Tag Archive | thoughts

Saving My 214

Maybe it’s because February is here, because for some reason, recent conversations I’ve had with friends keep returning to the topic of love. And when that happens, one thing is almost certain: I would have to explain why–in a time where being part of a couple is mostly the rule rather than the exception – I’ve chosen to stay single. A lot of people have told me that my standards are too high, that I’m too idealistic. So this got me thinking: Could they possibly be right? Am I waiting for someone who exists only in my imagination? Am I playing it too safe?

Maybe, in a way, I am being extra careful. I’ve made mistakes before, and I know the ache that comes from regrets over wrong decisions. But fear isn’t my motivation for waiting. It’s hope.

I’m hoping, no matter what the odds, that when the time is right, someone I can love without reservation will come. I am dreaming of a person who will be gentle with the most vulnerable side of me, the side that very few people get to see. More important than his physical appeal will be his wisdom, his tenderness, his faith. I’m not asking for someone who will go to the ends of the earth for me, but for someone who will take the effort to know me more deeply than anyone else has known me before. That may not be as easy as it seems – I am ridiculously neurotic when it comes to my personal boundaries. So I’m hoping that he will also have the patience and the sense of humor necessary to deal with the less-than-ideal aspects of my personality. And because I am obviously far from being perfect, I am praying that he will also trust me enough to let me see his flaws so that I can love him for who he is. Without hesitation, I would gladly trade all the moonlit serenades in the world for a lifetime of laughter and conversations with such a man.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for romance and the thrill of being in love. Every girl dreams of being swept off her feet. But what I’m saying is this: Without the friendship, without the spiritual bond, then all the roses and all the candlelight in the world will not make a relationship last. It’s the commitment that’s vital, more than the adrenalin rush. It’s the daily decision to make a conscious effort to put the needs of another person first. This, for me, is true love. And I know it doesn’t come easy. Love like this doesn’t grow in the time span of a slow dance or a kiss. It takes time: time to grow together, to learn about each other and to mature in generosity. So I’ve chosen to wait until I’m ready to give and to receive this kind of love. Because right now, I know that I still have a long way to go.

I know this is a risk – a risk of hoping, of trusting that somewhere in my future is the love story I am praying for. But I’m willing to take it. I’m ready to take the chance that I may be missing out on what could be the most exciting years of my life by waiting for something that I can’t even glimpse on the horizon yet. Because isn’t this what faith is all about – the substance of things unseen, the evidence of things hoped for? And I do have a guarantee that I could stake everything on: the certainty that Someone who loves me deeply is in control of my future. So from my perspective, this gamble is definitely in my favor.

It may take a long time, but that’s how it is with everything worthwhile.   I don’t feel a need to rush, for what are a few years of waiting when I’m anticipating a lifetime with the right person? In the meantime, this I know: that when he finally arrives, I will know why no other person could have taken his place. I will know that I can only belong with him and with no one else. So no matter what it takes, I am saving my heart for him. I know he will be worth it.

 

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Epiphany in a Song*

What’s this life, anyway, what’s it to you and me

What’s it to anyone; who are we supposed to be?

Make me a storybook and write me away from here

I need a different now…

When you’re very young, you think that you know exactly what you want to be when you grow up. There are all these plans, these dreams, and the boundless optimism that they will all come true, that you will get to the place where you really want to be. But twenty or so years later, you realize that all the answers you thought you knew have faded like the images from a dream when you finally wake up. The maps you have carefully charted are suddenly outdated, impractical. Or maybe it is the optimism that was lost.

…Where we can wear each other for a while

And I’ll lend you my tears if I could borrow your smile

And we’ll get through tomorrow some other day

Happy after once upon these days…

Then it seems as if the horizon is forever out of your reach, and you begin to wonder if perhaps you should aim for another destination, an easier journey. But you can’t give up those old dreams just yet, so you linger on the path, maybe stop for a while and take notice of your surroundings, and of see how far you’ve already come. As you rest, there’s a temptation to go back to familiar lands, to the fields you’ve always known. But no matter how much you wish you could, you know that you can never truly return – you have gone too far and seen too much for those lands to feel like home again. So you wait some more, with another traveler perhaps, hoping for a renewal of strength for the road ahead.

…There are four roads to anywhere, four ways to everything

We were unbreakable; we spoke of destiny

Let’s take a moment out, and go where we never go

Let’s make a new world now…

After a while you begin to wonder if maybe you should try another course, different from the one you planned before you set out. True, this road may turn out to be more difficult, and you don’t have the maps, but it leads to the same destination. So now you have two choices: to stay on the path you know and try to muster up the enthusiasm, or to dare the unknown and embark on an adventure. Then you realize that maybe there is something to be said for having no undisputable directions, because then you can search for the way yourself; and the journey will be all the more precious to you.

…Then one day we’ll find when we’re looking back at this time

Wondering how we’ve come so far from this

And then we’ll close our eyes….

I’ll take a better world, I’ll take anything

I’ll take our little  world now….**

*This is for both of us, Legolas. =)

** lyrics from Chantal Kreviazuk’s song These Days

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Saturday Morning in a Coffee Shop

I sit here now, alone but not lonely, and I feel like I’m part of a different world, one that is lightyears away from the world I can see through the glass wall beside me. I’m supposed to be studying, thinking about Jack and his imbalances and the different ways to treat him, but instead I’m lost in the music from the stereo and the calmness of my solitude. It has been so, so long since I’ve had time to simply relax and listen to my thoughts. So I wander in the meandering pathways of my mind, seeking out the subtle twists and secret corners. And I find, for the first time in a long while, that I am no longer afraid of what I might discover.This freedom, this peace with myself and my God that I found last summer is the sweetest, most beautiful joy I have ever experienced. Even the thrill of being in love cannot surpass this exhiliration, this wonderful feeling of being vulnerable yet secure, unmasked and accepted. Like a golden sunrise chasing away memories of the past night’s desolation, I can feel the incredible tenderness of Jesus melting the walls of guilt and shame in my heart. How I lived for so long without this intimacy with my Savior is beyond me, but now that I have found it, I never, never want to lose it again. How amazing that only when I surrendered did I finally become free.

As I linger in the privacy of my thoughts, the other tables around me are filling up with people. Conversations mingle with the music and disturb the stillness that surrounded me a while ago. I can feel the sun grow warmer through the glass wall and the street outside become busier as people hurry about their business. When I leave here, I will get caught up in the city’s pace once more. But the peace in my heart is constant, a gift of grace that has no season. The choice to surrender is costly, but the reward is far greater than its price. It is the soul-deep assurance that no matter what happens today, next week, and in all the years to come, my identity is secure. To have this healing truth move from my mind to the depths of my soul is one of the most unforgettable legacies of last summer. The encounter with grace has changed my life, and my moments of solitude, like this morning, have become celebrations of a soul restored, a mind renewed and a heart made whole.

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Sidewalk Strangers Seen Through the Glass Wall of a Restaurant

  • A tall white man and a slender, dusky, petite Filipina beauty together. I wonder what it’s like for each of them. An adventure, a taste of the exotic? A tropical dalliance? Need, perhaps? Dreams of a better life? It could be any of these, but the romantic in me wonders: could it possibly, conceivably be love?
  • Two laughing young girls with long hair and eyes yet untouched by self-consciousness. They walk hand-in-hand, linked by the secrets they share and the youthful, irrepressible assurance that they will be “friends forever”. The sight of them evokes such nostalgia. How I wish I could freeze time for a while and let them stay in their world a bit longer. The years pass swiftly, however, and young girls inevitably grow up. But for now, right now, they are here, and they are magical.
  • A woman and a boy, mother and son perhaps, on an errand that worries them both. She leans on him with her hand on his shoulder, and both of them look tired. The midday heat has drawn beads of perspiration from their foreheads, but they plod on, unwilling or unable to pay for a ride. Where are they going and what do they need? Only a few centimeters of glass separate us, but I might as well be miles away, for I do not step out and ask them. I wonder – are the invisible, protective barriers we create between ourselves and others worth the alienation from our own kind?
  • A stunning young woman strolling by herself. Perfect hair, perfect complexion, perfect clothes. How many people take the time to look deeper and see if her life is as flawless as it seems? Too often the envy in us blinds us to the person behind the image, the need behind the confidence. I have no doubt that she will meet many people today who will either furtively or openly scrutinize her looks. Will she find one person, I wonder, who will simply look into her eyes and offer a smile?

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On Gentleness

Do not mistake gentleness for weakness. It does not mean a lack of potency, but rather a choice to contain it. When the mighty Creator of the universe reaches out with the loving hand of a father to his child, when the roaring Lion of Judah speaks with the tender voice of a lover to his bride – that’s gentleness. It’s power restrained. It’s strength under control.

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The Notebook

I had to tiptoe to find it on the topmost shelf – that old notebook where my highschool friends wrote their farewell messages just before graduation. It’s been a long time since I last opened its covers; but tonight, for some reason, I feel the need to travel back in time.

The notebook is old and worn, and several pages are about to fall off. As I read the messages, I was surprised by how familiar the penmanships still looked. After almost four years, I could still tell that the flowing script belonged to Grace Ann, the neat handwriting was Jane’s, and the tiny letters with numerous exclamation points were written by Karl. The years of borrowing notebooks and checking each other’s test papers must have made their mark.I also recognized the styles easily. Angel was sweet, Deneb was cool, Ian Lloyd was mischievous, Dianne was frank, my Soulmate was upbeat, and Irish Jay was intense. Gino was funny whether or not he tried to be. The contents were revealing, too. Jireh teased me, Kathleen wondered about my lovelife, Cristy offered encouragement, Ken wrote about plans for the future, Ate Jhay gave some advice, and Kuya filled every bit of space in his pages with sweet messages. Others included song lyrics, poems, reminiscences, Bible verses, drawings, and even a list of crushes. There were a lot of thank you’s, some apologies, and several confessions. Throughout 233 pages I was called by numerous nicknames: Begz, Abigail, Benggay, Anak, Miss Pink, Abegs, Gege, Pare, Soulmate, Miss Disney, Apo, EIC (Editor-in-Chief), Little Miss Philippines, Cousin, Gail, Baby, Kapatid, Walking Dictionary, Hobbit, Garnet, Sis, Battery, Partner, Bestfriend, Kaaway, Ka-pink, etc. Each name, no matter now bizarre, is a door that opens to a room filled with images of the past.

These rooms are not always easy to enter. As Julie Delpy’s character said in the movie Before Sunset, “Memories are wonderful things if you don’t have to deal with the past.” Reading the notebook again is a bittersweet experience for me. Sweet because the memories are wonderful, and sad because they are only memories now – I can never recapture the magic of those times again. No one can go back to being seventeen years old.

A lot has changed since highschool graduation. As I turn the pages of the notebook, I remember the passion with which we believed in ourselves and in each other. I remember having so much faith in the future that no dream was too big or too impossible for us. We felt unstoppable, untouchable, destined for immortality. We dreamed boldly, trusted willingly, and loved fearlessly. I can no longer say that with all confidence now.

Life has a way of making sure that nobody stays in highschool. Even the most naive among us has not escaped being touched by reality, being confronted with life. I, for one, slowly woke up to the fact that the world was not as safe as I thought, and that the path to my dreams was a lot harder and longer than I imagined. There was no choice but to grow up. And in growing up, I had to change. The vulnerability, the openness of my highschool years changed into something more careful, more aware of the fact that the heart can so easily be broken. The courage of dreaming faded into something more grounded, less bold. Only a few years have passed, but the seventeen-year-old girl inside me has slowly retreated into a memory, an image between the covers of an old notebook, a secret place in the heart.

Once in a while, however, that girl comes out to remind me that the fire is still alive, just as the friendships have remained an indelible part of who I am. No matter how much more growing up I need to do, there will always be a part of me that refuses to let go of the big, outrageous dreams I shared with my friends in highschool. Knowing this, I put the notebook back on the shelf. Some other night, perhaps, when I take it down again, I will not only laugh and cry and remember, but also give justice to the faith of the friends who believed in me.

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Cry of My Heart

I can feel you pursuing me, I can feel the persistence of your love. A thousand times I’ve turned away from you, I’ve let you down, I’ve broken more promises than I care to count. And yet here you are, whispering, calling me to return to your embrace. Why me? Why, when you can see behind my masks and know all my secrets, would you still choose me? You are blameless, you are pure, and I bear the guilt and the dirt of the many times I’ve stumbled. Yet you look at me…you look at me as if I am more precious, more beautiful to you than I can ever imagine. You see me through the eyes of tenderness, through the eyes of breathtaking, extravagant grace. Your love is costly, but you did not hesitate to pay the price.

How many times have I broken your heart? How many times have I tried again, only to fail? And yet here you are again, holding out another chance, and I am torn. I want to believe that I can make it this time, that I will no longer be unfaithful. But the memories of the many ways I’ve hurt you hang in my mind, and I am afraid.

Can we really hope again, you and I? I want to belong to you once more, completely, like I once did when I first fell in love with you. I want you to teach me the art of losing myself in your love, surrendering with no inhibitions or pride, only trust. Do not give up on me yet, do not let go. Take me again, take my fear, take my shame. I know only you can release me. Take the broken pieces of my heart and heal these wounds. Make me whole, make me pure, make me free — so that you can finally, truly, call me Yours.

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