Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Face your fear

Just thinking about it is making me nervous. All eyes focused on you. Around eight to ten spotlights, maybe even more, are directed towards you. Highlighting the fact that you are on stage and in front of everyone. Apprehension gripping your heart. Your stomach all tied up in knots.

In my mind, I try to imagine how I would go about sharing my life in front of around 200 to 300 people in a large auditorium. And all I can feel is dread.

Battles have been fought within me whenever I am forced to stand in front of a crowd. Just like any normal person, I love being the centre of attention. Who wouldn’t? But not when many pairs of eyes are on you, looking at you while you try to say what is on your mind, share your heart. I can speak before a group of people, facilitate a discussion, lead a meeting, and feel comfortable if only I am safely on my chair. But make me stand, even for a few minutes, say a prayer, facilitate a game, and for sure I become tense and cold all over. I expect it. Clammy hands, loud beatings of the heart, nervousness consuming my mind.

And so was I dismayed to hear our pastor when he asked me to share something about my life! On Sunday… during the main service… in front of the whole church! Oh boy! This is going to be an ordeal. But then, I couldn’t say no. It’s an opportunity. I am being given the chance to declare to the world His goodness and the changes He wrought in me.

It is a privilege, true. I know God is telling me to do this. He will put the words in my mouth. He will be by my side.

And so now I prepare my words in advance. I will practice all day tomorrow. I don’t feel so afraid for the moment. I hope this will last me until Sunday.

My Favorite

The rain just stopped. A few minutes ago the skies were immensely darkened, raindrops rapidly pattering on my window, the lightning streaking the gloomy heavens. And then, in an instant, those images were gone. The white clouds are back. Cotton like and so light. You can see them ever so slowly changing in shapes, knowing that the wind is whispering slowly, yet surely, guiding them to where they should go.

I don’t know when it started but I know now that I have always had this fascination for clouds. White clouds, dark clouds. Clouds shaped like old men, smoke ring, series of mountains, even abstract shapes that only an artist can imagine the figures they portray. Looks like Father Moses ! There ! There’s a ship voyaging ! Is that a dragon ? Looks like it. And there at the other side ! Water gushing out from the falls !

And yet, I love most the white clouds floating around, no definite shapes, set in the wide expanse of a light blue yet bright skies. They lift up my emotions, my life, my soul.

Atop earth, looking high above, the clouds almost transparent, I can imagine what our world would look like from the universe. Just gazing, it makes me wonder how people can not believe that there is a Higher Being that crafted our world and just synchronized everything ? How can one lose hope when we see the beauty of the skies ?

I thank God for my eyes, for I can see the beauty of His creation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Darks clouds

This was the entry I was trying to write yesterday, but then I got distracted because of shoes. Let me continue…

I just heard the sound of thunder, warning me of the imminent arrival of the rain. Unbeknownst to me, the dark clouds began to form, clustering over the business area of the city. Its tentacles moving, ever slowly spreading.

Small droplets of rain are beginning to fall on my window pane.

Yet from a distance, I see the sun shining. Far, far from my building, I see the rolling mountains of Antipolo (I hope I am right). Dazzling, white clouds are dawdling all around them. Such contrast from the gloomy setting of the city.

Way below, I hear blares of horn. It might be the incessant sound from the jeepney of a tired driver, trying to reach his destination. He wants to avoid the traffic that the crowd of protesters will surely bring. Or rather, it might be from vehicles of demonstrators converging along Ayala corner Paseo in order to demand the resignation of the head of the land.

Are the clouds crying? Is heaven mourning with us as it witnesses the tug-of-war between the leaders of the country? Does it commiserate with us knowing that dissensions can bring about the downfall of the rule of law? When will we learn? When will the people have enough of the political turmoil? When will everyone kneel and entreat the Power Above to intervene and end all the sufferings?

As I look at those lovely clouds, high above the mountains, I wish in my heart that it foretells the future of my homeland. That one day, our countrymen will wake up to a bright clear morning, without the downgrades of credit ratings, without the resignations of government officials, without political bickerings, without the endless protests led by politicians with self interests.

But the dark clouds appear to be deliberately reaching out, blackening out even that small window of light. I can no longer see the mountains or the bright clouds. And all I can do right now is hope. And pray. For I know that beyond the rain, there can appear a rainbow. I just need to look for it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Just another day

I feel like crying.

Sometimes I get tired of people telling me to wear shoes other than boots. Don't they know that if I had the choice, I would have worn the sexiest high-heeled shoes? That I would go to parties, with knee-length cocktail dresses together with open-toed glittery shoes? That I would have loved to wear summer clothes with pastel colored sandals? Or even white classic slippers paired with simple shorts and shirt? I would haves. Lots of them.

Just thinking of the “I would haves” makes me teary eyed. What young woman wouldn’t want to have fun with different styles in clothes and shoes? What visual-person wouldn’t dream of capturing everyone’s attention with her fabulous get-up?
Bones attacked by my own thyroid anti-bodies, resulting in osteopenia in some parts of the body and osteoporosis in others. Victim of a freak accident, fracture of the bones, and thereby discovering its brittleness and fragility.

I distinctly remember asking for my shoes from those unknown but helpful souls. Oh, how I loved those brown, mid-high heeled shoes! Even then, I still had the presence of mind to remember my shoes. But of course, in the chaotic events that happened, the shoes got lost. And even if they were found, they were of no use. Their purpose in my life was gone.

How funny to think that the choice of shoes could limit our choice of clothes. Normally, women select the style of their shoes based on their desired clothes. But it has become the other way around for me. It is not that funny anymore.

Knowing that I need to protect myself ( I once tripped over the leg of a moving blackboard, and was I thankful for sporting boots that day and that they protected my lower legs!) and following doctor’s orders, I have decided to stick to boots. It would have been fun, once again, if I was in Europe, in the States even in Mexico or Korea. In those countries, boots are common. They come in various styles, sizes, designs and colours. Wearing boots was fashionable. Normal.

But not here. And so I grew weary of roaming shoe stores looking for the perfect boots. I became disappointed with custom made ones. I am exhausted of wearing the same old boots day in, day out, rain or shine.

I’ve learned to accept my fate. The mistakes of a careless and sleepy truck driver changed my life forever. But who am I to complain ? I am alive. I could walk with both my two feet on the ground. Yup, there are limits. But it’s just a matter of mindset. I’ve accepted my fate.

But there are days that I get tired. Tired of explaining myself regarding things beyond my control. Trying to remind myself to look at the better side of life.

Remind myself, it’s just one of those days.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

On changing your mind

I borrowed this image from another site. I hope the photographer will not be angry.

I just want to try the new feature of blogger and what can be the best picture to post but that of the Eiffel Tower : where many couples dream of spending their romantic holiday!

Isn't it funny though that many, many years ago, when it was to be created to commemorate the centenniary event of the French Revolution, many have protested against its construction. That later on, it was supposed to be torn down and was saved because of antennae. And here, numerous years after, it has become the symbol of France.

Only proves that people can change their mind. A good lesson for us: don't be discouraged if other people don't like your idea. A hundred years from now, they might consider you a genius.

A movie that reminded me

On a date many years ago, I no longer remember how the topic came about, but this guy asked me: what if we are not the only creatures in the universe? What if there is another Jesus being crucified in another world? And if the Word of God does not mention it, doesn't that mean that it might not be totally true? I know my beliefs but was not able to answer. I became tongue-tied, I didn't know how to form my answer. How do you convince an intellectual man? How do you answer a hypothetical question with undertones of unbelief? And another thing, I didn't want to ruin the moment ( you know how it is, for young girls on a date, trying hard to make a good impression).

When I became matured in my faith ( and continously seeking to be more mature... until now), I often wished that I was able to answer that question. But that moment is already gone and all I can do is pray that he will find the answer to his question, the real answer.

That moment flashed in my mind again when I watched the War of the Worlds. A two-hour movie that could make your heart stop and scream so loud because of the surprising shots. It showed the earth as the object of invasion of extraterrestial being, seeking out the blood of its inhabitants as source of their own survival ( for me, there is a loophole in the movie, but it can be the topic of another blog). The question of my date presupposes the existence of other beings and as we can see, War of the Worlds portrayed the same story.

I am convinced that we are the only humans in the universe. This is not, of course, absolute. I put no limit on the power of God. He could have created a hundred earths. There might have been a hundred crucifixions or a thousand saviors. It doesn't matter.

In my world, I have seen the presence of God and I have felt His mercy and love. I am not afraid of other beings conquering my home or taking my blood to sustain its life. And if there's more that one Jesus who died because of His love, wouldn't that be wonderful? That He has chosen to save all of us, regardless of the world? I am more afraid of what I could have missed out. When I think of all those who were not blessed with knowing God early in their life, when I count the people I know who are just existing, and when I see the faces of many who do not know the reason for their lives, I get reminded to be grateful.

I thank God that He has allowed me to know Him. And all I can do now is to remember that guy and pray... pray that he will find the answer before it's too late.

Lion Chaser Manifesto

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshiping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away.

Chase the lion.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (www.evotional.com)