Lahat May Baggage

Malamang, by this time, karamihan satin ay napanod na ang “That Thing Called Tadhana.” Sa bus, kalye at bawat sulok ng opisina, usap-usapan lagi ang mga relatable hugot lines ng pelikula. Lahat naman kasi ata ng kilala ko, naranasan nang maiwanan, mang-iwan, ma-broken-hearted, umiyak, magalit, magpaka-bitter. Mga 85% na nakausap ko, natuto naman mag-move-on. Yung iba, nasa iba’t ibang stage pa ng process, though marami ata ginawang tambayan ang Denial and Anger stages.

Ako, na-enjoy ko yung movie in the sense na it took me down familiar routes. Sa edad kong to at sa aga kong kumire, e malamang ilang brokenhearted episodes at moving on drama na ang dinaanan ko. Parang si Mace, ilang beses na din akong umiyak, nagtanong kung bakit pa kasi ako nabuhay, naghanap ng closure na hindi dumating, nagsisigaw ng, “PI! Ayoko na!” Kung susukatin mo siguro ang dami ng luhang itinangis ko kumpara sa alak na tinungga ko sa tuwing isa na namang boylet ang ginawang punching bag ang puso ko, lalamang lang yung alcohol ng mga dalawang tagay sa dami.

Pero more than about getting over a failed relationship or moving on, ibang konsepto yung mas nagstick sakin nung napanuod ko yung movie. And it’s all about baggage. As in emotional baggage. Napansin ko na yung mga luggage ni Mace sa movie ay parang naging simbolo din ng journey nyang maka-move on sa ex niyang gagong tanda-tanda na takot pa sa commitment.

Napansin ko kasi, as I got older and went through several relationships (i.e., actual boyfriends) and pseudo-relationships (i.e., ilusyonada ako, si boy, it’s-not-you-it’s-me ang peg), na parang we don’t really get over a past relationship completely. As in, walang erase lahat, back to zero, clean slate, ganun. When we move on to another relationship, we still carry small bits and parts of the previous one into it.

Eto, mga kaibigan, kapamilya at kapatid sa pananampalatayang meron pa ding wagas puro at dalisay na pag-ibig, ay ang tinatawag na baggage. Wala kong maisip na magandang term nito sa Tagalog, so I assume gets nyo naman to.

EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE.

Collins dictionary defines emotional baggage as: “the feelings you have about your past and the things that have happened to you, which often have a negative effect on your behavior and attitudes.” 

Wikipedia describes it in a metaphorical image: ” it is that of carrying all the disappointments, wrongs, and trauma of the past around with one in a heavy load.”

emo baggage

Photo grabbed from ze Net.

 

Pansin nyo ba sa start ng movie, si Mace, awas-awas yung maleta nya. Pilit nya pinagkakasya pa yung mga gamit nya pero matapos ang ilang balik, excess weight pa rin sya. Hindi siya maka-move on sa next step ng pag-check in sa airport. Kasi gusto nya ipilit mai-empake yung mga binili nya para sa ex nya – yung trench coats, yung mga thongs, sapatos – kasi may sentimental value. Siguro they remind her of her time na she believed they had a future together. Pero waley.

Tapos, may lumapit sa kanya, si Anthony, na nag-offer na dalhin sa luggage nya yung ibang gamit ni Mace. And it worked, gumaan dala ni Mace, nakatuloy sila. Pero pansin ko, all throughout their trip, lalo na nung nasa Baguio sila, si Mace, hirap na hirap pagdadala ng luggage niya, often refusing Anthony’s help na dalhin ito kahit pataas or pababa ng overpass. Ayaw niya bitawan. Ayaw niya i-let go.

tadhana

Photo grabbed from ze Net.

 

Kalaunan sa pelikula, naiwan nila yung mga bagahe nila sa Baguio at matagal pa babalik yung bus. Si Anthony yung nag-alala at gusto balikan, pero si Mace – probably realizing what a relief it was not to lug around those heavy bags anymore – just shrugged it off at nagdesisyon na i-enjoy na lang yung ipinunta nila sa Sagada. At para sakin, yun yung pangalawang good step niya into actually moving on and losing all those baggage: nung in-accept nyang iwanan na mga yun. Teka, ano yung unang step? E di nung pumayag siyang tanggapin yung tulong ni Anthony na dalhin yung ibang gamit niya.

Diba, parang tayo lang din yan. Sabi ko nga, pagpasok natin sa isang bagong realsyon, lahat tayo may dalang baggage: trust issues, fear of commitment, trauma sa sakit na binigay ng mga ex natin, all those nasty, wonderful excuses na kung susumahin mo, would just fall under two categories: Medyo May Point and Total Bullshit.

Hindi na natin maaalis yan. Wala naman kayang burahin past nila diba. Kahit na gaano tayo kagago, katanga, kalandi or karupok sa nauna nating mga relasyon, di na natin kayang ibahin yun. Ang kaya natin kontrolin e kung paano nito maaapektuhan yung mga bagong relasyon natin.

Lahat tayo may baggage. Some more than most, some refuse to let go of theirs, but we all have them. Meron nasa maleta, gym bag, pwedeng backpack or ga-wallet lang. Pero para sakin, wala sa laki or bigat ng dinadala natin. Nasa paraan kung paano natin dadalhin.

Dadalhin mo ba lahat? Lahat ng frustration and unfulfilled expectations mo sa nakaraan, ipapasa mo ba sa bago? Na dahil may trust issues ka, magiging jaded at cynical ka na sa lahat ng mga bagong dadating sa buhay mo? Kakayanin mo bang dalhin lahat ng ikaw lang? O, handa kang tumanggap ng tulong para gumaan yung mga dala mo?

For sure yang babaeng natitipuhan mo or yang lalaking nagpaparamdam sayo, may mga baggage din sila. Give them a chance. Give yourself a chance.

Malay mo, may space pa sa maleta nila, pwede ka pa makilagay.

Dating Been-There-Done-That

Ever met or dated a guy, and after a while, you get that feeling that everything seems oh-so-familiar?

1. When a guy texts you at 2AM to “just hang out.” Block the schmuck completely especially when he starts the message with “Ei” instead of “Hey.” What, he’s too lazy to key in an extra letter?

Remember, nothing good ever happens after 2 AM.

2. When he tells you you are the most interesting, one-of-a-kind girl he’s ever met and he just wants to spend all of his time with you. Alone. Just the two of you. In out-of-the-way, far-flung places where there’s very little chance you’ll bump with people he knows. Because you’re just so damn precious and unique he wants to keep you as his best kept secret… especially from his girlfriend.

As a good friend – who seems to attract married or attached friends like a magnet – loves to put it: “Gagawin pa kong spare tire. Bakit kasi kukuha-kuha sila ng owner-type jeep kung gusto naman pala nila sa Ferraring pula sumakay.” Pak.

3. When he invites you over to watch DVD’s at his place. While drinking. At night. When everyone else is away. And he gives you directions instead of actually exerting effort to pick you up. And oh, while you’re at it, can you bring food as well?

If you don’t see that train wreck coming, then my dear girl, you deserve to be hit.

4. When you’ve just met and gone out on exactly one date, after which he constantly send you text messages  to know you whereabouts. Like all the time. He also stalks your Facebook check-ins and tagged photos from your friends. He’ll flood your chat inbox with constant, “Eat ka na? Where ka na? Sleep ka na?” and acts jealous when you don’t reply right away. Suddenly he’s everywhere, like all the time.

It’s a toss between flattering or borderline stalking.

5. When you become the ever dependable tropa, that wise sage he consults regularly as he tries to get over his ex. You’re there when he rants and wants to rehash every little detail to find out what made their relationship go kaput and why the hell is she dating a new guy now? Until eventually, he starts mentioning her less and less and shows more and more interest in you. And then you kid each other, like why don’t we just go out? Like, crazy right ha ha.

And when you two finally do go out, the rest of the world shakes its head and sits back to see how long this rebound thing will last.

6. When a guy you date occasionally texts you where you are and when you reply and ask him the same, nada. Well, now he sure knows where NOT to go, eh?

7. If, after an amazing, romantic night out on your first date, the bill arrives and he’s suddenly busy fiddling with his phone or he doesn’t even offer to at least to split the bill, pay the whole dang thing and walk away. Fast. Don’t look back.

8. When a guys has too many mobile phones or phone numbers. Unless he’s a cellphone dealer or sells load. Same goes for multiple Facebook or IG accounts, often not under their real names. Unless the rest are fan sites or fan pages… which can be get pretty dubious if he’s not a celebrity.

I guess when you start romping around the dating scene really young and fast, you also learn the lessons and mistakes harder. You’ve seen the scene, dated the players , the older ones, the young ones and everyone else in between. And when you’re a single mother, you’ve definitely had more of your fair share early on, but thankfully, you grow up, wise up and move on.

As Cuba Gooding’s character in Jerry Maguire, football player Rod Tidwell, so succinctly put it when his agent (Tom Cruise) asked him for advice on dating a single mom (Renee Zellweger’s Dorothy Boyd):

“Single mothers don’t date. They don’t date date. They’ve been to the circus, you know what I mean? They’ve been to the puppet shows and they’ve seen the strings.”

Don’t get me wrong. If you enjoy the above-mentioned dating scenarios, good for you. Just remember that while spending a bit of time in the circus (or jungle or hell, whatever metaphor suits your dating experience) is fun and kilig and painful and enlightening, at one point, you have to get out. You have to stop dating the jugglers who pass you around like a ball, the clowns who just fool around with your feelings, or that incredible man who eats fire and glass shards who just burns and cuts your tired, little heart into tiny, smoldering pieces.

 

*This post was inspired by several funny conversations and observations. If you are one of those old, bitter single women such as the author of this piece and her equally cynical friends, do share your dating deja vus in the comments section. Happy circus-ing!

Status: SINGLE

A few months ago, when a guy I dated changed his Facebook status to “in a relationship” people started texting or walking up to me to see how I would react to the news.  Nobody seemed to remember that he and I parted ways for more than a year already and are still good friends after, nor the fact that I was actually one of the first people he told he was courting a girl.

“Okay ka lang?” They would ask in a low, deliberate voice, faces scrunched in concern, as if saying it loud or putting too much emphasis on it would cause me to break down in tears.

“Yes, I’m good.” And I could see in their skeptical faces the follow up question they wouldn’t voice out. Really? But… you’re still… single.

Of course, trying to convince them that I was indeed fine being thirty-one, single and not on the prowl for some guy would be an exercise in futility. Might even sound defensive. A lot of people think that because I’m not with someone means a) I still hold a torch for said guy or, 2) I’m a dried up, jaded beyotch.

I haven’t been in an actual relationship for about four years now. During those four years, I’ve fallen under a couple of delusions that some friendships can turn out to be more, which unfortunately ruined some perfectly good friendships, but nonetheless cemented my resolve not to settle for anything less than real.

During the last couple of years I’ve thrown myself into work and being a mom, and it’s all good. I’m not really into the dating scene. Even when I was younger, I’ve never been into blind dates. Small talk terrifies me. It’s just that at work, where I spend bulk of my time nowadays, I’m surrounded by couples and people who are in relationships. I think there are only three of us left who are still unattached. And when you’re a thirty-one-year old single woman surrounded by married or coupled folks, people assume there must be something wrong with you.

Being this single person, here’s some random things I noticed. Feel free to agree or disagree. Hey, it’s just me.

1. You can’t say or post anything about Valentine’s being a commercialized holiday destined to milk poor schmucks out of money for overpriced chocolates, flowers, stuffed toys and fancy candle-lit dinners. You can’t declare that red Cupid and hearts cut outs are cheesy. You can’t raise the question of why this became a holiday of lovers when in fact it was about a saint dying in some ancient prison dungeon. Or something to that effect. Wasn’t it?

memegenerator.net

memegenerator.net

 

2. You can’t go to a wedding and not participate in that seemingly innocent fun game of bouquet toss, or some sort of modernized version of it, depending on the wedding coordinator. You can’t go against tradition and give up the chance that some distant relative or friend of the groom or bride could be your “the one.” So go ahead and lift up that skirt and let some complete stranger grope up that pesky garter up your thigh.

IMG_53973881013809

 

3. You can’t finish a meal as leisurely as you want, because then the people eating with you would have to wait until you’re finished before they can start clearing their dirty dishes away, because “baka hindi ka makapag-asawa.” I don’t see the connection between dirty plates and snagging me up a spouse. What does that even mean?

 

4. You can’t change your Facebook status to “single” because dang, girl, be cool, everybody freaking knows already.

single

 

5. You find it hard to politely say no to offers of blind dates, casual coffee or “eye-balls” because then you’d appear all “choosy hindi naman yummy” and everybody would be like shaking their heads and saying, “Eh kaya single ka pa rin.” If I had a peso for every promise of setting me up with someone, I’d probably have enough money to buy me an iPad.

memeshare.net

memeshare.net

 

6. Your love  life – or lack of it – will become everybody’s business. (So might as well blog about it, yeah?)

tumblr_mmn4acwedU1rw6m6bo1_400

 

7.  When everything in your life is going well – career, finances, you got your own car and condo and all – people will say, “O kulang na lang asawa.”

8. Every time you turn older, the next thing that comes after “Happy Birthday” is “Why don’t you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?” and /or “So when are you getting married?” Noticed this to be especially common for women once they turn 25 and older. Girls approaching the big three-oh always get cautioned about being left by the “huling biyahe” or falling off the calendar. There’s a deadline? Well, there’s still the Bingo card.

30th

 

9. When you want to have a spontaneous, after-shift visit to the watering hole or even for coffee or dinner, everybody has to call or text their partners first. And even if they do come with you, they spend most of the evening constantly checking their phones, texting their location and activities to their partners. “Alis na kami. Dito na kami. Order na kami. Kain na ko. Nguya na ko. Lunok na ko.” You know guys, there’s this thing called GPS. And oh, trust.

delawarereason.com

delawarereason.com

 

10. When you look good and take extra care with your make up, hair or clothes, people assume it’s because you’re dating someone or sleeping with someone. “Blooming ka ah. What’s his name?” Like if you’re single you’re expected to dress in burlap sacks and look like dirty laundry.

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11. You can’t can’t make an off-hand or jokey comment about another wedding/ baby shower/ engagement news / birth announcement because, it’d be like, well at least sila… eh ikaw…?

there-are-no-men-like-me.tumblr.com

there-are-no-men-like-me.tumblr.com

 

12. Whether you’re dining alone in a restaurant, going to the mall or some park alone, watching a movie all by yourself or just want some uninterrupted, quite me-time, for cryingoutloud, they’d be all like, why? You should have called me, I would’ve come with you. Chill, brah, I’m cool.

Gif not mine, credits to the www.

Gif not mine, credits to the www.

 

Of course I’m making sweeping generalizations here and some exaggerations there, but you get my drift right? Point is, while I do sometimes miss the feeling of being part of a couple, right now, I’m okay being single. REALLY. I guess it’s an age thing. Or maybe it’s that I’m-fed-up-with-all-the-BS thing that we realize it’s better to hold out for someone genuine and lasting, than settling down for whoever is available for fear of being alone. Been there, done that.

You know, as hokey or righteous it may sound to others, I do believe that God has a perfect timing for these stuff. And maybe this is not my season yet to be with someone. Probably because God knows I’ll screw it up again like I did those in the past so better He keeps me off them for now.

In the meantime, I’m cool having these chairs all to myself. So, yes, I’m fine. Really. We’re all fine.

PhotoGrid_1396722583368

 

Love – It Starts With Civility

My devo this morning gave me a good pause to think. God said in 1 Corinthians 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 a clanging cymbal.” He exhorts us to “Do everything with love (1 Cor 16:14) and of course we all know the famous verses of how real love should be like in 1 Cor 13:4-7. (Our Daily Journey, RBC Ministries, 2012)
I remembered an instance when I was a fairly new Christian and were encountering various reactions (most of the violent, disbelieving kind) from friends who knew my wild past and were dismissing this change as “just another phase” for me.
An old friend was firing off one question after another about why I “coverted,” why the need to “force” other people in believing in our “movement” and others. I tried explaining it’s not about religion and struggled to illustrate it about having a personal relationship. He’s had a few drinks, but I know he is a sensible guy. Heck, he’s an intelligent guy gifted in conversations. But I felt he was attacking my inability to change because he knew my past so well and maybe didn’t think I can change, or need any religion to save me. And as I tried to lob back his arguments with bits from Scripture and my personal experience thus far, I ended up sounding very defensive and emotional. I mean, I cried on the spot.
That, I think was my ultimate mistake. I was arguing with him on the merit of defending myself. I was trying to justify my actions by seeking to find holes in his questioning and “misguided” thinking. I wasn’t trying to share the grace of God and the true meaning of the Cross to him out of  a noble desire to draw him near to the Lord nor out of genuine love for a fellow human being. I just wanted him to shut up. I was driven by a selfish, wrong motive.
Looking back now, I had prayed about that incident and that should similar situations come up, I hope God would be upon me and use my thoughts and words according to His will. I pray my heart would be clear of any erroneous or dishonest intention. I ask for the ability to be civil in discussion, especially to unbelievers, so that I may reflect not the flaws of our faith, but the power of Jesus in our lives.
Civility should never be mistaken for being “plastic” or fake friendliness. The former is about admitting you and the other parties have differences but you can discuss it calmly without resorting to petty arguments or mudslinging. Agree to disagree. The latter just buries the real issues beneath phony smiles and gestures. Opportunities for improvements are never discussed in the open so they are never given a chance to be resolved.
 
I had a friend that I had a gap a while back. For months after he hurt me, I completely ignored him. I felt vindicated and justified my actions by thinking, well at least hindi ako namamlastic. Only later did I realize I was not acting out of love. It was hard at first but when he approached me, instead of rebuffing him with harshness, I was civil. We didn’t solve all our problems and we never got back to being the close friends we were before but it’s better now. At least, we became friends again.
 
I hope we will also have the gift of discernment to see this on those people running for office this coming May elections. Times like these are always abounding in dirty politicking and smear campaigns between opposing parties.
In the past, I’ve been called “plastic” so many times if it happened now and I walked around Elbi or Muntinlupa, I would’ve been outlawed. Bawal ang plastik sa Los Banos at Muntinlupa. It was a very mean and unproductive quality I have that I truly regret and even now I call upon God’s grace everyday to help me be civil – not to be a phony – in my interactions with people I have disagreements with.
“Let’s make it our personal project to reveal God’s great love as we debate and discuss today’s issues with others.” ~ Roxanne Robbins (Our Daily Journey, RBC Ministries, 2012)
 
 * pictures grabbed from commonsenseatheism.com and http://www.wemakethefunny.com.  No copyright infringement intended. 

No More What If’s

The movie One More Chance is famous for its quotable quotes. We all know that you-had-me-at-my-best tearjerker, for instance. But a while ago, when I caught the film for the nth time at Cinema One, one of Basha’s lines earlier in the movie  caught my fancy (it’s not verbatim because I forgot to take it down and Google just spewed off the usual lines):

 
“I don’t want to keep wondering what if; I want to know what is.”
 
 
Ganda. I’m sure anyone who’s ever yearned about stepping out of their comfort zone, of wanting change in their lives, has uttered this line or some variation of it. 
 
Yeah, some changes are inevitable: puberty, hormones, wrinkles, getting older, death. Those are the inescapable changes life bring. But there are those kinds that actually require effort from us. Loving someone, following our dreams, turning a new leaf, forgiving someone, moving on – these require actions and decisions. More often than not, these aren’t just results of our circumstances. It’s a will issue. We know what to do or where we’re going, but it’s still our decision if we will go through it.So says Michael Jackson, if we want change, we gotta start with the man (or woman) in the mirror. 
 
At times we resort to using excuses to mask our fears, insecurities or inabilities. We say we’re not ready when we’re just afraid. We use the cliche we don’t have the time because whatever or whoever it was that was asking for our time and attention just isn’t important enough to us. It’s not a matter of having time; it’s about making the time. If it matters to us, we’ll definitely make time. If not, then we’re just playing until it starts getting too much of a responsibility and then we drop it just like that. 
 
Again, it’s a decision. For instance, love. Loving someone is a decision, and you know what, so is moving on. Yeah, we might just wake up one morning and realize all the feeling is gone, but we actually decided beforehand to get to that point.
 
While some of us are innately brave, for some, it takes additional effort to muster the guts. So if it’s asking too much for courage, then at least have respect. Respect yourself and the people around you. Sometimes playing too safe to avoid pain or hurting others can actually backfire; we end up hurting even more, and betraying the trust of those we care about.
 
I’m all for being cautious in decisions and guarding our hearts as well. But I also believe that sometimes, our well-laid plans get disrupted for good reasons. God is aligning our lives with His will, and it’s all for the best. But following God’s will doesn’t give us license to hurt others or act like jerks. Instead, this knowledge should make us more humble, give us the confidence to be honest and trustworthy.
 
I once heard it said that the worst feeling in the world is that never-ending barrage of what-if’s: regret. So yeah, maybe it’s about time we start focusing on what is and what will be instead of the what if’s that we can’t bring back, yes?

Let Go and Live

I woke up early today and found this in my inbox. A great and inspiring read to start the vacay right. Kinda echoes what a lot of us have been feeling and thinking about in the last few months. I’m a huge believer of giving value to ourselves and not letting any other person or even our past define who we are. I super appreciate the friend who forwarded this.

By Albert Einstein

Sometimes, in our relentless efforts to find the person we love, we fail to recognize and appreciate the people who love us. We miss out on so many beautiful things and simply because we allow ourselves to be enslaved by our own selfish concerns.Go for the man of deeds and not for the man of words for you will find rewarding happiness not with the man you love, but the man who loves you more.
The best lovers are those capable of loving from a distance far enough to allow the person to grow, but never too far to feel the love deep with in your being.
To let go of someone doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them, it only means that you allow that person to find his own happiness without expecting him to come back. Letting go is not just setting the other person free, but it is also setting yourself free from all the bitterness, hatred, and anger that you keep in your heart. Do not let the bitterness scare away your strength and weaken your faith, and never allow your pain to dishearten you, but rather let yourself grow with wisdom in bearing it.
You may find peace in just loving someone from a distance not expecting anything in return. But be careful, for this can sustain life but can never give enough room for us to grow. We can all survive with just beautiful memories of the past, but real peace and happiness come only with open acceptance of what reality is today.
 
There comes a time in our lives when we chance upon someone so nice and beautiful and we just find ourselves getting so intensely attracted to that person. This feeling soon becomes a part of our everyday lives and eventually consumes our thoughts and actions. The sad part of it is when we begin to realize that this person feels nothing more for us than just a friendship. We start our desperate attempt to get noticed and be closer, but in the end our efforts are still unearned and we end up being sorry for ourselves.
You don’t have to forget someone you love. What you need to learn is how to accept the verdict of reality without being bitter or sorry for yourself. Believe me, you would be better off giving that dedication and love to someone more deserving.
Don’t let your heart run your life, be sensible and let your mind speak for itself. Listen not only to your feelings, but to reason as well.
Always remember that if you lose someone today, it means that someone better is coming tomorrow; if you lose love that doesn’t mean that you failed in love. Cry if you have to, but make sure that the tears wash away the hurt and the bitterness that the past has left with you. Let go of yesterday and love will find its way back to you. And when it does, pray that it may be the love that will stay and last a lifetime.

I Am Loved

I had the privilege of leading our Victory Group session earlier today. And praise God our little group is complete, despite each of our own hectic skeds, travels and chores at home. We usually have our Bible study at Kaphe, a quirky coffee shop right at the SEARCA Dorm lobby. Their Genmaicha, Lemongrass iced tea and homemade Oreos are Sunday faves.

So glad to be reminded of God’s love, and blessed by my group mates’ sharing of how His love is evident in their lives as well.

“…The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” ~Exodus 34:6-7 

Indeed God is compassionate and gracious. He is merciful. He is God – high and mighty – yet stoops down on us inferior humans to extend grace and favor. Like a father who disciplines the children He loves, yet still provides a way for us to be redeemed – through His son Jesus. The verse mentions “wickedness, rebellion and sin” to show that there is no sin God is unable to forgive.

God is slow to anger. He is long suffering. He is ever patient with us, and I’m glad He is. Imagine if we have a short-fused God who gets irate at the tiniest mistake. Lagot tayo diyan!

God abounds in love and faithfulness. I remember a line from the song “One Thing Remains” (Jesus Culture) that stuck to me for days after first hearing it: “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.” Imagine  if God’s love is just adequate or “sakto lang.” What would happen to us if God’s love has a limit, if it is not unconditional, like how most of us love others? It is so abundant that while we were still sinners, He forgave us through Christ dying for our sins (Romans 5:8).

This knowledge of God’s love doesn’t give us license to sin, but rather gives us the confidence to repent and go back to Him each time we fall.

Now since we are loved so faithfully, unconditionally and abundantly, then we can strive to love others as well. We can forgive others because God first forgave us. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others.

*Professional discipleship group materials available at victorylosbanos.org

Love

A P.S. entry I was going to publish earlier, but got side-tracked by a lot of stuff, sowee. 😉

 
Good to know I’ve learned quite a few points about this wonderful, perplexing emotion – from a friend’s break up, other people’s (esp fellow singles’) own views and perceptions, couples’ love stories, the preachings at church during the 3-week “Will You” series about biblical love, friendship and relationships, the “Seasons of Love” talk we attended. I’m not saying I became an expert (ha! Far from it!) but it did open my eyes (and yes, my heart) to some new principles. Old mindsets were broken, previous notions debunked or validated.
We’re all too familiar with the 1 Cor 13 verses. Heck, I knew it by heart when I heard the dying Mandy Moore say it to reformed bad boy Shane West (cue sniffles and tears). Years later, I came to appreciate its deeper meaning because I know now that the love being described there is also God.
Because of our innate desire to love and be loved, we often jump into relationships too soon. We want the first one that comes our way to be The One. I know I did. And because I was still insecure, incomplete and had a distorted concept of love, I failed. We failed. Many times.
In my three decades I realized I’m not yet ready to be 100% to love someone in the unconditional, selfless kind of love we all should aspire.
I did an exercise our pastor showed us couple of weeks ago. I asked myself:
Am I patient? Am I kind? Do I not envy? Do I boast? Am I proud? Am I rude? Am I not self-seeking? Do I get angry easily? Do I keep a record of wrongs? Do I delight in evil or find joy in the truth? Do I protect always? Do I trust? Do I hope? Do I always persevere?
I know I can’t love as perfectly as God does; even I can’t love God as perfectly as He does me. I can’t do all these all the time, but I’ll hold on for that someone who will make me want to be all these not just to him, but to other people as well.

Broken Hearts Need a Break Too

Okay, since it’s February and a friend’s situation came to mind during my quiet time, I had to write this. I can’t promise this would be my last love-themes post but I’ll try, okay? 🙂
 
 
 
How do we heal a broken heart? For most of us girls, it involves endless ranting and rehashing to friends and anyone who would listen, copious amount of tears, play lists of the most heart-wrenching love songs on repeat-mode, buckets of liquor, the occasional threat of bodily harm to the guy involved (and any third party, if applicable), and a defiant hunt for the next distraction, i.e., the rebound.
Sad to say, most of us still drop into the habit of doing most of the stuff above. Sure we get well-meaning advice about moving on and focusing on the good things, but in our most vulnerable, selfish moments, it’s easier to wallow in self-pity. Mas masarap magpaka-kawawa, diba, especially this time of the year, when all the Valentine brouhaha is assaulting our senses.
We’ve heard the saying, “Don’t let your emotions take over.” I think that’s sound advice. But since the heart is mostly an emotional organ, I think it’s also fair to give it ample time to grieve if hurt, to heal once broken. I’ve always believed the heart is very resilient, but just like any other living thing, if it’s wounded, then it needs time to recuperate. This doesn’t give us license to flounder in a victim mindset, but it does allow us to give our heart a break.
And I think this is the best time not to make any important decisions or engage in any impulsive actions. Mabuti pang mag-SL or LOA muna ang puso imbes na isabak ulit sa laban. I learned this the hard way numerous times, and I hope this time, the lesson would stick.
While diving right back into the dating scene or drowning our sorrows in alcohol and negative thoughts might seem therapeutic –and yes, it will work for a while – it’s all temporary. When the rush of a new guy or the buzz of yet another drinking binge wears off, we’re left feeling emptier and sadder than when we started.
The heart is deceitful, as well. We may think we know it and can control it, but we can’t. Only God can. He knows us thoroughly, loved us even while we were still sinners, and can tell each and every desire of our hearts. It’s hard and sometimes, even in my faith in Him, I struggle to come to terms with my limitations. We fall into the trap of going to Him only when all else had failed, but really, we should have come to Him from the start. 
*photo from Google. No copyright infringement intended.

The Good, The Bad… And The One

 

You were always afraid of being alone. You thought being alone equates to being lonely. You had boyfriends before, dated guys you don’t really like just for the sake of not being single. This explains why you held on to past relationships longer than you should have, wasted time, money and effort on imagined attractions, and ruined friendships because you thought they could be more than that. Several times you fell into the trap of being in love with the idea of love because the opposite thought of it was, well, lonely.
 
It’s true that our God is a jealous God. Until He knows that you love Him above everything else, He’s not going to send another person that will take your eyes off Him. And because He loves you so much, He wants to make sure the next one He sends your way will love and treat you in the way He intended to be. And because you are His precious daughter, He made sure those shoes would be really big to fill!
 
Now you realize why God sent you the bad boys, those insensitive, emotionally-impaired, commitment-phobes who broke your heart and turned you bitter at first, but wiser and stronger later on. He did that so when He does send you a good guy, you’d know the difference. The good ones will let you know that men like these do exist, and they can see you not as broken or defective like you used to view yourself, but just as God sees you: complete, able and worth the bother. You may not end up with the first good guy you cross paths with, but then you’ll know that there’s The One out there who’s meant just for you.
 
With faith and prayer, claim that The One is doing exactly what you’re doing right now: praying for you. Believe that your future guy is also patiently readying himself, working on becoming the man you deserve so that when you finally meet him, it will be at the right place, at the right time – His time. God indeed has perfect timing, but you can’t leave it all up to Him, right? When the right time comes, it also helps if you’re at the right place and you’re doing the right thing. Trust that whoever he is or wherever he’s at right now, he is on his way to you, and he is trying to get to you as fast as God is allowing him to.