Dearest Yani

November 22, 2018, 1:16AM

Dearest Yani,

You are asleep beside me wearing the same pajamas and I am still wide awake from the coffee we had tonight.

Brought by my noticeable lisp and messy train of thoughts, I don’t have the right words to say most times, so instead, I write. I need to arrange my thoughts to have context and here I am writing this down while I am feeling it. It’s about time to share a feature for people around me in this space. Let me start this series with you.

Yani, I am excited to more affirmations for you, whatever happens in this life know that I am always in your team. I know that God continuously orchestrates blessings for you and He’s answering your prayers in this season.

Proverbs 18-24 (King James 2000)

A man that has friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

I am beginning to study the scriptures, and just like Jesus in the above verse, you stick closer than a brother. It’s true that people look up to you and it’s an honor being able to have these heartfelt personal conversations with you.

Thank you for keeping my feet on the ground when I think that I am becoming somebody else and things start to become superficial. It’s true that we can have a taste of heaven yet we need someone to bring us back to reality. You bring a balance of positivity and realness in every situation. Thank you for always being open to listening and becoming a moral compass in times of overwhelming joy or despair.

I will always laugh at your humor kahit hindi ko gets minsan. Continue being a reason for people’s smiles kasi ang benta ng jokes mo. You draw people through your wit and charm. When you’re weary, I know how strong your faith is and this enough will sustain you albeit continue to allow other people to be a vessel of the love of Jesus – for you. Feast KL family is here for you. I am here for you, always.

I am so glad that I am with you on this journey of finding purpose. You don’t select the people you want to help, you reach out to strangers becoming friends to them and you pacify situations when things are tough. Amen!

I have said these things before once or twice but a written one would make it readable until we are old and grey. We can always read and remember how things are at the moment and be grateful for the promised life of our future.

Years from now, we will read this again and say ang payat natin dati. Cheers to many great years of friendship! Okayy *crying time*

When familiarity breeds contempt

Every morning at my desk, I restart my MacBook even if once you flip open the laptop it automatically shows the same windows last night. I always want to start my day on a clean slate, at least on my work computer. Everything cleared. No open applications. Neat desktop. I am ready for today’s hustle.

In a parallel universe, our hearts can be cleansed with a press of a button every day, sinless and reborn the next day. Perfect relationships will flourish however in reality, there are more compelling reasons to go on. The greatest stories start when we find Christ in our darkest moments, at the bottom of our sin, ready to accept redemption. It’s a continuous series of ups and downs on what makes it a beautiful story.

Here’s a fact of life: At some point, you will still fail people even those who are dearest to you, you will judge them for the bad decisions in their lives, and eventually, it becomes a test of love. It is human nature to feel negative towards certain situations – sad, angry or disappointed, and it’s fine. Take your time but don’t dwell on it. What we do after defines a person’s worth to us, a conscious decision to keep, love or forgive them even from afar.

It’s so easy to love a person because of the good side, what makes love real is choosing them despite your differences and helping them become a better person. Stories from the Bible tell us how humility is relative to grace, how repentant sinners transitioned to followers and how Jesus chose the outsiders by accepting them in His mission of fulfilling the prophecy. We are given free will to follow His ways.

If we hope to be a mirror of Christ, how do we resolve a problem with familiarity? I believe the first step is to accept that all people have different journeys, backgrounds, and personalities with all the good and bad. As much as we try, understand from where they are coming from. You cannot feel negative towards someone without a deeply-rooted cause and you may start to resolve from there. What we are seeing is just a portion of one man’s life, we tend to conclude things and profile them as a one word adjective based on our judgement. My dear, life is short to carry a heavy heart, free yourself from the baggage. In recent years, I found that the best way to deal with a person in a challenging situation is to respond with kindness and knowing them more – it transcends people.

May we always seek for positive change – that mistakes aren’t permanent, that we can still wake up tomorrow beaming with so much hope that little things at a time can be done to be better. And for all you know, one day, you will look in the mirror seeing a brand new person molded by wisdom and beautiful stories to share.

At the end of every business day, I end up with a messy desktop knowing that tomorrow will bring a brand new day of ‘cleaning’ the slate. Press RESTART.

Here’s to Writing

This week, I was reminded twice on different occasions that I used to write. There’s no better way to recuperate from the apparent loss of interest than to start writing again. Anyare na, ate girl? 

It’s been so long since I logged in, I needed an hour to figure out my password and username. I don’t even know if anyone is reading or am I just wasting my money on the domain? Pangarap ko talaga ang magka-website so let it be. Truth be told, I miss writing in long form. Curated my Instagram for very short essays and nice photos, leading to the disintegration of my blog. Napusuan mo na ba ang posts ko sa IG? Haha If not yet, go figure.

Ang dami ng naganap, hindi ko alam kung saan magsimula – or maybe we can start on why I write personal stories online. Most times, I worry that I write too personal stories that I maybe projecting a different persona at work or people won’t take me professionally because they somehow know me outside work because of what I write or post online. Growing up, I associate being emotional to weakness and being weak is not the kind of person I want to show off in the corporate life. Sometimes, I forget that the people I work with have personal life, that they are someone’s mother, father, child or a friend.

I started to write less in emails, short ones with precision. I adapted it in my personal life, I reply briefly on every chat and asks general questions only even to friends and family. My words transitioned to cold, flat and emotionless. Which I ask, is this part of maturity? To care less with length but focus more on substance of the context, to stick with facts only because adjectives are subjective, ultimately, to write less.

The other day, we were having dinner sharing stories of our childhood together with my church mates and then I blurted out that I was featured once in a newspaper about growing up in a sari-sari store household. Despite my messy train of thought, Philippine Daily Inquirer published my article last May 2017. It meant a lot for me because someone saw a compelling story to my literary piece. For a moment, me being a legit writer has been justified. It was a dream come true. All feelings of exuberance came back real quick as I remember that moment last year.

Then I remember, I used to write passionately. I cannot quantify the people I touched through my essays but receiving words of thanks even from total strangers still makes my heart flutter. Maybe we write not for ourselves but to pass on the kind of inspiration we got from the great writers we know, it’s paying forward. Right there, you found it, your purpose.

So yes, I am breaking boundaries by letting my guards down, at least in this blog. I will start to write again because there are stories that need to be told and it’s about time to see it as a gift, an act of strength and courage instead of weakness. For now, let me curate life narratives through the interwebz.

Crossroads

Crossroads

Last night I had the chance to join a personal discussion with a priest, we asked him several rhetorical questions like the story of how he entered the priesthood, his view of the third gender, sins, and absolution.

Then someone asked him, “If you knew that you will commit a sin – but will do it anyway then ask for repentance, will you be forgiven?”

Continue reading

Cambodia for your old soul

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I always like the idea of visiting Cambodia because of #1 reason: it is super cheap. Case in point: I stayed in a decent all-female dorm for USD25 for three nights. Felt like I needed a break from all the work-related stuff and decided to spend the long ASEAN holiday outside Malaysia. I fancy tuktuk rides and Siem Reap has the best night market I’ve ever seen!

Quaint cities like Siem Reap tug at my heartstrings – to live simply without the sight of towering buildings, to sip a cup of coffee or to eat pistachio ice cream while waiting for time to pass. The calmness of having nothing to worry except for the next destination.

Anatomy of a Great Service

certificate

There’s a mountaineering sign of compassion where you greet all fellow hikers along the way with “Magandang Umaga po! or Ingat!”. These brief greetings are creating a sense of belongingness – as if we need each other’s encouragement to reach the summit. My last hike was two years ago in Mt. Pulag glared over the sea of clouds from 2,922 above sea level. It was beyond surreal.

Every Saturday afternoon, we also have our own greeting of compassion. We pat each other’s shoulders and say “Great service!”. But what makes a worship service great? Continue reading

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“Don’t settle for nice, for pleasant, for familiar. Keep looking until you find something that really moves you, that resonates with your core. And I mean this for people, for interests, for hobbies, for your possessions, clothes, music, books, art. Everything. Curate every aspect of your life, as much as you can. It’s in the things that deeply inspire us that we find ourselves. Surround yourself with truth and you will build yourself a heaven.”