nothing in particular

I felt like writing something profound tonight. But I guess that’s all there was to it, a feeling. Nonetheless, it would be a waste to pass up this opportunity to tap dance. So here I am, an aimless blogger who could be wasting your precious time, dear reader. Hmmm… maybe it is polite to prompt you now that there could be a better use of your time than reading this post? I cannot promise something worthwhile will follow. But who knows, maybe the spontaneity will birth interesting things. At any rate, should you choose to stick it out with me for this post, I’d be glad to have you join me for a late-night (relative to this writing) dance. It’s starting to rain as I type this. So maybe the pitter-patter of the rain on asphalt will be our music. Shall we?

* * *

There is a bottle of vitamins on my study desk. I bought it several weeks ago out of a sense of guilt about not taking care of my health well enough. It was a stressful time at work and the last thing I needed was to catch anything. So I figured it was a smart idea to procure a bottle of preventive substance. After all, as the campus doctor back in high school often said—in thick Chinese accent—“En awns oh pre-ven-shun ees bettah dan e pound oh kyuh.” (Translation: “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” But, well, you got that, right?) Yep, I thought it was smart to buy the bottle of ascorbic acid (and, indeed, it was). But now after almost a month since I grabbed the bottle off the Mercury Drugstore shelf, I peer through the amber container and see that it is still almost full of the white circular tablets. I had obviously failed to do the smarter thing—take the vitamins regularly!

* * *

I take the MRT most nights coming home from work in Boni. When I’m not too eager to get home or when I want to be seated after an especially stressful day at work, I decide to take the long (and less congested) route, which is all the way to Taft station and then back where I boarded and then northward to the Quezon Ave station, my stop. Nine out of ten, this route guarantees that I will be seated for the entire northward stretch. Well, that is if I do not decide to give up my seat to someone else, usually an elderly or a lady. This is a constant struggle, honestly. Many times I feel I am entitled to my seat after a hard day’s work (I make it sound like I do manual labor) and I adamantly ignore the chivalrous calls within to surrender my comfortable position to someone else. The internal dialog with myself that ensues during this time is, well, interesting. I find myself suddenly on the defensive and make muted attempts to justify my claim to this sweet spot that allows me to comfortably park my butt and then bow and doze off or read until I hear my stop announced over the PA system. Sometimes the “knight” in me gets his way and a stranger receives a little blessing of commuter comfort. Other times, well, the arthritic, selfish worker stubbornly insists on hoarding his blessing and then turns up the volume of his iPod louder than usual as if to silence the pesky knight within.

* * *

Hmm. The rain has stopped and with it my mood for tap dancing. *Yawn* I guess I’ll pop two tabs of ascorbic acid before turning in for the night. Thankfully, I have the bed to myself. No guilty feelings. Thanks for dancing with me 😉

the heart

Who has ever truly known the human heart? Who has quantified the magnitudes of the sorrow, pain, and strife that it is made to bear, and determine how much burden it can endure before it lets up? Or who could measure its girth when it swells with joy, love, and hope, and then describe in the most precise way the ecstasy it feels?

Certainly not the heart’s owner. For in its deceitfulness, the heart can conceal its true state even to the one for whom it beats. Its chambers are ensconced with deep secrets, some too intimate to be shared even in the softest of whispers to the most trusted ear. Its walls have known bliss that hints of a kind too otherworldly to be fully apprehended and contained. Its undulations are too erratic for any mind to make sense of in their entirety.

Yet the heart is always laid bare to its Maker – who alone deciphers the cryptic messages of its pulsation; who alone sees the reasons behind its ever-changing rhythms; who alone understands the roots that underlie its conflicting affections. In His absolute familiarity with the heart – not the least baffled by its intricacies nor daunted by its darkness – the Maker loves graciously and pursues relentlessly to captivate it for Himself.

For only when the heart learns to beat in sync with its Maker’s own heart can it begin to faithfully endure, fully love, and be truly known.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

catching up with sis

I was supposed to go to Bulacan yesterday for tree-planting with co-workers. But as it turned out, my sis was flying in from Japan and had several hours to kill before her connecting flight to Davao. It’s been five months since I sent her off for her graduate studies in Japan. She has now finished her basic language course and has decided to come home for a few weeks before classes resumed in October.

Expecting a lot of waiting time at the airport, I packed a gadget magazine and a novel in my blue backpack and then took the MRT-bus route to the Centennial Airport. Just a few minutes upon setting foot on the airport grounds, my cellphone buzzed. It was my sis calling from an airport payphone telling me where to meet her. What, PAL isn’t late!, I thought. I was mildly disappointed that I couldn’t make use of the reading materials I had brought along.

Achi spotted me easily as I brisk-walked to our meeting place near the entrance to the airport restaurant. Walking towards her, I started laughing, amused to see that my fair-complexioned lawyer sis has turned several shades tanner. For some reason, the image of her riding a bicycle in Hiroshima under the sun and getting dark in the process was funny. You’d understand if you knew her. Hehe.

We shared stories over snacks. I gave her a bundle of pictures from my US trip last March to give to the parents. I had no time to write captions so I just told her tell the parents that the stories behind the images will have to wait until I come home for Christmas. Then I asked her to enumerate three things she has learned about herself thus far while living in a different country and relating with internationals. Without her permission and as my “punishment” to her for still refusing to start a blog despite my persuasive arguments, I am listing her answers here (as I remember and understand them now).

Liza learned that:

1. Her faith has grown deeper as a result of being transplanted from her comfort zone. In her words, “Mababaw pala yung spirtuality ko…”(Amen! Nothing like complete strangeness to make you rely on God for your everything – yes, even for the grocery stuff you’re buying which are all labeled in gibberish, er, Japanese.)

2. She is not a natural risk-taker or let’s-try-something-weird kind of person. (I strongly suspect that this is a family thing. What can I say, we are a bunch of pessimistic chickens – but trying hard to recover. Haha!)

3. She can do far more and better than she first thought she could. Case in point: Her thank-you speech, delivered in Japanese (!) and on behalf of her batch, was well-received and commended. Way to go, sis! (I know this elating feeling, which comes from surprising even yourself at what wondrous things God can enable you to deliver given the opportunity and pressure. God’s grace abounds!)

By now, Achi is comfortably home in Davao, distributing pasalubong to the grinning and clapping nephews and neice, recounting stories to Popsy, and enjoying our Ma’s heavenly sinigang.

Our soles may itch to embark on adventures that bring us to far away places – to learn new things and experience life in a whole new way – but, thankfully, our souls stubbornly draw us back to the familiar, to home. Even for just a time. Before the next adventure beckons.

state of heart

i hide a heart that’s bleeding,
and i pretend not to hear
your soft voice that is wooing,
reminding me that you’re near.

your loving call still echoes,
but my wounded heart denies:
“i can well handle my woes;
i do not need to reply.”

you say you offer healing,
the kind that forever lasts;
i fear my heart’s not willing,
and for this it’s dying fast.

cold feet

He has always hated getting his feet soaked in the rain. The feel of cold water seeping through his sneakers, socks, and then trickling in between his toes is one of his major peeves.

But tonight Dante doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he doesn’t seem to even notice that his white sneakers and socks have now completely surrendered to the intrusion of dirty rain water. That, for almost fifteen minutes, his feet have been cold and soaking wet.

There he stands, right across the barangay hall, at the street corner where the pot-bellied MMDA officer takes his post every night. Apart from the steady heaving of his chest, Dante is motionless. And drenched—with no umbrella or jacket to fight off the heavy downpour.

’Toy, baka sipunin ka n’yan,” the pot-bellied traffic enforcer shouts out, taking two steps to the side of the unprotected figure in the rain. “Tingnan mo ako may kapote. Solb na. Yun nga lang, di ako maka-yosi…”

The officer pauses, awaiting a response. He doesn’t get any. On a different night, Dante would have engaged the officer in small talk, perhaps even good-naturedly joke about his pot belly. But then again, on a different night, Dante wouldn’t have been there in the pouring rain. Neither would he have endured even for a minute the uncomfortable feeling of cold feet.

*To be continued*