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Archive for April, 2009

I skipped my regular routine attending church services in the morning that Friday.  A week ago, I have already informed our pastor that I plan to attend the Industrial Area church service instead in the evening.  I also missed out our church choir practice that night, which I am so sad about. 

We braved the dusty road leading to Industrial Area. When we have arrived at the place, it was a regular accommodation building intended for company workers.  The road leading to the building is quite notorious with potholes and mountain of construction debris on the side.   We reach the worship place after winding up seven staircases worth of our stamina, of climbing the steps. The place of worship is located in the rooftop.  About 24 sq.m. approximately, capable of seating around 20 people, right there along with the clothesline of wet laundry left out to dry.

The truth is, I am not expecting it.  Of all places, to hold a church service.  A rooftop towering over other rooftops of factory buildings in the midst of desert wind and the usual darkness of the evening.  I am used to attending house of worship with the comfort of sheltering oneself against the external elements, such as rain, heat and dry wind.  That night is a wake up call.  Believers are called upon to honor the Sabbath, wherever, whenever and whatever it takes.  Be it under the shade of the tree, or under the canopy of the bridge, or an open field. 

I am deeply humbled by the fact that here in the wide stretch of the desert, away from the comforts of the homeland, people who are disciplined in faith, are braving the routinary grind of their overseas life, partially isolated to the urban centers.   This is mission’s work,  a life dedicated to the cause of bringing the Gospel to the far reaches of places.  Administering the continuous flow of the message and strengthening people’s faith in God.

I admire my pastor, who is a missionary himself, for the kind of passion he have for the lost  souls and bringing them all to Christian faith.   His silent ways are a steady yet constant reminder that complacency has no place in Christian service.  Believers are ought to steer clear of their comfort zones, sacrificing time and effort for building up Christ’s work and taking upon each the individual God’s calling in putting into action all the Christian training they have learned.

I admire my friend Grace, who chose to become a full-time missionary, while administering translation of the gospel to the native tounges of the tribes among the hinterlands of Mindanao and Luzon back home.  She already had the chance to go to India, for some introductory mission’s work as part of her trainings.

Sometimes, it is a pity, when I hear myself, complaining about being so tired to get up early in the morning to begin my morning prayers.  Sometimes, it is a pity, when I see myself, scrambling over reading best-sellers in the night rather than having a bible reading of a chapter or two. Now it occured to me, that what I am doing for the kingdom is not enough.  Christian life calls for able and willing men of faith to stand up and do the work.  Whatever the circumstances may be or a situation they are in. 

The next time, I will go to the Industrial Area to have my Friday church service there.  I need to listen to what God is saying to me, visually.

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Sylvia, you struggled with the night, they don’t see you.  And the madness you have kept along since your youth, stand watch to the agony of your desire, I feel you, even if Ted fades away. They seem to like you and your outbursts of anger, unmindful of the things you are so capable of destroying; your fragility, your womanhood.  They had made you as faceless like girls of Kabul wearing burqa. 

But I must admit, Sylvia, that beyond with your innocence, beyond with the frailty and your true self repressed by layers and layers of hate and uncertainties, you will rise like a phoenix redeeming its immortality.  Like a golden lotus emerging from the fiery flames, and a thousand death might come but it will never win its argument against your indomitable spirit. Yet Sylvia, you left the world with a scar that won’t heal in time, putting a strong voice to silence unheard of, in decades past.

Have you ever met Frida Kahlo? Your fate runs almost parallel to hers and through your gift of art, the pangs of pain are shifted through the bittersweet beauty of your words, though they say it was staid and conventional.  But I don’t believe them.  Yours an endless laughter like the one you made with Ted when you first met him at the party in Cambridge. Yours a happiness since the first time you have published “The Colossus”.

How could you keep as perfectly as it was to squeeze in the time breathing life to a poetry waiting there at the dining table and lay you sleepless in the night?  How could you tear yourself apart open and shed the light withholding nothing and the truthfulness of the turmoil you’re going through?  The days that lingers almost unbearable, in between the soiled dishes in the sink, in the soapy suds of the dirty linen and in the keeping of your children who are innocent of the struggles your dealing with Ted. 

In the night, that you have sealed the doors by wet rags, have you thought of just keeping on, pressing on- to deal with your pervading loneliness and disillusion? When you precisely turned on the ignition of the cooker, as you inhale the gas, Sylvia, did you think of finally  avenging your fractured self against Ted?  Of how your  jealousy could have made you insanely and sweetly surrendering to impending death?  How intense is your longing for Ted to reconcile with you, knowing that he is just a man, and you are so afraid of losing him?

Sylvia, if you only have known that after forty years have past since your death, your son Nicholas might have taken his life, too; maybe because he might be carrying the gravity of questions left unanswered since the day you died.  Would you keep on existing? Would you be strong enough to let go of Ted and spend the rest of your lifetime for your children? And see them of what they have become in the twilight of your years?

But the time has run out.  And you have to choose between life and death.  But you chose the latter. Sylvia, you have chosen to end the sad stories in your life, cutting away Ted and his chains around you.  You have chosen freedom.

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Crossing  the pedestrian lane

whip lashed  by the  breeze.

He came by- unmindful

of the roaring traffic.

Green light blinked

turning yellow-

still he walks, only inches

away to his own shadows.

 

Merged in the crowd

in the heat of the sun

with eyes transfixed-

one solid direction.

He goes without turning.

He goes without swerving.

He talks without sound.

Keeping distance.

 

He exist but can’t be found

in the sea of strangers-

he lives but don’t belong

waiting buses, waiting lines.

To him, the world’s a square.

A face and a name where-

traffic signs blinking red,

life detours to dead-end.

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A box of reverie

I open today,

when hearing

a familiar old song.

An empty gaze

through the empty hall

brought back-

sunny days

and the carousel.

 

And all

the happy couples,

filling spaces

with their dreams

It used to be-

some balloons

float there

among the clouds.

See, even doves fly

with freedom on its wings.

 

Like changing of seasons

drifting away-

a gentle river

changing course.

I became-

a  passersby

to the playground.

To the carousel.

On one bleak, cold

Sunday morning.

 

If I have been-

a little kinder,

saying hello

with a smile.

But mine is

a restless heart.

If I have been-

a little braver

sending a letter

saying goodbye.

Maybe I’ll get

one sad response.

 

People, they say-

comes around,

the second time.

But there are things

which can’t be undone.

But here, in my quiet-

fathoming loss,

filled with regrets.

There is a word

that just, simply

left unsaid.

Sorry.

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I was on my way to a restaurant that late afternoon to meet a friend, hurrying and my mind was filled with gloomy thoughts. My mind just wandered aimlessly, battling inner fears. 

Rebel as I was, it seems that I am all wearied and fighting against the world, crushed in the agony of my self-defeat- I succumbed into powerlessness.  I have met a familiar darkness of my soul once again. In such a long time.

I am depressed that day.  Defeated by reason. I am filled with anger emblazoned across my face.  That day- I am not the usual masquerading, self-hiding chameleon in the cloak of coolness and charm.  I am likened to a ticking bomb.

I have questions.  And lots of them.  As endless as the broken road markings. My combatant nature would never accept any kind word- even from the most endearing. That was one time I had feared myself the most- who is capable of hurting myself.  Like a jagged knife ready to cut the ventricles of humanity in me.

Somewhere,  in a sudden mysterious way, I heard a helpless chirp.  I stopped and started searching the source  by my side.   And I have found a little bird, that has fallen from a bird’s nest from the nearby palm tree and landed on the ground.  It is too early for the little bird to take flight.  My hardened composure melts gradually into a compassionate being.  How on earth, this hapless sight would pour a cold, cold ice to my raging soul?

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a stray cat emerged. Prowling as if it is finding something to devour.  In my quick thinking, I immediately snatched the little bird from the ground, rescuing it from danger. From harm and from the claws of the enemy-  so vicious and lethal.

Just when I thought, that what  I did, is the right one, I felt a sudden pain.  A stinging one.  The little bird had bitten me.  Surprised as I was, I accidentally dropped the bird away farther  into the ground. Then the next thing I heard is a scuffle in the bushes until the hopeless chirping stopped.

I am overwhelmed.  I just stand there and was filled with a sudden grief.  I can’t believe that life has been snatched away from my very hands.  The life of a fragile creature. A tragic lost.  Tears quietly streamed down my face until it became flood as pent-up emotions surged and overpowered my anger like a dam  breached loose.

That moment, I wonder,  how vivid  this circumstance made my soul saved from drowning and wallowing in despair?  My life, I learned, can be like the hopeless little bird, compared to a  child out of God’s hand.  How powerful can God teach me a great lesson, a stiff-necked person as I am, who never learned from His admonishing?   The questions that I have over-analyzed  for years has crumbled under the weight of God’s wisdom which is mightier than what I can comprehend.

Like a prodigal son who came back to his father’s arm, I did the same coming home to what God has purposed me to belong.  With the lesson of that hopeless little bird, I just knew that my life on earth rest only on His hands.  All I needed to do is to have an unwavering faith and complete trust on Him.  And God has impressed to me to stay in His dwelling place as long as I live.

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Let me beach to your powdery sand,

a beachcomber with seashells on his hand

delightful picking colored stones ashore.

 

On your rugged cliffs I climb and went,

lingering to witness your misty sunset

touched by the wind of this summer’s kiss.

 

The leaning tree, a coconut, subdued me,

as it veils its shadowy palms over me-

dancing divine light, streaming reverie.

 

Seawaves sailed glinting in the bluegreen.

Its white fingers frothing immaculately-

spotless against the island’s fragiled skin.

 

Beyond the blue the sky can reach,

who can say what paradise might be-

this secret cove  of shipwreck’s lost.

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You chose not

to keep memories.

Not to keep promises.

 

But I chose-

to keep,

each single imagery,

each single scene

into a film.

 

Tell me  a word.

And whisper niceties.

 

I consummate,

each single  line,

each single thought.

You must know.

 

I had kept you.

 

Here

some faded photographs-

of us.

 

In the quiet corner

of my mind.

 

We dream.

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