wordlessness

I haven’t tap danced in a while.

Words seem to be in short supply for me these days. The few that find their way to expression are frustrating in their inadequacy (these ones that you now read not discounting) – all of them hollow vessels devoid of true meaning. There is a time for verbose disclosure as there is also time for muted reflection. For me now, the hour hand points at the latter. And it seems to linger there. I am in a state of wordlessness. Gagged by I’m not sure what. Writing this post is hard labor…

Strangely, the exercise of writing that has once meaningfully charted my reflective meanderings, precipitated ideas that floated in my mind and heart, recorded my ambivalence about certain matters, and coaxed the inner child to play with words, now seems unreliable, even hostile. I feel betrayed by my written words. If and when they come, either they are unfaithful to the meanings they have been dispensed to express, or they are wanting in truth, appropriateness, or impact.

* * *

I may not be in good writing form nowadays, but I have surely gotten voracious with my intake of words. I am now juggling three books: Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (bought with a National Book Store gift certificate); Elisabeth Elliot’s Shadow of the Almighty (biography of husband Jim – a Christian martyr; this copy salvaged from the dusty boxes at the office); and Stephen Lawhead’s The Paradise War (lauded by friends as delightfully Tolkienish; borrowed copy – from whom, I am not sure).

I am a painfully slow reader. And I intend to keep it that way for now 😉

* * *

Hope you’re still around when I make peace with my words again, and resume tap dancing. I am not forcing it, but I have a hunch it will be soon. Meantime, I take delight in my trio of books – one tucked in my backpack, one at my bedside, and one on my office desk.

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present distractions, abstractions

Wherever you are, be all there.
-Jim Elliot

He has a problem living in the here and now. Being actively, painfully, joyfully engaged in the immediate moment is, for some reason, not natural to him. It seems he’s more comfortable griping about the Past or fretting about the Future. As a result, his contact with his Present degrades into mere necessity; a road he must pass through, albeit thoughtlessly and passively, as he vacillates between Past and Future. Today’s travails, celebrations, and personalities are dwarfed to insignificance by his preoccupation with the haunting permanence of Yesterday’s regrets and the hovering mischief of Tomorrow’s uncertainties.

At all cost he must labor to cease this sadistic wallowing in the Past and futile projections into the Future. He must fill his Present absence by collecting all of himself–bringing together the parts hostaged by the Past and Future–and focusing his whole being in living in the Present. Why? Because the potency of life is in the Present. In the Present, the lessons and insights of the Past can be crafted into gems and weapons. In the Present, the unknown nature of the Future can become a wellspring of hope and challenge.

Oh that he would learn to live in the Present. Oh that he would learn to live.

unwell

I’ve been thinking about my health this past week. About time I did. And I’ve arrived at the sobering conclusion that I need to be a more responsible steward of this 6-foot, 175-lb mass of cells that I’ve been assigned to inhabit. Being a cliche hasn’t made it less true: health, truly, is wealth. I’m afraid I could be squandering mine.

It’s been years since I last went to see the doctor. The commonplace bouts with arthritic knees have never been enough reason to swing by the hospital and confide in a doc. During an episode, I’d just pop aspirin or Celebrex, hibernate in bed for half-a-day or so, and then I’d be good to go again in no time.

I can’t remember when the backpain started. It was on and off, irritating but bearable most times. Then one day last week the pain reached a different high; now the mere motion of bowing my head to watch my step while negotiating the MRT stairway became ridiculousy painful; the thoughtless sneeze and cough now sent painful echoes to my midsection.

Time to pay the doc a visit. So armed with my health card (never been used until then), I went to Clinica Manila in SM Megamall (don’t you love it that everything is in the mall now?) I was last on the list of patients that the orthopedic specialist would see for the day. The guy who went in before me, probably around my age, looked like he was in so much pain he even walked like C3PO, but not without an Amidala to support his unsteady gait. I swallowed hard. Lord, I hope my back problems don’t get that worse…but if it means I’ll have an Amidala to… nah.

The doc was a man in his early 50s. He hardly made eye contact, just tinkered with his laptop, and obviously enjoyed showing his patients the different muscle groups on the little monitor linked to his laptop. Never mind that his visual aids did not really make his explanation any clearer, just fancy. Never mind that his answers and subsequent pointing on the screen did not really directly satisfy the simple questions I posed. Okay, maybe I was just cranky because of the pain. But he was definitely in a hurry because it was late Saturday afternoon. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug and a muscle relaxant and told me he couldn’t make any diagnosis until after some tests, the first of which would be an x-ray of my back. He asked if I had heart problems. (Haha… I was tempted to let him in on my romantic woes, just for kicks.) Told him about my rheumatic fever history; he said he’ll be able to deduce some heart information from the x-ray. (Would it show a picture of my crush? Hahaha!).

* * *

“Sir, bihis po kayo dun, suot nyo yun. Sa likod po yung opening.” The speaker was the thirtyish woman on-duty at the x-ray section. “Dun” (“there”) was the bathroom in the x-ray room that apparently also served as the changing room. “Yun” (“that”) was–gasp!–a yellow hospital gown, and floral too. Her last sentence simply made sure that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself wearing the hospital garb like a button-down polo, with the opening in front. I’m sure x-rays aren’t hampered by clothing. Why do I have to get into that floral hospital gown that looks like it was tailored for a 12-year-old girl? I sized up the source of the instruction. She wasn’t joking and gave the impression that it’s the way it’s done. So I obeyed.

(Stopping for now. Time to take meds.)