Friday, 1 January 2010

Makulit Ka Ba?

I was cleaning my room just in time for welcoming the New Year, when my niece barged in.

She crawled all over the place.

She touched everything.

She shouted.

She laughed.

She basically messed up what was already a mess to begin with.

You see, she’s just four years old.

And when you’re four, you feel that the whole world revolves around you.

While she was doing a great job in cluttering the place up, and distracting me from the task at hand, she would ask questions like “What’s this?” or “What are you doing?” or “What’s this for?” And she wouldn’t stop there.

She would say it a hundred times over.

Around the corner, she’d also say “Look Uncle Migoy! Look! Look!” Until I would really, honestly, crane my neck and look, she wouldn’t stop.

In short, she’s makulit.

(C’mon, you know what I’m trying to picture out here.)

Then I heard something unexpected.

She stepped on my pile of books, and blurted out “I’m sorry!” in her cute and high-pitched voice. “That’s okay,” I’d say.

Then she edged over my heap of dirty clothes, and again, “Oops, sorry!” she said.

And over and over again, when she would touch what isn’t allowed to be touched, and when she would kick what isn’t allowed to be kicked, her “Sorry” was like music to my ears.

But you know what the best part is?

I never got angry.

Actually, it kept me entertained.

With my two words, ‘that’s okay,’ she knew she was out of danger.

Even though I wanted to send her out and ban her for life for entering my room, my heart just couldn’t take the kulit-cuteness.

I wasn’t able to finish fixing my room because of that.

But hey, that kept me thinking.

Aren’t we the same with God?

We keep on stepping on his Books, kicking his Things, and scattering our mess all over the Place.

We make wrong decisions.

We waste so much time.

We struggle with so many temptations, half of which, we don’t even resist.

But I know that we have a big God.

A God who is ready to forgive us no matter how messed up we are.

A God who is ready to accept us, because in his eyes, we are but four year olds: clumsy, impulsive, and thoughtless four-year-olds.

At times we would hesitate to say sorry, especially when we know that we meant those wrong deeds, but how many of us would say sorry nonetheless –

For whatever graces it might bring us?

It’s just like tugging at the shirt of your mom, saying sorry for eating the last piece of cake, when in fact she was just letting you taste her share.

It’s just like snuggling up the shoulder of your girlfriend when she’s nagtatampo because you took too long playing DOTA at the computer shop.

It’s just like telling your teacher how clumsy you were because you slept late, and forgot to properly punctuate your sentences, and needed a second chance.

It’s being makulit because you know somewhere in that person’s heart is the chance to forgive.

We have all been makulit the past year – just like four-year-olds.

But the question is, have we also been makulit in looking at the wrong things we did, and saying ‘sorry’ for them?

Because I’m sure we already made a whole lot of mess in our lives.

And if I, human as I am, had the heart to turn a blind eye to my little niece’s quirks, how much more does God turn his loving heart towards us, if only we tug on his shirt, and persistently say “I’m Sorry”?

But don’t get me wrong.

This doesn’t mean that those two words are enough.

Just like how your boyfriend wants you to stop being too clingy when it comes to his private life, or like how your dad wants you to become more useful around the house, God expects our ‘sorry’ to also come with change.

And what better way to change, than to tell Him you’ll start this New Year?

No worries.

Who says God will leave you alone?

Be makulit.

Say sorry.

Change for the better.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

God Codes

I just got off from an FX taxi.
No. this isn’t the first time I rode an FX.
Actually, I’ve been riding an FX since I learned how to commute from our home to everywhere.

But there was something interesting in this particular ride home.
As I sat in front, I was able to pick out, very distinctly, every word of the driver as he was talking to his fellow “tsupers” over a walkie-talkie.
This is a rather fascinating technology, I said to myself.
Usually, I would just hear the drivers talk about their route, update each other about the traffic conditions and, if there isn’t much news, talk about each other’s lives.
But as I was listening intently, I felt like Robert Langdon and Sherlock Holmes combined.
You see, I just figured out, they were talking in codes.

Yup. And after listening to a few sentences, I discovered the following: “5-9” meant “pasahero”; “kilo” meant “puno” (full); and “shirley” meant fly-over.
It was totally weird to me, since the driver was combining these codes to form sentences, and of course, they totally understood each other.
Then, it dawned on me.
Codes hide secrets. But Codes reveal relationships.
You don’t talk in codes to everyone.
Codes are for special people.
Like “Pooshie-wooshie” to your sweetheart, and “Heinekers” to your best bud – for whatever those words could mean.
And when two people understand each others’ codes, a relationship is forged.

Just like how God talks to you.
And how God talks to me.
You see, God wants to forge a relationship with you. Yes, YOU.
And he does this by His codes.
And those codes are exclusively for you and for Him.

You see, your relationship with God is something special.
Something only YOU and HIM could understand.
He understands your brokenness.
He listens to your discomforts and complaints even though you’re really not saying them aloud.
He sees your losses.
He feels your pains and failures even though you constantly hide it from him.

And because of that, he is willing to talk to you. And heal you. And forgive you.
If only you would also listen to his codes.
If only you would turn down the noise of the world and turn up his voice in your heart.
I’m sure that God is saying something to you right now.
And don’t worry. If you don’t get it at first, he will repeat his words over and over until you answer him back with yours.

October 10, 2009

Monday, 28 September 2009

Christmas Day after the Floods

It was like Christmas morning.
The streets were clear. There was a chill as the wind blew. And by the truckload, food has been pouring endlessly.
But it was not Christmas at all.

I was riding the MRT on the morning after Ondoy.
And lo, as my eyes beheld the rain-drenched and empty streets of EDSA, I almost heard it screaming silently due to the tragedy it overcame that fateful Saturday.

I don't know if i would feel lucky or miserable because of what happened. By default, i woke up at 12 noon that day, only to find out that the rains from the past night have not subsided. Because of this, I couldn't but stay home and even rejoice because we had no classes that afternoon. But then, as the news, and the waters came pouring in, I realized that this was not like the other rain i had witnessed in my lifetime. It was unstoppable. It was dark. It was angry.

You see, I wasnt that accustomed to floods. That's because our street has been "flood-proof" until now. When i was younger, i would watch the news and look at videos of the knee-high, waist-high, and chest-high floods in places like valenzuela, pasig, malabon and those infamous flood-prone areas, and never thought that something close would happen to us. But that morning, when i received the news that outside our gates, the waters were ankle-deep, i panicked.

It was a long afternoon that followed.

People had nowhere to go, stranded on top of their roofs. I too had nowhere to go, stranded in the comfort of my bed.
People were cold under the rain. I too was cold to the people - my facebook status still bearing the memories of the hangover from the night before.
People were waiting for help - some, for help that would come 29 hours later. I was waiting for my mom and dad, who went shopping for emergency goodies.

And when the rains stopped that evening, i felt an utter wave of disgust.
A disgust with myself as i saw the tragic pictures, the videos and the messages of my friends on the internet.

Where was I? How could I? Why did I?

Living inside warm cement walls on top of a metropolitan hill does not mean that we always end up on the winning end of a natural disaster such as this. On the outside, it may seem that way. But deep inside, there is a sense of loss. A loss of a responsibility. A responsibility I did not stand up to. A responsibility i totally ignored.

With this blog, I hope I can regain my responsibility over my fellowmen. Today, i will push myself to answer to that. I have alot of clothes to give, alot of food to spare (talk about the fulfillment of my long-awaited diet!), and alot of prayers to pray.

And maybe when i answer to this responsibility, it would really feel like Christmas day after all.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Blessings Multiply Naturally.

I am a regular attendee of the FEAST with the Light of Jesus Community.

At least since last May.

I didn’t believe in charismatic praise, nor in loud prayer, nor in a jam-packed hall of strangers greeting each other.

I liked the books of Bo, and I thought that he, together with his books, his jokes, his small entrepreneurial ventures, was trying to set up a brand new religion when I first got there.

It was all foreign to me. I was literally born and raised inside a parish setting, and under a very conservative and religious family. So you could understand how silly I felt when I first raised my hands in a different kind of worship to God.

It changed me. Inside and Out.

It was only till two Sundays ago that I was able to bring along two companions to the Feast. They were my two co-teachers, and they were not the church-going types, more so, the loud-praise and dance types. Both had their Sunday clear, so no one would lose if they spared a couple of hours inside, I thought.

The moment they stepped in, I immediately saw shock in their apparently smiling faces. They tried to sing to the foreign songs played. They tried to smile at every person smiling back at them. And out of respect, at least they stood up while everyone else was dancing madly for the Lord. At the back of my mind, “Lord, I hope they forgive me after this!”

When everything subsided, and while going back to the car, I said “Uy, thank you for joining me.” And the most unexpected answer came back at me: “Anong thank you? THANK YOU!”

Wow.

And I thought I owed them big time!

But they couldn’t stop talking about it since.

Guess what?

I did it again last Sunday. Two of my former students asked if they could tag along.

“Sure!” I said.

Then, I remembered that one of them was serving in a Christian community apart from the Catholic Church. But hey, what have I got to lose?

So there we were again. History repeated itself, and I was red-faced again with anxiety. But this time, all I said was “Bahala na si Lord.”

And right after we left the doors, I tapped them at the back and said, “Thanks for joining me.” And there it was again. They said, “Anong thank you? THANK YOU!”

And we all told our stories until we parted that afternoon.

It is just awesome how God uses such little people as you and me to become instruments of his love. Sometimes, it really makes me wonder: How worthy am I to be his disciple? Who is worthy?

And knowing that ultimately, no one is worthy, when was the last time God used you as his instrument?

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Balik Busko

It's like a hit in the face.

Barely two months have passed since i tended my resignation letter as a teacher in Don Bosco. Together with that was the controversial broadcast that I was to leave my beloved alma mater for personal reasons, not to mention much greener pastures.

But no. It seems that a Spirit continues to haunt me. Because guess what?

I'm back.

And i feel good about it.

But not that good.

Because as July sets in, i would have to give a repeat performance for my goodbyes and valedictions.

Here's the story.

One of our co-teachers had to take a leave for family reasons. Because of that, the department immediately had to get someone who could substitute for the month of June. I was one of their options, and since i didn't have anything to do for the month, eventually, i conceded to their offer. I were to teach English 3 to Rinaldi, Rua, Variara, and Versiglia, while taking responsibility for 3 Versiglia as adviser.

Even though i was giddy with excitement of meeting new students and doing what i really love to do, at the back of my mind was a haunting thought that literally paralyzed me to the bone. What if the students dont take me seriously? What if I havent learned from my mistakes? What if I get too attached and find it difficult to leave again?

These were peircing through my gut as the memories of standing in front of total strangers entangled me.

However, as my first day arrived, everything unfolded before my very senses. The 35 young men who stood in front of me, arranged in two straight lines, were like a seamless horizon, painted with the blue and yellow of the sky and sea. Soon after, as they entered the classroom, their silence and attention were like soldiers waiting for the next instructions, as if holding on for dear life to every word that came out of my mouth. And as the day progressed, i couldnt but thank God for this opportunity which i immediately let pass after a year.

I still have seven days to be with all of them. And so far, I already feel a sense of responsibility and dedication towards them, even though i know that it wont be for long. But on second thought, I dont really have to feel nostalgic about it because I wouldnt be leaving after all. Don Bosco has always been my second home, my second family. So wherever I go, i believe that the things i have learned, the people i have met, and the relationships i have forged will always welcome me back on my next return.