Thanksgiving

It’s time for another entry finally. Free time for me is at a premium nowadays, but I finally got it out. Right now I’m once again partaking of the hospitality of the Cruz family here in Bacolod. God bless you guys! =D [Update 2008-04-09: Nakiki-sabit sa wifi ng StarBucks sa kanto…]

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time, but never got the time to do so until now. I just want to thank the Lord verbally (well actually in writing) for all the blessings that have abounded in the past year. 2007 was a faith-stretching year for me. I can honestly say that never have I been challenged more than in that year. Never have I risked more, lost more, and gained more than in that year. And from the looks of it, even more is yet to come this year. In fact, the bountiful blessings (and even greater challenges) have already started pouring in earnest. I am at the same time filled with both fear and excitement, in varying proportions.

The danger of being at a peak is that you almost know that a valley is almost certainly forthcoming. So with bated breath I sit in wait of the coming fall… That’s hardly a Christian outlook though. We’re supposed to think about “…whatever is true, whatever is noble… if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…(Phil 4:8).” So while it might be my nature to think of all possible ways my endeavors can possibly fail, dwell on the positive I must. Not merely because it is required of us all, but because I know that there is a grand scheme in all things. That the Lord has orchestrated all events in my life to work out for His glory.

So I hope y’all continue to support me in prayer as you always have, my beloved family and friends. Rest assured that you guys are always in my thoughts and prayers as well. Ok, enough mushyness. Gotta get myself to bed before I pass out here.

My Time of day

I don’t usually do blog quizzes, but this one caught my eye. And I think the results really fit…

Update 2008-03-08: Whoops, forgot to include this snippet from the site (buti pa dito sa Blogger, may indent agad sa toolbar):

Your time of day has a split personality — sometimes it’s sweat-streaked and
loud, and you’re on the dance floor, getting your third wind, and shouting
lyrics like you’ll never run out of energy. You are the time of night that
carves itself into your memory forever, because you’ll never forget how much you
love these people and this moment and this song. It’s not always about
unforgettable parties, though. Sometimes your late night (err? early morning)
burst of energy happens when you’re home alone. Those are the times when you
say, “I flat out refuse to go to sleep until I finish reading this book, or
typing this page, or reorganizing my entire closet.” In either case, you are the
time of night when it feels sort of forbidden to be awake, but you love
accomplishing something special long after everyone else went to bed. And hey —
you can always catch up on sleep tomorrow, right?

Apparently I share the same results as 11% of the takers. Took me a couple of times to get similar results too. The other time I was 11 am or something. Basta, tamad, yun!

Yep, around this unholy time of day I usually find myself wrenching my eyes away from the computer screen/a good book to check the time. After which I mutter to myself “just a few more minutes… just let me finish this chapter… just let me get this function done… just until the next save point…” Hahaha!

One of my fondest wishes is for the discovery of a cure for sleepiness. No wait, they already have that. Rather, the cure for the need to sleep, hehe. If only I can make the day last longer. If only I could move faster. Well, my relentless drive to cram more things into a day will probably lead to my demise someday I’m sure. I know that it’s practically contradictory to the Lord’s command to Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It’s really a struggle for me to slow down, slack off, sit in silence and just enjoy the moments as they pass. But when I’m forced to relax, like when I get sick, I always find the experience restful and feel immediately rejuvinated.

The funny thing is that I always procrastinate. I guess that’s just me dragging my feet before moving on to the next activity. Once I’m locked in to one activity that I enjoy doing, I find it hard to draw my attention away and move on to the next task on the list. Be it sleeping or bug fixing. Even though the thing on my list could possibly be more urgent or rewarding. Ahh well…

Multiply cross-posting failure

Here’s a quick one. I just posted the last item on Blogger yesterday after enabling and configuring Multiply’s cross-posting functionality. Turns out that it didn’t work out that well, even after a day of waiting for my Blogger post to appear here. I ended up doing the import manually. I’m not sure exactly how cross-posting is supposed to work. There presumably is an interval between the posting of an entry in another site and it being copied into Multiply. Possibly a batch job running every now and then waiting for updates.

Anyway, that’s that, it didn’t work. I’m going to try it the other way around now. Look for this post on my Blogger page.

Update (2007-11-12): Wow, it worked! Baka may oras nga lang talaga ng pag-synch in between blogs.

A Bout of Lethargy

Ahh yes. Finally, another entry after so many months of silence. The title is a dead giveaway, hehe. Not only does lethargy afflict my blog, but other areas of my life as well. Every day becomes a continuous battle against the forces of inertia. I have to drag myself out of bed, stuff myself into office attire, pry my butt off the office chair, and finally bang my head on the wall to sleep. Each action, each transition into a different stage in the day has to be preceded by an internal struggle against procrastination. My passion for life slowly ebbs with each passing day.

In the course of my descent into oblivion, I have tried to retrace my steps and find the onset of my condition. It seems only yesterday that I was so energetic, so impatient to get along with life, anxious to complete the tasks I had at hand. I’m guessing it would have been around my last blog post, early May, that my energies reached their zenith. I had so many things lined up for me to do, so many plans. Aiming to maximize my stay, I set out to cram as much as I could in a day. I would go for weeks at a time with four hours of sleep during weekdays, then recover it all in the weekends. Not the most healthy lifestyle, that’s for sure. Eventually I ended up burnt-out, disappointed by my perceived failure to accomplish my goals.

In retrospect, I probably wasn’t as unproductive as I thought I was at the time. Maybe it was just my obsession with perfection that led to my disillusionment. I am reminded of Matthew 6:11, “give us today our daily bread.” My failure to appropriate this truth in my life is partly responsible for my present condition. While Jesus was definitely reassuring us of God’s provision for man’s physical needs, He was also emphasizing the importance of God’s word in our everyday lives. I’ll get to that in a moment. I remember a sermon, or maybe it was a book, I heard or read once, that discussed the many meanings of this verse. An additional aspect of this verse was that we should live our lives one day at a time. I was trying to tear out enormous chunks out of my loaf, with the expected result of choking on the excess.

Another detrimental effect of this rushing was my loss of focus on my walk with the Lord. As deadlines drew tighter, I would take time of my other duties. Simple yet important tasks such as exercising, preparing meals, even cutting my nails, were shifted to lower priorities. Worst of all, spending time with the Lord got steadily whittled down. Daily devotions all but ceased, prayer time was reduced to saying a few words before meals, sleeping through Sunday made Church an occasional affair. Now I’m not claiming to be a “saint” (in the modern sense of the word), but I was definitely backsliding… again… for the nth time. Aaaaahhh… At times it’s really hard to accept the reality of Christ’s salvation, especially when we turn our attention to the worst in us. The worst part of this is, while I have been spending less and less time doing productive work, I make up for it instead by doing unproductive stuff. Playing games, reading nonsense novels, watching videos, anything to escape the pressing realities of the world. I have been ever the escapist, preferring to wallow in comforting lies than responsibly facing the truth of a dismal situation.

Lately I’ve been trying to pick up the fragments of my broken life. Yeah I know, I sometimes drop the pieces faster than I pick them up. Anyway, one book I’ve been reading recently gives me refreshing reminders of God’s plan for us: The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die. It’s mostly just a reiteration of things I already heard, but I have come to realize how important it is to be constantly reminded of the basics. Analyzing the times when I was falling out of line with God, I find one factor constantly involved in them: spending time with God. In all those times, I was either not meditating on His Word, or not engaging in meaningful fellowship and ministry.

While I think that I have been reading and meditating now more than ever before, the social aspect of worship has taken the back stage lately. Now that I’m lacking in the area, I’m beginning to see what a large part of my life ministry was. Involvement with other people, investing time in serving them, sharing my life and working with them, is indeed an indispensable part of God’s plan for us.

Ever since college, I have been involved in ministry at varying degrees. Not that I was doing great at it. In fact ministry was always a struggle for me. Hehe, laziness is one of my biggest flaws, and my inner Juan Tamad showed his ugly face every time I would go out into the field. There was also the constant struggle with the heart of course. Part of this probably comes from the enemy, I suppose. “You’re not worthy to serve,” I would catch myself telling… myself. “You don’t have the guts to do it, coward,” was my second favorite line. Even sometimes “I’m so great, I did that all by myself.” But through it all, the Lord has been ever gracious to me. While my service is flawed, He has never stopped working within me to change my heart and sanctify my service. Bahala na, basta gawin mo na lang, bahala na Siya doon sa iba. In the end, what can we do that is not from God? Does He not have all things? Is there anything we can give that we have not first received? Ahh yes, sometimes I feel that I was the greatest beneficiary of my imperfect service. In times of strife, in my agony brought about by self-conflict during ministry, the Lord was passing my heart through the flames, burning away the decayed parts, leaving what was good and pleasing to Him.

I miss those times. Now, more than ever, I am aware of the importance of ministry and fellowship. I would say that interaction with other believers would be the mortar to a sturdy temple built for the Lord. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:16-18),” right? My circumstances contribute to this deficiency. Having recently moved out of my home for 17 years, I am now left without a steady church. I’ve spent the last month “church shopping”. When I fail to go home for the service, I attend GCF at Ortigas. Things are not the same though. The size of that place makes it hard to really know anybody personally. Plus I’m not exactly Mr. Congeniality, hehe. I’ve been considering signing up for one of their small groups, but I feel that my work would probably get in the way, me being quite a ways from Ortigas. Maybe I’ll take my high school friend up on his long-standing offer of joining his small group in Makati. I used to decline because I already had one back home, but since moving out I rarely get the chance to go home on weekdays. We’ll see.

I find it funny to think about how much I’ve changed since my teens. Well not that I’m bragging or anything. It’s not like I’m responsible for the improvements. I tell you, I’ve resisted change every step of the way. My stubbornness knows no bounds, hehe. In fact, I think part of my laziness and procrastination stems from my resistance to change, my fear of losing the status quo. Yet the Lord has overcome all my defenses and conquered my fears, setting me free from the strongholds of the enemy. For that, I can’t be more grateful. So while there are strongholds holding me chained yet, I remain ever hopeful that He will triumph in the end. In fact, He is already victorious, and that will serve as my security.

Ok, now that got waaaay more personal than I set out to get. Much longer than it’s supposed to be, that’s for sure. You probably dozed of in the middle of the second paragraph, ha! I’m still a little squeamish about this whole blogging thing. How much do I dare reveal? How far is too far? Anyway, I’ve wasted enough of your time. I hope you got something out of this, innocent bystander. I do.

The Trip: Departure (The True Story)

All right, I apologize for not being forthcoming in my last post, dear readers. My heart is filled with remorse for wasting your precious time. (not!) Hehehe… Na-uto kayo no? Nyahahahaha! Well, now that those weak of heart have been weeded out of the audience, I guess I can get to the juicy stuff…

Our good family friend Tita Baby Bulaon showed up around 2:30am. While she arrived late enough to give the average guy enough allowance to get ready, I was late as usual. (More on the preparations later.) I quickly stuffed whatever else I could lay my hands on into my bags and jumped into the bathroom. After a quick breakfast of scrambled-egg-and-ham sandwiches, I loaded my bags into the van and we rushed off to the airport. My mom was driving, and Tita Baby came along to keep her company on the way home. It didn’t take us more than 45 mins, I think. And we arrived at the airport with time to spare. We said our goodbyes, and I entered the airport with my bags. I don’t like sad goodbyes. They only accentuate the feelings of loss and separation. I would rather focus on the positives. I was reminded that the paths we’re going along are for the best, that the great opportunities we have before us are from the Lord.

And so I proceeded to the check-in gates. With a boarding pass printed out from NW’s website, the process was fairly simple. Ahh, the wonders of modern technology. Thankfully, the rest of the checks were also as uneventful. The immigration officer even didn’t question me about my DOST hold order until I showed him the documents. I wonder if that means I don’t really have a hold order, that I could have left any time. But then, I opted to play it safe and get through the whole process in accordance with the proper procedure. It was smooth sailing from then.

I met up with my officemate Ryan, also on a similar assignment, in the check-out line. I was deliberately careful with my things, especially my travel documents, so he got out a little ahead. We received free trial passes to the NW lounge from our HR team, so I went to check it out. Wow, free food! Ayos, feeling business class! Hahaha! I’m always a sucker for free food, who isn’t? I also took advantage of the free internet access terminals to send some mails out to my family about my trip status.

As the plane lifted off the runway, my thoughts drifted back along the past few months. There have been ups and downs all along. The Lord has taken me on a long roller-coaster ride; and I felt that I was going downhill most of the time. Yet through it all, He was seated right beside me, holding me fast to my seat. Even when things seemed to spiral out of control, and when the world turned upside down, He was there to give me the strength to go on. When we went through tunnels, where I couldn’t see the way, He would shine His light on me and give me hope. And most amazing was that whenever I was rushing down a valley, I would feel almost weightless. I haven’t been faithful enough, not grateful enough, to deserve His love. And yet there He was, ever faithful, ever loving. It’s true that the Lord reveals Himself to us at His own pace. Through these trials, He has taught me to be more dependent on Him. I find myself more open to His will instead of being hardened, as I have been in the past. While I am not perfect, He has shown me that I don’t have to be. And it is the least I can do to give my life over to him.

Lately I’ve been struggling with my daily devotion. The problem is that it’s not daily, hehehe… I haven’t exactly been building the best habits. My addiction to media is still firmly rooted in me, and serves as a great hindrance to devoting time to the Lord. I’d stay up late watching TV, downloaded videos, or reading some other nonsense. Not only do I not get to do the things I have to do, but it also throws off my schedule the next day. “Late to bed, late to rise”, that’s always been my motto, hah! That brings back memories of high school… If it’s not too much to ask, dear readers, please pray for me. I would like to throw off these shackles I’ve been wearing for years.