Flow of the River

As my hand touched the flow of the river; a feel of life passed onto me. And it said, “Come with me, go with me, feel me”. I looked into it, the water was clear and the morning sun glided through. I could see the bottom with its tiny, rough and smooth pebbles. It was so inviting, so I refrained from sitting and step my feet into it.

In the midst of all our endeavors, one is not alive without human connection and relationship. We have family ties to bond, church to be in the same mind and spirit, friends to hang on, coworkers to work with, and acquaintances to know and meet. But this story is how I describe when you enter a relationship or consider a special mutual understanding with someone and realize that something else has to be done.

So there I was, I looked into the river. It was so beautiful. I couldn’t help but walk my feet into it. The water was finely cold. The surrounding was so calm and peaceful. Everything was good except for one hanging on my thoughts—leech. I would leap, disturb the small fish and get out of the water when I see one, but the good thing there wasn’t any.

I should say, leech is the fear of rejection, fear of being hurt or left alone. Mostly it has something to do with our pride. We fear someone will change and leave us broken. And when a leech sticks to our skin and sucks our blood it scares us and worst shock us trembling.

But then I heard the voice again, “Come with me, go with me”. So I continued walking. The water was below my knee. There were small fish; it was enchanting to see them aligned like they were showing up. I tried catching some of them with my bare hands but they were so tiny and quick. So I stared as I took another step. A moment later I heard birds singing, I looked up and saw them flying, chirping and landing on from tree to tree. One of them alighted on the riverbank just a right turn away from me. I was amazed watching the bird as he put his beak into the water to drink. It was quite uneasy, roaming its head from left to right. And  after I took another step suddenly it flew.

As i went on, I saw green plants along the riverbank. I noticed some were edible, some were not. Then there was a wide branch of a tree spreading out like a roof above the river. I was drawn to it, I reached those big green leaves. I jumped hard to reach it but it was too late the water was already above me. I struggled and kicked and kicked. But my strength was nothing compared to the rigid flow of the river, I was pulled. The light I saw was now flickering; until nothing remained of my strength.

Can you recall yourself so in love with someone? You anticipate his/her presence. Every thought made you smile and sometimes laugh. You couldn’t help yourself shivering. It will be agonizing not to see this person and like that small bird, you roam around. You can’t stay in one place. Your sister or colleague would say, “Hey! What is that in you?” And admit it, it’s worst when you’re alone.

However, you find that things just don’t stay as they are. Relationships have to go another chapter. And taking it further would usually mean hurdles along the way. Somehow, it’s the way of life to test and strengthen what is inside. When the other is too weak to hold on and fight. Someone or the other will try to fix the lost thread to save both ends. But catching your breathe and striving to immerse yourself is difficult. Your emotions and thoughts are tossed back and forth. How long can you hold on?

So then, there in the darkness I lay. I came back to my senses. My head was in pain. I crawled until I reached the grassy part of the forest. I stopped and fell asleep.

I should say, you don’t want to lose yourself. So you grasp all the courage you have to make it, finally, by yourself.

You finally accepted the truth. The other had left. The hurt became a hard shield to your heart. You swear to yourself, this won’t ever happen again! And you try to regain your composure. You stood up and face the blurry future. Somehow things are getting better. You were able to walk on your own. But then it felt like you’re missing something. When things appeared to be just fine and dandy, the emptiness submerged.

That is because you shut your heart down. Remember when you said “This won’t happen again!”  That’s where it started. You stopped hoping. You stopped believing that God is good. That He has good plans for you. You thought you made it so safely, so secured but the truth is you were afraid and remained unforgiving.

We don’t want to end like this, so let’s go back to the story.

It was indeed a deep sleep. Not long enough, I opened my eyes and it was morning. My head felt better. I saw myself just a few steps from the river. I stood up and again looked into the river. Still it was inviting. It was so beautiful. So I walked my feet into it. And felt the flow of the river. And it said, “Come with me, go with me”. I answered, “Thank you but I have to continue my journey”.



Do You Hear the Ticktack?

Speech Project #4

Ticktack, ticktack, Rinngg! Rinngg! The alarm is ringing. Do you hear it? I guess every day we do. It’s been almost always busy for the rest of our busy life. Whatever we do, you may be sleeping, running, or working we are continuously bound to this ticktack.

      It seems like we are worn hearing of this old line:       “Time is gold”. Yet no matter how our ears ached, we cannot ignore  the hold of time. That’s why we say and hear it again and again because deep in ourselves we wanted to make each day count. At home, lots of things are waiting to be shared and done. We know this from waking up early, preparing breakfast, sending kids to school, to deciding what to eat for lunch and dinner. When you come to the office –project deadlines, meetings, and events drive you to organize, delegate and monitor the tasks at hand. How about church? Obviously, there is no exemption. Ministers have to commit their time to plan, prepare a sermon, lineup of songs, and go on for a mission in response to the leading of the Great Shepherd. The ticktack never stops even at the very end of the day. We are the ones who are used up of energy and strength.

Losing a grip of your time is one of the most regretful situations because we could never go back. Once passed, it’s gone. Our parents had their time before us, when we were young they stood by us. They were amazed and fascinated with our childhood and growth. They have those past longing and images of us that we cannot grasp like they do. Time had formed thousands of different season. And will create more in the coming years. Choosing when to do things will either create some trying or striving season, critical or rewarding experience.

We don’t have the power to change and control time. Like the life given to us, we cannot extend even a minute or second. Time moves no matter what. It won’t wait, it doesn’t hear anyone. Even at the last breath of life. However, million years ago, some people lived almost a thousand year. One person whose name was Methuselah mentioned in the Bible was able to live for 969 years. Imagine if it does until now. Would you think twice or not? Hmm!

Let’s see, if I’m 28 years old, then probably I would be doing the same thing I’m doing now. When I reach 30, I could be married to someone. Have three children; send them to school, do some tutor, and attend some household needs. They will graduate, have a job, and start their own family. Would I still be wanting more children because at 60 I am not considered old yet? Or would I be happier not to apply my retirement and continue working at that age? Wouldn’t it be sweeter to just grow old with our soul mates? What do you think? How about choosing to stay single? Do I need more time to be fulfilled with my life? On the other side, do I need a thousand year to find the person I’m waiting for? Well, I don’t think so.

Let’s also try to evaluate what’s happening around us. There are people who enjoyed working for their careers. But not everyone, most Filipinos are working for the sake of the needs of their family, not for the mere reason that they are fulfilled doing their job. Even those who are fulfilled at their present job may eventually lose their enthusiasm. Time leads us to change. We cannot claim everything to be constant and permanent, because everything is borrowed. Our lifespan depends on our Great Creator. There are also factors corrupting the ways of men such us addiction, abuse, pain and suffering and other forms of crime. Maybe those are some of the reasons why the Lord said: “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” (Gen. 6:3)

Now I’m getting more interested with this saying “Life is too short”. For me, it drives me to be more aware, more responsible and mindful for the remaining length of time. So, I think we all see the need to plan, learn new things, adjust and settle for things we prefer. We all see that time has its power to persuade our course of actions. From the day we graduate from college we are expected to decide and plan for our own.

Sometime along the way, we feel like we lost all the zest and wonder. We come to realize that our time is like a stream. Time is but the stream you go a-fishing in. You drink at it; but while you drink you see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. We ask ourselves, why is this happening?  And you know you can’t dwell on this pit of losing. So you strive hard to immerse yourself. But remember to trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

However, is this all we need to do? Make plans and prepare for what is seen right here, right now. It’s evident that we all come and go from this world. How about the other world where we will settle for eternity? How are you investing your time for that?

Let me leave this enabling verse: Whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report;

if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, let us think on these things.

  And you’ll see life won’t be too short to live.

The Truthful Passenger

As I rode comfortably at the back of the tricycle, I saw group of men heading for work.  I could tell by their clothes that they’re into carpentry. One of them rode beside me. Along the way, I heard him complaining about the flood while protecting his feet from the mud splatter. When we arrived at the next terminal, as I handed my fare, he uncomfortably said to the driver he was going to wait for his companions  to pay his fare. I feel better hearing about it.  I went on my way.

All I thought was to get my way to the office, but the previous scene kept playing on my head.  While crossing the overpass, I found myself asking “Would it hurt you to lend a little?” I began battling with myself, “What? What are you talking about?” “You mean paying his fare? Yes, you could have done something.”

It is unusual to help a stranger. But what if you know that person, perhaps a neighbor, someone attending the same church, or a friend. I guess, your response is different. It would be easier for us to do something.

I wasn’t crazy but I realized someone was speaking to me. (There you go…) I remember a Sunday School topic about “Who is the Holy Spirit?” And I learned that we shouldn’t refer Him as “it” because He is a person, a God.  The following verses tell us how the Holy Spirit interact with us.  (John 14:26) The Spirit will teach us all things and will remind us of everything the Lord had said to us.  (Jn.16:13b) The Spirit of Truth will even show us things to come. (Jn.16:13a) His Spirit will guide us into all truth.

So then, as the driver handed my change, someone gave me the idea of telling the driver to pay his fare. But I hesitated and went on my way, unaware that the Spirit of Truth was the one talking to me.

John 14:16-17
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (NIV)

Hold Fast To Dreams

Speech Project #2: 

Do you wonder? A man is able to passionately dwell to a certain course in his life. He could even decide to focus on various fields one at a time. One man says, “See the world, how lovely, how momentous to be able to capture these wonderful creations for long. “ He has this wish to preserve a glimpse of angles and plains so he worked on it by learning the art of painting. A woman found passion in helping others on their health condition so she pursued studying medicine. This young little lady and that ordinary boy stood on the stage, faced the audience, and held judges in awe. And became a star and versatile singer. A couple enjoyed bargaining and found pleasure in marketing products and services, eventually decided to be a full time business man and woman. A teacher and a mother took time to finish her book while catching up with her responsibility as a parent, became an award winning writer after sending her work to the public readers. They all worked hard to it and believed that there’s a place for their dreams. Like them, we also have dreams to be in the place we longed. We may have achieved a dream; but you can’t just stop there because surprisingly you are still looking for something greater.

You can say these are my dreams but you know it’s just the beginning. We don’t want wishes, for it is merely uttering words, leaving without a speck of decision and change in you. Stopping there and doing nothing would only lead you to a state of complacency and mediocrity. Have you ever noticed there are people who are still at the same place as they were five years ago? They have the same dreams, the same problems, the same alibis, the same opportunities, and the same way of thinking. They are not moving forward in life. It is because they forgot to take the next step.

Being idle and getting stuck in one place prevents you from discovering your God-given potential and purpose. A person tends to lose his or her confidence and faith because growth and learning is slow and limited or even nothing at all. Sometimes, the reason why others stay at the same place is because of fear of the unknown. One chooses to stay because where they are lays their comfort zone. Everyone around them is familiar and there is no need to go on a major change. But giving in to this fear can only lead to more frustrations and what if’s. However, the good thing is wherever you are, you may be putting things tomorrow, failed to work on it for long, or thinking how to reach another goal is exactly the place to start.

You already have been given what you need to achieve a better environment and future. Don’t find yourself saying if only I had this…if only things were different…if only I had more money…then I can do what I am supposed to do. People constantly overstate the things they don’t have.

Never let yourself think what you can’t do to keep you from doing what you can do. “Prolonged idleness, paralyzed initiative, for to the hesitant mind everything is impossible because it seems so”, as what John Mason said in his book. Do not wait for special circumstances to act, use ordinary situations. We don’t need more strength, ability or more opportunity. Use what you have. Everyone must row with the oars they have been given.

John Burroughs said it well, “The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are.” What you have now is the influence you have for your future. No one can be happy until he has learned to enjoy what he has and not worry over what he doesn’t have. True greatness consists of being great in little things. Don’t grumble because you don’t have what you want. Instead, focus on what you have and you will learn how to excel from where you are.

Let me ask you, what is your greatest dream? What made you think that it’s what you wanted to pursue in your lifetime? I remember my friend said, “You will know what the Lord shape you to be. He will show it through the things you wanted to do and that desire will shape you as you chase your dream.” If you know where God is leading you then do something.

I was one of those who waited for anything to be ideal. I did not see that no one ever made a success by first waiting until all the conditions were just right. It’s a waste of time to think what I don’t have. Instead, I’ll be spending my time in the task immersed before me, knowing that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the perfect preparation for the years to follow.

Being Trustworthy of Trust

Speech Project #3:

How often do you affect others because of trust? Is it from time to time when you’re at home? Well, it’s good to hear and I hope each of us is trusted by our families with matters of high importance. More often how we relate with each of the member of our families will manifest toward our treatment with others. Once we step out from our homes the question is “How about from person to person with various personalities and background?” Can we handle it by thinking of ourselves first? For sure, we can’t.

Whether you are aware or not, we usually face situations requiring us to get out from our comfort zone. We all know it is easier said, because once we try it, there our struggle will start. However, what is the connection between “stepping out from our comfort zone” and “being one who is trustworthy of trust”? The connection is when we choose not to get out from our comfort zone it means we prefer to preserve ourselves. We are complacent with our own strength and with the familiar faces around us. And that is being self-focused or self-centered. When we are self-centered there will be less hearing of the needs and less understanding of other situations. Then there will be more judgmental thoughts and disliking of others who are especially different from you. It will be impossible for them to earn trust.

If you want to have an impact to people around you start from helping them build their trust. You will feel its presence when the relationship is harmonious, when it is responsive. Now, let’s talk about the process and benefits of trust.

When a person starts trusting you there will be transparency. I remember this two-year old baby I met in the church. The time I started approaching her, she was aloof and indifferent. She tightly clung to her mother but it didn’t cause me to give up. Instead, I constantly greet her with a kind and friendly face. After a few attempts, I lifted and carried her in my arms. To my surprise she was quiet and did not cry. Then I walk her outside, while walking, she was bubbling words like she was telling a story. So, I responded like I could understand in a partially bubbled words too. Though I couldn’t grasp the meaning of her language, it felt so reminiscing. However, the most transparent part was when she danced happily before me. Basically, it was the language of a baby. How about with adults? You will know that a new comer adult trusts someone when they start asking questions and respond accordingly. When they tell their personal stories and spend time with you, those are transparency.

So what comes next when truthful transparency is given? You will gain understanding. You will start experiencing how it felt being in their shoes. Otherwise, the lack of understanding will push us to think that we are better than them, that we are of higher value. Sad to say, those patterns of thinking won’t resolve the sickness of our environment, it will even worsen it. But because of understanding you will no longer cling to judgmental thoughts. You will be able to see a person as a victim of circumstances like poverty, substandard education, inequity, less opportunity, loss, harassment, discrimination, etc. It will lead you to discovering the root of all dullness.

In gaining understanding, we will now have the third benefits of trust and that is “appropriate response” or “practical wisdom“. Allow me to be practical here, when we learned that someone is not that good in expressing herself especially in English. What would be your response? Are you one of those who are disappointed or rather show disappointment? Or do you prefer to help this person by encouraging him/her to continue? Or much better volunteer yourself to be a coach and be accountable of her progress? For sure, you don’t want to be a mere talker, you want to be someone who walks the talk. I remember a verse written in the book of 1 Cor. 13:1, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal”. Let’s not forget that love is greater than head knowledge or any skills.

Practical wisdom also includes knowing your own strength and that strength will the source of your response. We need to be properly equipped in reaching  other so we would be of effective help. When we have more gifts, we will have a lot to share to our neighbors. However, strength, talent, and skills are not enough, we also need to have a heart or passion to be consistent.

If we choose to endure the struggle, we will have the final benefit which is growth. There is more than one aspects of growth. The lists are physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It would be funny, annoying, or unfortunate to see a physically mature adult yet socially, mentally, and spiritually childish. Let’s strive to achieve growth. We need to overcome struggles because later on we will learn and enjoy the benefits of trust. We will be entrusted with bigger and greater things when we are fully mature.

What is you weakest point? Now is the time to reanalyze. We have to face the challenge, let’s be strong and courageous. Being trustworthy of everyone’s trust doesn’t happen in just a snap. We need to move on and give glory to the one who created us. And yes, the truth is we’re just humans, our passion fades away when it’s focused on conditional and waving ground. To where or whom are we going? Who is able to bring back that passion? No one, except the Lord. Why can’t we ask the great unwavering Father of pure passion? Trust Him direct your ways because through Him we will be completely trustworthy.