Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Truth

I wonder if some of our questions will ever get answered.
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My father told us of the story when he first liked a girl in high school.

He lived in a very rural area where houses were made of bamboo sticks and roofs were woven, palm-like leaves we call nipa. Since these are all light materials, the houses were often renovated by replacing old bamboo with new ones and removing dilapidated nipa with a fresh woven batch. When times are fortunate and the country doesnt suffer from very strong typhoons, it would take 6 to 8 years before one would need to do such renovations.

When my father entered high school, he liked a girl in his class. According to him, she was smart and stood out from among the girls. So, one day, he wrote a letter to this girl asking her to be his girlfriend, tucked it in an envelope and asked his closest friend to hand the letter over to the girl.

There were times when he thought the girl liked him too. At least, thats how it appeared to him. So he was very dismayed when a few days later, the letter came back to him, via his friend, still tucked in the same envelope. At 13, and in the presence of a friend, a defeat in the arena of love is just unimaginable.

He was so angry and hurt that he did not even dare to check whether the letter was read or not. When he traced his finger on the seal, he knew his message was rejected. So, to forget about it all, and to save him from further humiliation in case someone finds out about the letter, he tucked it underneath the woven nipa sheets, hidden from anyone's vision.

And he vowed to dislike her.

And she grew meaner by the day, giving him this angry looks.

Four years later, when it was time to change the roof, and he was manly-built enough to do the job, an almost unrecognizable piece of paper slipped from under the sheets. He picked it us and dusted it off only to remember it was the letter he had chosen to forget four years back.

He laughed at his stupidity. He was secretly embarrassed at the remembrance of that painful moment. Then, he decided to open the letter that seemed sealed. He was reminded of the indignant looks the girl had given him a few days after he decided to hate her. He remembered how he would intentionally choose to not be near her.

He opened his letter. His handwriting looked elementary. His words were now tasteless and did not spur any emotion, no, not even a sigh. He read it through, down to the very part where he signed his name. He laughed at himself again and decided to get back to working as the sun was starting to scorch his bare back. He thought of crumpling the letter and throwing it but decided against it just in case someone would suspiciously find it. His reputation , yes even in his household, was at stake. He decided to fold it, tuck it back in the envelope, and burn it right after he finishes his work.

And when he flipped the paper to fold it, he saw an unfamiliar handwriting at the back of the paper. He did not remember writing an extra line at the back. The handwriting didn't look like his either. In fact, it looked...girl-ly.

And the scribbled line said: "Yes, I want to be your girlfriend."

The four years was explained in that single sentence. Four years too late.


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I have questions too. Questions that if they were answered would have given light to situations that changed the course of my relationships. From that moment when I asked and I got back the 'look' that told me "YOU won't get any answers", I have surrendered. But surrender is a daily thing. I look up the sky sometimes and wonder if an answer is tucked somewhere, but, tell my self everyday, the answers are hidden for a purpose.

Someday, when it is cleaning time, it will come to me...but I am not so sure if they would still be of any value.


The truth will set us free
The truth is free
The truth is
I feel Free


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Words

I am a student of Ravi Zacharias. I love apologetics very much. Today, I was on RZIM again to listen to him and take down notes. I will be posting my thoughts on that lesson in my other blog : Expanding My Territory.

He said something about 'words' that hit me in that sermon. I am a lover of words. I find beauty in words. I see words dance and play. I feel words. I have used words to my advantage and on some occasions, to my detriment. But here's what he said that I find to be a helpful thought when I write:


There is a massive difference between the use of fine words and the fine use of words.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Warmed Up: A Love Story


The night was gloomy. The November cold wasn’t helping. She held on to him for warmth like how she had for the few months that had passed. His heart had more than warmth to offer.


They drove around the city somehow realizing how funny fate could be, at the same time recognizing Someone had mapped it all out for them. For who could believe that in this small city, where everyone knows everyone’s shadow, they have not known about each other, up until 5 months ago. Despite the fact that they both lived here for more than 30 years, despite the many common friends they have, despite numerous government functions they were both present at, yes, despite the fact that they stood as godparents to two of their friends’ children, they only became aware of each other’s existence one God-given day in July.


Indeed, when love walks into your life, an ordinary day takes on a new dimension. On the day that was painted with waiting, her waiting for the right man ended. Along with her co-teachers, Lovella queued up to claim her honorarium at the COMELEC Office for the services she rendered during the last election. Mixing sweat and stories, like most joyful teachers, they waited for their turn. At one point, Edsel, her co-teacher and close friend mentioned about her singleness and jokingly volunteered to play cupid and find her a match. They mockingly discussed prospects and possibilities even as they joined another line of people, this time, buying fruits from the vendors near the office.


Just then, a familiar face, owned by a man riding a motorcycle crossed Edsel’s horizon. He took no second thought and muttered “Ma’am Love, how does an architect sound to you? See that guy? I know him. He’s single.” When Lovella turned around to look at this man Edsel was talking about, she only saw his back as he sped along.


No sparks. No fireworks. The clouds didn’t gather to form a wreath. No birds suddenly appeared to sing a serenade. Nature gave no clue that God had answered her prayers.


For days now she has been devoting some time to take a walk early in the morning and talk to God. It would be for forty days, like how she did it many times over when she would ask God for something. This walk that would conclude on her birthday would be for something she has long waited for – A lifetime partner. No, not a boyfriend, not a get-the-day-through guy but the one who would spend the rest of his days with her.


Unknown to her, Edsel was serious about introducing her to Fred. Serious may not describe his strategy of sending Fred an anonymous text containing Lovella’s phone number and an imperative “text her”, but he never doubted in his mind that they would make a good couple. So, he tirelessly sent Fred messages coaxing him to start a communication with her.


It was only when Love received a wrongly sent text message that she found out what was going on behind her back. It was from Fred, asking Edsel a question, giving the impression that he thought Lovella’s phone number was Edsel’s. Later on, he confessed of his disguising strategy.


Lovella replied modestly, showing not much interest. A reply started a conversation. A conversation started a regular and intentional communication, then, the resolution to finally meet each other in person.


That God-appointed day came. Without glamour and fancy, they met. Surprisingly, they realized, this wasn’t the first time they saw each other. One day,( while still in their phase of exchanging messages), on her way to work, Lovella saw a guy in black shirt cross the street and a strange feeling told her it was Fred. Today, she found out it was indeed him. Fred on the other hand, recalled a woman that caught his attention, clad in a little black dress, during a photo exhibit at the city hall. And yes, he remembered that face too, of a lady sitting poised in a tricycle, carefully covering the slit on her skirt with her right hand, looking at her while he crossed the street one day. And like long-time friends they talked, laughed and shared candid moments.


The talks translated into longer, deep conversations. The laugher turned to meaningful smiles and the moments were slowly filed into memories. The days unfolded the wonder they found in each other. Little by little their souls became transparent to each other. Their preferences, ideals and dreams were almost similar. Their common ground was slowly enlarging, laying the foundation to a meaningful relationship.


Falling in love is wonderful but the problem with love is, you can’t keep it to yourself. Fred could no longer hold the weight of love in his heart, he laid it out in the open. What woman could resist the heart of a man truly in-love? Lovella knew this was no ordinary man. He sought God’s will and He answered. She professed her love for him and together, they painted beautiful days.


When love takes you in everything changes. And on that cold November night, as they drove along the streets of this city they call their home, they noticed how ordinary things took on new meanings. The few months of knowing each other filled the empty cracks of the years that were behind them. To Lovella, the long waiting seemed like yesterday. On the other hand, Fred could only wish tomorrow is here today.


While she enjoyed the warmth of his presence, he longed to give her a future. He purposely stopped their street-combing in front of an edifice most familiar to both of them. Unlighted and empty at this cool hour of the night, the church seemed like a perfect fa├žade for the proposal Fred had made up in his mind. Clueless of what was going to happen but marvelling at the gesture, Lovella enjoyed this quiet moment together, until he broke the silence. He asked her to marry him.


You now know what her answer was. Indeed, when God writes our love stories it is unlike the rest. He carefully scribbles His signature in our moments and weaves together amazing experiences that we call miracles. God gave Fred and Lovella their own brand of miracle. They now continue to warm each other in the fire of God’s love.



*Lovella is a good friend of mine and the photo above is one of their pre-nup photos. She works as a school paper adviser in a high school here in our city. While planning for her wedding, she decided to give it a personal flare and thought of making her invites look like a newsletter. In fact, the invite really is a newsletter!!! She gave me the honor of writing their lovestory. She and Fred will get married in May. photo courtesy of Fotographia*