Posts Tagged ‘Life’

I experienced waking up in the middle of the night because while I dreamed about a class activity that wasn’t in my preparation for the next day, I realized my lesson could be not enough. And so I add up on my lessons at 2 AM.

I experienced going home so late from school, not because of some late-night school programs, but because of a student who wanted to sit me down and ask for a listening ear, because her parents fought and broke platters again; or because his severe anxiety attacks again; because she feels her family and everyone around her doesn’t really care whatever happens to her; because he is being taken over by depression and contemplates on cutting himself again; because his girlfriend thinks he’s too busy for her; because her boyfriend cheated on her for some new student.

I experienced getting a knock in the faculty room to ask if Miss Bekah was there, and when I went out to see the student, she asks, “Miss, busy ka po?” And I remembered swallowing my inner cries for my impending paperwork deadlines and instead told her, “No, what’s the matter, dear?” Those moments took a toll on my sleep, but I never regretted it.

I have tossed and turned at countless nights. I have learned to always push aside my own concerns, my personal struggles, for a student who may need to have a listening ear. A comforting heart. A consoling soul. A kindred spirit. And I never regretted it.

There are decisions in my life I would always find reasons to regret making. But choosing to teach is not one of them. And I hope and pray that every teacher out there would not regret their decisions, too. That they, too, would find joy in what they do.

Happy Teachers Month!

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Irony

Posted: August 7, 2018 in Poems
Tags: , , , , ,
Bea Pangilinan

Photo by: John Carlo Cielo and RJ Fulache

White-washed, plain, smooth walls;
Halls of linear, brown, wooden doors;
Wards full of beds with identical sheets
Smelling of strong ethyl and chlorine.

I sat by my room’s only window—
Glass and sill cleaned a little too well
To protect me from the world’s harms out there.
I looked outside to try remembering
What it’s like to live beyond white walls.

They say I’m missing nothing at all—
Only threats, dangers, and my very death;
That my life is kept better within these walls so white,
with syringes, IVs, and the machine beeping at my side.

“This food will make you stronger,” they would say,
always, as they give me my silver-plated tray.
The IV fluid will fix whatever is wrong,
My two tablets and five capsules would heal what’s broken,
And so long as I stay inside these white walls
I’ll live, and the rest of the details would be rightly woven.

That’s what they say, what I’ve always been told.
And I could never say they’re wrong, but I guess
there’s just a lot of things that they don’t know.

They don’t know that every time I soak my hands
With alcohol to touch nothing after,
I’m being stripped not of my filth but of my joy.

And every time I eat my colorless meals,
My mind and heart cry out I’m being poisoned.
Every time they change my sheets with another dull blanket
I run out of breath a little slowly.
Every time the IV is inserted in my veins
My blood runs dry a little more.
And every intake of my prescriptions
Seems to be little deaths, part by part, little by little,
Capsules replacing my cells a million at a time.

Call this depression, or call it insanity,
But for me it’s just plaintively funny
how the institution that exists to give life
snuffs that very essence out of me.

[This is an edited version of a letter I’ve written to someone in the future. I realize I have been neglecting this blog for some time now. It’s not really because I have nothing new in life. Quite the contrary, life has had me drowning from all the salty waves and stormy winds it throws at me—and I could hardly keep my head above the surface. This letter somewhat summarizes the things I have been dealing with. There are way more than the things I’ve mentioned, of course, but at least I get to share in this platform the lessons God has been teaching me recently.]

 

JULY 29, 2018 | 7:05AM

Dear Future Person,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Life had recently kept my hands—and heart and mind—so, so full these past months. I got my life turned upside down—in the work, home, church; emotionally, physically, socially… It’s like I’ve recently gone through some major overhauling. I can tell you more of what specifically happened for the first half of 2018, if you don’t know about it yet. But in this letter I want to be raw and vulnerable. I want to tell you how I’ve really been after all the sifting and shaking and breaking. I haven’t also really paused and sat down to think about my emotions and thought processes about all this. So bear with me, as I try to share to you the lessons, realizations, and revelations I have been gleaning in this season of trial and rebuke.

For the first half of 2018, I felt confused with all the occurrences around me. I started asking whether I’m really supposed to stay where I was, or if maybe God was signaling me to go elsewhere. My desire to serve God “more” has led me to thinking that maybe God was leading me somewhere else—where I can do greater acts for Him. Where God could “benefit more” from me. Where even the world would recognize me as a great servant of Christ. Because of that line of thinking, I’ve made some very foolish and rash decisions. I got involved in a group that was proven to be unhealthy and unbiblical later on. That mistake still haunts me even now.

The accumulated stress and exhaustion of my college years and my first year of teaching took a toll on my health. 2017 has been an excessively tiring year for me, especially emotionally (and that’s another story for another time). It took a toll on my health, and I had to stop working for a while. Because of the many surrounding issues of my life, I’ve intended to also not work for at least a semester, or even the entire year. But by the last week of June I found myself getting interviewed for a teaching position in the University of Makati. I started class two days after.

Where has this all left me? My current situation leaves me grasping for breath—every. Single. Day. It leaves me begging God to please give me strength to endure the day. Because, I must say—all these shaking and overhauling have drained all my human strength. I kept asking God for a period of rest. For a time to recover and meditate and regain my footing. But He out of His divine wisdom did not give me that. Instead He has foreordained that I would face more people—around 400 from my estimation—than I did last year to teach. Frankly, I am not ready for this. I am not prepared to face a lot of people again. Not yet. I need, I feel, to recharge first. To gather up courage before I could give life and its attacks a fighting stance. Because what’s happening to me right now is that I’m terrified most of the time. I’m afraid of the burden placed upon me by having to encounter hundreds of souls on a daily basis. I’m afraid of my own heart and how it might deceive me again any time. I’m afraid I’ll make mistakes again—worse this time. I have so many fears. And these fears, they paralyze me. They make me dread the mornings whenever I wake up.

But somehow, I get by, day by day. Somehow, I manage to deliver my lessons to the kids. And it is in this time of crisis—and still managing to get through each day despite the crisis—that God’s sustaining grace is actually made magnified to me. I’ve never yet in my life had as much dread on my daily life as I have today. But I’ve also never felt the need for His grace more than I do now. And yet again God’s fresh mercies every day have never yet been so strongly, overwhelmingly shown to me as they are being shown now. What I could see that God is teaching me is that I am TOTALLY RELIANT upon His grace. Literally. That I really can’t survive a day—even a moment—without His loving arms upholding me. That I am like a puddle of water in His hands—I am without form and void outside of Him. I am a broken vessel upheld only by the grace of my loving Father. And that I have to truly trust Him on a daily basis. He’s really driving me to my knees. Showing me I need Him every passing moment.

And this entire process is humbling me. Breaking me and shaking me, yes, but also humbling me and comforting me through God’s reassuring grace. And so that’s one lesson. God is making me learn to humbly trust in Him.

Another lesson I’m learning is that God has foreordained for me to be where I am right now because this is where I can serve, love, and follow Him best that results to His glory. Do you remember the parable of the talents? It said there that the master gave to one servant five talents, to another two, and yet to another one, each according to his ability. Now, I searched up on the Greek origin of the word “ability”. And the word, [du/namis], literally means “miraculous power”; the abundance of one’s innate ability/power/strength. He is showing me that whatever lot He has given me—right now I am a city college, an ordinary church member, a non-remarkable daughter, a mundane friend—is in accordance to my intricately woven design the He Himself had made. I am given my share of talents. Why do I try to bury my share and take the talents, the portion, of others? God is teaching me to fully recognize His wisdom and to trust completely His sovereignty. And you know what? In showing Himself to be in total control, God is guiding my heart to the rediscovery of the vast beauty of the lines He has assigned and drawn to be my portion. It’s like God is waking me up from my deep slumber in envy (long story. Ask me—show me this letter. I would remember.) and showing to me once more the wonders of my own God-given inheritance. And this is another overwhelming lesson and revelation. Often, this realization drives me to tears—of sorrow, guilt, and repentance because I have so lightly regarded the work of the Lord in my life. This realization often drives me to tears—tears of gratefulness and humility, because who would not be humbled before this Almighty, All-knowing, All-loving God? These realizations are painful, but all these tears are worth it.

God is yet teaching me another important lesson in my most recent mistakes. And this is, my love for the brethren was not as strong as I thought. I’ve always thought I’ve perceived the right rightly already. With love and reverence and patience. God is showing me that I haven’t loved enough the people around me yet. That, after all, I haven’t cared for the Body of Christ enough. I haven’t loved the church as Christ would have me love His people. I’ve taken lightly the Bride of Christ. I’ve thought of her members in a quite unloving manner when I felt misunderstood by them. And God is proving to me that I’m wrong in so many aspects. This one included. I foolishly thought I’ve tried hard enough in building a relationship with these people. I was wrong. And right now God is teaching me to love more. Bear more. Understand more.

This letter got longer than how I intended it to be, but the bottom line is that, I am learning so many things right now. And one of them is the fact that despite being showered by God’s mercy, grace, and love, sometimes my heart still lacks the proper, warm, deep-seated love for the brethren. And that is what He is teaching me. Love more, Bekah. But I feel like I might forget or lose sight of this lesson often. And so, if I ever forget this lesson again, I ask that you always remind me of the great love I have been given. Because my heart can sometimes forget. And it tends to love people less.

I am writing this so that you may understand what I’ve been through, because I believe some scars I have here, I’m meant to keep. I am determined to keep going, to keep walking on the Narrow Path, every step closer to Celestial City. But sometimes, I may falter and get tired. If I do, please point me back to my only Source of strength—my Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

I am keeping you in my prayers.

 

Reby

 

| 10:58PM

This year, the Lord revealed truths about Himself to me—
Not in grand gestures and excessively dramatic style,
Not in the form of a burning bush or a speaking donkey,
Not even in the guise of an angel in a dream.
But He showed Himself to me in the little, everyday things—
in verses daily read, in hymns often sung,
in casual conversations, in trivial tasks—
which I think is even more majestic and astounding.
 
This year, He taught me He knows me inside out
And that He’s the best person to teach me lessons—
Never too hard so I’d inevitably fail,
But also never too easy so I’d get too comfortable.
He taught me to fully let go of my life’s steering wheel
And wait on His every turn with patience and complete trust.
He taught me to never doubt His loving care,
To never question why He puts me in situations,
But simply to ask how to best glorify Him there—
How to best bloom in the garden He has placed me.
 
This year He revealed to me matters of the heart,
Teaching me to love more unconditionally His people,
And let go of things that aren’t meant for me.
This year He taught me that letting go doesn’t always have to be painful,
And that painful breakage can be beautiful too.
Like a vessel breaking and showing up cracks,
Only to reveal golden light inside.
 
Yes, this year, God broke my heart—a lot.
But it all turns out to be a beautiful breakage
And, dare I say it, may He prepare me for more heartbreaks.
Because it was when he broke me that I’ve seen—
I am in need of nothing and no one else but Him.
 
This year I learned to be more honest with the Lord—
With how I feel, what I hope for, what I’m confused about,
Things I want to know from Him and of Him.
My relationship with Him grew so much deeper as He taught me
That I can really and literally talk to Him as I would an esteemed friend.
And isn’t He the best person to be friends with!
 
This year I learned to laugh more heartily—
Not because I have no more cares and concerns,
Not because I can see the solution in every problem,
But because I’ve clearly seen how God is very intimately involved in my daily life—
And with a loving and Almighty God writing your story,
Who needs to fret on the plot development and ending?
 
This year I found myself singing along with Horatio Spafford when he wrote,
“Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Has God spared me from traumatic trials?
It is well with my soul.
Has He kept me from getting things I thought I’ve wanted?
It is well.
Has He told me countless times to let go?
It is well. It is well.
 
Because what He ultimately taught me this year
Is that I may never be enough,
But He always is. Always will be.
And I guess that’s the best lesson of all.
 
And so, yes, I’m now facing a new “turn” in the road.
And I can only smile excitedly as I wait to see,
just right there at the corner, what He has in store for me.
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An Unsettling Paranoia

Posted: July 14, 2015 in Prose
Tags: , , , , , ,

July 7, 2015
________________

I really appreciate this notebook. As an effort to make the fellowship among SGC youth more intimate, a youth meeting every Sunday afternoon was formed. But Ate Hapi also wanted to have a talk just among the girls. And understanding that perhaps spoken words (not poetry, lol) may be a challenging avenue of expressing ones thought. Ate Hapi gave us this. Supposedly, this is for questions and thoughts one would like to discuss.

Mine is not a question, nor a logical/reasonable thought. It’s a paranoia, a fear on what’s yet to happen. One also that I haven’t been able to shake off, for years now. And that is, my fear of being hurt by the ones I love.

Mingling with non-Christians and becoming friends with people who do not hold on to the same faith as you do is not so grave of a conflict. Dwelling on the common ground, one can actually work with them; laugh with them, even. But whenever I get to think of these non-Christian friends, there is always, always that looming thought.

The thought that, one day, the civility would have to end. That the common ground would cease to exist. The thought that, today, it may seem that we are treading towards the same direction, but someday the road will be forked and the demarcation line shall be clear. That, right now, we may be content to leave each other in peace with out own personal convictions, but someday we would wake up and find out–we can’t do that anymore. The rift would be too great, the division too vast. There would be no more gray area. Everything, everyone, would be in black and white. Hard line. Explicit.

And then–I think–what? What would happen then? What would become of us, of the years of friendship and laughter, and sorrows shared together? Would it become a shield to protect me from agonizing pain, or would be the knife to wound me lethally from the inside?

You see, that’s what I fear. I fear that, because these people I dearly love do not adhere to the same belief I succumb myself to, and because one day the “wicked shall be wicked still and the righteous shall be righteous still,” they would actually be the cause of my future affliction. Persecution.

I could already picture myself in the years to come–being tipped to the authorities by a Catholic, hunted down, captured, and arrested by an agnostic, tortured and executed by an atheist. The image burns in my head, perpetually. To the point that, at times, it gravely affects my dealings with these people. That sometimes I’d wish I could just shut them out of my heart and keep my emotions at bay.

But then the question remains, and the fear, the paranoia, is still not dealt with. Would the friendship suffice, when fate has declared the war? Because more than the idea of being persecuted, I melt with fear and anxiety with the thought of having to suffer affliction and betrayal in the hands of people I used to share such golden memories with.

On Healthy Living

Posted: March 28, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

If I want to have a healthy lifestyle,

If I wish to live long at all,

I should stop eating fries.

Just like I should stop thinking of you.

Of Life’s Ironies

Posted: March 2, 2015 in Poems
Tags: ,

There are so many people

who are there only

to laud you in your success,

but never to strengthen you

when you’re fainthearted;

there to commend you

when you get the job done,

but never to smile at you comfortingly

when you commit a mistake.

There to say, “I’m proud of you,”

when you’ve gained world recognition,

but never was once there to encourage you

when you were still treading that trial-filled journey.

There are just so many people

who are ready to smile with you in triumph

without even bothering to know the heartaches

you suffered before reaching that victory…

and without bothering to realize

how they have actually inflicted all the pain.