Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love

                How do you define love?

                Before we got married, people told my soon to be wife that she shouldn’t expect anything about public affection from me considering that I am a Highlander and being one, I am predisposed to keep my feelings in check. I would probably not hold her hand, much less kiss her in public or something in these lines. Being a mountaineer, I am supposed to be stoic and expected to maintain a façade of indifference. I was no lowlander with their overt external means of showing love. She was told that I’d be the rock solid silent, brooding partner; always there for her forever but in the way of public or private declarations of love, I will be passive.

                We both laughed at those words then.

                Oh she knew of course about the stereotypes of highland men. There is truth there. I know. I am one. I lived most of my life in the culture. People might take offense about this. It’s not a generalization. But there is some truth in here.

                But this is not a piece about that.

                It is about love.

                I met my wife when I was about to give up on love. Cliché, perhaps but it’s the truth. Frankly, I thought that my lot in life was to spend it alone. As a traveler perhaps. Or a struggling writer. A vagabond… maybe.

                She took me out from that path. Loved me fully in a way that gave me direction in life. She saved me in so many ways.

                I often wonder what she saw in me. I was a fat, balding man (still am) that had no direction. She is a pretty woman, former beauty queen, bright, sunny with the world at her hands. Yet she chose me.

                I asked her a few times. She says that love doesn’t choose… that the heart knows when it meets the other one that completes it. That we are soulmates.

                What is love?

                We love the outdoors.

She loves sports and I am not really sporty.

She knows aesthetics and fashion. I know nothing of fashion and she gave up trying to dress me a long time. She just says that as long as I love her, I can wear all the sports jerseys and baggy old shirts I want.

We love hiking, camping and being one with nature. We don’t care much for social gatherings. We both prefer the solitude and the intimacy of personal interactions. I see you, you see me. We communicate… we make bonds.

We butt heads on parenting.

We love our kids.

We sulk, make amends and repeat the same process all over again.

….

I can’t say how much I love my wife. She was there when I was lost, she is here now in one of the lowest points in my life. She gives me the strength to face the trials that life has cast my way. And she holds my hand, smiles and tells me that everything will be ok.

If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is…


Happy Valentines…

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Back...

I decided to write today.

How long has it been since I last wrote?

I don’t have the exact number of days. Maybe two years? Closer probably to three years… It doesn’t matter, I guess… but the fact remains that I have stopped writing for quite some time.

Why?

Why did I stop?

I once wrote because I was alone. Solitude brought loneliness and loneliness prodded the mind into places dark and forlorn. The written word kept me occupied, gave me a sense of self. Without it, I’d have succumbed to other vices or worse other thoughts…

So writing for me, before was a welcome release, a creative distraction if you wish.

But I found a place to belong. I found someone.

Someone who gave me a place. Loneliness was chased away and replaced by love and family. I found my soulmate, had a son, had a daughter…

Writing didn’t have a place anymore.

Or rather, I did not need the solace of writing anymore…

My wife wanted me to write again, and I smile whenever she asks. Sing, I said to her, and I will write. For she used to sing… beautifully, I might add. But she stopped singing. For the same reason I stopped writing. So we left it at that.

But today, I am going to write again.

Why?

Is it for keeping the emptiness at bay?

For the same reason I wrote before?

No.

Not those reasons.

You see, I had a session with someone today, someone who told me that I am breaking apart piece by piece. Not that I would die; it is not something as bad as that. Rather, that this mortal shell I inhabit is more fragile than I expected. Some thoughts… dreams of the future, so taken for granted by most people are getting further away from my reach….

I realize now that more than ever, I mustn’t squander the gifts that God has given me. There is a reason for everything under the sun.

I might not be able to run with my son someday. Even now, I can barely keep up with him. There might be a time I cannot throw my daughter in the air and catch her. Even now, holding her tests my limits. I want desperately to be able to do those.

I might… or maybe not.

There are things I might not be able to do.

But there are also things I can do.

And one of those things I can do is write.

And so I write again…


Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Thanks...


‘It’s done…’

It was spoken with a finality that was heavily punctuated by a sigh. I looked at her with a wry smile, empathizing with what she felt. Whoever said that weddings are a breeze should be dunked in hot oil and hung upside down in spider webbing. …and forced to listen to Justin Beiber songs…

But I digress.

Our apartment is still a mess. Glass centerpieces, tulle rolled haphazardly across the floor, half open garbage bags filled with more tulle, crumpled paper decors and wedding knick knacks remain untouched, stark reminders of a day that seemed to pass by like a dream…

Except of course, the harsh realities of bills and other stuff tug in the periphery of that dream. Unreturned cook wares that needs returning. Calls that need to be answered, gifts still unopened, and thank you letters that remain unwritten…

‘It’s done…’

Two words that sum it all up, I guess…

But thanks need to be said. In the end it’s all that matters… it’s for the small and great kindnesses that were freely given.

Salamat!

Thank you!

Domo Arigatto!

Iyaman!

To all the souls who labored thru the night and early morning to cook the food. Aunties, Manangs, Manongs and friends who gave us their time and sleep to make sure that there will be food served.
Salamat!

To all the people who labored thru the night to set up the décor and wash the dishes, my thanks to all of you!

To our main sponsors who labored through the sweltering heat to join us in our special days, our gratitude goes to you!

To our secondary sponsors, grooms men, bridesmaids, ushers, flower girls, junior secondary sponsors who had to know at the exact moment of the wedding their roles, our heartfelt thanks for your understanding.

For our photographers, videographers, friends, family and all of you who came to share our day, many thanks!

For Pastora Marina for her patience; Lolo John for his sage wisdom and the other pastors who helped us thru the day… may God fill you with more wisdom!

For auntie Nelly for opening her house to us; for Joan for all her labor; for Abby; Auntie Vivian and the kitchen staff; Vera and Mel for all their support and advices; and to all others whose names you know, Domo Arigatto! God Bless you all!

I cannot name all the people who made our day special. I will leave that to God! I pray that for all your help, He will bless you more!!!

Iyaman!

Iyaman!

Maraming, maraming salamat po!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Blues... (30 Posts....)


“Hon, we are stuck in the highway. Something is wrong with the car…”

I stared at my cellphone screen for a long moment, wondering if I was reading it right. My heart was racing and each beat was like a loud cymbal that reverberated through my whole being.

I was rooted to the spot, unable to form anything coherent with my mind. Actually, there were two things in my mind… one that I needed to change my son’s clothes and find a way to reach her… and two to call someone for help.

My mind raced as to who to call – a few names coming to mind but dismissed warily for apprehension that I might be disturbing them instead. I was raised to be independent, to rely on my strengths and to keep my troubles to myself.

Except of course, now, it is different…

The phone rang.

The sudden blare of the ringtone snapped me out of my stupor.

“Hi, Hon” I answered nervously ‘How are you?’ Are you ok?’ How are the kids?’ My mind was literally bursting with questions. My instincts told me to run out and find them… common sense forbid it off course.

“We’re alright. I managed to park the van on the shoulder and *** is coming to pick us up. I want to call AMA but you have the card.”

My breath was erratic. Elation mixed with dread played on my mind. Elation, that they were ok but dread at all the implications of it.

I managed only monosyllables as answers.

“I called our appointments and cancelled some we cant get into because we don’t have a car… and hon, you have to call Auntie, it is important” she was composed.

In retrospect, I find it odd that she was the one who was calm and I was the one with frayed nerves. I couldn’t believe that she was thinking that coolly in the face of that situation.

“I will…” I answered, though my mind was still sorting itself out.

“Ok, she is here. We’ll call the auto shop and have the car towed. Gotta go”

And the line went dead.

I stared at it for a long while, not knowing what to do now.

I found myself going to the sink, opening the tap and washing the dirty dishes there.  I had to keep myself busy, I said to myself. If I just stood there doing nothing, the minutes would drag…

The doorbell rang. I snapped rigid at the sound, my mind conjuring scenarios so bad I quaked visibly.
I half walked – half tiptoed to it, only to see through the blinds that it was her.

My relief was palpable. I embraced her as soon as she got through the door. Life flashes before your eyes, they say of these kinds of moments. The thought of losing someone special is hard… and everyone who has ever had a wife, a child or a parent knows this emotion.

“Thank God, you’re safe honey.”

She smiled.


I wonder how another person would have acted in our shoes at this instant.

For one, our wedding is just nine days away. Our money is running dry because of the car repairs we did and now that car is dead again. Our wedding food is on a strict budget. With our credit and savings almost gone, we have to make do with what we can, praying to God that He will see us through.

A lesser soul would’ve cracked under the pressure.

Add to that the clashes of personality that happen when people of different backgrounds meet.

Weddings are meant to be happy.

As a couple and a family, we are… We find a reason to smile with each trouble that comes.

But when the scope is widened and the rug is pulled from under us, it is human nature to find sadness there.

I wish for many things. I wish our car didn’t break down…. I wish I won the lottery and I wish that people would set aside their egos to let everyone enjoy the day without reservations…

We are flawed human beings…

I’ve always known that…

This world is flawed too…

But in the smiles and the hugs we as a family share, I find that ray of Hope that God has promised…

The Devil might use a lot of weapons against our resolve, even well – meaning friends, but as long as we have that ray of hope that Jesus has promised, we will survive…

…and survive we shall…

God Bless and wherever you are, in whatever state of life you’re in, smile and know that Hope remains…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Similarities... (30 Posts...)


            
            In what ways are we similar?

            That’s a question that’s hard to answer.

            We both are Christians. That, I think is the most important similarity that we share. For whatever things that may transpire down the road, our steadfast faith in God will be there to weather us through it all. Through our desire and trust in the Lord, we will always have the strength to overcome anything the life throws our way.

            We carry the scars borne of our fathers – psychological wounds that have defined us and molded us to who we are today. We say that we have moved on, and maybe we have, but the truth remains… our father’s shadows haunt us.

            We love to laugh… laugh together… laugh at each other’s expense… laugh for no reason… without reservations… I can make fun of her and her, me… with some feigned hurt jovially exchanged. We don’t have to keep ourselves in check whenever we chuckle at each other’s expense or express amusement in unbridled fashion.  A sign of a healthy relationship which we hold proudly.

            We love and appreciate beauty – but lest some of you imagine it to be the superficial kind, it’s not. We love bearing witness to the budding blossoms of her orchids by the window, the soft play of sunsets through the half open blinds… or the lazy gurgling of a crystal clear stream as we walk down well beaten paths to catch a glimpse of the river… She dabbles in craft with the kids and I play the role of a word smith… We love paintings and photographs… lovely, beautiful things that make the soul hum in rapture.

            We are both the eldest kids. So I guess that says a lot of things. We understand each other better in some ways. We know how to adapt and to have tons of patience in our dealings. We know when to assert ourselves and when to back off. We come with the maturity of having contended with younger siblings, giving us a greater understanding of who we are… and more.

            We also did live a good deal of our lives alone, she more than me. It made us more independent and stronger. We are not naïve souls at the mercy of the world. Through the years we forged through our lives alone, we gained precious insight on how to deal with what it throws our way… It has also made us loners – solitary souls that yearned for someone to save them – which made our finding each other all the more wonderful and utterly amazing…

            We love books – not romance pocket books – but books. We devour books with reckless abandon. I thank God every day that we both share that passion. We might not share the same taste in books, but the shared love of literature and the openness to expand the mind is a marvelous thing to behold that will help forge the bonds of love that will get stronger with time.

            We love movies (although she has this annoying habit of sleeping in my lap halfway through ninety percent of the movies we watch during movie nights). We laugh through bad comedies and romance flicks. And we both love Sci Fi and Fantasy films (although she doesn’t have the patience to watch speculative, noir and arthouse flicks – and I abhor the horror and slasher movies that she adores). We are cinephiles and except for that sleeping habit of hers (she says my lap is comfy, that’s why she sleeps), I couldn’t ask for more.

            We have more similarities: traits and tastes, convictions and principles that reintroduce us to each other as we share the days of our lives together. It continues to amaze me how each moment that we create reveals our souls to each other – strengthening the bond we both know – putting us deeper and deeper in love…

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