Sunday, February 25, 2007

Setting the Lonely in Families

It's 11:30 in the evening and I still can't sleep. I'm staying at a couple's house overnight, after just having come home together from the 70th birthday bash of another friend's dad.

I am still awake, enjoying the images that flit my mind of the big hug I got from my friend's dad, the birthday celebrant, and from my friend's mom, the celebrant's wife, "Anak ko!" (My daughter!) she exclaims before I got enveloped into another tight hug--having decided she would adopt me after spending so many overnights at their daughter's house some years back when their daughter was still single.

And here I am tonight at another friend's home, not just enjoying the fact that I get five-star treatment (ie. free PJ's, toiletries, towel, wireless internet, laptop use, coffee, breakfast, etc.) but most of all, enjoying the hugs and excited kisses from their son and daughter, who I haven't seen in ages.

And oh, I just remembered yesterday's lunch--a precious Chinese soup called "Buddha Jumped Over the Wall" especially cooked by my prayer partner's mother in law. I ate with them and relished the soup, which took almost a day to prepare, while my prayer partner's father in law regaled us with Chinese folklore.

I have been in Manila for the past 7 years and when I first came up, I wondered what I was thinking, leaving behind in Davao the comforts of home, a family and a horde of friends who love me and would welcome me anytime into their homes. What's here for me in Manila??

Seven years later, sitting in the dining room of my friend's house in Sta Cruz, Manila, I look back and realize what God said is true: He sets the lonely in families. (Psalms 68:6)

It's great to realize that wherever my wandering gypsy feet will take me, I will always have families to go home to.

Friday, February 23, 2007

When You're Sick...You Don't Need A Doctor

"Take 1000 mg of vitamin C!"
"Take hot instead of room temp water!"
"Take calamansi juice!"
"Stop taking your medication for three days and see how things go!"
"Take your medication only at night!"
"Sleep early!"
"You shouldn't drink coffee when you're sick!"

Now the last unsolicited advice, I took offense. Nobody dares tell me to stop taking coffee, it's almost sacriligious to even suggest that!


Why does sickness make everyone around you become doctor wannabee's? In Cebuano, we call them M.D.s (ie. murag doktor=pretend doctors)

Don't you realize that when you get sick, you could actually make a compilation of all the advises given to you and sell a book on home remedies or something? But then again, maybe a book on the "100 weird advices you get when you're sick" would probably sell better. Ha!

I have had my share of really weird ones, like:
1. Drink your first urine in the morning.
2. Boil some of the shrubs that grow outside your house and drink the soup.
3. Drink boiled Coca Cola.
4. Hold your breathe for as long as you can (I found this actually effective in stopping hiccups!)

So far, none of the advices have worked (yikes, no! not the list right above, but the list "quotes" at the top, please!)

There are some others I don't (or refuse to) remember, but I guess the good thing about all this is that people around me actually care...then again, maybe they're just scared I'll spread my virus!

Signing off...*cough*cough*sniff*sniff*sigh*

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sit Still

Sit still my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days-these waiting days—as ill!
The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today!
And, if He waits, ‘tis sure He waits to prove
To thee, His tender child, His heart’s deep love.

Sit still my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord’s will;
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay—
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves will do the best.

Sit still my daughter, just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one, until
His way hath opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!
How glad thy heart, and then how strong!
And waiting days not counted then too long.

Sit still my daughter just sit calmly still!
What higher service could’st thou for Him fill?
‘Tis hard! Ah yes! But choicest things must cost!
For lack of losing all, how much is lost!
‘Tis hard, ‘tis true! But then, He giveth grace
To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.

J. Danson Smith
(From Streams in the Desert)

Monday, February 12, 2007

An Unexpected Manila Welcome

When the plane landed at Ninoy Aquino International Airport last Saturday afternoon, I tried my philosophical best to be positive about being back in the teeming metropolis.

It wasn’t all that hard, actually.

Outside the airport, I opted for the ordinary metered taxi and got a really nice luxurious one appear before me. For a moment, I thought it was an airport taxi, to my wallet’s relief, it wasn’t!

So I enjoyed the sun shining through the gray-blue skies, a nice contrast to the rainy weather Davao has been experiencing the past few days.

I pretended that the good-looking celebrities that looked down from the huge billboards at EDSA (Yes, many of them survived the anti-billboard controversy! Surprise, surprise.) were welcoming me with their warm smiles.

Of course, the near death experiences I had as my taxi driver tried to act out his dream of being the top Grand Prix winner, made be appreciate life all the more. Plus the fact that my heart was jolted a number of times probably only meant that I had some much needed cardio exercise going even while in a sedentary position.

But the BEST Manila welcome I got was when I got home. I paid the driver P200, rounded off from P175 which the meter showed, mumbled my thanks and made a move to open the taxi door—and--*gasp* the taxi driver actually handed me a P20 change!!

I was so shocked that I just smiled, shook my head and told him it’s okey.

Now, beat that welcome gesture!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Back On The Saddle

A few more days and my time in Davao will be up.

Goodbye to late night coffee binges with friends, alone time at the gym’s pool, Korean dramathons with Mom, loud chit chats with friends while pigging out, Bukidnon jaunts and inhaling clean Davao air.

Hello to Manila. *Sigh*

Time to get back on the saddle. Mind you, I’m good at waving goodbye…I guess the palm of my hand is all too familiar to a lot of my good friends already, having to wave goodbye so many times. But what makes goodbye “deal-able” is that it need not be permanent. I’ve had the pleasure of saying hello to friends I didn’t think I would ever bump into again.

Back on the road, I look forward to saying more hello’s and discovering what else is in store for me. There are tentative plans but, as they say, “man proposes, but God disposes” so I will canter on along the road and see what’s up ahead.

Meanwhile, I echo one part of a song I heard recently:
“And I will go where there are no easy roads
Leave the comforts that I know
I will go, and let this journey be my home,
I will go—I will go.”

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Slice of Serenity

Overcast skies, cool breeze, and a pool with no one in it. That was the treat that greeted me this morning when I walked over to the nearby gym for a quick mid-morning swim. I had expected some people to be around since it’s a Saturday, but to my very pleasant surprise, I had a pool all to myself.

I’m not all that good a swimmer but doing laps once in a while gives me a bit of serenity that’s sometimes hard to find. When I’m swimming, I can think, pray, and reflect especially as each dip under mutes the world above and ushers you into a cool and generous embrace of a clear blue world below.

Life has a gracious way of springing slices of serenity on you when you least expect it.