Heroes of Faith

Two people who I have been praying for – for healing, comfort and strength in their sufferings – have sadly succumbed to pancreatic cancer within days of each other.

One is a respected work mentor, colleague and friend who has been a constant source of inspiration in living out my faith. The other, a dignified gentleman, has been a steady presence in the Catholic renewal community our family has been part of since I was 12 years old.

Apart from the dreaded illness that afflicted them both, another striking similarity I saw in both of them was a deep, unwavering faith – a faith that seemed to even thrive in the soil of so much pain and suffering.

An important aside: I am a self-confessed hypochondriac and any illness (imagined or otherwise) has always caused me much anxiety. My natural reaction is to get away – to rid myself of the source of the pain and unpleasantness – and make it quick, please!

Given this predisposition, the way these two holy people were able to live out their remaining days with so much grace, dignity and inner strength is definitely an inspiration to me. I am just amazed that up until their last breath, their lives reflected the glory of their Maker – how the presence of a loving God was still made evident in the midst of so much brokenness, pain and tears.

True, there is always that unmistakeable sadness that comes with death yet I find comfort in the indescribable possibility that we can breathe our last whilst finding deeper meaning in suffering – by clinging on to God’s faithfulness, mercy and promise that He “will prepare a place for us in His Father’s house” (John 14:2-3) – just as Ma’am Sai and Tito Libby so wonderfully showed us through their lives and death.

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Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Happy Pill

This is my “happy pill” for today.
img_9183 Our girl. Our baby.

Like her brothers before her, she now also has the distinction of being elected School Leader in her final year in primary.

It’s now officially “three-peat” for us and my heart is full.

Notwithstanding the sadness of the past couple of days, life indeed always has a way of letting goodness and happiness flourish.

May blessings abound for us after every sorrow and may our hearts always keep alive in our souls the hope that exhilarating peaks always await us – no matter how many deep and dark valleys we inevitably tread – in this shared journey that is life.

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Grief and Remembrance

Woke up to very sad news last Saturday morning – my 62-year old uncle (my Mom’s brother, who she incidentally shares the same birthday with but seven years apart) has finally been assigned his “angel wings” by our dear Lord.

Considering that he has practically been unwell for pretty much two-thirds of his life, I thought that I would even welcome his passing since he has finally been given the rest he “deserves”. Unexpectedly though, I found myself still overcome with emotion and an inexplicable sense of loss. I guess that no amount of rationalization can ever prepare us for the passing of those we hold dear.

There is such a permanence to death that I somehow just can’t shake off no matter what my faith has led me to believe after all these years… This is probably why I still grieve.

I suppose I grieve not because my uncle has gone ahead but because we are all left behind to remember.

I grieve because I still have memories of him as the self-assured young man who seemed so ready to take on the world (and win) and find it very difficult to reconcile this with the frail, disoriented person he has sadly become.

I grieve because of his unfulfilled dreams and unrealised potential and how his life became our family’s “cautionary tale”.

I grieve because my limited human perspective, at this moment, just cannot fathom the depth of God’s infinite wisdom and love in the face of such brokenness and suffering.

Yes, I grieve. I grieve because in grieving, I remember. And yet, another part of me knows that someday, all our tears will be replaced with only fond memories. It is this certainty that I take comfort in – this that gives all of us the strength to carry on.

Tito Juju, though I mourn your passing, I know that you are now in a better place – free from pain and sickness and finally able to soar as high as you always wanted. I know you’re now enjoying your endless share of Jollibee burgers and ice cream while watching basketball where your favourite team always wins. I know that you’re probably so thrilled to be with family again – to have Lolo and Lola welcome you, their dearest “hijo”, to your permanent “122 P. Cruz” in heaven.

I know this and in the face of the inexplicable loss your death brings, there is also that unmistakeable calmness that comforts us knowing that all your sufferings are over and you are now finally at peace.

Rest easy, Tito Juju. Wear your angel wings with pride and soar high to your heavenly home. We will miss you – most especially Tolonyo, Tit, Yong, Cher, Kerky and Jake. We love you.

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Crying Lady

I have always been a very emotional person. Rightly or wrongly, with me, it is most often “what you see is what you get.”  Whatever I feel almost always registers on my face – which is why I guess I’ve never been a good poker player – hahaha! 😁😜

God must’ve wired me in such a way to have “leaky pipes” such that tears have always been a manifestation of deep emotion. When I’m on the extreme spectrum of happy, proud, angry, frustrated, scared, overwhelmed, humbled, inspired, joyful…you guessed it: I cry.

No matter how hard I try to keep it in, it somehow manages to come to the surface. First as a tiny lump in the throat (which I “swallow away” – almost always, in vain) then as an unmistakeable choking sensation which flushes my face a bit and finally, the inevitable happens…whatever’s bottled up inside me just makes it way out and I tear up – or sob – or bawl (depends on the situation, really).  In any case, bring in the waterworks!!! 😂☔️

I know a lot of people may misconstrue this “predisposition” as a sign of weakness and of not being in control. This worries me but I respect that. Different strokes for different folks, they say.

For me, nothing beats a good cry. Think of it as my release button in the pressure cooker that is life. It’s my way of de-stressing so that I can move forward, do what I have to do and soldier on – until the next “cry-worthy moment” presents itself.  Weird yet wonderful in a way. But then, that’s just me. 😉

Raindrops from the sky
quench the thirst of the soil
Like tears
water the soul

Hangin’ Out

Pardon the pun but this is truly an oh-so-apt description for my loving husband’s understandably reluctant recent DIY weekend project.

So pleased that after nearly a year, he finally mustered the “courage” and bravely went into “the zone” and took on …

The Clothesline Challenge! 

The blank canvas we had to work on.

Getting ready…

Making the first hole…careful now…

 Finally, a day and a few inevitable hiccups after…

It’s finally up! (*insert double cartwheels and the dance of joy here*)👏💃💃🙌

So proud of dear hubby for staying afloat despite immersing himself in rough, unchartered waters, so to speak. 😉😍

Our thanks too to Tito Doe for generously lending us the “tools of the trade” and for guiding us through the project with his invaluable skill and advice! So blessed to have his and his family’s undying support – muchas gracias!

Guess from now on, I’d only be too pleased to let quite a few items hang out to dry (literally) – hahaha!

Truly a “victory” to be celebrated. Thank you, Lord, for days like these!

Moving forward, I wonder what the next “project” would be??? 😁😉 Abangan!

Love and Light

Seven years ago, I blogged about my parents on the occasion of their wedding anniversary.

Today, I wish to do the same if only to honour the man and woman behind the relationship that has spanned half-a-century (7 years as a couple plus 43 years as husband and wife) and has been so blessed in more ways than we can ever imagine.

Pa and Ma

True, the dynamics of their relationship may have changed drastically now in the face of my mom’s battle with illness. There may be less laughter and more stressful moments yet through it all there remains an inexplicable strength and undying resolve to keep on no matter how difficult and uncertain the road ahead may seem.

Thank you, Papa and Mama, for showing me what unconditional and self-sacrificing love is.  Through your example, I have realised that as long as we cling to Him and seek His will in all circumstances, we will pull through.  That though battered and bruised, we can still consider ourselves blessed.

Pa and Ma and me

Thank you for introducing to all of us the values of charity, generosity, persistence, hard work and a steady faith in God that we hope to also pass on to our children and our children’s children.

More than ever, I pray for His love and light to be with you both as you live out the vows you made before him forty-three years ago and that He may look upon both of you with kindness especially as you do your best to fulfil your life-long promises to one another.

I love you both. Happy anniversary!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
Don’t put your confidence in your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Driving Home a Point

I am usually not one to easily fall prey to superstitions until my recent Friday the 13th misadventure made me do a double-take… 😦

Heading home from a school run on a busy narrow road, I accidentally hit the side mirror of an unattended parked car and broke it as I was carefully dodging an oncoming Mercedes.

Being a relatively new driver, I was understandably distraught and very shaken with the whole experience.  Having four school kids in tow didn’t help either since all of them were as frazzled as I was thus adding to the stress of the situation.

I obviously wasn’t thinking clearly at that time as well since instead of stopping and immediately looking for the owner of the car I hit to apologise and exchange the requisite insurance details, I drove straight home…shaking all the way!

Being home safely afforded me the clarity of mind I needed though.  It also brought to the fore the  gnawing guilt I felt at having so hastily left the scene of the accident! Suddenly, thoughts of what I should have done raced through my mind and all my fears – both real and imagined – seemed to consume me.  I wanted to do the right thing and yet I also was afraid of the repercussions of what I had done…or, more appropriately, failed to do.

I admit letting it go and forgetting about the whole thing seemed an attractive option at the time (especially after being told by a good friend who lived near to the scene of the accident – since I requested him to drive back and leave my contact details on the windshield of the car I hit – that the car I hit was nowhere to be found).  After all, I did TRY to find the car, right?

Discussing the matter with dear hubby thankfully gave me a better perspective and a better resolve to make things right. I honour hubby for encouraging me to follow where my moral compass was pointing to – that instead of being my “partner-in-crime”, he became my “partner-in-righteousness”! ❤ ❤ ❤

I guess the Lord also honours our choices if we choose goodness. After coming back to the scene of the incident several times during the weekend, we finally found the car and I was able to personally apologise to the owners and make the necessary amends.  Though with this choice comes “painful” consequences (i.e., big dent on our financials, for one), I am consoled by the fact that by taking the high road, all will eventually be well and there is a comforting calmness within – truly “peace beyond all understanding.”

May we all have a spirit-filled and peaceful week ahead! Blessings!

Put your heart right…Reach out to God.
Put away evil and wrong from your home.
Then face the world again, firm and courageous.
Then all your troubles will fade from your memory,
like floods that are past and remembered no more.
Your life will be brighter than sunshine at noon,
and life’s darkest hours will shine like the dawn.
You will live secure and full of hope;
God will protect you and give you rest. (Job 11:13-18)

What’s Your Angle?

Early this morning while getting ready to set out for school, our dear divalette excitedly told me they were studying angles in school and proudly exhibited her new-found knowledge with her bendable rulers.

M (showing an L-shaped form): This is a right angle – it’s 90 degrees.

Me: Good.

M (adjusting her rulers): This is narrower – it’s an acute angle.

Me: Very good!

M: And then there’s the big, wide one…the OBESE angle! 😳

Me: (thought bubble) Patay tayo diyan! 😱 Big nga naman…kaya obese! 😂 (Regaining my composure now) Anak, it’s actually called an OBTUSE angle.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my dose of happy for today.