And I'm back IN THE GAME! I know I need not state the obvious but for those of you who haven't noticed it yet, I've been M.I.A. for more than a month now, HELLOOOOOOOO?! It really feels good to have finally found time to do something that has actually helped me cope with boredom and kill off every single thing that's stressing me out.
If you're trying to find the elusive balance between work and a particular hobby then you get my sentiments; you cannot simply abandon "the cyanide pill" that helps you pay the bills (and a few treats on the side... LOL) for something that can give you satisfaction and a good night's sleep... that's just how things go in a third world country unless of course if you're paid to "rant" or give trivial talk in the blog-o-sphere, which I don't have the authority of doing (yet?)... probably the much-awaited credibility will be under my belt by the time I reach the 20M mark in Temple Run or after guessing a thousand items in Draw Something correctly but until then, I'm just a tiny speck in the world wide web who needs to earn a living while keeping my sanity all in one piece through blogging, shopping and dating ze boyfriend.
Another reason for my absence is that I'm trying to sift the subjects so I would have a good "comeback piece" to put on the platter. My two readers (make that three, my cousin is an avid reader, too) don't deserve a subpar "comeback material" (now four, a neighbor of mine decided to join the mini bandwagon) and I thought, my return ticket should steer clear from those stuff that I have already talked about. I wanted the next entry to be sugar-free, lite but flavorful. I'll do my best to make it seem well-put-together but I assure you that this is neither half-baked nor far from reality. So let me achieve my goal by talking about something I am, or almost everyone's, famous for... BEING A LATECOMER.
That's just me. I come in late in every occasion because I don't want people to think that I'm overly excited and of course, who doesn't want to stage a GRAND ENTRANCE - isn't that everyone's favorite, worn-out reason? You have this existing scenario playing in your head over and over again: you in your gorgeous dress, walking towards the entrance door, stopping for a while, flipping your hair, waiting until everyone senses that there's a person waiting to be 'recognized' and 'complimented', delighting as you notice that every head turns to look at the "goddess" who probably couldn't afford a decent watch or worse, who is illiterate. Let's all hope that she doesn't trip over (fade-to-black).
My family, boyfriend and friends are already used to it. I don't call it "Filipino time" because I know a lot of Filipinos who take punctuality seriously. It is simply, "My Time". I put much effort in prepping up: gathering pieces of clothing, accessorizing, putting on make up and the whole girly-girl shebang. I know most of you can relate so instead of denying it, why don't you guys help me as I connect the dots; starting with something that I have mastered over a long period of time... fabricating excuses.
After getting dolled up, I go in front of the mirror to see if there are no loose ends and if everything's in place and as I do that, I make sure my excuses would appear valid and real. For someone who has ripped "punctuality" off its sense, making excuses is just a piece of cake. From the "non-moving traffic", "attending to a sick relative", "wardrobe malfunction", "errands", "school projects", "org meeting", "overtime", "fever", "diarrhea", "neighbor's sister's bestfriend's school project", "love quarrel", "you bumped into someone along the way", and last but the surest way to get you out of an awkward situation, "death of close friend or relative", which brings me to the question, how many times do we have to kill a person who has been dead for quite a long time already?! Oh come on, you know the drill and the list of excuses goes on and they get more creative and statements sound funnier as you commit the same, old mistake over and over again. But the reality doesn't even bother us - we are more comfortable to let out a web of lies than to see our friends or relatives disappointed because you couldn't find it in your heart to arrive on time.
We know our mistakes too well that we have become immune to them. You cannot break the rules if you don't know what the rules are and you cannot candy-coat a lie if you don't know what the truth is; sad to say I'm good at it. I know where to buy the nicest clothes, how to apply make up or what shoes would look flattering on me but I don't know where to find a high-def foundation that could cover my unrighteousness and flawed behavior. Well, you can actually cover it but as the layers pile up, you lose touch of reality, your perception about goodness becomes superficial and your connection with God, ignored.
One can only assume that I have a master's degree in Tardiness because even God has heard my many excuses as to why I behaved like this or why I was like that to a particular person. He has called my attention through different circumstances time and again but the barriers made up of rock hard excuses were already there, which made it hard for me to establish a decent connection; they served their purpose very well - to block me away from Him. Remember the Parable of the Ten Virgins? I was probably one of those brides who forgot to bring oil for my lamp... if you have read it, you know for sure the the five foolish brides, upon realizing that they have no oil, took off to find oil and when the bridegrooms arrived the foolish ones were not there and so they were excluded.
"Lord, Lord, open to us." But he answered, "Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you." Watch therefore, for you don't know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (Matthew 25:1-13)
God is soooo wise that He made me drop out of the Ph.D. program! He gave me the "oil" I badly needed to light up my lamp. He brought me to a place where there was an opportunity to reflect and get to know Him again and re-establish my relationship with a long, forgotten Friend and Father.
Church Simplified is an organization of God-driven individuals who are passionate in helping establish our faith by keeping it simple yet appealing to those who are having a hard time coping with the teachings of the church. Probably the best target market is the Youth of today who find getting close to God "corny" and uncool. Admit it, even us, adults, find it awkward when someone starts talking about God and religion unless it's in a form of a debate, which could even spark up a great conversation. Unless it's in that form, our mind automatically shuts down.
Last holy week, Church Simplified set up "The Walkway", 14 installations that represented the stations of the cross. It was waaaay different from the one we were all accustomed to because each station had a suggested "task" that one had to accomplish so at the end of the "journey", opening up to Him wouldn't be a burden or for others, some kind of an obligation. I saw teenagers, adults and even kids participating, putting their hearts and minds to doing every "act". Just by merely looking at these people, some were teary-eyed and excited to get to the next station, gave my much-needed conversion a good jump start.
What better way to stage a comeback than through Him. He who came back for us, for those who want to return to His good graces and most importantly, for those who, like me, come in late.
Each day, I will be sharing with you my experiences, my own thoughts and reflections, every task that I have accomplished. Two stations per day and I encourage you to do each task during your free time, inside your room, with a friend, a family member, your significant other or a stranger. Do it whenever you're ready to open up and welcome Him again. I am honored to have experienced The Walkway with my boyfriend's family and it is a challenge for me to get my family to experience it, too next year. Believe me, it is more meaningful when you go through it with someone you love.
STATION 1. The Garden: Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
|(Middle photo from http://churchsimplified.com/in_study/post/walkway_online_2012/)|
In everything, the first part is always the hardest. For starters, I was aware that I was with a lot of people and the last thing I wanted to happen was to be judged by those who don't even know my first name or my favorite color. I couldn't help but look around and there were a few insensitive people who posed in front of the mirror. Honestly, at first, getting "in the zone" was a big hurdle.
Simon grabbed my hand and he accompanied me towards the mirror. I didn't get the meaning of what I just read until I got to the mirror. My whole life I've been pretending to be a good Catholic. I was a consistent mass-goer, I joined the choir and a few organizations but I finally got to admit that I did those because I was obliged to and/or there was something else about being there that made me stay and I was certain my last reason was God. I was there for my friends, for my passion for music... I was commended for my active participation and for being in God's service but they were actually looking at a different person. I was singing for Him but also, I was swearing and bashing other people... I was playing beautiful church songs in the piano but also, in my mind, I was hitting those who have wronged me. I have been proclaiming how great my love for God is but I couldn't even devote an hour in a week for Him. I question my faith but I don't have the drive to find the answer or worse, I don't have the drive to find the drive - I hope you get me.
Jesus, stripped off His much-deserved honor to redeem a pretentious, arrogant person. How embarrassing that He is the one who has been eager to take away the crust of pretensions by giving us more than enough get-out-of-jail-free cards. The kind of love no one can ever compete with.
Lord, I am grateful that you extend not just your hands but YOURSELF to us... who have gone against Your will, who only remember You when we are at our lowest, who don't answer to your call right away, who seek refuge in worldly possessions, who use Your name for selfish reasons and who have forsaken You for work, friends, vices and other aspects.
Never abandon us, Lord, as we strive to go back to the path You have chosen for us. There will be times when we will try to look for a detour or depart from the queue but I have faith that You will pull the strings... we might have gained weight due to the excess baggage we're carrying but as we draw closer to you, we will eventually realize that all we have to do is let go of the things that weigh us down because it is only You, we need.
STATION 2. The Betrayal: Jesus is Betrayed by Judas
The three big containers represent SECURITY, AMBITION and INTIMACY.
My marble went to the last container. I have this frustration of bringing him and us closer to God. Not that he doesn't love God but we both know what we owe God A LOT. We hear mass occasionally and I've been wanting to bring that to a whole new level and make it "regularly". In our relationship, we both know that God is there... somewhere and it is my desire to put God at the center of it. I knew that the pushing had to come from me but where to start? When I was in my last year in high school, my Christian Living teacher, Ms. Almonte, gave me a piece of advice -
if you can get your boyfriend inside a church without hesitation and his love for God is unquestionable, then be with that man... if he doesn't know God, it is your duty to introduce him to your Father.
I know he loves God and I do, too but a God-centered relationship is the kind of relationship I really want us to have. We are a work in progress and the Lord is helping us mold and reconstruct our relationship.
A sturdy relationship is a relationship bound and tested by God.
I celebrate my cyberhome's
It is really good to be back :)