Undeserved Favor

1240090_855814067897200_8729190645228846522_nTechnically, it was Nanay (actually my grandmother) who had a doctor appointment last Saturday. I, on the other hand was really in pain because of my heel. I thought it was just a normal pain but for more than two weeks the pain won’t leave me.

It was Saturday, the doctor does not only accept walk in – you have to make an appointment – he does not accept health card payment during Saturday as well. Despite that, he allowed me only because I am Nanay’s granddaughter. It was really such a favor.

The doctor could have said no, but he didn’t! He was very approachable too and compassionate. He said I have this Achilles tendinitis that reminded me so much of Achilles heel while we were talking. Funny thing was, I have the same gel with Nanay that it lessens my-to-buy-medicines.

It was a day of getting real favor. Nanay bought me Green tea cream frappe after check up and I discovered the wonders of senior citizen discounts which make me excited to be 60. Way to go Ann!!!

It felt like God was using my Nanay that day for me to be reminded to trust Him more whenever I am in doubt. In doubt because, even if I knew the doctor would accept me – not because of my own doing but Nanay’s – I kept on asking “Paano kung hindi? Saang Orthopedic ako?” (What if he won’t accept me? Whose Ortophedic could possibly check on me?)…

To be continued… (I gotta rest! Edit. Revision. Everything will follow. Buuuut I am posting this now…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

When The Message of Hope Is Stronger Than My Pain

I was in pain when I woke up and still in pain while writing this. I just came home from work and I really wanted to just throw myself in my bed, lie down and snuggle my pillow until my eyes are so heavy I have no choice but have another dreamland visit. But, I feel the need to share what made me literally happy today. It might be an ordinary story for most, but it was an extraordinary for me.

When I was a kid, I used to dream of becoming a nun thinking it was pretty cool to wear their dress (I still do) and be respected by many (and I still respect them, really!). I’ve never been a Catholic but being a nun was one of my childhood fantasies. I stopped hoping to be one when I realized that being a nun means not having and creating your own family. You don’t get to be married (to a certain someone) and have your own children (I’m talking about flesh and blood), although you will still be a mother to many. And of course, you don’t get to experience growing old with the person who will always choose to love you regardless. (See, at an early age, I already know I don’t have calling for singleness).

Few hours ago, I was drinking my favorite green tea with red bean while sitting beside a beautiful nun. It happened this way — I didn’t understand why everyone wanted to sit at the middle and back part of FX and people at my back were trying to get ahead of me, knowing the front seats were still unoccupied. The barker suddenly grabbed the door and opened it (which is unusual) and said, “Sister, you may seat here.” (Ann’s version) and I was like, “Hi, may I seat beside you?” and she smiled at me and let me in. I felt like, I was the bravest among others for having the guts to ask her. And ohhh, blessed as well because it’s not every day that you get to seat and talk with a nun.

I decided to pay for her fare but then the barker returned my money and said she’s riding for free. Wow, talking about respect and provision. The high light was when I started to ask her some personal questions on how she came up with a decision to enter a seminary and become a nun. She said, it wasn’t easy, there were discouragements and temptations and everything else. It’s always an everyday decision to remain a nun. She called it discernment. It’s like, you are being tested and you have a choice to make — to stay or to leave.

And would you believe she even asked me about Christian faith? And how it is different (and similar at the same time) from Catholic and other sector? And our perception of Mary and saints? I was more than happy to answer, I said, being a Christian is more than just a religion, it is a lifestyle. That your action must back up your claim. It is honoring God and making disciples. It is acknowledging that you are in need of Jesus in your life. We believe that there is three persona in one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus is 100 % man and 100 % God and he came to save us. That God revealed himself through Jesus Christ. That though we respect Mary and all the saints, it is only through Jesus that we have direct access to God because he is the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through him (see John 14:6). I even acknowledged Mary because Jesus showed respect and love to her. Remember how Jesus turned water into wine during a wedding because of Mary’s request? (see John 2). And she was smiling at me and listening attentively.

I also shared Apostle Paul’s story because he is my favorite character in the bible besides Jesus and God of course, only to find out that hers is Paul too. We were like sharing a favorite bed time story. She even laughed. Imagined, she laughed. It was priceless to speak to her and share the good news (the gospel). I can go on and on of what we talked about because believe me, it was such an amazing conversation I never wanted it to end. But let me try to close this by one of the most important parts of our talk and I believe it is safe to say that she wholeheartedly agreed with me:

It is not enough that we attend Sunday mass every week. We have to read the bible and meditate on it. God already provided us His very heart. It is when we pray that we talk to God, and it is when we read the bible and ponder the word that He is talking to us. The only way that you will know if what the person is feeding you is right and in line with the word of God is when you read and study the word too.”

I know I still have a race to run and I still need to fight the good fight of faith. I cannot do it on my own. I need Jesus in my life. Truth be told, it’s the Holy Spirit that enabled me to share God’s love despite my pain. It was at that moment that an energy suddenly kicked in. We have a message of hope, let’s change the world by sharing the hope — who is Jesus Christ.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)

Nanay to Tatay: “I never stopped loving you…”

I’m still in awe of what love can do to a person. Love makes people act with compassion. Love tells us to keep no record of wrongs. Love enables someone to stay in love over and over again with the same person regardless — just like my grandparents.

In 1991, Tatay passed away but Nanay’s love for him goes on and on. It is timeless. There has never been a past tense in their love story — only memories; memories that will never fade away.

If the same situation would be given to me I wouldn’t know if I’d be able to survive. Imagine, raising nine children on my own? Seriously? But Nanay is a superwoman so, she, of course was able to accept the challanges she had to face back then. And what made her motivated? The secret? All because of “L-O-V-E.”

There is this song that says, “Love will keep us alive…” and so she conquered things. In reality, both of them didn’t come from a wealthy family but they’re able to keep their heads above the water. They met through a common boss; Tatay was a right hand man (or something like that) and Nanay was a care taker. I don’t know if it was a love at first sight but I tell you what, it was totally a bullet train – things happened too fast (make no mistake, no babies involved). It’s like when they realized they loved each other, they couldn’t wait another minute to start their love story.

I have this line for my future husband, “I haven’t seen you yet but I love you already.” Maybe Nanay has a different version when Tatay passed away, and maybe, just maybe it goes something like this, “I won’t be able to see you anymore but I love you still.”  or better yet maybe this afternoon she whispered, “I never stopped loving you…” Woooo. Mine is about meeting the person while Nanay’s about remembering someone who she couldn’t be with physically. Talking about love, right? When you love someone and I mean really love them it doesn’t matter if they are still beside you or they already went home to our creator; what will matter is how you’re able to use your time during your moments together — memories that will last forever.

So when they decided to start their love story they see to it that it has no ending. Not even death can break them apart. You probably know by now how much I like Serius Black’s line from Harry Potter stating, “The ones that love us never really leave us, we can always find them here in our hearts.” (Been using this line whenever a chance popped out, mostly when I write). I think that’s true. I’m not a Harry Potter fan, I didn’t finish reading nor watching the series but I just love that particular line. I mean, what are you going to do when living isn’t an option anymore? Die too? Of course, death is so painful but everyone has an ending here on earth. It’s just a matter of when. So when the Lord called Tatay home, Tatay made sure that Nanay has their memories to look forward to.

Today, I forgot the date and so I didn’t remember that it’s Tatay’s 81st birthday (my bad!!!). I wasn’t able to go with Nanay and the gang at cementery because I learned about it too late. So at 9:57 PM I started typing (thanks to wordpress app). I was planning to tell a story of what I remember about him but then I ended up talking about love. Why? Because Nanay was so excited to see Tatay’s tomb that she ended up going there one hour prior to the expected time of visit. Had she not changed the time, I could’ve prepared but can I blame love and her? No. How can I blame her for getting excited to see the love of her life? I will never dare. She’s a constant visitor there since 1991 especially during Tatay’s birthday every 21st of May, his death anniversary every 3rd day of August and during all souls day. So I better not tell her to wait when she’s so ready to go.

So I learned today that loving someone for the rest of your life is not just a choice but a commitment. It’s easy to fall in love but every day is a decision to stay in love. Nanay and Tatay’s love for each other is timeless. I know one day they will be together again but hopefully not soon. One day but not today.

And because I am running out of words allow me to use a bible verse to end this, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Prov. 3:3, NIV)

Nanay is not only faithful but she loves deeply. And when she does, it goes forever.

Happy Birthday Tatay. How are you in heaven? We miss you but please don’t visit us here (I might not know it’s you and I might have a heart attack). See you one day! We love you. Always.

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Nice I don't have yet the picture of Nanay and Tatay this one will do for now. Nanay with her grandchildren.

My Third Week Of May

Have you ever heard the line, when you pray you are speaking to God and when you read his words, God is speaking to you? I totally agree to it. Lately, I’ve been asking God for so many things and he’s been speaking to me through his words as I read my bible. The best thing is that God is really working not just within me but around me.

Recently, I asked self-centered requests from our Lord, and even undeserving he still gave it to me anyway. One of those was last Sunday (May 18, 2014) when I badly wanted to see someone and I ended up not seeing that person (who I shall not name) but to make it short, when I finally gave up my best friend, Mighty found that someone for me. It was like God wanted me to learn to have greater faith in him. And oh boy, it was totally worth the wait (only I lost faith).

Of course, of course and of course that’s not the first time it happened. There were days when I felt so insecure and some days I didn’t know what to do that I curled up on my bed crying. There was this one incident when I snapped and I was so mad that I forgot to think before I went into action. I suffered for almost two years trying to figure out what to do until few days ago, I went naked before God and poured my emotions to him. You know what God did after? He gave me the wisdom to say the right words (not the best grammar but the right things to say) and I texted that person right away. That day, God healed me completely. I finally told my best friends and I quote (myself), “It has been hurting yet healing. Today, it finally healed.”

And this weekend, my friend posted in Instagram a photo of a pack of cigarette and a bottle of redhorse (or whatever alcohol was that) with a caption “sinful week” and I hated him for that so I commented, “Oh boy, you didn’t just claim that.” Ending, he ignored me. And I was, once again, disappointed in him. But then Rick Warren’s word reminded me that as a Christian we must be sensitive with unbelievers (make no mistake, my friend believes in existence of God and he attends Sunday mass but most of the time he has other lifestyle on  weekdays even weekends). So I changed my tactic and shared God’s amazing works for me instead until we talked about his plans. His plan to attend at our church is still the same — a plan. So I told him to break the plan and make it happen. The good thing is, he said “soon.” It’s a progress because he used to reply “I don’t know.” At least now there is the word soon. I don’t know when will be that soon he’s talking about (I’m praying soonest) but at least he’s a work in progess. We all are, arent we?

In a week, I learned so much:

1. That God knows the desires of my heart and he will give it to me even if at times I am leaving my faith behind.

2. That God is a healer and his timing is always right.

3. That God can use even the simplest thing, like picture to reveal my (your) purpose.

The third one is the best for me — the best revelation. Yes, we cannot reach out everyone but we can reach out someone. Let’s start with those who are important to us: family, friends and relatives. Let’s speak the truth to them in love.

In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren used the Living Bible version for 1 Timothy 6:21a and it says, “Some of these people have missed the most important thing in life — they don’t know God.” I don’t want them (the people I love) to miss the most important thing in their life. The truth is, I am still searching for God. Every day I am praying that God will give me wisdom and that he will ignite my desire to know him deeper. But then I know that even if I’m struggling, I can still reach out to others and tell them the good news. We just have to pour our hearts to him. God said,“You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:13, NCV)

God is faithful even if we run away from him. His love is always perfect. Maybe just like me, you’re suffering from different kinds of pain and sometimes you don’t know what to do but take heart; God said, “I love you people with a love that will last forever. That is why I have continued showing you kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NCV)

And the best thing is that even my love fails, His love will never fail.

My Husband Is Not My Other Half but My Girl Friends

They say that your husband is your other half, well… I beg to disagree, my other half isn’t my husband because:

1. I don’t have one yet.
2. I believe that my husband must be as complete as I am. Therefore, he’s my other whole.

So who would be that for me then?

I’m not pertaining of other half’s denotation but its possible connotation. Say for example, a person who completes you in a very platonic way.

I saw my other half back in high school. My other halves. We were classmates. Mighty and I founded a group – Best Company. One day, she asked me if I can be her best friend. I said YES. We talked about expanding it that same day because we do have other friends, our close friends before she even asked me to be her best friend. I signed up (not literally, of course) Patty, Mighty signed up Rose.

After few years, we ended up having 12 members. Six boys, six girls. There were too many other classmates who wanted to join us but we closed it to 12. New groups were founded, one of those was Sis Company. I was also part of it, purely for girls but I don’t remember anymore how many were we at that time. Originally, Reena was our Sis. She still is, but she’s our Best now. Technically, she’s not part of Best Company.

But then how can you say that he (she) is a true-blooded Best Company member? Was everyone committed to being one to begin with?

I’ll be real, not everyone. Some of them even wrote us their farewell letter telling us that they no longer wanted to be part of our group. They broke my heart. I never wanted them gone but they made a choice and they chose to left us. I swear to you I can still show you their letters, I still have them (because I’m a bit sentimental about letters). Funny how some of them still call us Best up to this very moment.

It breaks my heart to say this but as time passed by, Best Company became just a name. After high school graduation, people moved on and had no time for a get together. Of course I was guilty of it too. But some of us find a way.

Reena became our Best during a Scholar camping. We were room mates (actually tent-mates because we were sleeping in a tent). We knew in our hearts (without even speaking it out loud) that Best Company was just a mere name by then, so we (Mighty, Rose, Patty and I) talked about asking Reena to be one of us without the need of others’ approval. After all, where were they? Seriously, we should have named our new group to something else but then Best Company was our norm so we stuck to it.

What I am trying to say? A group name is just a name, sure it creates story and it affects the group as a whole but then, the member is the real deal. Without a solid friends as members what’s the use of the name then? A design maybe? But for who? For society? Who am I kidding?

If you were to ask me if there is still Best Company – the one we founded back in 2002, well Yes. They are still part of it. It was ours. It is still ours. But if you were to ask me if they are my other halves? No, my other halves are just Patty, Reena, Mighty and Rose.

I have nothing against the other members of Best Company. I still love them. But right now, I am not writing for them. I am writing for my four girls.

The five of us. We can be Power Rangers or even Voltes Five because we really work well together. We know when to shut up and when to mess up with each other. We correct each other with love. Of course at times we feel neglected but we make sure that there will be make up sessions.

They are my other halves because we complement each other in almost everything. I guess that sums it up.

The thing is, we can get by without a group name as long as we have each other. We can name our group No One but we can still be the happiest because we know who we are — we are SOMEONE. Someone who will stick through thick and thin, not because we have to but we want to. Someone who will not be afraid to show one eyebrow up when somebody is lying and not just that, because we are going to dig the truth until we are sure enough that each of us is truly okay.

Time and circumstances have been testing us for almost 12 years now. And here we are, still together. We aren’t in the business of letting anything gets between us. Not today. Not ever.

Patty, Reena, Mighty and Rose are my living proof of Proverbs 18:24, “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”

Who are yours?

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I love them. I just do.

My Lola is a living proof that love is timeless – that your better half doesn’t need to be with you physically to keep the love alive. My Lolo has been six feet under for the last 23 years but she always talks about him as if he’s just around the corner listening to her. And frankly, she’s one of the reasons why I believe that marr

I don’t agree with her at times but I understand that she says something because she loves me.

P.S. You’re Still In Our Heart

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Lately I’ve been reading tearjerker books and it suddenly hit me when a character from Fighting Redemption by Kate McCarthy died. That book made me cry – real bad. The truth is, I normally get carried away while reading so it’s really normal for me to suffer from a book hangover after finishing something good especially when it made me cry.

To make it short, I was recommending the book to my two friends and I was giving them the gist of the story when I suddenly remembered the upcoming death anniversary of Daniel Rivera Noga. He was my high school friend. He was one of the few real ones who got my back during fourth year but that’s another story to tell.

As I was saying he was my friend. And to make it clear he was my only close friend who’s no longer walking on earth. He passed away five years ago. Last year, I wrote about how I learned his death through Dennis’ phone call. A call that took my breath away. A call that shook me from inside out.

I’m not going to lie here, it’s not every day that Daniel would flash in my head. Every now and then I remember him but not every single day. Sure I can tell you that I recollect thoughts about him from time to time since I am claiming that he’s one of my close friends but what’s the point? Would it make him breath again? I highly doubt it. So I’m not in the business of claiming things I don’t do let alone lie about it.

So what’s the deal? Nothing really, I am just trying to write my thoughts down. No, scratch that, I guess I am writing for Dennis (Dennis Datumanong who happened to be Daniel’s best friend who’s also my guy best friend) Yeah. There I said it. This one is in memory of Daniel but also for Dennis’ emotional stability (Oh. Talking about emotional mess every time of this year).

Moving on…

I don’t miss Daniel anymore. Does it make me a bad friend for saying what’s on my head? Don’t get me wrong I miss how he was. I still feel sad when I think of him but I am not in pain anymore. Truth is, when I learned about his sudden death my heart was ripped into two and he left it ripped out because he wasn’t alive anymore to help me put it back together. I lost a part of me in Infanta and that part was buried six feet under with him. He was in my heart. He still here in my heart. Five years ago I tucked his memory into the far corner of my heart where no one, and I mean NO ONE can ever take it away from me. He owns that place. Maybe, just maybe… the underlying reason why I don’t miss him anymore is because he’s been inside my heart and I don’t need to worry that in a snap I might forget who he was. In that place he’s safe — forever.

I guess our heart is not capable of kicking old people out just to give place to new acquaintances. Our heart doesn’t work that way. I guess the good thing about having a heart is that, it expands. It gives more room to people in order for us to accomodate them. Allowing us to keep the old ones as we let in the new deserving people. That’s how our heart works. It always provides space for everyone that matters to us.

Losing your best friend is painful. Just the mere thought of me losing Patty would not only shatter my heart into billion pieces and I know… I totally know that I would never be the same again. So putting myself into Dennis shoes, I bet that when he lost Daniel, it was like a turnado hit him, he couldn’t see straight. He was a mess. I also said earlier that this is for Dennis. Why, you asked? Simple. He loved remembering Daniel and these are my thoughts about his best friend; a friend who once upon a time made me laugh like there’s no tomorrow, made me mad because he annoyed the crap out of me and most especially made me talk about God because he wanted to share the same thing with me.

I once read that pain is inevitable because it demands to be felt. Death is no joke. When somebody’s heart finally stopped beating, that’s it. You cannot go backward because it’s past. You can only visit your past through memories and that’s what I have with Daniel. His memories.

Honestly, I didn’t plan to write anything about Daniel for this year. When I wrote something about him last year entitled Even Just For Today, I thought that was it. After all, what’s more there to write? Well I was wrong, Fighting Redemption made me do it. As I was saying earlier, a character died there. It was Jake who died and he was funny and cool just like Daniel. One of the people he left behind was a best friend named Ryan who remembered Jake from time to time which reminds me of Dennis. So that book was a tearjerker and it pushed me to write what I have in mind.

My emotions are all over the place as I am typing all of these. Why? Because no matter what I say, he’s not coming back. And once again, I’m sad. I’m sad because I wish I’m not writing things about him (about YOU Daniel) in past tense. But hey, the memories are still alive thus making the sadness go away.

I’ll stop here for simple reason, there are things better left unsaid because at this very moment I just want to curl in my bed and pray for Daniel.

P.S. You’re still in our heart!!!