Hold On

How can you comprehend loss? How do you comfort someone who is currently holding on to tiny strings of Everything’s Going To Be Okay and yet people around them will keep on pushing the reality of pain, the reality of sickness, the reality of death, the reality of losing someone they cared for their whole lives? How will you be able to stare Loss in the face and never be bothered by his existence? How can you translate words of encouragement into comfort? How can you comfort someone with words when you believe words, sometimes, reach its limit?

H O P E
F A I T H
G O D

These words are bigger than Cancer, Pain, and most of all, Death. Our human minds, however, can be so weak that it can sunk us so low and will leave us without any idea how to bounce back from the negatives.

Cancer happened in our family twenty years ago and it took my dad. But I was young then, I never understood the pain of actually losing a father who’s been there the whole time. It was an event of loss, yes, but for me it was just something on the surface. That loss never got me. I’ve never felt Loss cut so deep that it drenched me helpless, hopeless and broken. So when my friend came face to face with the possibility of a loss, I don’t know the right words to say or offer that would make the pain go away.

However, even if I’m not so confident with my words versus the situation as of current, I think here’s where I’ll still stand. I wrote this in the first chapter of my (ongoing) novel a year ago:

To doubt was easy. To lose hope was easy. To question the circumstance was easy. But I believe, we humans are not created for easy or choosing easy. The virtue of a miracle is that it works when your heart is almost throwing out the white towel of Hope, almost at the edge of giving up, almost crying tears of I don’t wanna do this anymore. It’s when you surrender it all to Faith. It’s when you handed all the pain to that Someone who understands… the miracle is: it will all get better. And yes, in time. Just like what it said in a song.

What cancer taught us is that you can never box Encouragement, Huge Hugs, Kiss On The Forehead, Smiles, Laughter, and an Overflow Of Love. You can never box those things. You can never box Moments.

Loss can be this huge galaxy of uncertainty. Yet, one thing remains true above this all: with our good Lord, we are certain that we are always safe. That His arms are wide open to catch all the pain we can’t anymore carry and heal us where we are most broken. That in our weakness, He can shower us with strength — an inner invincibility. That alone is the last thing we will ever feel because He will bring us to people who can help, who can bring smiles and buckets full of genuine concerns and prayers. That whatever this world throws in front of our face, the reality that we have a God who saves will remain unshaken.

Death is just death. Sickness is just sickness. Cancer is just cancer. But God, He is our God, our Father, Savior, Healer, Comforter.

To my dear friend, you and I might never understand everything that’s going on but our Lord does. He will never forsake you. He will never forsake your family. Not now. Not ever.

Hold on. We’re holding on the strings with you.

***

Can you do me a favor? Can you please include prayers of comfort and strength for my friend Mayu and her family (most especially, her mom)? We need you to pray with us. Thank you for your good heart! :)

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Little Kid With Big Emerald Eyes, Glowing Smile

So, there’s Doubt.

Again.

Now, even more hyped. Like he made two tablespoons of black coffee in three fourth’s cup of hot water and consume all of it in a minute. He is awake. He never gets tired of telling you how insanely wrong every decision you’ve made in the past four months or so.

At past 3:25 in the afternoon, he yells in your head of the many things you could’ve done if you didn’t jump into the cliff of your instinct. He gets a pen and a paper, he looks at you and with a wide smile on his face, he doodles a word in a Chalkduster font which read: Loser. He blabber an endless lists of You Could’ve, You Should’ve, You Would’ve. He sings you the song of I Told You, So’s.

He doesn’t stop. He never ought to. And slowly, you find yourself agreeing with all the things he’s been filling and molding your mind into. It breaks your heart. It crashes your soul. It pollutes your light with the kind of dark you’ve never seen before. His friends Frustration, Disappointment and Regret are cheering for him loudly, “Way to go Doubt! You got her good!”

And then, there’s a little kid who came out from nowhere and stood by your side as Mr. Giant Doubt and his Super Friends fills the air with roaring laughters, exchanging high five’s. This kid, she held your hands, touched your face and whispered in (what you thought) a non-whispering voice, “Hi, my name is Hope. It is so nice to see you again! Come with me!”

You are curled down on the floor, you lifted your face, trying to recognize this brave kid you’d seen somewhere. She continued, her smile glowing like her big emerald eyes, “You’ve got great potential. You can do so many beautiful things you haven’t realized just yet. I like that you step out of your boat into the dry land of I Don’t Know What Lies Ahead But I’ll Press On, No Matter. That’s what I call Rock, you’re a Rockstar! I believe in you so, so, so much. That’s three so‘s, you know what it means? It means, I believe in you SO much!”

“Hope, what are you doing here? You are not invited in this conversation, go away!” Doubt said, not wanting to lose his hold of you. “Get her out of here.” he continued. Ever so quick of a back-up, Frustration, Disappointment and Regret took the little kid by both arms, trying to drag her away from you yet they can’t let her move, Hope is so sticky and surprisingly strong. And so she held your hands tighter, “We got this,” she said, “everything will be alright. Patience is a string but when you hold on it tighter, it’ll be worth it. Promise. Come with me.”

You wanted to believe the kid but Doubt was persistent. He never gives up a fight. “You are such a waste,” he said, “believing Hope like it can save you in your misery. Wake up! You are a loser. You are born to be one. What makes you think you are worth more than that?”

It echoes inside your head like a broken symphony. You looked at Hope, desperately.

“You are worth more than what you think,” she answered the question in your mind, “losing is a part of life, like chaos and mistakes and brokenness, they are always there. Like you know, a package. But you are made for conquer and create and wonder (and sometimes, wander) and patience and beauty and all the good things. Come with me?” Hope, you thought, got a knowing smile.

You closed your eyes. Took a deep breath. Trying to measure your courage.

“Wait, what’s happening?” Doubt panicks.

“Let’s dive until the end of this cliff, together.” you finally broke off your silence, “and I know things will be crazier than ever before but… I’ll choose and I’ll keep on choosing to believe you, Hope.”

You opened your eyes and everything is too bright. Doubt and friends are now gone, much to your relief. There’s just the little kid with big emerald eyes, glowing smile and whispering in a non-whispering voice (this is not her forte, you thought), “I’ll always choose you, too!!! You know what always means? It means always, always, ALWAYS!!!”

You smiled a bright smile and told yourself, “Good thing Hope never whispers.”

You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You is brave.

I watched the movie The Help over the weekends, and I must say, the story is a story of Courage.

Courage has always been a beautiful word for me. It’s like a secret chant you say to yourself which instantly delivers a wonderful amount of bravery and confidence. When uncertainty lingers at the porch of your mind, trying to quaff every single barrel of your sunshine, Courage will make you believe that there’s nothing wrong being in the dark for a while. Courage trusts that you’ll find the light. That’s what Courage does, it makes you Hope. And Hope shares the same attributes of Courage: beautiful. (I abuse the word beautiful so much, but, there’s no other way I can describe these two.)

The movie was set in a far away past where racial discrimination was still eminent in the United States of America – the Blacks serve as helpers in White people’s residences. However, their rights has always been disregarded. It makes me feel lighter, though, when I saw that not all White people are prejudiced; take Skeeter, a journalist who pushed for the Helpers to share their side of story with their service at the White people’s houses. Although, all her efforts might have been for naught if not for the willingness of Abiliene to support.

Skeeter and Abiliene were the two lead persons in the movie who took a stand and choose – what many people in their time, won’t – Courage. What’s very crucial about Courage is that it has to be chosen. You have to choose to be courageous. Nobody else can do it for you.

Despite the fact that Skeeter and Abiliene (together with the other Helpers) could be in grave danger, they still do what they had to do: act against racism and seek equality between the Colored and the Whites. They started a revolution, a spark for change. And I believe, they contributed a big part in the freedom of all cultures and races America is experiencing today. Imagine if they didn’t do anything when the very circumstance they’re in is asking them to make a stand? We, humans, most times don’t act out when we need to; afraid of so many things that would expose us in possible danger. Courage, often requires sacrifice – of our own time, money, talent, and even comfort – for the greater good. We have it all inside of us, we have the capacity to be brave, we have been given the ability to serve. It’s just that, sometimes, we tend to forget.

Yes, you is (also) brave.

When things go way out of hand and you tremble to your knees as you are shaken to the core, hold hands with Courage, do not let go. When every single molecule of your being wants you to run away and escape the grind of tomorrow, behold Courage in the eye, as long as his eyes flicker, don’t lose hope. When there’s too much fear in your heart and you can’t keep the tears anymore, look up, Courage is always looking down.

To have Courage is not to rely on your own strength. To have Courage is to surrender all your weaknesses in the hands of an Almighty God, entrusting every small portions of your life into His bigger plans for your future – be prepared to witness His power working in you. To have Courage is not to be free from fear, Fear is a healthy friend. To have Courage is bringing Fear with you in skydiving; no matter the struggle, it will remind you that you have wings – you are meant to fly. To have Courage is not to go through life easy. To have Courage is to embrace life in all of its uncertainties.

Show me how big your Brave is.

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 :)

Do Not Fear the Future ver 1 037

Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage

Life is all about surprises.

One day, you’ll be out going to your very first school day as a four year old in Nursery class. You’ll feel terrified as you hoped that your mom didn’t have to leave you there alone. And so, at a young age, you choose to stand and participate – together with the other kids – as you try to understand each new lesson. At a young age, this world is asking you to be brave.

Since school took most part in your growing up years, you know that acting the way you did in Grade School won’t get too much appreciated in High School. You got to make decisions on what to do when a member of your group didn’t show up at the day you are assigned to report something about History. You got to face new classmates who, sometimes, don’t care of what you feel just as long as they can make fun out of your expense. You got to be exposed in digging your thoughts deeper as you know you got to suggest something for a Science project. You invest in friendships that you didn’t know will last even after so many years, close to a decade. You know life a little better now, you know you had to be independent and make sound choices, you know you have to be brave.

College came and it’s a much different atmosphere. You are free to do what you like in the University, there’s a certain degree of freedom. And you are convinced with your entire life that this is the most wonderful experience of being in an academe. You choose who you are here and what you wanna be. You got to join new cliques and enjoy the time of being together in the afternoons when the professor didn’t arrive for the last session of your Tuesday class. There will be times that your principles and standards will be tested, there will be times that you’ll get disappointed by the decisions you’ve made. You struggle so hard not to make any mistakes, which in the end, you’ll come to realize that those mistakes were necessary. To sum up this stage of your life, and what you have done in between them, it goes to show that you chose to be brave.

You know you got this certain braveness in your heart after everything you had been through your teenage years, you know you could have anything under control, you truly believe so until the Real World came throwing real problems to your face and you got nowhere to go.

Then, it suddenly happened, Fear came in insurmountable amounts that your Brave can’t hold it. You struggle for air, you can’t breathe, you just can’t calm yourself down. And then Life crushed your spirit, you feel lost in a world you thought you’ve known all your life, you just float in a limbo – confused, dishearten, bewildered. You became afraid of failure, you don’t want to commit mistakes anymore, you shield your way in the opportunities that come along, you just want to be in your comfort zone.

I know how hard it is to live this life keeping your cool. And it will always always be threatening to venture out on new things you don’t know doing. But I’ve come to understand that you don’t grow up when you don’t learn; most of life’s lessons are learned best when you fail. It takes courage that in the midst of failure, you’ve got a heart that just wanna keep on moving forward, a heart that just wanna keep on trying.

For the past six months, I’ve been trying my best to live my life, I am trying to be more brave and open to what it will offer along the way and as to what I want to get to experience doing myself. It’s never easy, but I figured, that I don’t want fear to take hold of me from doing things that I know will help me flourish as a person. What got me along is this twenty seconds of insane courage I learned from Mr. Benjamin Mee of We Bought a Zoo (I wrote about that movie here).

Twenty seconds of insane courage is basically courage with some urgency. I mean, you don’t linger too much if you’re gonna do this and that and think of everything that could happen and those that could not. Sometimes, you take too much time until Fear walks in and just shut down your fuse, shut down your light.

When you know you got to do something…

-a dramatic eight inches haircut
-joining a free camp where you can hone your new found love in some sport
-telling your boss your plans in life that might differ from where your organization is leading to now
-going in for a ride which terrifies you in so many ways
-meeting old friends back from Grade School and High School
-chasing your dreams even if it meant being vulnerable to failure… Etc… Etc.

As the old Nike saying goes: just do it.

Do it when you got the courage for the first twenty seconds. Don’t hold back. Let go. Let go of all the worries of mistakes and failure, let go of the control you impose on yourself, let go and just breathe. Believe in Hope that your Brave will help you fly. I know sometimes it gets crazy, but if you could remember the time when you were four, you’ve conquered – you’ve delivered courage. You decided to take a leap of faith at such a young age, you delivered despite the fear, you felt invincible.

You only need twenty seconds of insane courage, a childlike faith, and I promise you something great will come out of it.

Life is full of uncertainties, be brave anyway. (Jeff Goins)

I Forgot to Write

I forgot the simplest things in life that made me start whatever you see in these blank pages of cyber space named under a corner I considered mine…

I forgot the essence of bleeding my own story and crafting it in such a way that would inspire me (or others ((hoping))) to walk along the dark hallways of this not-so-much-focused-on-happy-endings kind of life…

I forgot to accommodate Mr. Time when he sincerely wanted to collaborate with Words that kept bogging my mind…

I forgot to see. I forgot to hear. I forgot to feel. I think I had lost my senses when all I wanted to do two years back was to seek, listen and observe the universe, taste every rough crater and watch how it spark intense meteor showers in this world, in my world – the vast ocean of falling stars.

I forgot my purpose here.

I forgot to thirst for the things that would matter here; the things I placed my bets in starting Day One, the things that once made me decide what would / what could I be, the things I considered of prime principle. I forgot them.

I forgot to be inspired. I forgot to inspire. I forgot to write.

I forgot to write for someone who I always wanted to write about. I forgot to write for myself. I started to notice people and I started to want people to notice me back (which hardly happen). And I know that that’s where it hits – I wasn’t able to get back on my feet – the damage I made to my Muse.

Why do we keep on wanting something we think we want that we forget that all the things we need are already right there in front of us?

I created this blog as a space for me to vent out my whatevers in life. This is supposed to be something I enjoy doing for myself – that I don’t think of anybody else when I post what I had to say (whether it’s right or wrong or we differ in view) here. And I did. I really did enjoy.

Back then, my ears are spilling with courage telling me that expressing myself through an art form (aka Writing) could be a good way for me to find myself, to understand the depth of my being, to enrich a talent that I could use in bringing people to believe in a quiet whisper of hope.

And I don’t want to stop now just because I’m discouraged. I know that the Big Guy is always behind me to support the very desire of my heart which I can use for His glory.

I loved blogging. I loved that I dreamed of inspiring people through writing; giving words of assurance not only to myself, but to whoever lands on this page, that no matter how hard the waves of life could be, our boat will never sink as long as we are with our Captain. That no matter how discouraged we are now, we can still choose to see the light in the darkest of places; we can still be conquerors even we once feared to be in a battle; we can still go back to where we used to be, to what we used to do – even we sometimes forget, there is Hope telling us that we can still learn to remember.

The Dilemma

Around 2:47 this afternoon, this is what’s going on in my mind.

I don’t really know what to do.

We had this problem going on at the organization I’m working with and there are complicated choices that we should make and take.

When we were told about these truths, I honestly don’t know if I should stay or is it this time that I have to go? I felt that I had to do the former. I don’t want to quit when everybody is also at the same verge of difficulty as I am. Plus, we believe that the work that we’re doing is God’s work that if He wanted this to push through, He will let it.

I wanted to witness the miracle. I wanted to be present when all the things you’ve waited for finally mold itself into perfection. I wanted to cling to hope, to step out of faith even the dark is so dark that I may doubt if someone will catch me when I fell off the cliff. I wanted to stay. I wanted to be here, to do this right now.

There are people, however, that I need to take into consideration. And most of them is telling me to do the opposite of what I know I should do. And they’re all on the same side of the boat. Boo. Well, at one point, I’ve realized that they said parts of the situation that I kind of understand but didn’t see at first.

Ugh. My mind is in chaos now. I have settled this already in my heart when I jumped into the that decision I made (even when I cannot fully explain everything to my folks in a way which they would understand it).

I asked God. I wanted answers ’cause I know that if He really wanted me to be at this particular moment, He will answer, right?

And so, after a while, so far, here’s what I’ve got:

“The point is not an efficient life, the point is intimacy with God.”

“Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer.”

“The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer.”

“Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him.”

“One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.”

So yeah. Sometimes things are a little bit fuzzy and labyrinth-ish that we don’t or I don’t really know how to respond to a situation I got in. Ergo, I demand answers. I wanted solutions to find my way or to figure out, at the very least, how I can sort this. But no. Life isn’t about the answers all the time. It’s about trusting the Captain of the ship and be in full dependence in knowing His very purpose on why He let things be the way it is.

I pray for courage and a whole new ride, Lord. I believe, help my unbelief.