. This is just a what-coud’ve-been moment. I can’t believe that after 19 years I still miss the father whom I know so little about.

This film may have stirred the sleeping need in me for a father, but it also made me realize that I should cherrish every moment with the people I have in my life. That when the time comes that i am asked when was the last time I actually saw them, in the fullness of their being, I will be able to mention a lot.

To end this post, I would like to pass the same question to you… When did you last see your father?

Learning…

 

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. “ – Exodus 14:13

 

            For the past few days now, God is teaching me something. He really makes sure that I get it. From the book that I’m reading, to the sermon that I hear during service, to a friend’s prayer during praise and worship practice. God is clearly telling me something and He wants me to listen.

 

            During the trying time in my life, I prayed to God for help. That time when I needed Him to deliver me from the situation I was in, God led me to this verse in Exodus. It was the exact promise that I really needed. Evidently, God was true to His promise and He made a way to get me out of that situation.

            Consequently, after the solemn prayers and desperation for help, after God has done His part and answered my prayer, I started doing things on my own. Slowly I started to put things on my own hands thinking that I can make things work. I started to believe in myself and almost forgotten that it was God who has done all those things in the first place. I tried everything to make things work, in the ministry, at work, at church, thinking that I can do it. Slowly, I pushed God out of the picture. He was not a part of everything that I do.

            Then life throws me again to a super-typhoon-like situation. A situation where things are not working out the way I expected them to be and they become unmanageable, beyond my capacity and capability. The funny thing about it is we begin to realize how far I have drifted away from God. That’s the time I turn back to Him, groveling, asking for deliverance and admitting that it is beyond me and I can’t do it anymore. Finally, I admit that without Him I can do nothing.

            Then He reminded of the promise that I have forgotten.  I really thought that I am done with this verse as my life verse. I’ve been asking for a new life verse, a new verse that God will use to minister to me. I thought I should be learning something new from God. I thought that holding on to the same promise for a long time only meant that I haven’t surpassed that situation in my life. The truth was God did give me victory over the situation. However, it was the thing that He was teaching me that I missed, big time.  I should have learned something from that situation, otherwise I will continue to commit the same mistake and the story that I have stated above will happen repeatedly.

            From a conversation that happened a long time ago, I remember consulting my friend Andrew how sometimes I don’t seem to hear any word from God.  He told me that maybe there’s something that He is telling me to do that I am not doing. He is not giving me any word because I still have an unfinished business to settle or a task to do. That is exactly the case now.  I still have a lesson to learn and He does not want me to go anywhere until I get it, really get it.

From now on, I will throw away any thinking brought by self-righteousness saying that I can make things happen, I can work things out. Only God can make things happen, and He can make it happen in my life. I should learn to anchor my boat to God and not to myself. I will borrow Lucado’s words and modify it a little. There is only one name under heaven that has the power over everything, and that name is not mine.

 

I’m also learning that if God teaches me something, He makes sure that I hear Him loud and clear, and he makes sure that the learning process continues until I finally get it and do it. God is truly good.

God’s people here on earth…

James and I were talking this morning and he mentioned about a new post on his blog. The weird thing about it is that those same ideas have been bugging me for a very long time. Instead of commenting on his post, I decided to blog about it and finally get this into writing, then link the post through a comment on his. lol!

I realized the same thing when I read Yancey’s book What’s So Amazing About Grace. I learned that we may not agree with somebody’s principles or way of life but we don’t have to condemn him either (This does not apply only to Christians but to everybody). Most of the time, Christians have become more active in pickets and movements against a principle than sharing God’s word and letting other people experience God’s love and grace.

But what struck me even harder was when my best friend told me that she is hesitant in coming with me to a Christian support group because she felt uneasy everytime we go there. That she can’t really grasp what we are talking about (God’s grace, God’s love, etc.) and the more that she gets uneasy and ends up more confused.

Then it struck me (Again! Hahaha!). Sometimes we (Christians, that includes me) have this unconscious way of ostracizing non-Christians by talking about the things they can’t relate with. We talk about “relationship with God”, “God’s people”, “God’s love”, “being in constant conversation with God” whenever we are around non-Christians, thus the “holier-than-thou” attitude.

When I heard her say that, I couldn’t utter a word. I didn’t know what to say. I know I am guilty and I can’t redeem myself and the Christians in general (or maybe just those who are guilty of this too. hehe.). It was a real shocker (hahaha!). It was an eye opener for me.

Sometimes, people get disappointed with God because God’s body (that’s us) disappoints them. They don’t see compassion from God’s eyes. They don’t think God’s ears hear them. They don’t hear encouragements from God’s mouth. They don’t receive help from God’s hands. They don’t feel God’s feet walking towards/with them. Is God on a coma?

I am so glad we had that conversation. I am humbled, or maybe embarrased. I am sorry I made her feel that way.

Come to think of it, Christians are no better than ordinary people in terms of intelligence, strength, or physical appearance (among other things). The only thing that makes us different is that we know that we are imperfect and that we need help and that only God can help us.

“Still alive and kicking, Sir!!”

That’s the answer we used to give whenever we were asked by our Cadet Officers during our Citizen’s Army Training (CAT) in high school. I’m giving the same answer now. Haha! Thanks to Kuya Ganns for giving me the wake-up call. Hehe.

A lot of things has happened and currently happening (haha!). I promise to tell you all about them when I have the time. We just moved in to a new house (maybe a couple of months now), I just transfered to a new job (and currently on training for about a month) and some things on the side. Haha!

I miss this place so much *looks around*. I also missed a lot on what’s happening with you guys. Hay.

I will be back soon. Maybe not as regular as before (until things settle down) but I will try to visit and post as much as I can.

For now, I have to run. Haha! God bless you guys! See you around! 😀

Blahs

I’ve been very silent, and I can explain the reason in two ways.

If I want to give you a short answer, I can just say, “Well, I’ve been very busy with a lot of things lately. So many things to say, so little time.”

But if I want to give you a longer answer, I think this is how it will go:

Lately, everything has gone crazy that I didn’t get much time to sit down, compose my thoughts, and blog about all of those things. My mind has been completely filled up with four major things: family-dispute-gone-wild (that resulted to a weeklong house hunting, and still running), job applications to other companies (that demands lots of  requirements and vacation leaves), workloads at my present job (that got more intense and uncomfortable), and my ministry (that, I suddenly realize, is much much much bigger than I thought it would be).

But I wouldn’t want to tell you that. It’s not proper to go ranting about things that frustrate me, right after a very long silence. Lol!

I just pray that things will be much clear and still in the days to come. I hope to be back soon..

Looking back…

I miss…

1. Playing volleyball
2. Listening to Josh Groban
3. Listening to Norah Jones
4. The Lord of The Rings
5. Starbucks
6. Battle of the Brains (the game show)
7. MellowTouch 94.7’s Afternoon Cruise
8. Gilmore Girls
9. Afternoon naps
10. Singing at the top of my lungs
11. Retreats
12. Staying up late talking about everything
13. Looking at the heavens at night
14. Writing poetry
15. Laughing as if there’s no tomorrow
16. Greek mythology
17. My High School
18. Solving problems in Algebra
19. Reading a good book, a novel or poetry perhaps
20. The cool breeze in a peaceful afternoon

This was written in no particular order…