Think about it

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Yes, I’m supposed to be asleep right now but a couple of minutes ago my Lola called me to see some “Dama de Noche”. It’s a flower that blooms only at night. I know it’s kind of a sad fact for a flower. One has to wake up in the middle of the night or sleep late just to see it spread its white magnolia like petals. It smells nice too, it actually smells like nostalgia to me. There you are in the middle of the night dazed at the sight of an unlikely flower blooming amidst the cold breeze and the whispering twilight – nostalgia it is. By the way, “Dama de Noche” is directly translated as Lady of the Night.

As morning begins to reflect on dewdrops on sleeping leaves. This flower of the night withers away at the sight of sunlight. I guess life in a sense is like that. We all have our “Dama de Noche” it may be an emotion, a singular piece of memory that echoes in one’s sleepless nights, a person, a wish, etc., I have no idea why I’m writing this, but the thought that in the morning the sight I just saw a while ago will fade to oblivion. We meet someone only to have them gone in our slumber.

Since this is a hodge-podge excerpt, I deem it necessary to use random notions or real-life scenarios. However it won’t be acceptable if I do so. Funny isn’t it? In our lowest moments we remember our little flower of the night. When happiness dwindles away to being a description in the dictionary rather than an emotion we look for that memory despite the shadows all around. And it gives one the feeling of comfort and the bliss of nostalgia. I’ve been mentioning nostalgia a couple of times.

I guess what I have to realize is that although my “Dama de Noche” will be gone in the morning. A couple of weeks or even days from now, I’ll still be compelled to wake up in the wee hours of morning to get a glimpse of it. Just like hope, I guess, that keeps on popping out of nowhere when necessary. And at times it blooms even lovelier than the last one.

Excerpts of a Dreamer

Defeat is victory when one learns from it

My dad as a pastor listens to many problems of people. Every Monday he would come home late from bible studies. Tired yet fulfilled, he greatly shares to us the stories of victories people testify because of God’s love.

One story I can never forget is that of “Jing”. He came from a family of lawyers. Thus, since childhood he dreamt of defending the weak from injustice and corruption. As an aspiring lawyer myself, I listened intently as my dad moved from one sentence to another. It was a tale of struggle and heartache. It was an excerpt of a dream worth trying again.

Triumphs, at times we see them as measurements of success. However we neglect to see that to triumph over failure is greater than success. I’m saying this not as a valid excuse for failing but as a reality people misunderstand. The story of Jing taught me the aforementioned.

Jing was a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Commerce at La Colegio de la Purisima in Roxas City. After graduating he took up Bachelor of Liberal Law at the University of San Agustin. Reviewing for the BAR exams, Jing had high hopes of passing. Coming from a bloodline of lawyers he said he felt the pressure of succeeding. He failed.

He was shattered. My dad can still vividly remember the frustration in his face as he shared his failure during a bible study. “He asked us to pray for him, that he’ll pass the BAR exams the second time around” – my dad said.

 

When you call to God, he will answer. He will come to your rescue

He was comforted by his family and friends. His wife and two kids stood by him, encouraging him to lift up his spirit. With his wounds healing from the pain, he prepared himself for yet another try. “Better that I take it again while the experience is still fresh” Jing said.

“My second attempt was better than the first. I really thought I was going make it but I didn’t” – during his second attempt Jing failed again. This time the heartache was bitter than before. With the disappointment of his second exam the pain took longer to heal.

Coming from an affluent family, Jing did not mind the expenses of his review nor at the loss of his time for business because of reviewing. But becoming a lawyer had always been his dream. It was a pursuit neither time nor failure can diminish. “To be a lawyer is my childhood dream” he said in one of their bible studies.

He did question why he failed the second time around. Why life was playing him as a pawn in the big checkerboard of defeat. At this time, my dad shared to him a familiar bible verse he would often share.

And we all know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose – Romans 8:28
Right now, Jing is reviewing for the next BAR exams. If he fails he says he’ll go back to business, if not then he’ll live the dreams of becoming a lawyer. Unafraid of what will happen, he places his faith in God. If God healed him twice in a row, then Jing believes God is capable of more than just healing but of teaching him the feats of life without getting hurt again.

 

The bliss of redemption is only for those who believed without doubt

The act of redemption is a feat only fathomed by those who fell. Jing is a proof of how God heals and redeems one no matter the pain. As an aspiring lawyer myself I see his testimony as an inspiration not in the future BAR exams but in the pursuit of life.

Doing what one loves is a great joy. Failure will not matter if it’s part of God’s plan.

 

Photo credits:

www. google.com

The Cask of Brothers

The Cask of Brothers

Carlo struggled his way to the fire, avoiding the poisonous gas that tortured his lungs. In his arms was little Juan covered in pyre. Juan was crying loudly because of his wounded leg. It was injured because the pillars of their home crumbled and fell on him when he tried to save his favorite shoes. The sirens echoed loud but far. The fire truck arrived late only to find Juan and Carlos’ home along with fifty others burnt to the ground.

Medics rush to treat the injured boy. Carlo gazed as his brother was screaming in pain. How he wished it was him instead of his brother. How he wished the fire never happened. Teardrops formed like dewdrops on the side of his eyes, he turned back and saw their home once standing tall now in ashes – and along those ashes were his parents.

 

Ten years have passed. Carlo now works as a waiter in a restaurant. He stopped schooling after the fire to look after Juan. He was hard working. Yes, he would’ve gotten a promotion if were not for Juan’s hard-headedness.

Juan grew up with bad company. He was influenced by his friends to smoke, to skip classes and to cheat. He visited Carlo once in the restaurant he worked in and stole the wallet of Carlo’s co-worker. Promising his parents that he will look after Juan no matter what happens decided to take the blame. He was supposed to be laid off but the manager saw his hard-work and decided to give him a chance.

Carlo went home tired. He was now 27 yet the lines of his face reveal another number. His hands were cold, numb from all the work. Along with him was a bag of pancit. He managed to spare a couple of pesos to buy food for him and his brother.

As he arrived he saw Juan, he smelled like cigarettes. His eyes were red as if he had cried all day. The calling of the night was Juan’s comfort and as he saw his brother inching in his way into their little home he felt the vengeance of poverty and the pain of ignorance.

“You smoked” – Carlo said while putting the pancit on two plates. One had many cracks on it.

“No, you leave me alone”. Juan avoided Carlo’s eyes, he felt the pang of hunger seeing the pancit yet his pride flourished more than weeds in a garden.

“Remember how our parents taught us honesty, now eat”. Carlo was mad at his brother actions.

“No! I’ll eat my own food!” – Juan limped. After his accident by the fire Juan could no longer walk properly and he was angry with that fact all his life.

Juan went out of their house. Carlo did not stop him. All night he wandered in the streets until he came upon an empty waiting shed and decided to sleep their.

Amidst his slumber he was woken up by a group of men. Juan knew they were evil. He knew he was in trouble. They shouted at him saying that this was their turf and that trespassers are heavily punished. They beat him up, but after a while Carlo rushed to save his brother. Carlo was outnumbered. He was almost beaten to death if it were not for the police. Juan watched his brother drenched in blood. Black and blue all over yet alive, Carlo had always something inside him and Juan never understood it. It was hope.

After they were treated in the police station the brothers went home. Juan began to sob as he saw the pancit in the table still untouched. He looked at his brother, at his bruises. At that day Juan decided not to be selfish.

He treated Carlo with respect – with love. Carlo treated him the same as always. His grades were improving. He wasn’t hanging out with his juvenile friends. He was getting better from the bitterness of life.

One day Juan arrived early from school. He saw his friend wearing sports shoes and showing it off. Jealousy came upon him as his mind again wandered in then insecurities of life. Upon arriving home, he nagged to his brother of how much he needed a phone, how much it was a necessity to him, how he couldn’t live without it.

Carlo’s words did not calm Juan. And he promised to get him one after three months. Carlo worked day and night, he went home hungry. His soul became tired yet he cannot bear not giving his brother happiness.

Carlo was working late at night doing an inventory of the newly arrived vegetables. He did this every night until his eyesight deserted him. His co-workers admired his dedication, his devotion to work and most of all his love for his brother.

One night, as he was recording vegetables at the kitchen the neighboring shoe shop owner shouted for help. Carlo rushed to the owner and saw the big fire gobbling the shoe store.

“My wife and daughter are inside!”. The shoe shop owner cried.

Carlo rushed inside. He smelled the pang of burned rubber as he finally reached the room where the two are. He first saved the daughter. Then as he came back for the mother, the fire was bigger, hotter than ever. It reminded him of the night their house got burned. He quickly helped the mother up. Assisting her as she walked Carlo stumbled upon the melted rubber, his leg was burning.

“Go on”. He said

With hesitation the wife of the shoe shop owner rushed outside the burning shop.

The firemen arrived late as usual. The medics treated the injured. The once tall shoe shop was now in ashes and so was Carlo.

Juan slept that night without his brother. Although he was concerned why he did not go home, he was certain that he was okay.

A knock on the door was heard. Juan opened the door and saw his brother’s manager and the owner of the shoe shop. They did not speak a word. Hearing nothing Juan’s heart cringed, his breathing hardened as he would like to refute the fate of his brother. Although he did not know what happened, their faces told a tale even the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

They told him what happened. Juan heard his heart split into two. After a long conversation the shoe shop owner said: “Your brother saved my family, when I reopen my shop get all the shoes you want. As long as I am the manager of that shop you can have any shoe any time”

Hearing those words did not comfort Juan. It made him in regret even more.

Twenty years had passed. Juan maried. The memory of Carlo made him twice as hardworking as he was. He valued his education more then ever until he graduated as an engineer. He was contented with the happiness of what life can offer him. And most of all, he learned to hope. He was no longer afraid of fire.

Juan had a son of his own. And he treated him as he was treated by his brother. Teaching him right from wrong, telling him the courage of his brother and how hardworking he was.

The night was cold. Yet the warmth of a little home filled with love and hope made the dark shudder in fear. Juan was telling his son a story. The stars were in their place as if to play a trick to the human eye. They were distant yet to the man who used to be filled with bitterness – they were perfect.

“Father , tell me more about your brother”

“Tomorrow, I will tell you more”

“Good night”

“Good night Carlo”.

Photo credits:  www.google.com

The Sonnet of Alibis

 

The blank page stares at me like prey. I stare back knowing ink will be spilt this night and that something “unreasonable” will come to mind. Seconds turn to hours, I’m on my fifth draft but again the empty canvass haunts me.

The unreasonable is so to hard fathom. And asking a testimony of it is like asking why people live though death is apparent, why they fall in-love over and over again or why they concede to justice though the verdict is unjust.

I find many things senseless but never did I think that any of them is unreasonable. Though if things come to worse, there’s one thing I find unreasonable and that is fear. I’m afraid of a million things and I find it unnecessary – unreasonable.

To name a few:

1.      I’m afraid of geckos

2.      I’m afraid of losing to failure

3.      I’m afraid of expressing my emotions

4.      I’m afraid of ignorance

5.      I’m a afraid of insane hobos

If asked why I’m afraid, I’d simply shy away knowing my reasons are but self-implicated, though some of them have bearing. I have always been amused of how fear can numb a person and paralyze him of development. Fear is self-inflicted. It is a choice.

People have often been more afraid of what has never happened than what has transpired. It is unreasonable to think how self-damaging fear is. Like cutting your own wrist, fear will let you bleed to death, draining your hope.

 A couple of months ago, my friends and I saw a commotion between a mentally unstable hobo and a jeepney driver. The hobo apparently was not contented with the amount given to her. Thus she resorted to throw rocks at his jeepney and passers-by. Seeing this, we sought refuge by running to the other side of the street away from danger.

Just a couple of hours ago, I was startled when a woman of familiar façade approached me and asked for alms. Looking her direction, I realized she was the same woman I encountered months ago throwing rocks at random cars. My heart jumped out of chest. My imagination then again exaggerated fore coming events while instigating that I do something.

I hurriedly opened my wallet thinking how much I would give her. I gave her a ten peso coin. And as I await my verdict, I was surprised that she said “thank you” and happily walked away with her newfound treasure.

How much sanity did fear cause me? It’s unreasonable, proof is that people regret the things they never did than the things they’ve actually done. Fear makes us apathetic to consciousness. It makes us believe that doing nothing is better than a risk worth-taking.

I’ve never been afraid of pain but I’m afraid of worry. I’ve never been afraid of the answers but I’m afraid of how to ask the question. I’ve never been afraid of dying but I’m at times afraid of living. See, fear makes us paranoid of what is never present. And it is unreasonable without doubt. Having fear means that you do not trust God to help you in every circumstance.

Growing in a Christian I am aware of God’s promises. Psalms 23 was a testimony of King David of why we shouldn’t be afraid when God is with us and when we obey his commandments. The acceptance of fear is only reasonable when we realize that courage is done not by our effort alone.

The only fear that is wise is the fear of the Lord. This fear will make us afraid to be afraid. Our God is mighty to save.

Psalm 23, The Psalm of David:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.