Thursday, March 30, 2006

A glimpse of death

A sudden crack of noise broke the early morning silence. I later learned that it was the electrical fuse. Having had neighbors who almost had small fires in their homes make us a bit too paranoid. This time was no exception. We spoke of moving again. My mother hastily called a handyman. After an hour, all was fixed. The lights were back. We started plugging in. But then, the culprit, a wet extension socket peed on by our cat, was unknowingly plugged in. Another spark and boom. Down went the electricity again. This time my mom decided to call a true electrician. But this time, she had to wait for he lives far. She was nervous but I felt I couldn't just wait with her and my brother. I must go to work. I left.

And so I hailed a cab.

My routine of settling inside a cab was shattered. A split second was all it took. The images are vivid. From the window I saw the tricycle hurtling across the road. After being hit or having hit the cab, I truly don’t know, it flew slightly above the ground, turning to its right, to its left, once again to the right, and finally settling on the ground. Like puppets, the driver and the back passenger, flew from their seats, crumpling at the gutter, in pain. Twice I saw the upper body of the unfortunate woman, bobbing in and out of the sidecar.

I was told to get out of the cab. I saw no blood but they were walking in pain. The taxi driver took them in, to bring them to the nearest hospital.

I hesitated. Are these signs? Should I go home, with tail between my legs, and just try to hide from this chaotic world? Or should I hail another cab, go to work and uncover a semblance of composure? My question was answered readily. An available cab arrived. It was easier to just get in and breathe than to take the walk back home or worse, ride a tricycle.

Inside, I tried to settle my heart. The beating did stop. But the things that have happened so early in the morning made me think.

I almost died once. I have no recollection of that DAY. There were no images to haunt me. But this recent accident, so similar in some ways made me ask myself : am I ready to die? In a vehicular accident? In a fire? Drowned at sea? Shot by a stray bullet? Plane crash? Food poisoning?

I wavered. I admitted that I think I am not. There was a time in my life that I felt I could be ready anytime, even happy to go. But not on that day. The reasons? Maybe I am enjoying my life too much? Maybe I want to do so many things still? Or horror of horrors, am I not spiritually ready?

And so I prayed. That God would make ready. It might be morbid to think about it but truly all of us would die. It is just a matter of time, place and cause of death. I do not want to have any regrets. That I have not done what has been ordained for me to do. That I wasted my precious short time on earth on things that do not eternally matter. I want to be ready whenever He has decided that I have fulfilled my purpose on earth.

Life is fragile. Life is short. Instantly, like snuffing out a candle, life goes black. There isn’t going to be a next Lazarus until the day He comes back. There are no second chances. I can only be ready if my heart is right with Him. I can only be ready if I am doing what He want me to do. I can only be ready if there are no ifs and buts.

I want to be ready. I hope I will always be ready.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Kids and adults

Kids are cute.

Their evading actions after an argument could be pretty funny. They watch until you are gone and they would run to the kitchen to slip into their little mouths big helpings of what earlier they stubbornly refused to eat. They come out of hiding from under the covering of a bed sheet when they think you are asleep. The petty comments, coming from immature emotions and minds, told to the other parent or a grandparent, even a sibling, could sound entertaining.

I know because I was a child once. I taught kids and thus I know their act.

Imagine a grown person doing the same. Not to the extent of a bed sheet or a dash to the refrigerator. But the hide-and-seek tactics just to avoid meeting you. Plus the spiteful personal comments against you. Insignificant it seemed but mean, little jabs that are completely unrelated to the subject of dispute.

Childish character could be endearing when it comes from a child. Spiteful kids, to an extent, could be engaging. Adults? The same image? Hmmm…

Kids I could understand, but an adult I could not.

What to react? Anger? Oh no… not that. Initially it may be. Narrow-minded adults are not worth a crumb of emotion. Well… maybe… pity? After all, they never left their childhood behind. The nasty part of it anyway.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I just had to accept the offer.

A year ago, my officemate told me that her friend's cat just had her kittens. After a few months, I learned that they were planning to put to sleep one of the kittens since the intended owner suddenly backed down. I just couldn't bear the idea ... a little innocent kitten to be killed. Of couse, some may say that it is kinder to "murder" it than let is suffer slowly. Still...

And so I offered to get the kitten. But I had to ask first the permission of my parents. We are the proud owners of 2 cats and 3 dogs. Do we still have the space? A third cat suddenly ran away from home a few months back and I thought the free space could be filled up by this to-be-abandoned kitten. And so I said yes.

Of course, we had to experience our first adventure. When I picked it up from it first home, it suddenly jumped from the its box at the same time that the elevator door opened. It ran scared around the condo floor while we tried to corner it. We caught it after running around in circles and a few shouts. The next one was during the kitten's first date with the vet... cried so loudly to and from the vet's as if on its way to the hangman's noose.

I battled between Pretzel and Narra but the former won more votes. Cute name and easy to pronounce. Just two syllables. This is very important especially if you are shouting after it. And so Pretzel became a new member of the family. He (I thought it was a she, not knowing that male cats do not show their you-know-what until a certain age... good thing I did not call her Marsha or any girl's name!), we discovered, has a big appetite. He eats anything and everything. Imagine a kitten that eats pancit! Or corn? And so he has grown.

Pretzel has inched his way into our hearts. He has displaced the other cats, taking over their sleeping thrones. He confidently walks by and jumps around the dogs, feats that the other cats wouldn't dare do. He alone is allowed to get inside the bedrooms, that is. after having his cloth bath plus alcohol and perfume. He gets to sleep on the chest of my dad or beside my brother. He playfully rolls all over the house or just leans nonchalantly wherever he wants. We love him for his antics and acts of self-entertainment... like running after his tail, annihilating the poor newspaper just for the fun of it, or even biting after your foot just for the heck of it. Throw him up in the air, hug him, play with his legs, pull his tail (albeit lightly), make him run after a string... It is fun to watch him and be with him.

A little devil and a little angel bundled in an adorable kitten named Pretzel.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

From the frying pan into the fire

I was just manning the phone during lunchbreak today when we heard that someone was threatening to jump from one of the high buildings near our office. We did what anyone would do. We searched for the right building,

And we found it. Just looked for a crowd of people gawking at a particular building and voila.

Then I noticed what I only get to see in the movies: the big round jumping net that are used by firemen to catch fleeing men trapped in burning buldings. I looked up and there he was, a man in a red shirt, about to jump, standing on the top banister of the fire exit stairs at the 14th or 15th floor of the SSS building (or maybe another building? ... i will know which one tomorrow, in the newspapers).

Suddenly, he fell backwards, into the platform of the stairs. Maybe outbalanced, or maybe he changed his mind. The rescuer ran as fast as he could and took hold of this would-be-puller of his own plug.

If I am not mistaken, this is a third attempt for the last two weeks. The first one was a man who thought of jumping from the MRT because he had too many encounters with the MMDA and lost his wares. The second was a man caught between the marital disputes of his parents.

And I think.

Think of the deep despair of a father who wants to feed his children yet lost again and again his source of earnings. Think how much he owed from an unscrupulous moneylender. His future, he believes, is sealed. A life-long drudgery with no end.

Think of the emotional turmoil of a son, caught between constant arguments and fights between two loved ones. He had enough. The continous assaults against his mind were too much. All of this must end.

And the red-shirted man. What was wrong in his life?

I do not know what went through their minds, these three lost men. Were they really that hopeless that they had no other recourse? Was the only answer death? Is life too hard that they rather face the unknown yet sure destination that is hell? I do not know if their pains are valid. We have different standards. Who knows but we might have done the same.

It saddens me though. Our society has created people and situations that make our lives living hells that individuals would opt to end their miserable existence. Our busy and materialistic world has stopped caring and providing options to those who are destitute and in despair. We are not reaching out enough. No wonder men are jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Good thing they did not jump. They might have known too late. In reality, they might be jumping from living hells into forever hells.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

I just had to post this movie ad here in my blog. Written by one of my favorite women authors, it has become one of my favorite books as well. I have read it several times and I have seen the movie twice. And I will read the book and watch the movie again, and again, and yet again.

I am re-reading it after maybe a 5-year hiatus so as to appreciate the beauty of the words and the romantic love story between Elizabeth and Darcy, who each epitomized a particular human failing … pride and prejudice. And I just remembered also that this was the topic of my thesis research in college! This and Jane Austen’s other book “Sense and Sensibility.”

Reading the introduction, I became pleased once more to re-learn that she completed this work at the age of 21! Just imagine! A classic today but written by someone at an early age! (Another illustration of how the modern diversions like the television and computer which made our lives interesting also reduced our time to start early in wringing out our creative juices!)

I quote here several sentences from the introduction…

“”Pride and Prejudice is a kindly satire upon, and a gentle analysis of, life in a small village in southern England at the close of the 18th century… Each of the characters is an exponent of certain “humors.” Mr. Bennet’s principal quality is cynicism; Mary Bennet is naturally a pedant; Lydai Bennet is a flirt; Mr. Collins is pretentiously conceited…Or to put in other words, this novel is the history of the gradual union of two people, one of them held by unconquerable pride,and the other blinded by unreasonable prejudice… Her swiftest means of revealing character is by conversation, and sometimes Jane Austen’s art exposes a quality of that character by the use of a single phrase or a sentence. Her greatest skill as an artist lies in developing a carefully-planned story, stripped of all unnecessary details, in which plot is the main interest.””

I cannot help but admire how Jane Austen slowly revealed the almost imperceptible change of heart of both Darcy and Elizabeth. Love was displayed not with majestic words of passion and romance, but with actions from Darcy and with inner about turn of Elizabeth’s opinion and affections.

To end, let me quote just a few of my favorite conversations…

Darcy : … Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us

Charlotte: If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will be a poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark
Bingley likes your sister, undoubtedly, but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on.

Mrs. Bennet: … You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves.

Mr. Bennet: You mistake me my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.

After Elizabeth accepted to dance with Darcy
Charlotte: I dare say you will find him very agreeable.
Elizabeth: Heaven forbid! – That would be the greatest misfortune of all! – To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate! – Do not wish me that evil!

Darcy: In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth: I might as well inquire, why with so evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you like me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character?

Elizabeth: … I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.

Darcy: If you will thank me, let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of our.

You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once! My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.

Darcy: … think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.

Elizabeth: I do, I do like him. I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable. You do not know what he really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms.

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 (