The Day the World Went Out to Get Some Ice Cream

The last few months of last year have been full of trials, to say the least.  That it took me a few months since my last substantial blog post speaks volumes in itself.  I seem to have to overburdened myself with work, both in the office and in church, while still managing to accomplish as little as possible in the process.  In doing so I lost sight of what matters.  I lost control somewhere along the road, allowing certain aspects of my once so rigidly-controlled life to slip out of my hands.  It’s as if I popped out of the driver’s seat to get some ice cream in the middle of rush-hour traffic in EDSA, only to return and find that the stoplight turned green in my absence.

The good thing in all of this is that I still come out the better despite the many trials, and failures, of that year.  I feel that have grown to better accept myself as I truly am.  More conscious of my shortcomings and more willing to admit them.  A side effect of this new found self-awareness is that I seem to be able to get along with others better.  I forgot where I read it, but someone once wrote that those who are the best at empathizing with others are also the most self-aware.  Conversely, show me a person who can’t understand others and I’ll show you a hypocrite.  You’re looking at him…  That is to say, my rose-tinted glasses have become a little more clearer, and I feel that I am better able to see myself as the flawed person that I am.

In fact, it seems that the more I grow, the more I realize that I have a lot to change.  Indeed, this is what the Lord intends for us all.  To realize how desperately in need we are of Him.  I bet this was all in His plan for me after all.  A bet which I undoubtedly win thanks to God’s omniscience and timelessness.  As a recovering, self-confessed control-freak, I found it very disconcerting that I let myself go in such a manner.

Still, the Lord reminds me always of His power over me and His unwillingness to give up on such a hopeless case.  Resistance is futile.  The only options I have right now are to change for the better, or to continue spiraling uncontrollably towards the entropy of a life in disarray.  I can only hope this year will find me closer to Him and more yielding to His inexorable, life-changing Will.

Toastmasters speech #4: Man – God’s Software

This was my 4th Toastmasters speech. I’ll probably post a separate writeup on my Toastmasters experience itself, but that’s for another day… And now due to insistent public demand (what public???), tan-tara-ran!

I fell in love with computers way back when I was in high school. I and my dorm mates would stay up late into the night taking apart and putting back together 286 and 386s. None of them could run anything higher than DOS, and hard disks were a rarity. We booted up from floppy, or for those ancient IBM machines, we had BASICA loaded from ROM. Running the simplest program would give me the greatest pleasure. I’d spend hours poring over BASIC game “recipes” from the library and write up programs of my own after class. Those were my favorite times of the day.

I love software, I have ever since then. It is an extension of my will, bearing my stamp. The excellence (or crappyness) of my code reflects on my own abilities. And as time passed, my creations got more and more complex. I would divide it into modules, which were independent, but worked together as a whole. Now I see an analogy in nature. I see the same principles at work when it comes to God and His probably most cherished creation: man. All creation, while individually independent in motivation, works together to produce a stable ecology on our world.

Problems happen whenever we violate that stability. Wars, global warming, food shortages, all these have been attributed to man’s abuse of power. Ultimately, it can all be traced to inconsideration. Large problems are caused powerful men not considering the rights of the unfortunate, or a large group failing to decide what’s best for itself. Even smaller, everyday problems are caused by miscommunication between individuals. The moment we lose contact with others is the moment we make decisions selfishly and often cause harm to others. Aren’t there people who are so easy to get along with? With whom we feel as if we were connected by some intangible wifi network of the mind? Everything we do with these people is so easy! They are dynamic and fun to be with and work with. And for each one of these people there are ten who are so difficult to relate to. Sometimes you get tempted to take that Ethernet cord and stick it so far up their behinds just to connect!

Whatever our religion or creed, I’m sure we universally agree about the importance of our fellow man. And key to this is communication. This is how we learn about others and how we can best serve them while getting what we want. Isn’t all software about information, the processing, transmission, and storage of it; all for the betterment of man? If we really want our world to be bug-free, it is up to us to actively take part in building our world. We must communicate, debate, etc. Yes, even conflict is essential, for it weeds out what is undesirable. That is, as long as it is tempered with consideration for others, until we are all one in purpose.

Now I don’t pretend to understand the source code drives us. It doesn’t matter what language we speak, what protocol we follow. Belief, race, and religion don’t matter in the face of these challenges! Some might say Muhammad showed us the way. Others might say Jesus came down to this earth to debug us. Still others might say it was Buddha who did it, and now you can learn how to do it yourself in 21 days! But I know we are meant to live together and for each other. No matter what race, belief, or nationality, we must come together to make this work.

I think this is one of my better speeches yet… Alright, so it’s the best I’ve got so far. Expectedly, the earlier ones were pathetic, stuttering attempts at meaning and humor, hehe. This verson is as close as I could make it to what I actually said (Minus a ton of “uhms”, “aaaands”, “soooos”, and more than a few run-ins.) With a few additional connectors to make the ideas fit better into each other, if that were even possible, hahaha! I should be the poster boy for scatterbrainedness… Oh well, as they say practice makes perfect. Well it better, for your sakes and mine…

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.