Do Not Fear the Future, Thomas

I had been meaning to write something about how September greeted me with so many unexpected things in life since Day 1. But much to my chagrin, I wasn’t able to sit down face-to-face with this white blank page until today.

To summarize what’s the fuzz in my mind about: I am just overwhelmingly grateful of how the Big Guy favored me in the most unexpected time in my most unguarded moment.

If you ever heard about the disciple named Thomas, you might actually heard about me: the Doubter. I am a person who doubts a lot – mostly, the subject of all my doubts is myself. I got this very low regard with my capabilities as an individual; I tend to focus more on what I might fail to do or what I might actually done wrong to a perfect situation. I’ve come to learn that that’s not humility. Whenever we say, I can’t do this or I don’t know how to do that, we really are hindering all the possibilities where God can intervene in our lives. Sometimes, when doubt just pops out a big CAUTION: This might be dangerous for you, it is strongly suggested for you not to continue – we just freeze and we just want to stay where we are comfortable. Fear takes over. Doubt is eating up on Hope, every second that it counts.

Last month, I was really at the edge of my seat wanting to dive in my sea of worries. And I did so, because I lost heart like losing a battle I’m itching to win. That particular Friday, I became emotional, too emotional, that I cried to God to ask Him what does He want from me because I believe I gave it my all and all I wanted is some consolation – what about what I want, for a change? Selfish little brat that I am, I did ask that.

I wanted to explore a new field. I already proclaimed it with all conviction that I’ll be in one on September. And then doubt came in halfway August and I panicked. How can I possibly enter September with new beginnings if the company I’m applying for – the company which my mother told me to try – haven’t been in contact with me after two days? Spell #atat. LOL. (Now that I’m looking back, it was actually funny that I think they won’t ever consider getting me since they haven’t given me a text, call or email…and it was only two days passed!!!) That day, I seriously accepted the fact that they won’t ever regard me. See what our emotional hormones can do?

I was discussing all my drama to the Lord and just before I dwell deeper into the quicksand of paranoia and worry, a text message came in. Guess what the message was about? Yup, it’s God telling me, Why are you in such a hurry? Have you forgotten that everything is under my control? because the company already came in contact with me and told me that I am scheduled for an exam and interview the following week.

In that week, I finally surrendered all my doubts. I prayed to God that if the job really is for me, He’ll make way; if it’s not, I prayed that He’ll bless my heart whatever the decision may be. I will not elaborate point-per-point how everything unfold the way it did. All I know was, the Lord backed me up big time. Meaning, He approved of me getting it and so I did. Everything went smoothly by God’s grace! True enough, what I proclaimed September to be, it happened.

After getting the job, another set of doubt – actually, fear – came in. Since I’m getting myself in a new field, I’m fully aware that it’s different from what (some) people will expect from me. I’m afraid that they’ll judge me. Some of them – I saw through their actions and words – seemed to think through on my decision, assessing if I’m doing the right one. I know that they are just concerned, but that kind of quiet pressure, made me doubt my decision to explore this new field too. And I remembered that I prayed about this, the Lord gave His answers clear. I need not to worry.

You see, we all are in varying stages or phases in our lives where we are choosing what we want to be, where we want to be. To tell you honestly, I don’t know where I wanted to be and what I want to become, yet. If others are sure that they wanted to be teachers, accountants, doctors, writers, musicians, etcetera; all I wanted – as of this moment – was to be an explorer of life: to do things with my heart, to feel the world in my hands. I swear, I see nothing wrong with that. I think it’s beautiful to enjoy the voyage when you haven’t got a clue where you are headed. At least for me, that’s the case.

Although I fear the future, calculating if my decisions will benefit me in the long run, I have come to realize that I don’t have to, because the Lord has promised to be with me wherever I go.

And as for my Doubt,

Doubt was cool. Doubt was predictable. It broke my heart a lot less. But over time, that changed and I realized that all doubt really did was stifle truth. I am always grateful for that. There are big things out there for each of us. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just believe.

-Isabel Garcia

Take that! Lol

Instead of Fear, I’ll choose to Hope. Hope always lets you believe that you can fly and it has always been a liberating feeling touching the clouds.

There’s a lot to learn in this new expedition. I pray that the Lord will give me Courage to face the calmness of the sea, as well as its rages. For the now, let’s take heed of my September Moodboard (yes, it’s back!!!): Do Not Fear the Future :)

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So We Borrowed Something From Frank O’hara

Over the weekends, I caught a movie on ETC called Wild Child. It was an old movie where Emma Roberts (Poppy Moore) starred in as a rebellious Malibu princess shipped to study in an English boarding school by her father.

Big fan of Emma Roberts, represent! :)

As a sucker for chic flicks, it is imperative of me to get my cellphone and send a message about it to some of my friends called Tomblrs (Mari, Mayu, Jek and Shiela). You know how you have this favorite group of people you always bombard with any of your mundane activities in your life via group message? Yes, they are those people. Haha!

At home, we don’t have a Cable-TV. The street where we are located doesn’t really have a nice reception to show you a number of channels; ergo, even we are Kapamilyas by heart, we are at the court of the Kapusos. In that particular night, though, it was a good thing that ETC was up even if the signal was not too crystal.

In the movie, there was this scene where Emma had a date with the headmistress’ son – which was kind of sweet, by the way – and it dawned on me how familiar the face of the actor was. I just can’t recognize it since our TV was kind of grainy so I had to confirm if he was the actor who I think he is with Tomblrs. And when I found out that I was right, I was even more ecstatic! The lead man was none other than Alex Pettyfer (Freddie Kingsley in the movie)!!! Yup, my I Am Number Four / Beastly beloved was a young English gentleman at Wild Child! And that’s where me and my friend, Shiela, went ballistic! Haha! When girls like something, they fight for it til death. In our case, we fight through poems. Lol. It’s like who loves Alex better – Nins or Shels? #medyochildish #notworthblogging #butstill

When I thought she had forgotten about it, Shiela went for her first mini poem for Alex last Monday. It goes,

Having a Coke with you
Is even more better than me having the grandest vacation in Boracay or Puerto Galera…
Because the sun and the beach looked tame when I stare in the depths of your eyes.
Because my most beautifully-written fairy tale is coming true when I’m with you.

Sheila improvised and patterned her poem from the famous scene at the other Alex Pettyfer movie – Beastly – where he read a Frank O’hara masterpiece: Having a Coke with You#kilig

My favorite line from the poem <3

Shiela’s not the kind who surrenders an admiration, especially for Alex, she even said:

I love him like the Summer’s blue sky. I love him like the Autumn’s maple leaves. I guess I would need dozens pair of seasons to describe how I love him.

Her famous Wattpad Story was also inspired by Alex. Now, I cannot top that. That’s big time art! HAHA. I’m really proud of her and my other friend Mari (her editor) since the story reached two million awesomesauce reads already! Woohoo! However, it wasn’t a call to give up my admiration for Alex too, you know. So I also responded with a poem yesterday. We’re still borrowing Sir O’hara’s framework on this one…

Having a Coke with you
Is even more wonderful than watching Manila sunset at the bay at 5:45 in the afternoon
Partly because your smile speaks tons of stories I will never get tired of hearing; I bet, til dawn
Party because your smell makes me dizzy just like Manila pollution — and you know, dizzy is good
Partly because of my love for poetry and that your very presence makes me want to string in words which I could make as poems
I wouldn’t mind traffic because there’s not a time wasted
Being with you makes me hope, being with you makes me believe that sunsets doesn’t always mean endings
That sometimes, all we really have to do is just marvel at the beauty of an orange horizon
And it is my privilege to gaze beauty in its rawness that is you

I intended for it to be four stanzas only but I got carried away a little bit. Haha!

So, what’s the lesson here? Nothing actually. Haha! It’s just that it’s nice to pour out your emotions into words, most times – it’s the way you make poetry. You do it with your heart. Whatever fuels your inspiration, hold on to it, remember what it feels like. One day, don’t be afraid to make an art out of it. Cheers!

Connected Ka Ba? #afterthoughts

Despite the heavy rain and traffic, I braved Ortigas last Tuesday because I needed to get my hands on this new book written by one of my coolest OJT Supervisors back in ISACC days: Sir Rei Lemuel Crizaldo! Woot woot! Yes, my dear friends, I’m one of the firsts to have had witnessed this book in flesh before the Manila International Book Fair 2013 opened yesterday and before this book’s formal launch on Saturday at 1pm at OMF Literature’s booth at MIBF (make sure you’ll have the time to go there because the author will be there to sign your very own copies of his book)!

Several months ago, I heard that Sir Rei would be writing a book about prayer. Initially, I thought: why prayer? I honestly think that this wouldn’t be something that most people my age might be interested in, unlike love stories, sci-fi, novels and such. But kudos to his courage, I definitely salute what he had done in the book!

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The book is entitled Connected Ka Ba? (How to Pray Kahit Lo-batt Ka Na) which only contains 93 pages worth of read. It is very light that you could finish it in a matter of 1 (if you’re a fast reader) to 2.5 (or a slow one, like me) hours. The number of pages and the hours you’re going to read it doesn’t equate to the insights that you may gain or may be enlightened about as you go through the book. Not only that, I promise you that it’s enjoyable. I never thought Sir Rei had this sense of humor. Haha! There were parts that made me laugh and say to myself: Oo nga, noh? In all fairness with this book, #mahusay.

At the early discussions in it, I was glad to see a familiar name being quoted. I mean, it’s not everyday you see a Marshall McLuhan being quoted on a particular book outside your readings back in College. As a Communication Research graduate, McLuhan played a vital role in all of my exams back in my very first year-first semester in College. So, seeing him in the book gives me a jolt of joy like bumping with an old friend across a street in a city you haven’t been to. Lol. Babaw.

Anyways, according to McLuhan: We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. Technology has unleashed its power of changing the way we view our world, especially when it comes to social media. Nowadays, everybody gets connected easily. We are the children of the digital age where Facebook comes second after brushing our teeth in the morning. The book tackled the reality of how convenient we think it would be for us if we were to find God in these social media applications we are so hyped about. Maybe then, praying would be easier. Maybe then, we could not just guess what God is telling us since He could directly comment on our status or PM us whenever He wanted to say anything or whenever He wanted to answer all our questions and requests. E di sana, ang dali ng buhay!

I love how the book reminded me that prayer is always personal. That each of us got different styles when it comes to praying – some sing it, dance it, write it, talk to God about it, being silent, staring at the ceiling like gazing stars at the top of a mountain, etcetera. It varies for every person. The book integrated how our culture as Filipinos somehow affects the way we behave when it comes to praying. Since we Filipinos have this ability to comprehend non-verbal actions impeccably, we also express ourselves non-verbally – if we can’t say what we want, we act it out. And yet, no two Filipinos pray the exact same way. It is a beauty to witness that even when we’re very similar, we are also very different.

“…Alam niyang sapat na kahit ang buntong-hininga para maipa-abot sa Diyos anuman ang laman ng kanyang kalooban.”

And even when we are different, the Lord just understands each of us perfectly. I love it! Shows you that the God we serve is not a puny God., right?

The book is honest in a way that it says how our motives and actions have consequences in our prayer life. You know how sometimes we harbor sin in our hearts and that hinders God from hearing us? This is one of the things I fear, that God won’t hear me because I let myself be covered with sin. That doesn’t mean to say that God is angry at us when we sin, He is angry at sin and He loves us so greatly that Forgiveness is always waiting in the wings. We just have to choose it. When we confess and let go of our most treasured sin, He is faithful and just to hear our petitions.

“Don’t worry. Hindi naman maramot ang Diyos sa pag-scan at pag-delete sa mga kasalanang nagagawa natin.”

What’s more overwhelming is that not only He hears us when we call but God wanted His children to call Him, Father. Nux, close na close!

“…Sa madaling salita, hindi ka basta-basta lalapit sa Diyos na makapangyarihan at kabanal-banalan. Pero binaliktad ito ni Jesus. Sabi Niya chill lang tayo. Let’s call the Lord, ‘Dad.’

Therefore, if He’s our Dad and we are His children, we don’t only ask from Him, we also need to listen to what He has to say about whatever it is that we are going through, right? Prayer is communication – we speak, we listen. Most times, just like many of us, I tell the Lord all I wanted to say and I intentionally forget to listen to what He has to say about me. It’s like He hasn’t responded yet but I already put the phone down. We work that way, we are creatures of convenience. Sometimes, we think that the Lord is not giving us answers, that He’s just not there when we need Him when we were the ones who can’t bear His answers we could find in silence.

“Prayer is when you realize and take God as your environment. He is always there, always speaking. It is a matter of paying attention.”

I love that the book doesn’t just discuss how we pray for ourselves but the need for us to pray for other people. It is called interceding for others. I liked how the book said this:

“Sa mata ng Diyos, hindi rin tama ang manalangin para sa sarili lang natin. Dahil ang lahat ng bagay ay magkakaugnay, mararapat lang na ang lahat ng tao ay marunong makiramay.

There are a lot of insights that I got from the book but my ultimate favorite was the realization that prayer is our life, it is the way we live. When we pray more, we depend on God more. Thus, our relationship with Him grows intimately. Whatever we do could be an act of prayer, an act of full dependence to that Someone we call Father. I think it is super nice to know that even God is an Almighty, He desires a relationship with us – a nobody. And for that, I am grateful.

Prayer is, indeed, an exciting journey after all. :)