There is a sadness that can’t be healed away, while in this world
There are wounds that will always reopen…
Always, always…no matter how much you put into something, to some…to many, what and how you are will not always be enough.
And always, always…there will be people ahead of you in their journey, as there will always be people who need time longer than you needed to make theirs.
There will be times that souls from afar will be able to give your own the solace it needs, better than those closest to you…
And there will be times that those closest to you will hold you with great doubt…
This is life.
This is what it’s like to be on a journey. The path is not always pleasing, and never free from any level of struggle.
I resolved to remind myself of these. No matter what.
For I found it my utmost responsibility – my fate.
To find peace despite the struggle, and accepting that I will always have to ’til my last breath, in different forms; rest coming only in moments – that is what I’ve learnt in my journey in Faith.
Faith…Islam, it what has always kept me going. The only “force” that has kept me from putting down my hands and letting the void take me whole.
I have done a crappy job in living out it’s principles…but I cannot give up.
Even when I am lacking to the entire world to see…
“If I stop, and give in to hopelessness…
Then what is left of me?”
When I am buried, and the angels write down the final lines to my story…I hope, with all my soul is this:
“She failed countless times; she had carelessly fell and tainted her own pages; she never gave up Hope, and gave her last breath for that Hope.”
My own wish that I have resolved to strive for, is this…
Lord, said David, since you do not need us,
why did you create these two worlds?
Reality replied: O prisoner of time,
I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity,
and I wished this treasure to be known,
so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart;
its darkened back, the world;
The back would please you if you’ve never seen the face.
Has anyone ever produced a mirror out of mud and straw?
Yet clean away the mud and straw,
and a mirror might be revealed.
Until the juice ferments a while in the cask,
it isn’t wine. If you wish your heart to be bright,
you must do a little work.
My King addressed the soul of my flesh:
You return just as you left.
Where are the traces of my gifts?
-snippet from Be Lost in the Call, Rumi
“I’m so sad….How can I be happy?” my dear friend asked.
“Remember the good things that has happened despite the bad,” was my reply.
It must be prospect of a huge challenge that kept me in spirits of anticipation. Maybe the coffee too.
My friend let out another sad sigh. “Memories. It all just ends up in memories.”
I don’t know what hit me, but my body flew into action. No.
“Memories are carried on to create anew. They aren’t the end,” was all I could say in that moment, collecting myself as my mother’s words days ago began to sink into me.
My mother had called our attention that late afternoon, as she segregated the peelings and cuttings of various fruits and vegetables that she prepared. She was very enthusiastic and commanded our attention.
She said she was just astounded how much learning about permaculture and composting has taught her so much.
“Can you imagine? We eat these fruits and vegetables. Then we return them to the soil. And from the plants that grow from the soil, we eat. We put them back inside our bodies. What we give the soil, it gives us back. But nowadays, most of us plant for the sake of a huge harvest or money, using chemicals forgetting that we eat what we harvest. It made me think about life. What does that tell you two? Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
I guiltily remember how I was slow to catch on the depth of what she was trying to say.
We are prisoners of time.
The moments of happiness, the moments of sadness pass by us. Time does not stay still. They leave us but not without leaving a mark on us, in form of memories. And with Time, even these memories become cloudy until, most, fade into nothingness.
But do they really?
A leaf, full of color once, dries up and falls to the ground. Time passes, there’s no more of the leaf. All that is left is the soil or dust. If we think of it that way, then surely…it is all for naught…depressing.
But! But! It doesn’t happen that way!
The “dead leaves” along with another “depressing” thing called rain, actually nurture life into the soil. They are, with proper care in special cases like in cities (for example), what bear the healthy ground that is healthy enough for new plants to spring. And with a extra effort, those new plants can even be healthier than the “plants or leaves that came before them.”
Just like memories.
Have you ever looked in the mirror, and not recognize the person staring back?
Not because you look too different,
but because something inside you is amiss?
Like the continuously unpredictable weather, life- for anyone today,- is nothing but a continuous, strenuous struggle.
It’s as if we cannot go past the “rebellious teenage years” when we are either stuck in our box of how we see ourselves and others, or we are so without a solid foundation of who we truly are, that we let ourselves just go with the raging current of the times.
Realizing each of our individuality, we often lose our sense of community.
Realizing the sheer power of our limited free will, we often burn ourselves with the consequences we refuse to respect. Until there’s nothing of us that is left.
We are curious to learn of the other, but are often too afraid of the change knowing them would bring upon us.
We hate being boxed, but at the same time we hate the prospect of having to change.
We are so confident in what we know through our limited means and limited senses, that we forget and hate the word “limited.” Though, that will be always a part of being us. Being human.
We know how limited our time is. “YOLO!”, so we rush through it, instead of cherishing the little seconds of it. Forgetting the little seconds, our little movements may have rippled across generations to come after us.
And in the struggle we find ourselves in, we can’t seem to escape the growing pains of the times.
Well, we aren’t perfect.
You, and I. Flawed.
Maybe if when we learn to accept that fact, and stop making gods of our intellect, our physical beauties, our talents, our achievements… Maybe if when we learn to accept that fact, and searching for gods in each other…
Then we can learn to live life the way we are meant to. No matter the flaws.
I came across Alex Tizon’s article unintentionally. I had never heard about him before. But the notion of someone speaking out about the atrocities committed within his own family made me click the link anyway. What I found was beyond anything I expected to find (though I’m not entirely sure what that was in the first place.)
For starters, the story was by a Filipino-American. I got even more curious. But the crime was not committed by him but by his parents. Who were both “full-blooded” Filipinos. I was even more shocked.
You see, ever since you start learning history in school up until college,- as a Filipino,- you learn one thing. We were a colony. We were a people enslaved. So the farthest thing that one could ever think of (at least for the naive me) is the enslaved being no better than the oppressors who ruled centuries ago.
But Lola’s story was not a soap opera played on TV or in the theatres. It was real.
Today we wail for the lost native culture of the Philippines due to centuries of colonization and oppression. Something, I believe, is warranted. But that grief has also given place to some form of pride that has also blocked the less reflective part of ourselves as to failing to scrutinize the flaws of a glorious past. A pride that makes us neglect what Mr. Tizon had so clearly and honestly written in the article:
Slavery has a long history on the islands. Before the Spanish came, islanders enslaved other islanders, usually war captives, criminals, or debtors. Slaves came in different varieties, from warriors who could earn their freedom through valor to household servants who were regarded as property and could be bought and sold or traded. High-status slaves could own low-status slaves, and the low could own the lowliest. Some chose to enter servitude simply to survive: In exchange for their labor, they might be given food, shelter, and protection. (article)
Stories are powerful in themselves. They make us think what we normally would not on a daily basis. They make us feel what we probably never have.
The manner of how we value and learn from them, is what makes one story special than the other. But the value isn’t always in the date of an event, or the dress that the subject of the story wore, or the time and place. In fact, I believe it’s the memorization of these facts or data that has made the study of history a subject most of the kids find “boring” or “tiring.”
Stories gain their impact through the relevance of the experience to the reader or listener. Relevance, meaning: “How does this impact my life? How could I possibly improve the way I think and act throughout my life, from learning this story?” I believe those questions rang through every student whenever they had to learn all about the Stone Age or the World War 3.
However, lot of us nowadays easily know the names of the likes of Clark Kent/Superman, Tony Stark/Ironman and Thor. Fictional characters, nonetheless, their names resonate with a lot of us (
who wouldn’t probably excel in highschool/college history) mainly because of how “awesomely” went through their struggles- the impact of which, the audience felt they understood. (Need I mention how obsessed a scary lot of us with the lives of celebrities?)
Some would remember and willingly go through lengths to learn more details about their characters of interest. But what makes “studying about the details of these characters so easy, but the history of our own and very real people, a drag?
Possibly, because we first focus (and put more weight) on the (trivial?) data like dates, numbers, and places before we try to connect to the story of the humanity that is within the stories of other people in different times and in different places.
We fail to value it, as we fail to value reflection.
Somehow, as I absorbed the impact of Lola’s story a I thought back to all the historical dramas I’ve watched both from Asia and the West. I recalled the condition of Age of Ignorance/Jahilliya in Arabia. All of them had tales of oppression and rising above it.
I thought about how despite our stark differences across continents and even across time, the themes of our stories (our history), as individuals or as a people, were always the same.
Which brings me to one of my favorite verse from the Noble Qur’an:
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). 
Makes me think…
Mr. Alex Tizon, the writer who shared Lola’s story that inspired the writing of this entry, was known to be an exceptional journalist whose life’s work involved forgotten people, people on the margins, people who had never before been asked for their stories. He believed that all people had within them an epic story, and he wanted to hear those epic stories—and then help tell them to the world.
I share in that belief.
Maybe if we value the story of the farmer, the maid or the garbage boy as we do with Angelina Jolie’s or the next trending celebrity…
Maybe if we start listening to stories for their actual value rather than gossip…
We can learn to truly grow together.
(PS For the record, I really liked studying history. I flunked…just once. But that was because I’d had enough of how the teacher was treating the students. Dumb move. Haha)
When I opened my eyes slowly to the sun
It was full of white shadows
Because of the weight of endless thinking
It’s even hard to breathe
Look at the gap
In front of the dead end
Untie your hands
-Years, Alesso X CHEN (Korean version, translated)
I have hopes, but not expectations, is what I told my friend. She wasn’t sure what I meant, and I told her that I would write about it.
It was one of the mindsets I’ve realized I should adapt for myself, as I continue to face the ever-challenging future.
For those who know of my Twitter and followed my noise and random rants, I’ve decided to take a break from a majority of my social networks and keep to myself, except for this blog where I only write my most coherent (rambling) thoughts. For those who got tired of me and have me mute, you must be breathing a sigh of relief aren’t ya? Keke. No biggie. Look, I’m sentencing myself to at least two months of silence and self-reflection! Haha.
The thing is, when you “adult” (this generation’s ‘sweg’ way of saying “grow up”), you tend to be plunged into the rat race and if you’re not careful ,you get consumed by it. Almost countless disappointments when things turn out not how you (exactly) expect them to, after what you thought was “giving your all,” tend to put off that determination you had in the beginning. “Disappointments” tend to be a common occurrence as you grow up, one would find.
But most of all, I guess, the most weighing disappointment is when you wake up in the morning, you look at the mirror, and your eyes don’t reflect “who” you expect to become as a person. The type that resurfaces when you have everything else in silence, and you are alone with only your conscience’s thoughts. Or I might be overthinking, but for the level of clutz-iness like mine lately, it might be a good thing to bring back.
Where did I go wrong? What should I stop doing? What should I have done?
My younger brother told me of something he had read earlier that talked about two types of happiness: one, that of contentment; and two, that of fun/instant gratification. He said the problem, with the generation that we belonged to is that happiness is made exclusively to mean what can give us the concept of fun- jolts of energy, pulsing emotions, and the almost absence of the need to think. Many of us limit our happiness to the venues of drinking and partying, where the beats makes us forget of the problems we face. “We stop thinking at that moment, and we’re happy,” that’s what most of us think happiness is.
But that’s the problem. We simply forget. We stop one of the most fundamental aspects that makes us human- thinking. Our “problems” did not truly”go away.”
I do not drink. I do not party. I barely watch TV. But I guess, I’ve clung to some frame of someone and something within my mind that landed me where I am now, more than the actions or the conditions of those that surround me.
“God will not change the condition of a people, until they change what is within themselves.”
(Chapter 13, “The Thunder”, Verse 11)
The verse above has visited my mind far too many times, without the influence of others, to just ignore it. And an small argument with my mother that shook the right places…
Erm, am I still making any sense? I hope I am, haha.
Actually, there are a lot of thoughts still going on in my head. But I feel like a hypocrite, like how I feel most like these days, if I didn’t put those thoughts into action and change my own condition.
Look at the gap
In front of the dead end
Untie your hands
-Years, Alesso X CHEN (Korean version, translated)
Ahead lies a long road.
Am excited, and hopeful for a good outcome.
But I don’t expect everything to work our as I want. As what I want, isn’t always what I thought was best, what I needed, or what I really wanted.
Accepting that one has fallen and starting over, could prove to be very difficult. But how can we get anywhere without any pain right?
..Let us begin?
Renew our intention today.
Set it, if we don’t have one.
Even as simple as, “I will be better today.”
‘Cause no matter how prepared and determined, our only full power is in our choices.
So choose to strive,
Choose to at least try.
Even if it’s painful, it’s worth it.
Cars are made to be driven.
We are meant to live until we can only sleep.
So fuel up, from our hearts.
(3/31/2017, a quarter into 2017 already! Wah!)