Emptying Our Hands

Conquer is my word for 2017. I got it from a song that pierced through my heart one Sunday at church:

In all things, we know that we are more than Conquerors.

I have always associated a certain year with a word that would be its banner all throughout its course. It’s like a theme for something that I would like to achieve or something that I would like to be. There are a number of things I wanted to face and win over this year: fear, doubt, laziness (haha yep), new adventures, excellence, stewardship, love, and letting go.

Lately, I’ve been really bugged by the idea of letting go. The Lord has been speaking to me about it because of ze emotional being that I always am.

Our February series at church is about Radical Love and we are discussing the Book of Jonah. If you don’t know the story, let me give a quick gist:

There was this prophet named Jonah and the Lord has commanded him to go to Nineveh so that the people there will know the love that the Lord has for them. Now, Jonah didn’t want to go because the people in Nineveh are unrighteous people and he felt that they didn’t deserve grace. Think of the Lord wanting Jonah to go to Fairview but instead he pushed his way to Parañaque – complete opposite. He didn’t want to obey.

But the Lord has His ways, He has caused Jonah to be thrown out to the ocean just so he can be swallowed by the-appointed-great-fish so he could be brought to where he needs to go in the first place. Jonah stayed three days in the stomach of the fish and when he was vomited out, voila, he was already in Nineveh.

We are so like Jonah: stubborn, disobedient, impatient, self-centered. When we hear the Lord speaks and His Word is clear but we don’t want what He’s saying, we have a tendency to shut Him off, drift away, and make our own path. We are creatures seeking for what we feel is easy to do. We have become enslaved by what we feel so much that logic has gone out to the island of Somewhere Else.

And like Jonah, we have plans. These plans are not necessarily bad, but sometimes, it doesn’t align to what the Lord has initially planned out for us. Our plans may be good but that of the Lord’s is best and perfect; yet, we fail to see it. But then, the Lord would never ever give up on us that even if we go the wrong way, He will not make us succeed being in the wrong path. He will cause discipline, if it needs be; tough love, if it needs be.

The hope in the Book of Jonah was the fact that Jonah came to his senses. He admitted what he was running away from and the truth that no matter where he goes, no matter where he hides, he will get found. Jonah recognized his shortcomings. Jonah acknowledged that his self-will is his own idol. Jonah resolved to finally obey in the end.

Letting go is conceding. Letting go is opening and emptying our hands from all the good things that we possess and placing them to the Hands of the Almighty – trusting that our faith in Him to make all things beautiful is never void. It ain’t gonna be easy, though Letting go hurts.

We encounter different seasons of letting go in our lives: maybe it’s about our favorite toy when we were kids; or maybe it’s about our bestest friends in our adolescent years; maybe it’s about that one argument that we so wanted to win from; maybe it’s about that dream job that we wanted ourselves to land on; maybe it’s about a broken passion, or maybe a broken heart. Letting go is losing hold, releasing grip, allowing space to be present in between us and the ones that we value. It has never been easy.

If I were to be honest, there’s this one area of my life where I am struggling to let go of again because feelings and logic doesn’t seem to go hand in hand. This already happened long before, I’m bargaining with the Lord if, you know, He could somehow allow this particular thing that I wanted. And boy, was I repeating history. The Heart has always been the greatest deceiver of all time. It’s amazing how we compromise so we can satisfy the desires of our unguarded hearts.

The best is yet to come.

We know this assurance like the back of our hands. Good is only good. Good will never be the best. We have to fully believe that the only way to get the best in this lifetime is if we are willing to wait and let go of all the good. It sux, yes. But if we placed our faith to the Big Guy, we will see that everything happened because we needed this journey to build our character. It will take all the struggle in letting go’s in order to learn how to warmly welcome this fragile thing called graceful surrender.

It’s gonna be scary but it is also gonna be worth it.

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On other Letting Go episodes of my life, it has taken me forever but I am now decided that I will be leaving the blog. This has been my home for almost six years and it’s now time to go. I will be writing more about this on my last entry that I’ll be posting soon. After all, I hate leaving without saying goodbye.

Until then,

To My Future Padawan

 

This world is cruel, some people around you will be disappointing, and you – no matter how hard you try – will get tired of fighting.

One day, you’ll find a cause to carry: an advocacy. Something that pierces deep within your soul that it burdens you to take action, to find your own voice, and to make a stand. You will hear it in your heartbeat, you will feel it in your trembling knees, you will see how it will change you as a person — how it can grow your character and fuel your passion. But, my little one, remember that truth is exclusive. Sincerity and faith are two good things but when it is anchored in something other than the truth, it is wrong. Truth is truth and it cannot be one or the other. Seek to know that which is true and glue your heart in fighting for it.

Should you find the urge to bring your advocacy to the streets, let it be known to you that your father and I will be there to support you. Like how the parents of my friend gave her words of advice on what to expect during street protests, I will also give you mine. Some people will say that it is a waste of time and it is disgusting, but listen to me love, it is never a waste of time and it is never disgusting. There’s nothing wrong with using your voice to speak up against injustice, violence, corruption, human rights or anything that’s in the core of your being. Learn from every people you will meet in this experience and be very observant in your surroundings. Notice the street children who are bewildered on what’s happening because this is their first time to encounter a sea of people chanting, raising placards, and uniting for a single purpose. Notice how one of them will tell the other that the people were doing the protests for the country, doing the protests for them. Notice how your heart will respond to that and cherish that moment forever.

And yes, of course, your mother is one emotional being who’s sometimes (or mostly) sensitive when people go against or get critical towards what she believes in. But your father, he is a wise man, he weighs and opens his mind to listen. Please forgive and have patience with your mother, she’s trying her hardest. Be like your father and find the balance.

It is a reality that people will agree and disagree with you. But even if they go for or against you, do not shut the door in front of their face and lose a relationship in the process. Somebody once told me that instead of drawing the line, we should blur the line so as to restore a relationship – makes sense?

You see, I’ve lived through a time where people burn each other down and/or throw mud on each other’s faces because we think that’s the way we should go, that’s how we could convince those who were outside of the fence. I don’t know what the future will look like for you, my love, but what I do know (and what I was reminded of) is that we should always love one another despite of our differences. Jesus was not kidding when He said: Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you. Love your neighbor as you have loved yourself. Believe me, I know how hard loving one another could be like. It’s no joke.

When humans have different sets of beliefs and they become difficult, we have a tendency to hurt each other with words. When you have cause hurt to someone or when you did something wrong, apologize. Humility can be rare but let it run through your veins, apologize when necessary – say your sorry and mean it. Continue to love radically, still. Be gentle and shower your arguments with grace.

Sometimes you will find your voice in the minority and you will doubt if everything’s worth fighting for. If you will face darkness, I hope that it would be extremely dark for you so you would know that we can only do so much with the strength that we’re given. Remember what I said? This world is cruel, some people around you will be disappointing, and you – no matter how hard you try – will get tired of fighting. I hope you reach that point of desperation that you cry everything out to the Lord and be so dependent to Him more than ever. We have little control over anything, my love. Just commit to do your part and let it rest to the hands of our good Lord. He is Sovereign, remember that. He is Just and He is Love. He is always Good.

When you grew tired of the fight, when cynicism is glancing at the doors of your optimism, when everything continues to break you, I will hold your hand so tight to remind you that you are not fighting this alone. Look up, my child, and see how the moon and stars lit up an entire night sky. We are an army. Let your light saber glow.

Juan Miguel Severo: Sampung Bagay Naituro sa Akin ng Pag-ibig

Una, MAGBIGAY. Ang mga kamay ng mga umiibig ay hindi basta mga kamay, kundi, mga puno na nakatirik sa matabang lupa — patuloy ang pamumunga para lamang sakanya. At sa paghahandog at pagsasakripisyo lalo itong lalago pa. Ang tunay na umiibig hindi basta nalalanta.

Pangalawa, MAGTIIS. Yakapin ang ligaya maging ang kakambal netong hinagpis. Umiibig tayong kay lambot pero sa pagnanais na wag gumuho ay nagiging bato. Hayaan mo, dahil walang madali sa pag-ibig kundi ang mahulog; lahat ng kasunod, paghihirapan mo.

Kaya’t pangatlo, MAKIPAGLABAN. Ang hamakin ang lahat makapiling ka lamang. Sa laro ng pag-ibig, hindi na bago ang masaktan, pero ang nagtatagumpay ay ang naniniwalang kaya itong lagpasan.

Pang-apat, ikaw ay may karapatang MAGDAMDAM, MAGHINANAKIT, MAGHANGAD ng kahit kaunting pagtugon o kapalit.

Pero, pang-lima, ang tunay na pag-ibig ay hindi takot MAGPAKUMBABA. Handa ang mga palad neto na hawakan ang sintas sa kanyang mukha: aminin ang kanyang kahinaan at pagkakamali. At kung ang nagmamahal ay nagmamahal pa rin…

Ang pang-anim ay magagawa hindi man ito maging madali: MAGPATAWAD. Patawarin mo siya. Iluklok ang pag-ibig na higit sa pagkukulang ninyong dalawa. At kung ang lahat ng nabanggit ay hindi na magawa pa…

Gawin ang pang-pito: MAGPARAYA. Isuko ang langit na minsang nilipad mo. Hindi ka mahina, hindi ka duwag. Ang mapagpalayang pag-ibig ay kuntentong makita siya sa alapaap.

Maging handa sa pang-walo, MAGHINTAY. Maghintay ka — may bago mang dumating o bumalik man siya sayo dahil,

Pang-siyam, MAGBABALIK SIYA SAYO. Dahil ang nagmamahal ay laging magbabalik sayo.

At pagsapit ng tagpong ito, gawing araw-araw ang pang-sampu, MANINDIGAN KA. At hangga’t iniibig mo siya at iniibig ka niya, umibig parati nang higit sa anumang sakit at hagupit. Walang dahilan para bumitiw ka.

Maligayang pagdating sa iyong tahanan. Liparin ang langit ng magkasama. Alam kong kay layo ng iyong nilakbay pero ngayong nagmahal at minahal ka, sa wakas, nakauwi na.

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Transcribed this from the last episode of On the Wings of Love. Sharing this with everyone because Poetry is such a strong art of the heart. Thank you, Gege, for these beautiful words 💘

You Will Put the Star in Starting Over

The universe – or the people living in it, rather – will be kind of cruel at you sometimes. And it’s gonna be really painful no matter how you try to smile away the discomfort that you feel everytime they make you remember the mistake that you did, the details you forget, and the explanations they can’t accept. You will feel less of your worth and more of a great disappointment. It’s gonna eat up your confidence – no wait, change that – “eat” is not the right word, “swallow” would be more appropriate. You will be swallowed and chewed on until your scars are so visible for everyone to see. It will never stop until your soul is blue from all the beating. It’s gonna be one of your glorious dark days and you’ll feel as if you haven’t done anything good at all.

I promise you, this is just the beginning, you will have more dark days ahead of you. And did I tell you about the Hurt? You will be hurt and it will suckerpunch your heart until it leave you with nothing but emptiness. I promise you, the Hurt will grow deep: your silent cries will never hide them; your eyes will always reveal them. I promise you, you will be fully consumed with all these blurring emotions until you can’t take it any longer. Promise, you will be broken. And when all these things happen, then my love, congratulations and welcome to the human experience!

You are human, my friend, flesh and bones. You are not invincible. You fall down straight to your face. You bleed. You struggle to get back up. You dwell with pain. You get wounded. You break.

Circumstances can get crazy, accept it. Dark days are there for a reason (or a season) and there are consequences from our actions (or inaction). We need those days and we need those consequences to understand that humility is something that we continuously learn. We learn. We move forward. We are not our mistakes. We are more than our choices.

You will put the star in starting over and over. | Sarah Kay

You are a star and I believe in you. So do the great poets from the All-American Rejects :)

And even when you’re hope is gone, they say, move along. You’ll make it through.

And Seeing a Rainbow Could Mean Believing that a Clearer Weather will Come After

I was supposed to give a testimonial today to a group of young people down South but, a few weeks ago, I was told of the changes that had to happen. I was taken off the list – nothing personal – because they had to invite a main sharer instead. The theme of the event was about Love and Waiting and my supposed part would be sharing my path in this whole waiting process.

And so, here’s what I would probably share to those kids (read: teens) if I were able to speak to them:

Waiting is never going to be easy. You all know this. Srsly, who likes to wait? We all belong to a generation of impatient humans.

When I was about eleven years old, a freshman high school who thought that my crush has a crush on me, I asked my mom this question: Ma, pwede na ba ako magboyfriend? And to my overly excited hormones, she replied silence. She did not say anything. She just kept quiet. And my young mind did not understand then that probably my mom was praying to the God of Heavens to pacify her daughter who got uncontrollable emotions that could possibly lead to teenage pregnancy, haha.

For me, there’s nothing wrong with the boyfriend-girlfriend thing even at a young age, guaranteed you are guided by your parents, you are obedient to your parents’ guidance, you got solid foundation and you know your limits. I don’t see anything wrong but it’s gonna be a tug of discipline between your parents and your wild heart. If you are prepared to go through some difficult battles at a young strength, then, go. Remember though, the consequences could be a lot tougher if you’re going to be really stubborn in the middle of your journey. I’ve seen few people who succeed in this and I’ve seen a lot who did not. Your choice.

By God’s grace, the younger me managed to graduate high school without having a boyfriend because I don’t know if I could ever resist the temptation of the world if I got what I wanted that early.

I never had a boyfriend in high school and until now but I got crushes. Crushes are life source, promise. They get you to school early because you wanted to pass by that corridor and get your daily dose of “inspiration.” That’s it, that’s their benefit, at least you’re not late.

Having crushes are normal, however, if you will purposely not study so you will stay in the same section as to where your crush is, that is crazy. Kid, you are young and crazy and wasting your opportunity to get more knowledge in your history class. You have to pause and recalibrate your mind. You think staying in the same section can get your crush to have a crush on you? It will never happen. But even if it does happen, it doesn’t change the fact that you’re missing out Nebuchadnezzar in History and it’s actual connection to the story you just read in the Bible.

Do not hurry. High school is just high school, there could be a lot more boys who you could fall in love with in College. Unless you’re in MassCom where statistics could be very well out of proportion. Haha kidding! Your goal shouldn’t be finding love, your goal should be waiting for love to come. And while at it, being the best that you can be. Find your purpose and fulfill it. Go change the world if you think the world needs changing. Or, go change yourself instead. In the meantime, please do good in school. You owe that to God, to yourself, to your hardworking folks, and to your country (yup, your country, the main reason why you memorized Panatang Makabayan).

Time will come when you’ll turn 20-something’s and you’ll now realize that how come everyone got their fair share of another person’s hands, arms and comfort and you – well – you are still you. You don’t have anybody to share that overflowing love in your heart with yet. Yes, you got your family and friends who reciprocate the love, but no someone yet. That different feeling. You don’t have that yet.

You know how it would be totally fine if every now and then, there’s another soul who would tell you that they admire you and would just do things for you and would ask you if you could risk loving them too? Then that makes you single by choice. But what if there’s none? You are just single by default. How does that make you feel? Sometimes you just wanna give up waiting and just wallow into self-pity questioning your worth. You just wanted love anyway, was it too hard to ask for?

There’ll be days when Doubts will come rushing in like tidal waves, pushing all your Brave offshore and far away. When it comes, carry your sunbeams with you, still. You’ve collected one too many along the way. You needed that when everything’s just too clouded and seeing a rainbow could mean believing that a clearer weather will come after.

You know how they say everything’s gonna be worth it in the end? I think they’re not lying.

Love will come when you’re brave enough to wait. Waiting is quite a process. It builds your stomach the abdomen it takes to never settle. We might get a six-pack after all these. And that, kid, is worth the wait.

Dalawang Minuto

May mga pag-ibig talaga na hindi para sa iyo. Na minsan, kahit nasara mo na yung isang yugto ng buhay mo, pag nakita mo ulit at pag di nangyari yung inaasahan mo – kahit bilang magkaibigan lang – masasaktan ka. Kasi kahit naman tapos na, di naman naaalis yung pinagsamahan. Pero minsan, ikaw nalang yung nakakaalala. At siya, kaya niyang umalis nang mabilis pa sa iyong inaasahan. Pwede kang maiwan mag-isa. Magtataka ka bakit iniwan ka, bakit kahit konting oras walang binigay, bakit parang di mo bigla maintindihan ung puso mo. Gugustuhin mong lumayo nalang, makaalis din agad bago pa bumuhos lahat ng tanong kung bakit di man lamang siya nagtagal ng ilan pang minuto para kausapin ka. Pero ganun talaga. Tapos na, pero minahal mo siya. Minsan mag-isa kalang palang nagmahal. Alam mo sa puso mo tapos na talaga pero minahal mo yung taong iyon dati, di naman ganun kadali makalimot. Pero kahit nasaktan ka ulit nang di inaasahan, may mga kaibigan kang magpapangiti at magpaparamdam na di ka naman talaga nag-iisa. At para sakanila, magpapasalamat ka. At para sakanya, magpapasalamat ka pa din.

Kaya naman, para sa iyo: Salamat. Ito na ang huli. Paalam.