I don’t know how I survived 2 days ago. Well, every waking hour is actually a miracle if you really think about it but since we’re overly familiar with existing, we tend to take living for granted and even complain about days being mundane. But I digress. Back to Thursday. With less than two hours of sleep and no coffee, I had 4 quizzes and one report. Granted I did not do well in 3/4 of the exams and the report, still, I am amazed by the fact that I was able to get by without breaking down.
I take my first sentence back, I know how I survived. It is by grace and grace alone.
Finals week is coming but I’m spending time blogging at 1AM because (1) I wanted to
write type, pardon me if I don’t make sense (2) almost four months since my last post I think that’s the longest I’ve gone without updating and (3) some of my drafts are two years old hahaha imagine para na akong may toddler! So I put some of them in one post and decided to call it “Word Salad”. It’s like my Food Photodump series (naks sumi-series) but with blabbers instead of carbs.
One of the things my parents and I disagree on is giving. Not that I’m a generous person (I’m not) nor are they stingy (definitely not, just mostly confined to kins).
Take for example in our canteen. Once while I was helping out, a customer (probably a construction worker) bought viand and rice for take out. Judging from his endless question of “how much”, I figured he was tight on finances so I was putting more rice than what he paid for. My mother saw it and semi-scolded me while saying earning money is hard and there I was practically giving away our paninda. I walked out on her, teary-eyed out of frustration. Same thing happens with my father especially if it involves beggars.
I used to get angry at them and think they’re selfish (in my shortsightedness I forget how selfless they actually are) but I realized I just didn’t understand where they were coming from. First off, just like what someone pointed out rather frankly, I’ve never really earned my own money so it was easy for me to spend what I have. Meanwhile, my parents have toiled day and night since they were teenagers just to make ends meet. Also, I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of generous people — from strangers who let me stay in their homes to relatives of friends who treat me like family. It was not the same for my mother and father who’d tell me stories about going to school with a grumbling stomach, the embarrassment of promissory notes and begging just to be able to take an exam, and the impossibility of repaying debts of gratitude.
They were toughened up by experience and I really couldn’t blame them for being cynical. This put to mind a passage I read in Mere Christianity:
The bad psychological material is not a sin but a disease. It does not need to be repented of, but to be cured. And by the way, that is very important. Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.
It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge.
Who was I to judge when my own motives in giving are sometimes twisted?
During one of my 10+ hour night trips to Manila this year, I looked outside the window somewhere before the Dalton Pass. Lo and behold, I had an unobstructed view of the galaxy! I’ve been travelling that same road all my life but it was the first time I was amazed by the beauty of the sky — it’s like seeing in real life all those pictures from NASA. A bit frustrating that my phone camera wasn’t able to capture even an iota of its beauty but the sight is ingrained in my mind. I like seeing city lights especially when viewed from a high ground but the the sky that night made me realize that no matter how hard we try, nothing compares to the beauty of the galaxies God created.
At that moment, Psalm 19:1 made sense.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Even drunk people deserve to be treated with respect.
I don’t like hearing bad things directed toward my loved ones. I’m super protective of them (if i’m really honest about it, sometimes our “image”). If I have to, I’d be willing to cover their ears and promise them everything will be alright. But it doesn’t work that way. Actually, due to this fear, I unknowingly become harder on them. My youngest brother may already be traumatized by my criticism of the way he eats and talks and walks and breathes. I call out my sister for over-posting on social media. Even my parents aren’t immune. I’m the worst critic of my immediate family. Most of the time though, it’s not criticism they need but love. So I hope and pray that I can be as understanding and patient to them as I am with friends and strangers.
The comments? In Hugh Laurie’s studio album title, “Let them talk”.
I think I typed this as soon as I woke up to preserve the memory. Reading it now, I can’t remember the significance of the dream except that it was one of the weirdest I had in recent years (given that all dreams are weird).
Mi-meet si K**, sabi niya binusted niya ang kanyang friend. While walking, nakita si I*** sa parang food court. Maiksi buhok niya. May baby sa loob ng pizza shelf. Naglalakad sa parang old plaza, nakita si M**** sa second floor, smoking. Sabi niya nasa baba si D**. Pinuntahan si D** na kumakain kasama biyenan, bf, and sisters-in-law, naka conservative clothing (below the knee skirt). Biglang umalis and naging si M** kasama ko. May kumakain sa kabilang table puro nakaitim. Nanakawan ng phone friend nila, humahabol yung girl. Hinila yung buhok niya para pigilang habulin yung magnanakaw. Hinabol ng black guys ready to kill.
Dun kami kakain sa resto kung san naganap ang nakawan. Yung waiter biglang nakita ng tatay niya, tinakpan yung bibig at patagong hinihila, may kutsilyo sa kamay yung tatay. Tinawag nung waiter yung boss/may-ari and ni-remind ng pangako niya na ililigtas siya. May hawak na martilyo yung boss minartilyo yung kamay ng tatay while yung tatay hinihiwa nang paulit ulit yung ulo (hindi na lang saksakin) hanggang makaalis na yung mag-ama.
Nawalan akong gana kumain dahil sa nakita ko at sabi ni M** sa ibang lugar na lang daw, mas masarap. Sabi ko oo tapos tulala pa rin dahil sa nakita. Nung napansin ng boss, sabi niya kung hindi ko raw kaya makita ang katotohanan umalis na ako at uminom ng mainit na tubig.
After nun, tumatakbo ako with M** pero naiiwan ako dahil ang bilis niya. Scary yung place, no law. Chaotic. Not sure if snatching is legal but no one’s there to capture you. All I did was worry about my phone so I hid it on my brassiere. Sa gitna ng kalsada ako tumatakbo baka may nagtatago sa sidewalk. And I remember thinking, shocks all I wanted to do was eat!
Tapos nagising na ako HAHAHA ktnxbye.
Maybe it showed my worries (material things, snatchers, lawlessness) or that I need to drink hot water to be able to face the truth or the fact that all I wanted to do was eat! It might mean a gazillion things or nothing at all. Kaloka! Interpreters pls 🙂
At a young age I found out that compliments and being agreeable are effective currencies. So to make people like me I would carelessly give them the validation they need even for things that I know will hurt them in the long run. I’d tell them “it’s okay”, “it’s not so bad”, and other variations that enable them to continue down the wrong path. Hey, I’m just not comfortable with friction and disagreements. Then I justify myself with “May sarili naman silang pag-iisip.”
But I’ve learned that hard truths are better than comforting lies so now I always mean what I say and put the best interest of the person in mind. It doesn’t mean I’ll say whatever the hell I want and be tactless because there must still be grace in speech (plus, you also have to consider your relationship with the person). Being called “killjoy” doesn’t sound as bad as it did before.
To love people enough to tell them they’re crossing the line even if it means they’d like me less.
Besides, I’d appreciate it if friends told me what I needed instead of what I wanted to hear.
In 1999 I was tricked into joining a beauty pageant in exchange for a brick game and kisses (those little thingamajigs that multiply). I was eight. I won first runner-up but was teased for the whole first quarter of second grade for it. I then promised myself never to join again.
I didn’t really think I’d win anything during that time because I couldn’t dance nor smile and I was the chubbiest hehe. I think what got me in was the question and answer portion.
“May extra kang sandwich na baon tapos nakita mong walang baon ang kaklase mo. Anong gagawin mo?”
I remember answering in my hopefully cute and tiny voice, “Syempre po ibibigay ko yung isang sandwich sa kanya para di po siya magutom.”
Imagine if everyone thought the way my 8y/o self did — that if you have excess, you’re supposed to give it to someone in need without hesitation, without worrying if you’ll have a sandwich for tomorrow.
I guess that’s one of the reasons why we’re told to be like little children to enter the kingdom.
Aaaaand it’s 3AM -_-