Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thoughts of Heaven

How would you feel if you were told that you only have 5 days to live?

That happened to a friend’s friend. And as we prayed for her, I felt, in a very strange way, an overwhelming sense of excitement. A bit twisted of me to think this… I guess it sounds twisted to those who are left behind, they will feel the pain of loss. The one who has left would interestingly, will feel the pleasure of gaining a face to face meeting with the glorious Maker…for eternity!

Even with all of what this life has to offer, it cannot compare with what life would be in the Great Beyond.

What if I was the one hit with cancer and told that I only had a couple of days left? I was reeling a bit at the thought of getting off this life-train and entering the pearly gates, but not with terror but with thrill. But then again, this is all hypothetical. I might feel a bit differently when the time comes to meet my Maker.

But let’s just say this would happen..

Let me see…things I would miss when I get to heaven would be…a friend’s shoulder when I need one to cry on, a warm shower after coming in drenched from the rain, a hot cup of coffee that blasts away the leftover sleepiness in the morning, my mom’s home cooking after having to eat commercial junk while living alone in Manila, a good belly-aching laugh after a really stressful day, a sense of wonder seeing how God miraculously provides after I lose something…

It’s all the “bad” stuff that makes the “good” stuff even better. I guess that is what makes this life “fun” to live: the good stuff that is so much appreciated because of the bad ones that happen.

In heaven, there won’t be any bad stuff that would help me appreciate the good ones. But by then, I guess it won’t matter anyway, I’d be too awed by all the good stuff to even think of anything else.

“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear form their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…(Rev. 21:3-4)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Color Blind

I spent one lazy afternoon watching a romantic comedy on DVD called Guess Who which was about the snags of a cross-racial relationship (ie. white man and black woman). As I snickered at the hilarious antics of the black dad and his daughter’s white boyfriend, my niece, Nikka came in and out of the bedroom, glancing once in a while at the movie.

At one point, she stopped and stared at a scene and asked, “Why is the dad angry with that man?” I absently replied, “Oh, he doesn’t want that man to marry his daughter.” She puzzled over the scene of the dark-skinned father-daughter pair with the sparkling white boy sandwiched between them, and wondered out loud, “Why doesn’t he like the boy?”

Out of the mouth of babes.

I would have thought it was obvious just by looking at the stark contrast of skin colors...until I realized I was talking to a child. Nikka, at age 8, is still color blind. She still doesn’t have the grown ups’ tendencies of judging people by their externals.

How amazingly peaceful the world would be if we have not allowed the innocence of childhood to be polluted by the so-called wisdom of adulthood.

That short exchange with my niece forced me to look into myself: How "un-colorblind" am I? Do I size people up by what I physically see? Do I treat people differently simply because their skin colors are shades darker (or lighter) than mine?

A few days later, I watched another movie. It was also a color-themed movie but with a darker tone: Crash. The movie centered on two tumultuous days in the lives of certain individuals in Los Angeles, where the color of one’s skin becomes the trigger for the tumult. In some sense, it was painful to watch that movie as it depicts, in an “in your face” way, how all of us have a bit of racism coursing through our blood.

The tagline of the movie was “You think you know who you are. You have no idea.” Indeed.

We may not exhibit our racism in violent ways but it is there, just below the surface, waiting or something or someone to trigger it. Can we ever really return to the innocence of childhood and gain back the gift of colorblindness?