The Garden

A gardener has always had his thoughts on making his flower garden the most of its beauty. He waters his chrysanthemums and tends his orchids. He arranges each row of his flowers in a single-lined hue and hums a tune to make his garden “happy”. The ambient fragrance diffusing in mid-air kept him in a pensive mood. And he has been carrying this for years.

Years seemed to be abiding until that one day. It was a fine one, yes. And the gardener was fervently tending his flowers.

But that one fine day was not the mundane.

As he tended his last, he heard a buzzing sound across the garden. The skies above him with shining sun transitioned into lonesome gray and lightning striking in all directions. The garden breeze became a monstrous whirling wind. Thunder clapping was everywhere. A tornado was at sight!

“Why now?!” He exclaimed. With his thought on his garden, he tried to uproot his chrysanthemums with one hand and the orchids in the other. The daisies, poppies, tiger lilies, and roses were hastily bundled up in his basket. He had to run away with them before the storm catches up.

And so he ran.

He ran as fast as he could. But the whirling cloud was at a distance away. He had to leave his flowers — despite the lightweight, he cannot save them all for some were already falling from his hands. He had to get away before being consumed by the gust.

And so he let his flowers go..

His dream of a “perfect garden”, vanished.

But he was still alive.

Sooner, the gusty winds vanished with the dream that he had in mind. The skies were daylight and the scorch was at its height.

He was not far away from his garden. So he went back to see the sight of what remained jumbled up in a jiffy after the whirl. He broke down and cried. “What should I do now?” He asked hopelessly.

And a light shone upon and there were seeds before him. He wasn’t sure of what those seeds were, but with his thought of making his garden again, he picked those seeds up and planted them. He watered them, and months later, his garden wasn’t like the garden that he pictured out before — it was even better!

This was just an anecdote from my head minutes after hours of receiving bad news.

I am the gardener. And God was the light.

God gives me the seeds to plant in my life. I may not know what these seeds are but when I do what needs to be done accordingly to what He has told me to do, a beautiful picture would cascade sooner.

I may not know of His plans for me in the nearer future. But I hold on to His promise in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future.”

Everything happens at His time. And everything serves its purpose. After a breakdown, I need to get back up and submit everything to His stead.

I can’t conduct my own orchestra. God is the best conductor in my orchestra and I am just the audience applauding in His ways.

I cannot hold on to the flowers I tend for myself anymore. With God’s sufficient grace, He would grow the best of all gardens in His perfect time (TGIF on Ezekiel 12 – God of Perfect Timing).

 

 

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A Night in Stanley Park

The sun bid farewell. But the streets demanded an encore — a night full of streetlamps aglow. The whole area, transitioned into darkness, faded into tangerine lights.

The chill evening wind drifted melodiously as he sat down on one of the street’s park benches. He had a heavy heart. Probably a messed-up decision to leave his hometown for some place he wouldn’t know what could be coming. Or probably find a breath of fresh air in the open wide from trouble– who knows? Who knows what this man could have gone through in life at this point.

He tucked his hands into the pockets of his duffel coat as the chills of early December began to settle in. At this point, he was confused. He actually had something in mind all along. What have I done wrong? was what he questioned this whole time.

He had fallen. Unfortunately.

Falling once or twice was quaint enough for him. But his last was never enough to cover up his exit wounds. Internal bleeding held him astounded for so long. It had been with him for months – almost leading him to a psychotic episode. Tragic, yes.

For him, it was the hardest. It felt like his world crashed between glaciers of ice. Or his entire universe plunged him into the heart of the deepest bottom. His breath at the bottom of the ocean floor was at its critical. It felt no worse than that as he believed.

He was too preoccupied. He believed it was all his fault. The one to him who was like sunshine was now lost. Forever.

So he had nothing else more to do. Ending his life was not a choice, as the strong individual he was somehow. He had to just plunge into thought about everything to internalize all of the moments captured. The ones captured in his memorabilia – a camera (he actually brought it along with him).

His stimulus was to look into his camera  for 70% of his time was focused on recollecting those memories. But his alter-ego had him shove it off for it was useless. True that he can’t bring back those memories in real life.

It was a couple of hours past seven as his timepiece declared. After that dramatic episode, he waited. Waited for his life to be decluttered. He wanted to start again. Fresh.

And there she goes. Walking along the streets of Vancouver to capture the aesthetic panorama. The resolution was just as it should be. And her life was no less than that of a mere child who wanted nothing more but to see the world. She had set aside all her success to just be someone who takes memories to remember all that has been. Ebbing and flowing, height and depth, up and down — it wouldn’t matter to her. For all that she knew was that it was something worth to keep and to be treasured for the next fifty years. And in every trial and suffering was a Flash of hope found.

He was dazed for a moment or so. She was so familiar.

What could have been in her that led him to recapitulate all the forgotten memories in his past life? It was by then that he knew he had not remembered. He wanted to throw it out of his memory but it was recycled. Something he wished that he would not have deleted in mind at all.

He was just staring at her. Probably something between them could. Or probably not. He’d just have to wait and see.

And it was a night in Stanley Park.

Wait There

I can’t put my thoughts into words right now.

After seeing those indirect posts, I didn’t know how to put myself back together. Though there was no name aforementioned in those posts, my memories shift back to high school.

This guy. Most people knew him of his renowned but infamous tactics. I was technically involved in this guy’s life. Probably as someone of his interest.

It started first year. He gave me a rose-colored letter that says “I like you.” I laughed it off though I was heaved by these words. No one appreciated me back in grade school.

Then second year came. He gave me a lot of things from chocolates, to books, and a Girls’ Generation single. He gives out everything that I like. Whoa, this guy’s– creepy. And this was the year where dignity walked away from me after an incident in his homeroom. He gave me a smack that I didn’t need.

Third year. We were friends, yes. Sometimes I felt the need to talk to this person because I felt that I needed someone else. But lo, it was a trap. When I knew that his intention of trying to get me was more of an obsession, I tried my very best to stay away from this person. He tries to contact my phone, enter the classroom where I’m at, and do stuff for me (No chivalry please, thanks). And this was the year I started acting boyish to repel him away from me.

Then was fourth year high school. We barely talk. And it was cool for I get to be with my closest of friends for the last year. I was somehow relieved after graduation for we would finally be in separate schools.

And the story journeyed with me in college. Because I barely get to see that person and contact him less, I was free. I could be who I am.

Boyish. That is what some of my college mates label me now. The foremost reason to why I intend not to involve myself with the romantic kind of love. My thoughts most of the time are video games and shounen anime just to feel that manly in me. I don’t want to feel love for someone of the opposite regard as of this time. Though sometimes, someone tries to involve himself in my life but I know it would be a trap.

But, as the persistent chap that he is, he still tries to get involved.

I don’t know if it would be wrong to shoo him off — telling him to leave me alone. I don’t know if it would be right to just let him be. One of my college friends told me, I shouldn’t complain that much when I’m used to his nuisance. And one also said that I should backfire him with words of insult.

Well that felt a little better after writing these thoughts.

I really don’t know what to do.

I’m confused.

Persecution in the Resurrection

Disclaimer: If you don’t share with my thoughts on this, it’s your choice to read it or leave it on the side. 

Resurrection. Defined as the coming back to life. And most of us would tandem this word with one Man – Jesus.

Jesus, in accordance to the Scriptures, rose from death on the third day. To most, it would be just a mere slice of pumpkin pie but it is more than just a tome of history.

Buzzing all over the world today is the treachery of the Kenyan University Massacre. Over a 150 people (more or less students) died due to this graveyard intention. According to some reports, the terrorists separated the Christians from the Muslims and rifled the larger percentage of the Christians in the university. Bloodshed scenarios were displayed. Truly, a disturbing picture.

Probably an inquisitive mind like yours would come to question this: “If God loved the world, why did He allow all this to happen?”

Picture this: Jesus cried out to God during his crucifixion according to the Scriptures, “My Lord, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Well, there was no verbal reply from God himself. But know this: He rose on the third day and was alive again! God’s answer was there: He was the perfect sacrifice to save all of humanity and His resurrection proved it there.

Another picture: Job, a man of reverence to God in the Old Testament. Job suffered from lesions I believe (those worms that were emerging from his body proved it so). Because of this suffering after all that was left of him, He cried out to God to answer his one reply. “Why?” In the end, God made his appearance and brought back his riches and restored his health. God’s answer was there.

We probably have all have those Why?’s or Why, God?’s in life.

The Bible says that all things work together for good. And you might say, wait — what is good in suffering and death? Where’s the good in vanquish? Seeing the two illustrations of the people in the Bible, you might get your answer.

God is working in ways that you yourself cannot see. Sometimes you can’t see the bigger picture. Persecution, trial, suffering — all these are instruments to let us practice that one thing most people forget: faith.

Christians around the world (not only in Kenya) right now are dying because of their faith in Jesus. And maybe because of this, we would be discouraged. At first glance, I would be. But look again and you’ll definitely know and find what it is to defend the God who rose from the dead and returned the riches to a righteous man.

Let’s say your friend is accused guilty of something. But you really know in your heart that he has not done something wrong because you trust him. And he said so himself that he has not done anything. Now, the attorney of the prosecutor wishes to demand and alibi from you that he has done the crime for the case to be “resolved”. And if you don’t, he’ll kill you for it. Would you rather die for the truth or live for the lie? That is the same scenario that I want to express here.

Faith is measured in this case. For me, I want to be one of those students who will die because of their faith. It takes selflessness to see the great wonders of life. For me, my life doesn’t matter anymore when I know my work is done. And this death will signify that I have a strong faith. Persecution is rampant and the Scriptures says it all.

There may be persecution in the resurrection. But there is resurrection in the persecution.

Maybe you don’t believe in the resurrection or you may not understand it for now. I wouldn’t force you to; you are given by the good Lord free will. But it is my prayer that you will find that faith in Jesus – the Man who resurrected from the grave to save us all.

Mark 16:16a – Whoever believes (in the resurrection) and is baptized will be saved.

P.S. Please do pray for peace for the people who had died for their faith. Might as well for the ones who killed them.

Bless the Broken Road

It was an intermittent morning with a feel of pressure going on either side. I was just on my way to school wondering what challenges and circumstances might be foreshadowing ahead. I looked around. Students trying to aboard a ride to the school grounds, professionals walking on both sidewalks, pedestrians here and there. And there I thought. Another day. A mundane expression of everyday living.

Dressed in my uniform and a body bag with a big textbook, I don’t know where my footprints are led. People around me seem to be focused on what they’re on right now (probably fighting for a promotion or good-earned grades would be a first). I just seem so lost with what the world has to bring. And that’s what I thought as I walked and waited for a jeep to ride on.

I’m only a person. Nothing more than just a Chemical Engineering student. Or so as I thought.

A few weeks ago, I was in between the verge of shifting or pushing through. And I recalled that I took up the Chemical Engineering program just because of my hatred for math. Yes, you heard that right. I hate math. And I seem to not fit in just because people taking up the same program probably looked so relaxed. Naturally, I just took it up for the name. Chemical Engineering does have a ring to it, doesn’t it? Never knowing that taking it up would actually be a doggone head-grown bump in my head just because I never had the passion for mathematics. And that’s where I’m truly having a hard time. Curiosity sometimes is a threat to humans.

People back in high school thought that I would take up Filmography, Computer Science, Journalism, or Fine Arts. People in college right now thought so to. Yes, I wasn’t in for the maths anyway. I even shun the idea of taking it up just for fun when I realized that it wasn’t exactly fun at all. I partly excel in my chemistry though, but the maths that are more than majors, nah. My discernment wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be in reality. Well, expectations and reality do not exactly become analogies all the time, do they?

And I recalled. Back when I was applying for colleges in high school, I was dismayed for I wasn’t able to enter the University of the Philippines with Computer Science as my chosen program. I called, emailed, and went there. But no one did entertain me for it. So there goes my CS dreams. And I tried to proceed with my second choice, Chemical Engineering.

My mother thought it would suit me. To be practically honest, I don’t actually feel it. Straightforwardly speaking. I admired the name of the program but then and there I thought, what am I doing? But my conscience told me, why shouldn’t I go with it? During the interviews for the said program, applicants from different schools were on the honor roll. I felt like I don’t belong during that time. Whoa, I merely graduated with only a diploma. But then, I thought, why shouldn’t I just roll with it?

Typically, even if this was staged, it’s not my choice. Nor is it my mom’s. It’s God’s.

And realizing why I should just go with the flow? It’s His choice, not mine. Chemical Engineering wasn’t my priority at all, but then again, it’s His choice. Not mine.

I arrived school earlier than my intended class but decided not to attend. I was too pessimistic about my midterm exam grade in Calculus. But in the end, I passed. An answered prayer indeed (I actually asked for a sign – if it would rain on my way to school, I would fail. And the other way around).

Surely, everything I’m doing right now is not on my own free will. Well partly it would be. However, everything is set according to plan. And I think I am the missing ingredient. What choice do I have anyway?. I should do what He asks me to do because I don’t take control of my interests.

Pushing all the pressure and expectation aside, I know that I am in this program for a purpose. Where failing is not an option in God’s eyes. I feel the need to push through and my mind not on what is ideal for man but ideal for Him.

As I walked along, I’m sure God would bless the broken road that I am strolling along.

At the end of the day, I’m another day older. But another day stronger. And another day more faithful.

The Faith of the “Faithful”

Recently, two significant, historical events trudged a week ago. First, the Papal visit of Pope Francis I to the Philippines and the annual Sinulog Festival. Coincidentally, they were both in the interval. Well, I ain’t Catholic and I try not to judge the practices of the people. And typically, I don’t mind however to some extent, I am concerned with what the people are trying to respond to these events. If you don’t mind though, may I rant some of my observations to satisfy this scrutiny.

Few days before Saturday, media declared the arrival of the pope – the one declared by many to be holy. Pope Francis is cool and all despite the unawareness of his nature (though I must say he’s a chemistry graduate and that’s dang awesome). And to my surprise, the abomination of hypocrisy slandered the archipelago. How the criminals of the administration transformed into desperate angels begging for mercy. How the cusses of people transformed into words of thought. How everyone suddenly became peaceful for that matter. And most importantly, how media screwed it all up.

And coincides the celebration of the “Child Jesus”. To my dismay, as I barricaded the streets, many people were devoting themselves to an image. I don’t know what Catholics are saying about this but it’s heartbreaking. Maybe to some it is the Child Jesus but it is still an image. Asking an image to do miraculous things makes one become desperate for good to come. In other words, one is referring to an image as a genie. God is never a genie. Only talking to Him for when you’re only in trouble.

We are all for a fact hypocrites. I’m not an exception. But just because someone or something whom we declare as holy comes for a visit, everyone simply manages to sugar-coat the entire environment with our so-called “faith”. It’s actually not at all bad if you are to be sensitive with the pope’s visit. It’s a little misleading though if you’re desperate for something to happen that goes with your ways (and not in accordance to God’s plans).  What I want to imply on about this is on how you live everyday. This doesn’t speak for only Catholics but also for people who have faith in Christ our Savior. You can’t practice being good for a special occasion. We must show it everyday (sounds cliche to many of us but indeed we must). James 1:22 says that we should not only be hearers of the Word but doers of it so that we do not deceive ourselves. And I repeat the word deceive. The question is: How are you living for the Lord everyday?

This, in turn, shall speak to me as well. To be honest, I sometimes neglect the Lord for my selfish concerns. I used to use God as a medium for merely granting my own specific needs. But this is a reminder for all of us that we are to be living for the Lord in just a simple word: Faith. Believing that the Lord would rescue, heal, and take care of you is a step of planting your faith. Prayer, devotion and meditation on God’s Word, and loving others cultivates it. And that’s what faith is.

We should not live for the Lord only once. We should not live for the Lord tomorrow. We should live for the Lord today.

I Hate Roads

I hate roads.

Everyday, millions of passengers travel meter by kilometre to their designated workplaces and/or schools. And in everyday, the century dilemma never leaves the basket.

Jeepneys.

“Sikit-sikiti lang, naa pa’y duha (Move closer, there are two more seats — even though there aren’t).” That mundane expression of local jeepney drivers may seem like the norm for me as I leave university going home. That grim greed of drivers for an additional eight pesos for a certain trip may seem like the delusional decree granted by our astounding government. Not to mention greed of other passengers mimicking Tarzan right at the tail of the jeepney. And kids (other times adolescent beings). Trying to get a head start of the day asking hardly-earned money from underpaid citizens through rapping (Is that even a notable talent nowadays? — I mean look at Nicki Minaj). Such class, I must say. This one-way predicament is just one of the conceptualizations of life here in the “Queen City of the South”. Otherwise, the “Pearl of the Orient”.

Traffic.

A warm unsullied morning infused with carbon monoxide combustion from dreaded engines of most vehicles would probably turn into your worst morning ever. Or worst every-morning ever. As I listen to travel music on a ride to school, I don’t mind the building up of cars along the lanes (Took a lot of getting used to though). However, as I look at the timepiece, I would realize. Wow. I’m almost late for class (like what most students would say). I’d probably derp it off but deep inside — Where the hell is the origin to all this? After an hour or so, I’d ogle at the lame traffic enforcer, enforcing the traffic — as always (I mean get your dictionary). Thought it would be another reckless accident but, nah. Just that man with a neon green suit waving his hands at cars like there is no tomorrow. Just what this world needs.

Pedestrian lanes and signs.

There’s this pedestrian lane that stood out on the road to the elongated patio entrance to school. And some words like slow, down, school, and zone. If you’re a driver, you are oriented with signs, the do’s and don’ts and safety. As I strolled along the pedestrian lane, I’ve noticed cars at the speed of 180 km/s. And no wonder I became Superman for thirty seconds just to halt cars and pass through with my bare hands — literally. And they’ll yell at you for interrupting their rodeo limelight on the road for show. I thought this was a pedestrian lane.

The dilemma of the nation starts at simpleton things such as these. Rules and human rights. They’re an equilibrium for the sake of good governance and prosperity. People complain and bash the government but, though I hate the government’s system of implementing road regulatory measures, citizens themselves can’t measure what is even right. Initiative — that is what lacks in the intellect of humans in our society today. The decrees are there; why the hell do people disregard it? Where’s the discipline in all this?

Now you’re saying you hate the government. I do too. But examine yourself — are you even following the rules?