So I realized that the last entry I wrote was two weeks ago and that could only spell one thing: BUSY. But it wasn’t ‘stressful busy’. I was just out of town for the whole week and it’s only now that I got to sit down and write. I also realized that my past blogs revealed some nasty things I’ve experienced the past week, and no, I’m not going to apologize for that because I stand by what I wrote, which actually was more what I felt.
It’s 37 minutes past 1 in the morning and I will be glad to provide some thought bullets and I promise I would give a more deserving blog to each of these thoughts (yes, each of them as soon as I have the time!)
• Falling in love a second time around.I went back to Batad, Banaue last March 8-12, and I fell in love with it a second time around. The hike down was actually easier than last year. For one, the road from junction to Saddle can already be traversed by a jeep. That took away an hour of needless (or is it?) hike for all of us. But the terraces weren’t as green as last year. El Nino hit this side of the country real bad and the white, dried up crops are proofs of it. The medical mission brought free glasses which were badly needed by the locals. It broke my heart to see the people I interviewed a year back who had ailments which until now still require medical attention. You know, I don’t want to be a doctor, though I’d be glad to marry one. But when I was there, I really wished just for those three days that I was a doctor so I could address their ailments and make things a little easier for them. Like Apo Juanito who has cataract. A year later, not much has changed. He still hasn’t gone down to town. There’s also Apo Hummah, God bless her heart. She is such an adorable little old lady and she took my heart away. I really just felt so helpless to see them helpless and I told myself that with the articles I will soon write, I will challenge as many people as I can to help out in whatever they can.
• “A beauty marred”.I was also in Zamboanga for three days and it was tiring that I had to leave the day I arrived in Manila from Banaue. I would have wanted to stay a little more and rest but then this was going to be my first trip to Zamboanga. People are scared of the place and while these claims are not unfounded, they don’t follow all the time. In fact, when I got there, there was no indication whatsoever that a bomb was going to explode soon. I proved my relatives and sister wrong because I did get home safe and there really was nothing to be scared of. It’s the media that make up all this hype. While I was discussing this with some of our staff there, they told us about the beauty of Jolo and Sulu, the white beaches, the food, the people. It’s unfortunate their hometowns are marred by ill reputation because I’ve heard so many wonderful things about them —and I put the blame on the corrupt military officials who make Mindanao a profiteering business.
• “Sorry, wrong expectations!”About 3 weeks ago, I got into a ‘falling out’ with a friend over some remarks I found offensive. Not to worry, I only rebuked as necessary. I cautioned myself over being too harsh on people, but I guess after being taken advantage and abused too many times for being too kind, the least I can do was to be brutally honest and frank. And I’m going to be honest again and say that while I think no apology could ‘right the wrong’, I was still running under the assumption that I was going to get one anyway. And I didn’t. I didn’t hear a single word. Didn’t get a single peace offering. And I was a little disappointed because I thought by now people should know me. If it were me, even if the other person already said I should not apologize, by myself I would still do what I think is only appropriate and necessary, without intending to right the wrong, because mistakes cannot be undone. But they can be redeemed. But I guess this was another undelivered expectation because while I thought that person was going to give it all he’s got to make amends, he didn’t do a single thing. I’m surprised at some people’s lack of imagination because really, there are so many ways to apologize to a person without having to say “I’m sorry”. The only thing I could think of now is how Elin Woods said that Tiger’s apology will not come in the form of words, but in a change of behavior and through time. But, well, people I guess hardly care about making amends whether in words or deeds.
• Humility precedes grace.Tonight’s BSF was about Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well. Any self-respecting Jew will never want to be found talking with a Samaritan, a woman, a prostitute no less. Jews who had to go to Galilee would take the longer route to avoid Samaria, but not Jesus. When he saw the woman drawing water at an unusual time (noon), he took this opportunity to reach out to her when no one would. He approached her and asked for some water. The Samaritan woman was taken aback. How could a Jew ask water from her? But Jesus didn’t discriminate against her regardless of her social, moral or spiritual standing, in the same way he didn’t discriminate against Nicodemus, a learned religious leader. He treated both of them as one needing one thing —salvation. And they needed to see themselves as they truly are: sinful. As soon as the conversation ensued between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, Jesus openly declared before her (the first record of Jesus revealing his Deity in the Bible) that He was the Living water. The Samaritan woman, however, cannot receive this water yet without recognizing her own sinfulness. Her past had to be exposed. It was necessary for conviction and confession to take place before cleansing. This is an important truth to all of us: If we want to be forgiven, if we want to be cleansed, we need to admit our sins, humble ourselves before God, and seek forgiveness. Some of us, myself included, have taken this truth lightly. But we shouldn’t. The truth is, without humility, there is no grace.
• Back to square one. I’m learning this week that faith and obedience are really a daily choice. We don’t wake up one day and find that we don’t need to ask help from God to get us through the day because we know it’s going to turn out well. So many things can veer us off course, especially temptations. If we’re not careful and abiding by His word, we would fall away. We need to choose to obey God daily. The effects of not following him are evident. When we’re not right with God, it will always show in our words, actions, thoughts. And we will always know it. We won’t manifest the fruits of the spirit —we won’t even recognize we’re lacking of them. It would take God’s spirit again to convict us, and then we go back to square one. I’ve seen that in myself this week. I’m more irritable. I’m less self-controlled. I also say all the wrong things at the wrong time, react negatively on circumstances, and lose testimony. It’s heartbreaking to have to see yourself do the wrong things when you know what you should be doing, and when you know more than anything, it’s breaking God’s heart. It’s so painful to feel like we’re nailing Jesus to the cross each time we sin, but that’s what it feels like to me every time I disobey God.
•Grace is real.But with this, I find that grace is more real to me. It’s such an amazing feeling to know that we do not stand condemned and that we have freedom in Christ. Isn’t that what we all want in this world? For guilt to be removed, our offenses, our wrongs? No one can do that except Jesus. I praise Him because He does what nobody else can do —forgive us unconditionally.
There. I said I was going to write some thought bullets, but my thoughts proved to be weightier than I thought. I shall bid goodbye for now and I promise to devote a better blog for each of this.