Dryness

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Someone has just turned off the tap in my life.
I had always assumed and taken for granted
that the water will simply just keep on flowing.
Water to slake my thirst for the novel and the adventurous
Water to make the garden of my dreams bloom
Water to keep the life in me going.

Then, one day, somebody or something simply turned off the tap.
There is no more water
to make my life fresh and green,
to make alive my hopes and dreams,
to quench my thirst to knowledge and wisdom,
or to just even to clean myself of the dust and dirt
of daily living.

Nothing could be more barren or drier
that the burl in an old tree.
Nor uglier and more unsightly.
Yet, in that ugly dryness an artist sees
a thing of beauty to be carved and polished
into a sculpture or a unique piece of furniture.
In it crevices and deep crannies can thrive
insects, fungi and all sorts of living things.

How can one derive beauty and life
from something so ugly and dry?

 

 

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Mysteries And Roots

That in our hearts may live His memory

The world we live in is a simple and yet a mysterious place.
There are simple truths that are self-evident.
Like, what goes up must come down.
There are some truths we do not see
but feel deeply in our hearts.
Like, He who descended from heaven to become man
must ascend and go back to the Father.
And there are truths so profound they astound.
Like, a grain of sand does not a beach make
and yet we can see in it the universe.
A man does not humanity make
and yet each person contains all that humanity is
and what we all hope to be.
My head keeps on searching for answers
yet my heart forever poses endless questions.

Even though I now live in one of the most cosmopolitan
and urbanized areas in the world,
I can still feel my peasant roots.
My forebears were tillers, but not owners, of the soil.
On the side, many of them were also carpenters.
Even as I watch my grandchildren grow,
I can see glimpses of me in them:
my moodiness and quickness of mind in my grandson;
my playfulness and humor in my granddaughter.
There is a continuing thread that runs through us all.
This thread is not unique to our family
but it is the common thread that binds us together
with the rest of humanity.
And it goes all the way back
and all the way forward
to its Source.

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The Presence We Call The Spirit

 

I am more than the sum of my parts.
In my deepest being, I am no different from everything else that exist.
Yet, when I look into my deepest being,
I know that I am different from everything else that exist.
I look up to the heavens and wonder at all that vastness and beauty.
I know that I belong to those stars,
yet, I also know I am more precious and loved that all those stars.

I am not an accident.
I was born for greater things.
There is something in the air that makes me realize
I am going on a journey;
I am on a quest for who I really am;
I am being called to come home.

I see beauty around me: a flower in bloom, a smile on a face, a sunrise.
These are signposts to guide me on journey.
I see the reality of life: nature and people in communion,
children exploring and learning the world around them,
people discovering the truth in living harmoniously together.
These are markers that I am on the right quest.
I see the goodness around me: people sharing and loving in spite of difficulties,
the hungry being fed, the sick being healed, strangers being welcomed.
These are the acts that will finally bring me home.

Everything that exist has a cause and a reason.
I know God created everything.
I believe that God took on human form to teach us how to live and to love.
And beyond creation and my redemption,
I believe that God is the Spirit
who guides me on my journey,
inspires me in my quest,
and surely bringing me home.

Prayer 03

 

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FOMO

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In nature, nothing is ever out of place.
The beach looks as natural with or without footprints.
With footprints, the scene suggests there are humans around with stories, to tell.
Without the footprints, the pristine scene makes on wonder how things were
before people came into the scene.

There have been many moments in my life that I felt I had things wrong,
that things were not quite where they should be,
that there is something missing.
Among the young ones today, FOMO has gained currency.
Fear Of Missing Out.
I fear I am missing out on something.

For many years, I worked and walked along corridors of power,
small corridors perhaps but still with some power.
There were a number of times
– I have lost count but the more significant ones I can still remember –
that I wondered what I was doing there in the first place or why.
Like, I did not really belong.
A true member of that old-boys network would have understood perfectly
what was happening but I kept missing my cues.
One boss I worked for thought I was being enigmatic
when in fact I was at a loss and wondering what I was doing there.
He labeled me as ‘el hombre misterioso’.

Even now, I walk my way still with a lot of fear and trembling,
afraid I might be doing the wrong things,
saying the uncalled for words
or thinking the inappropriate thoughts.

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Love Colors Everything

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St. Augustine once wrote: “Love and then, what you will, do.”
Seconding that emotion, Fr. Arrupe the former Jesuit General wrote:
“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.”

Who and what I love make me want to get out of bed in the morning.
They make me end my day with a smile when I go to bed.
They bring color and endless abiding joy into my life.
I think of all the people who have shown me love and changed my life for the better.
I also think of all the people I have loved and
pray that I have helped change their lives for the better.

I love being in love and I though I was pretty good at it.
Lately, I have realized that what I thought was love
was actually me being extremely selfish.
Love is about the other.
But with subtleties I am just now beginning to understand,
I have made love all about myself.

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Three More Mothers

 

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Today is Mothers’ Day.
And Facebook and social media are awash with greetings for mothers. There is a veritable avalanche of paeans and acclamations for all mothers. There is a massive deluge of gratitude, appreciation and undying love from both their guilty and guiltless children. And thus it should be. without our mothers, we wouldn’t even be here.

I would like to sing praises to three other Mothers today.

The first is Mother Earth. We all suckled at her breasts which have been bountiful to feed us all. And yet we have thrashed and abused her. There are some children who do the same thing to their biological or adopted mothers. But in this case, most if not all of us have practically abandoned Mother Earth. She also likes her bouquet of flowers today, special presents to show she is appreciated. I just wonder how many have remembered to do that.

That Mother Earth is always with us is shown in our undying love and longing for the Motherland. This is the second mother I would like to celebrate today. I reside in the US where different people from different lands have chosen to settle. And yet in almost all of them, there is this abiding, deep-seated longing to eventually come home – to the Motherland. They keep their native traditions. They visit whenever they can. And most are hoping to eventually go back home.

Science tells me that all the cells in my body are replaced every seven years. I have lived in the US for ten years now. There is no cell in me that was made in the Philippines. All my cells are now made in the US. And yet, there is a deep longing in me to come home or at least visit the Motherland regularly and often. That is because there are some exceptional cells that are never replaced. We are born and we die with the same brain cells. And these cells are the repository of memories, emotions and my sense of personhood. I can leave the Motherland but the motherland will forever be in my mind.

Have you ever thought of God as Mother? As in God the Mother? Pray the ‘Our Father’ a little bit more mindfully today, specially the second part which is mostly a list of petitions.

“Give us this day . . . .” Sure Daddy brings home the bacon but Mommy bakes the bread. She cooks the meals and makes the house a home. In some families, Mommy brings home the bacon and the bread. Isn’t that image closer to what we would imagine God to be?

“And forgive us our trespasses . . . .” We will fail and commit mistakes in life. When we have failed and are down, isn’t it Mama whom we call out to automatically? And when we have grievously sinned, who is the first person who would be ready to forgive us and take us back? Again, isn’t this the image we often have of God?

“And lead us not into temptation . . . .” All of us remember Mom endlessly telling us “Do this!” “Don’t do that!” We learned our manners mainly from Mom. It was Mom who taught us to say “Thank you.” If only for this, mothers have a special place even in God’s heart.

“But deliver us from evil . . . .” Nothing is more poignant than the Pieta. A mother will hold back nothing for her children. She will give up everything, even her own life, for their sake. Like the obedient son of the Father, mothers will take up the cross and be nailed on it for the sake of the children. Isn’t this the love story we also have with God? God the Mother!

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When Nighttime Comes

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I am feeling adrift on a dark and dreadful sea
It is all shadows and darkness lurking around me
The light of reason had been snuffed out suddenly
Where to go from here is now difficult to see.

Just yesterday, there was sunlight, joy, and hope
Now it seems I’m barely clinging to the end of the rope
It is all too distressing and a challenge to cope
I feel like hiding in a corner to weep and mope.

It took time in coming but eventually it did
It started in trickles then the progression was rapid
People thought it would eventually turn splendid
But it increasingly got to be more and more vapid.

It started with oft repeated little lies, then a false report
Soon it becomes easier for people to change and distort
The news that is fake and  aired without support
And the air is poisoned with prevarications of all sorts.

Lawmakers and judges think they are above the law
It is not for them but only for the commoners below
Priests and pastors behave like they are above sinning
Giving themselves license to do about anything.

But there is beauty to see even on the darkest night
The moon and the stars dispel the shadows with their light
There will be the morning to again make all things bright
But what if this darkness will forever keep the light out of sight?

I always want to face life with hope, a smile and joy
But I fear the darkness will forever blot out and destroy
All the things I deeply love and truly enjoy?
That would indeed be misery without alloy.

 

 

 

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