A Fuji Tale
"Try to put ur feet down on an angle so you will not slip". Thats what my cousin told me me as I try to make my way down to Japan's iconic Mt. Fuji. We were only able to go past the 8.5 station but exhaustion and lightheadedness got the best out of us. Plus we want to get down before the sun sets. I shifted the weight of my backpack. Took a step forward and almost lost my balance. We then heard voices, we looked up and they greeted us warmly. They stopped and probably saw the pathetic look on my face. I was about to cry from the exhaustion and fatigue. I was fighting back tears. But the look on my face probably gave me away. The group of men started giving me instructions after instructions, but I still kept on slipping. I just wanted to roll down the mountain, I was pretty sure it will be less embarassing. Until one of the guys in an orange jacket offered to help me down. He suggested that I hold on to his shoulder with my right hand and steady myself with my walking stick with my left hand. I was never the damsel in distress, but at that moment I was more than that. I was the pitiful girl who is about to roll over and die. I agreed to his offer with a bit of hesitation due to embarassment but I was already slowing everyone down. It was an uneventful climb down but halfway I pleaded for a break. My shoulders were in pain. I gingerly removed my backpack and stretched. My cousin reached for it and exclaimed : "i should have checked your backpack. What did you pack in there? I told you to pack light. You're supposed to know that!" I meekly replied: "its just change of clothes and some food" . The guy in the orange jacket picked my backpack, removed his and told me that we exhange. It was too much, so I tried to say no but my back was really aching. I let him adjust his backpack on my back and watch him hoist my backpack on his. I instantly felt relieved with the weight difference and noted to myself to buy a backpack specifically for hiking! When we got to a flatter terrain, I was able to walk without any assistance, every now and then I would slow down and the guy in the orange jacket will stop and wait for me. He even said: "nope, i dont want you to be left behind!" We can finally see the twinkling lights of the base station when I suddenly felt weak. The protein and granola bars did not provide enough nourishment for the calories I lost. I was beyond exhausted. Again, I asked for a break. They tried to encourage me to go on, but I simply cant. One of the guys offered a banana saying it will give me some energy. My loving cousin accepted it in my behalf and knowing I will be hesitating, cut it in half and ate her share. The banana worked and we started trudging forward with the guy in orange telling me " I should have fed you earlier". When we got to the base station, we exhanged backpacks and I gratefully shook his hand and said thank you. Afterwhich, whenever I tell this story, people will tell me: "you didnt even get his full name? Or his number?"
Chivalry and train rides
When I was a little girl, I would marvel at the thought of taking the train. It was relatively new then. My parents, uncles and I would get into the farthest station and I would quickly squeeze my way inside and reserve seats for my folks and my uncles. I would laugh giddily and felt this immense pride for scoring those seats. So imagine my annoyance when my father stood up and offered his seat. I was very young that time, I was confused. Why would my father just give up his seat which I painstakingly saved for him? Years later until now, I marvel at men who still has an ounce of chivalry in their systems. I am all for equal treatment but it still makes my heart sing and a smile on my face when men do this.
So many times for more than a year, I told myself that I was happier when I was with him. That as long as he comes back I would settle for anything. I prayed so hard for us to get a second chance. After the break up, I entertained the idea of dating anyone, even if it was mediocre but what I really wanted from a relationship overweights my desire of just being with someone. I found myself sticking to my values, my principles, some things that the guys I met find absurd and not worth their patience. And so I went back to the madness of being stuck to the idea that if it was not my ex, I would rather be with no one else. But things changed when God made me experience the utmost care and treatment from people I barely know. It was a reminder that God will always know whats best for me, that I should never ever settle. Just like any loving Father, I should just remain steadfast in my faith that He will deliver in the best time and way--- His Will.
The nerd who can run
" I will meet you at the train station" was what he said before he sprinted off into a run. I hurriedly got into a cab with my family and a few minutes after, unloaded our luggages. He arrived, flushing with my other nephew in tow and hurriedly took the luggages up the stairs, took a few trips down to help us with the rest of the suitcases. I just stood there, stunned, amazed. He was not even panting! I suddenly developed this huge crush on him, an admiration that blossomed from gratefulness and awe. It was my first time to see such a smart man ran that fast. I was very very touched with the effort. He could have opted to just leave hours later for his flight in the cheaper and more affordable shuttle but he opted to take us to the airport for me to make it on time for my flight. During the first few days of the trip, he didnt say a word to me. Even if we sat right next to each other at the backseat of a compact car in a 2 hour trip to Mt. Fuji, he never said anything. When I asked a question for the sake of being polite, he merely grunted a reply. Thus, I gave up on the idea of having a decent conversation with him. Yet on the last night of my trip, he made a comment about the Tokyo Sky Tree. I merely looked at him, not quite sure if he was talking to me. Then on the train ride back, he asked me how i am then we shifted to other topics like San Diego and even Shamu. We proceeded to talk while having dinner, me showing him pictures of food i liked and a korean boy wearing a hanbok. Then we just talked about random stuff and yet despite the coldness of the first few days, the conversation that night was flowing really well. And on my last few hours in Japan, he pulled this stunt that instantly made me admire him. Even when he was standing up and i was the one sitting in the first leg of our mad dash to the airport, he offered to hold on to my other suitcase. Our conversation on board of the last leg of the train ride was effortless. We talked about his plans, compared Pinoy and Korean cultures, food, his family. And I was sad that the train ride was that short. Yet very happy that I got to know him a bit more. I was treated exceptionally well on my last few hours in the land of the Rising Sun. A treatment responsible to that huge grin plastered on my face ever since I arrived. He exceeded my wildest imagination on how a guy shoult treat a girl. I can barely imagine how much effort he would exert if its for the girl he loves. A nerd who knows how to run and a gentleman. My checklist for my ideal guy has changed and became all the more idealistic.
I saw several petals of flowers at the hood of my car. I found it annoying because I will need to have my car cleaned again. Before I got in, I looked up and I almost gasped at the beauty of the flowers above my car. It looked like yellow cherry blossoms. I have been parking in that spot for years. I never bothered to look up and it was only last night that I saw the beauty from above since I was always in a hurry to get into my car and drive away. There are several times in our lives that we tend to look at the negative, we focus on it and dwell on pessimism that it brings, failing to look up and marvel at the beauty of its source. Happy Monday!
A new beginning
People has always told me I am very religious. I thought of myself that way too. I know that is not being humble. I make it a point to go to church, attend mass for the sake of doing my obligation as a Catholic. This Holy Week, I discovered I have been exercising my faith for the wrong reasons… not “wrong” “wrong”. I realized that I go to church, hear mass, do stuff for the Church because I was obligated to, because I was asking for something, because I was thankful for something, because I was scared that if I don’t do these, all of what I am enjoying now will be taken from me, or bad things will happen to me and my family. It was now that I realized, how impersonal my relationship is with God. For the past several months after the emotional setback I experienced, I have been asking so many questions, what ifs, regrets, all negative emotions. I looked up to HIM because I was asking, pleading that I want the guy who broke my heart back. I was pleading my case, reminding HIM that I have always been good, that I deserved to be loved, to have someone, that what happened was unfair and it hurt me a great deal. It was during this time that I felt stuck, until now I feel stuck. But as I contemplated this Holy Week, I prepared myself. I suddenly had this urge to give up one thing that I love, food, no dinner for 40 days or nights. I was proud of it which I think is a sin in itself. I kept on thinking that maybe, if I do this well, I will be rewarded. Yet after listening to Christian songs, retreats, reading books these past few days, I realized how lacking my faith is. The past several months I relish sad lyrics of songs about being heartbroken which I just now realized doesn’t have happy endings. These songs tugs at our heart strings but these just magnify the sadness, dwelling on it. And after listening to amazing bands who has awesome acoustic prowess, I realized that they have meaningful lyrics that I can relate to plus they have happy endings. Two Thumbs up on that one. I realized that I measured my faith with the number of times I go to church, hear mass, the way I pray but I failed to Trust HIM and I failed to establish a personal relationship with HIM. I realized that I need to fall in love with HIM. To learn more about his promises, his assurance, his words of comfort. I am not trying to sound preachy. I never liked “preachy”. I always felt awkward closing my eyes and raising my hand while listening to worship songs. I am one of those few people who stand awkwardly feeling amazingly out of place, not knowing what to do, feeling uncomfortable raising one’s hand yet feeling so deviant not raising one’s hand. It was this afternoon that I realized that I have been scheduling my life with so many activities to busy myself so as not to dwell on depression or rewind that sad moment in my life. I realized the church visits is not enough, I have to set time and effort for HIM, to be open to HIS word, to establish a deeper more personal relationship that transcends mass and prayers I recite daily. I have been yearning for the guy to make time for me when I just now realized that I failed to make time, QUALITY time with HIM. HE has blessed me so much and HE is there patiently waiting. I remember the introduction to this song entitled the Hurricane by Jimmy Needham, he said (I can’t remember the exact words): If it will take God to turn me upside down, no matter how painful, just for me to be closer to HIM then so be it. I know this will be huge but I just decided this afternoon, to join a weekly prayer meeting to get to know HIM and have a more personal relationship with him. I realized that reading the bible doesn’t work for me but I like hearing testimonials and success stories, injecting some bible passages here and there. It made me realize that after all these pain, things will always work out for the best. In the meantime, I need to re-establish my connection with him. I need to date HIM. Exert effort to show my love for HIM, the exact way I want to be loved. And no, I am not going to be a nun, silly! I just thought that to fill the void, I must seek HIM.
We were walking in the traditional procession. And I suddenly had this image flashed in my mind. A man carrying a 2 year old boy.
Simon is Lucky
I will try to unravel my thoughts and emotions through this blog entry. This, by far, is the busiest and most meaningful Holy Week I have ever experienced. Just this Wednesday, me, my uncles, aunts, parents and cousins participated in a church activity that happens every 16 years. I shouldered my family's share upon remembering the penance of alms giving as given to me by the priest. He also advised me to seek counseling for proper closure. Thursday morning, I went on a half day retreat, the topics of which are about overcoming trials and in the evening, we went to the usual stations of the cross of 14 churches. Friday morning was part II of the retreat. It was a unique one, they relived the characters in the Bible who participated in Jesus' story: Caiphas, Claudia, Simon, Dystas, and Mary. But what struck me most and made me cry was Simon of Cyrene. During our stations of the cross, his participation in the story has always struck me. It stood out. Here is a man who was picked by a guard to assist Jesus in carrying the cross, and upon helping him, he was able to look at Jesus in the eyes and saw so much love and forgiveness to everyone. The eyes did not have any anger, or pain. But despite the suffering and pain, the mocking, the jeering, betrayal, Jesus' eyes were filled with so much love and forgiveness.
Today is Good Friday, let us remember Jesus and his cross and in so doing, let us unite with him in his suffering. We all have our own crosses, some heavier than others. Many of these crosses were even caused by people we love and care for. A lot of us would even question God why He let these things happen. I am one of those but I continue to hold on to HIS promise that things will work out for the best.
I will finish this entry with this verse from Romans 8:18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us
Just submitted a paper that I have been laboring on for the past few months and the word or term “hypothesis” seems appropriate for this blog entry and timely.
I have been thinking about this for the last several months. When the feelings of pain and confusion were still raw, fresh from being heartbroken, I wrote a very long email about the questions and what I was feeling that time. Now the words filtered itself on its own.
This is my hypothesis: I think when I finally have nothing to say, that is the time that I will be healed… completely healed. Right now, I have these words for him, should the slimmest chance of talking to him might occur: "During our relationship, I just wanted to be with you and I wanted to feel that you wanted to be with me too. If you’ve exerted half the effort that you gave your work in our relationship, I would have been very happy"
Yes, just those lines. And yes, that basic.
Maybe Big Guy doesn’t want me to have just the basic things. Maybe HE wants to bless me abundantly beyond my heart’s desires and wishes.
I am very anxious right now. I want to feel comforted to the fact that two days from now I will be ok. I remember a couple of years back I was feeling anxious. I was at my wit's end but I felt an envelope of comfort and calmness when I went to church. The days leading to the moment of truth were difficult. And I distinctly remember praying to St. Expeditus. I am praying to him now, that he intercede for me. HE has brought me this far, I can do this.