Category Archives: Rants

Sophie’s Peace

(Inspired by true events.)

Peace has been loosely defined these days. It could be the ability to sleep soundly at night, the calm before a storm, relief after a surge of trials, momentary cease fire between combatants, or earthly success. For Sophie, peace is something else.

Sophie grew up in a dysfunctional family. She lost her mother at a tender age of six. She loved her mother. She was the epitome of love for her. She would cuddle little Sophie every night even though she was often physically drained from all the activities at work. Sophie’s mother was a teacher. She excelled in her craft and would have been the next headmistress in the school where she taught. But the universe had other plans. At a young age, Sophie was left to fend for herself. Her father was of little help in her emotional downward spiral as he quickly became the doting lover of Sophie’s stepmother.

Without a parent to attend to school meetings and red-letter days, Sophie slowly but surely became the brunt of jokes of her classmates. She was bullied, emotionally and psychologically harassed. Unbeknownst to her, she gradually morphed into a disturbed teenager who yearned for acceptance in a world that shunned her. She became an outcast at school, a stranger in her own home. She could not bear to glance at herself in the mirror because she was her own enemy. Her everyday life lacked any tinge of peace. Whenever she stayed home, she wondered how the sweet home she grew up in has been reduced into a desolate and bleak house that gobbled bickering for breakfast. She felt like Cinderella, minus the kind part. She could never pass for being kind. Every day she met the world with anger and so much hatred because she knew the world hated her, so she hated it back. She was angry. Her heart was filled with discord. Even so, she wanted the world to believe that she did not care at all.

In college, Sophie resolved to make things different. She was tired of getting bullied. The sidelines were not for her, she thought. She wanted to be in the spotlight this time. But more than that, she yearned to be accepted by anyone who would willingly take her as she was. She joined countless school organizations and immersed in extra-curricular activities that she seldom stayed home. She loathed home. She wanted to be anywhere else but home. She finally had a group of friends who shared her interests and who understood her. She started going into late-night drinking sprees and out-of-town escapades under the guise of a “school requirement.” She found it amusing how gullible her father and stepmother were when they believed her. For a time, Sophie felt elated.

Having made herself available to the marketplace, Sophie had herself a boyfriend. He became her closest confidant. In her ups and downs, he was there. He was her biggest fan, and she adored everything about him. They were crazy in love with each other. Sophie was sure this could be what she was looking for—the answer to her melancholic life. That’s what Disney fairy tales promise after all. She grimaced at the thought of still believing in fairy tales. She thought she knew better. Unsurprisingly, she threw all her hesitations out the window and made bad decisions that sounded good in the spur of a moment. But she didn’t care. In boyfie’s arms, Sophie felt somewhat secure.

After college graduation, Sophie took to her word and left town to live independently—free from the admonitions and taunts of her family. She worked during the night and slept during the day. She bought whatever her eyes fancied, went to different places with friends, and stacked up on luxurious things that she wanted but never needed. She was finally free to do whatever, whenever. She squandered her hard-earned money just to experience fleeting happiness. Unfortunately, when the shopping and sightseeing were over and she was left alone by herself, sadness reared its ugly head again. That void in her heart that she thought had long been patched shut had been growing bigger and bigger without her realizing. Mundane “wordfights” started to become the norm between her and her boyfriend, her so-called friends couldn’t care less, and her family seemed to have remembered her only when they needed monetary assistance. For the nth time, Sophie found herself in limbo again, groping helplessly in the dark. The pitch-black night seemed to have monstrously eclipsed the thin sliver of light that was Sophie’s only source of hope.

Years went by and the happy-go-lucky Sophie eventually faded into the background. She was, by now, itching to put an end to her miserable life. However, her attempt at killing herself, well, she screwed that up too.

One day, a friend invited her to a spiritual retreat. She could’ve refused outright and acted indifferent about it, as she has ingenuously mastered all her life. But of all days, that day she felt so weak in body and spirit that she lowered her guard down and threw in the towel.

The three-day retreat helped clear her mind and leave her worries for a time. On the last day of her short excursion, the speaker asked all participants to write all their struggles and worries and surrender them all to the Lord. Sophie wondered what he meant by “surrender.” Nevertheless, she obliged and scrawled a list of all her heartaches ever since she had a mind of her own. What a long list it was! In her retrospection, a strange mix of  emotions coursed through her. Her list only made her feel worse. She felt so unloved and unappreciated. What she thought was an event that would lift her spirit only dragged her to the gaping pit.

Just as the resolve to up and leave formed in her mind, Sophie heard a familiar name. She inadvertently stopped in her tracks as though she had hit an invisible wall. Sophie has known Jesus since she was a child, but she never really had a personal relationship with him. He was just a name that people utter when saying grace before a meal. The speaker said that Jesus loves all people, including Sophie. That Jesus demonstrated this unconditional love by dying on the cross for the sins of all people, including Sophie’s. That Jesus did this so that men can be reconciled to God and have life to the full. That though Jesus died to pay for the sins of humanity, He remained victorious because He conquered the grave on the third day and is alive today.

It took a huge chunk of Sophie’s strength to take all this unfamiliar information in. Suddenly, her heart of stone started to soften. Scenes from the movie Passion of the Christ flashed in her mind, and she wondered why. This movie did not even make it to her favorites list. For the first time in a really long time, the proud rebel that was Sophie fell to her knees with tears uncontrollably streaming down her cheeks. She tried her hardest to force the tears back to their ducts, but it was no use. She could no longer keep her pent-up emotions inside. But she was not one to yield so easily. She started to rationalize. Whichever way she looked at it though, she could not begin to comprehend how someone would willingly die for her despite all the evil things she had done in the past. She just did not deserve that love.

On that grueling, fateful day, Sophie’s last line of defense was conquered. She relinquished control over her life and gave Jesus the wheel. She finally understood what “surrender” meant. Invisible chains that have been binding her for a long time broke loose. She felt like a bird that has just been set free, ready to soar on eagle’s wings.

While Sophie found peace, she knew that her life would never be immune to troubles and disappointments. After sunny days would eventually come rainy days, storms even. But what she found and what she had become because of it would undoubtedly usher a new shade of perspective. The anchor that she had tightly attached to her possessions and earthly relationships began to loosen and drop into the depths of the ocean. She coined a term for this new feeling:peaceful anxiety. She felt as if her life was turning upside down, but she still thought God was in control. She learned to keep still and let God fight her battles. She yielded her plans to God because she now knew that His plans for her are so much greater than she could ever imagine. Ultimately, the anxiety in Sophie’s heart has been replaced by peace that she has never experienced before. Sophie finally found the missing piece of the puzzle that she had been searching for all her life. It is through this eye-opening discovery that she arrived at a conclusion: Genuine peace is not of this world. It can only be found in the One who created it.

 

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 4:6-7

Leave a comment

Filed under Rants

Packing. Tired.

I realize my title just sounded like cuss. According to Time magazine, a study shows cursing can ease pain. Well, I gotta say I felt my pain cut in half by saying that. (Packing. Tired.) It’s like cussing but not really.

In case you’re wondering, my pain comes from precisely that–packing. It was definitely a wrong move purchasing a lot of stuff while living in a place temporarily. Now we have to carry all these heavy packages home. It’s harder than seemed humanly possible. If you’re living in an apartment temporarily, for Pete’s sake, please heed my advice: DO NOT stock on unnecessary things. You’ll just end up giving them away in the end. Or if you wanna keep most of them (as what I obviously want), expect to shell out more energy and money in the packing and transportation process. Not a prudent thing to do.

It’s one of those days when I wish I had a house elf to order around.

Oh, Dobby, I need you.

Saw this life-size statue of Dobby in one of the music stores inside SM Cebu.

Dear Dobby, please come to life!

Leave a comment

Filed under Rants

Why Is Her Name Like That?

I was reading a BBC News article about some playful Filipino names, and I suddenly remember that day five years ago when I worked as a call center agent.

I was a trainee then, and we were told to write our nicknames on a name badge and wear them while inside the building. So come break time, I was still wearing mine when we met this American big boss along the hallway. The first thing he noticed was my name tag. And then he asked my supervisor, “Why is her name like that?” And then I remembered the nickname I wrote was MyMy. He probably thought my parents were so frustrated for having me as their child that they said “My, my” to the gods. LOL.

I never used that nickname again in my later jobs, especially that those jobs are US-based. I guess I’m still lucky to have a real name that doesn’t sound silly. I had a classmate in grade school who was named by his mother as Mechelle. Just imagine how much bullying he must have experienced all his life for having a girl’s name!

I think it’s okay to use silly nicknames but give good real names to go with it so when the nickname doesn’t sound appropriate when the child becomes a grown-up, he can resort to using the other name. And parents should be more responsible in giving names to their offspring. They have to realize that a person’s name is something he/she is going to carry to his/her grave.

C’mon, give that brain a little tickle. You don’t want your kids to hate you the moment they realize you didn’t do your assignment.

Here’s an excerpt of that news article I just read:

Why would you call your children after the days of the week or your favourite desserts? To many Filipinos, a better question to ask is: “Why wouldn’t you?”

I have been living here for a while now, and I have got used to all these names.

When I’m introduced to a Dinky or a Dunce, or read about people called Bing and Bong, it seems almost normal.

In fact, if anything, I rather like the fact that Filipinos are self-assured enough to use these names, no matter how odd they sound or how senior the person’s public role.

But my assimilation is not quite complete.

While I think it is great that BumBum can wear her name badge with pride, I’m not quite ready to adopt a Philippine nickname myself just yet.

(Read the full article here.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Rants

Never Let Your Guard Down

Up until now, I’m still in a daze. I’ve been chock-full of speculations at what those shabby kids veritably contrived. I’m almost certain there were three of them. A hapless street boy who was a little around 8 years old; a smaller boy around 6; and, the eldest of them all who could have been the leader of the pack, a lesbian of about 15. Had it not been for my inbred belligerence, I could have been killed (or injured).

Let me try to go back in retrospect. I was walking down J. Llorente Street on my way to work last night. As I was  crossing the street to get to Anita’s Bakeshop, the unexpected happened. I was three steps away from the sidewalk when the 8-year-old kid came charging toward me. In the short span of time that I could think, an influx of thoughts spluttered all over me. I thought he was going to beg for some coins but it didn’t look like that. It didn’t appear like he was aiming at my bag either because he would have snatched it away in an instant. (I’m not really the type who wears shoulder bags specifically for this reason but I considered that night an exception.) What it appeared to me was he was aiming at my face. Was he trying to pinch me? (Or do I flatter myself?) Was he trying to paint muck on me? (You know how street kids like to show off to their throng.) Was he trying to shove me back to the street and have me run over by a vehicle? Or worse, was he carrying an ice pick to slash at me?

I was clutching the shoulder bag. It was only a split second when he came into view and my reflexes took care of it in a bat of an eye. As if in a snap, I lifted my free left hand and smacked at him. His hand never reached my face for I was able to whisk it away. I don’t know how I did it. He pounced at me in full force and I was supposed to be a helpless target, but I singlehandedly (literally) dealt with that all right. And he was surprised at my strength as I was equally astonished at what I am able to do when presented with danger. All eyes were transfixed on me. And then the boy ran back to his pack and vamoosed away.

All right. Sh** just happened.

6 Comments

Filed under Rants

We’re Still Blessed

Today is Thanksgiving Day, which means no work for us. Yey! Perfect timing for those facing too much stress from work. Perfect escape from irksome bosses who bring us wrinkles. I remember taking the stress quiz where you look at some ridiculous figures on your computer screen. The quiz’s creator says those figures are all steady, not moving an inch, so if they wiggle the slightest bit when you look at them, one thing’s for sure-you’re stressed, overworked, or simply tired.

I know I shouldn’t be talking about work. It’s holiday, demmet. But since it’s Thanksgiving, I find it timely to count the many things we should still be thankful for. For sure there’s a handful. And while we’re at it, here’s the link.

1 Comment

Filed under Rants

Stress at Work

Well, that says it all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Rants

Why Another Blog Site?

I created this WordPress account way back in time but only thought best to make use of it now. I have Multiply for some time now and I have been loving it, except it doesn’t satisfy my urge to blog. This is what happened: A friend of mine recently posted a video (not a link, an actual video) to his Multiply blog and I thought yeah, I’d like to try that. I did. Everybody knows how to embed codes, right? I was disappointed when it only posted the codes. That raw. Tried many times over. No go. I was looking like an idiot doing the same thing over and over even though I

it's because you're outdated.

knew it was hope beyond hope. Yes, you can call that desperation. And then later on I found out that seems to be one of the limitations of the site. Crap! Why?

Anyway, instead of going out to Multiply and draft a one-page insinuation, I decided to take refuge in this site’s open arms. Which means you’ll hear more of me here in the days to come.

Friends?

Leave a comment

Filed under Rants