Saturday, October 25, 2008

Now Playing: Remembering You

The video and the song played during Fr. Geoffrey's Youth Alive despedida, October 18, 2008.  Read about him here.

Remembering You

Steven Curtis Chapman
The Chronicles of Narnia Soundtrack

I found You in the most unlikely way
But really it was You who found me
And I found myself in the gifts that You gave
You gave me so much and I

I wish You could stay
but I'll, I'll wait for the day

And I watch as the cold winter melts into spring
And I'll be remembering You
Oh and I'll smell the flowers and hear the birds sing 
and I'll be remembering You, I'll be remembering You 

From the first moment when I heard Your name
Something in my heart came alive
You showed me love and no words could explain
A love with the power to
Open the door
To a world I was made for

And I watch as the cold winter melts into spring
And I'll be remembering You
Oh and I'll smell the flowers and hear the birds sing 
and I'll be remembering You, I'll be remembering You 

The dark night, the hard fight
The long climb up the hill knowing the cost 
The brave death, the last breath
The silence whispering all hope was lost
The thunder, the wonder
A power that brings the dead back to life

I wish You could stay
But I'll wait for the day
And though You've gone away
You come back and

And I watch as the cold winter melts into spring
And I'll be remembering You
Oh and I'll smell the flowers and hear the birds sing 
and I'll be remembering You, I'll be remembering You 

And I'll watch as the sun fills a sky that was dark
And I'll be remembering You
And I'll think of the way that You fill up my heart
And I'll be remembering You

I'll be remembering You
I'll be remembering You
I'll be remembering You

I'll be remembering You

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Greatest Woman on Earth

Since we're digging up my favorite movies already, this is one movie script that I have read over and over.

This is from the last part of "As Good as It Gets" starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. If I could write characters and lines like this someday, I would be the happiest woman on earth.

I love this because Melvin the Writer said these lines to Carol the Waitress. And he saw her greatness. Hope you get it, too.

I'm the only one on the face of
the earth who realizes that you're
the greatest woman on earth. I'm
the only one who appreciates how
amazing you are in every single
thing you do -- in every single
thought you have... in how you
are with Spencer -- Spence...

... in how you say what you mean
and how you almost always mean
something that's all about being
straight and good...

I think most people miss that
about you and I watch wondering
how they can watch you bring them
food and clear their dishes and
never get that they have just met
the greatest woman alive... And
the fact that I get it makes me
feel great... about me!

You got a real good reason to walk
out on that?

"The Greatest Woman on Earth" is also a cut from the movie soundtrack, mostly from composer Hans Zimmer.

Monday, October 20, 2008

When I Was Four-and-Twenty

From the last silly post that had me taking an online quiz and finding out that I acted like I was twenty-four years old, comes now this new entry about a song that came out when I was about that age and bawling over the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding".

I'll Be Okay
Amanda Marshall 

It's time to let you go
It's time to say goodbye
There's no more excuses
No more tears to cry

There's been so many changes
I was so confused
All along you were the one
All the time I never knew

I want you to be happy
You're my best friend
But it's so hard to let you go now
All that could have been
I'll always have the memories
She'll always have you
Fate has a way of changing
Just when you don't want it to


Throw away the chains
Let love fly away
Till love comes again
I'll be okay

Life passes so quickly
You gotta take the time
Or you'll miss what really matters
You'll miss all the signs
I've spent my life searching
For what was always there
Sometimes it will be too late
Sometimes it won't be fair


I won't give up
I won't give in
I can't recreate what just might have been
I know that my heart will find love again
Now is the time to begin


I can't hold on forever baby
I'll be okay.

Well now.  That was fun!  I bet girls who are old enough to remember that movie have also memorized each song in its equally famous soundtrack.  I think this was the only original song in that compilation.  The rest are re-makes.  But I know them all by heart.

There was a time when I couldn't watch that movie without shedding a tear.  It was a comedy, for crying out loud.  My best friend lent me her copy so I could desensitize myself, so I watched it nightly for a straight week.  I wept every time.

More than a decade later, I saw it again on HBO.  The song is right - I eventually became okay.  I survived up to the last scene without crying.  I saw how selfish Jules had been, and un-romanticized Michael, the sports writer who was going to marry a college student and ask her to give up her career, and who was blind not to see that he and Jules were perfect for each other.  I hated him for the tender moments he shared with Jules just when he was supposed to be focused on Kimberly, and for not choosing Jules.

I am okay about the movie.  As to the reality, I'm getting there too.     

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Real Age is...

I knew it!!!! I took this test and liked the result, hehehe.

You Act Like You Are 24 Years Old

You are a twenty-something at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life.

You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up.

The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.

Things to Do This Weekend

Since they are so short and I want to pack so many activities into them, I have realized that I should plan my weekends better. Before, my goal was just to do my laundry, go to the gym, spend time with family, and serve at the parish, but this weekend will be different. I am excited and just a teeny bit anxious.

I will start with an extra-long prayer time to get me through the weekend with joy and gratitude. And then...

1. Practice, practice, practice piano. Recital is tomorrow. Even if it's just for family and friends, they still deserve my best. After listening to my exhausted playing last night, I have realized that I need to exert more effort if I want my first recital in over a decade to be memorable in a good way.

2. Prepare the house for the small dinner and recital. Check the little details like hand soap and hand towels.

3. Coordinate with siblings based in Germany, Australia, Singapore, and the US so that they could watch live our mother's first piano recital in 40+ years.

4. Go to the supermarket to buy drinks and table napkins. I won't do any cooking tomorrow - too much stress - but I have to choose the right kind of beer for my Aussie friends.

5. Prepare my script. There should be some story to go with the pieces and to introduce the pianists. I have one in my head but it needs to be written down on index cards or PowerPoint, whichever I will have time for tonight.

6. Enjoy the night with loved ones. Will not drink until after my number. After that, the wine is mine. Say my goodbye with a smile to one of God's gifts to me.

7. Cook Sunday breakfast. Have not done this in a while.

8. Go to mass and serve afterwards. Thank God for a wonderful recital (I claim it).

9. Clean my room and prepare the stuff for Ella's Movable Ukay-Ukay (as requested by officemates who have been begging me to let go of old bags, shoes, wallets, etc. so they could buy them at reasonable prices). This is my personal fundraiser so that I could have a better budget for my growing Christmas list!

10. Brisk walk around UP Oval with old friends. I hope it doesn't rain. Otherwise, great excuse for a Sunday afternoon nap.

11. Get a copy of Sense and Sensibility just in time for Book Club first meeting next Saturday! One week to read the assignment. Great start, Ella.

12. Don't forget to do my laundry and press my uniform to prepare for another work week.

I love listing down things. It really gets me going. Now if only I could tick off each item as I accomplish them.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

(It's/ I'm) Not Working

Sometimes I just want to write but I cannot write about what I really want to say so I end up writing something that sounds suspiciously like what I want to avoid writing about and it leaves me exposed and vulnerable and when I review what I have written the next day, maybe even a few hours after, I want to delete it and not to be reminded of how I was feeling or what I was thinking of when I wrote it.

Like now.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Naulanan vs. Nagpaulan Atbp. Kwento

Assuming I have non-Filipino speaking readers, my apologies but this entry has to be in Filipino.  The meaning would simply be lost if I attempt to translate it.  Anyway this will be very short.

Nilalagnat ako.  Na naman.  Matigas kasi ang ulo ko.  Palaging bilin ng Tatay ko na huwag na huwag akong magpapaulan.  Kasi raw, magkakasakit ako.

Ang katwiran ko naman, bakit yung mga batang naliligo sa ulan, nagkakasakit ba sila pagkatapos?  May kaibigan nga akong hindi Pilipino, sa bansa raw nila walang ganung konsepto.  Kaya hindi siya takot maulanan.  Pero dahil Pilipino raw ako, papayungan niya ako. 

Sa maraming dahilan, sakitin ako pag tag-ulan.  Sipon, ubo, sakit ng ulo, trangkaso.  Pero hindi naman ako laging nauulanan.  Hawa-hawa lang siguro.  Baka kulang sa tulog.  Baka kulang sa vitamin C.  Baka kulang sa TLC.  Baka kulang sa pansin.

Kahapon, puyat at pagod ako, at late sa pupuntahan, kaya pagkatapos kong iparada ang sasakyan, hindi na ako nagdala ng payong.  Nakalimutan kong malayu-layo pala ang lakad.  Hindi ko napansing maulap.  Ganun talaga pag nagmamadali.  Sa dami ng dala ko, may naiwan pa rin ako.

Pagkalipas ng dalawang oras, hindi na ako makalabas.  Isang oras na raw umuulan at baha na sa kalyeng pinaradahan ko.  Maraming taong naghihintay sa may pinto nung building ng gym.  Nagtanong ako sa mamang guard kung pwedeng manghiram ng payong.  E medyo pagod siguro si bosing, nasungitan ako.  "Wala kaming payong", sabi niya.

"Wala kaming payong", sabi rin nung babaeng guard na katabi niya, kahit hindi ko naman siya tinatanong.  

Tumayu-tayo pa rin ako sa lobby at naghintay na tumila ang ulan.  Meron pa kasi akong isang pupuntahan.  At inis na inis ako sa sarili ko kung bakit iniwan ko ang dalawang jacket at dalawang payong ko sa kotse.  

Ilang minuto na, sige pa rin ang buhos ng ulan.  Yung tipong puti na ang kapaligiran sa lakas niya.  Tumatalsik kaya naglalampaso na ang janitor ng building para hindi madulas ang mga tao.  Tumataas na rin ang tubig.

At umandar ang tigas ng ulo ko.  Naisip ko, ulan lang iyan.  Hindi dapat matakot sa ulan.

Kaya, hindi ako nagpaulan.  Passive iyon e, parang wala kang kinalaman at basta nangyari na lang.

Ang tawag dun sa ginawa ko, sumugod sa ulan. May determinasyon.  May purpose.  Palaban.  Pasugod.  Maliit na tuwalya lang ang tinakip ko sa bumbunan ko.

Basa ako hanggang medyas.  Buti waterproof ang bag ko.  Dri-fit ang suot ko.  Pero, basang sisiw ako pagdating sa kotse.  Ang masaklap, hinabol pa ako ng parking attendant at siningil ng trenta pesos.  Binuksan ko ang bintana at naulanan ang loob ng kotse.

Pagdating ko sa kainan, umorder ako ng mainit na calamansi juice.  Kasi parang masarap yun para sa nararamdaman ko, maginaw na hindi ko maintindihan.

Ang masaklap, paggising ko kaninang umaga, masakit ang ulo ko, may ubo na ako, at nangangati ang lalamunan ko.  Hindi yata't totoo, na magkakasakit na ako?  Kung ganon, kasalanan ko ba ito?

Pumunta ako sa Ateneo kasi may prayer workshop para dun sa retreat na sinalihan ko.  Okey naman ako maghapon, andun ang simptomas pero pwedeng hindi pansinin.

Pag-uwi ko sa gabi, sabi ko sa Nanay ko parang mainit.  Katapat ko ang bentilador.  Kapapatay lang ng aircon.  Tiningnan niya ako sa mata tapos hinawakan sa braso, tapos sa leeg.  

Pagkatapos noon, narinig ko ang sentensya na naniniwala lang ako kapag nanggaling sa ina, "Anak, mainit ka.  Nilalagnat ka."

Mainit ako.  Nilalagnat.  Maysakit.  At hindi yata ito nangyari lang sa akin basta.  Parang... kasalanan ko ito.  

O, mabigat na salita naman ang kasalanan.  Wala naman akong nilabag sa Sampung Utos.  Siguro mas tama kung sasabihin ko na lang na may kinalaman ako sa pagkakasakit ko.  

Pero totoo nga ba iyon, na kapag nauulanan ang tao, nagkakasakit?

Paano kung hindi siya naulanan, kundi nagpaulan?  Ano'ng tawag dun?

Tsk tsk.  Baka... katangahan.

Matutulog na nga ako.  Sakit ng ulo at katawan ko eh.  Atbp.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

For Fr. Geoffrey

There's an e-mail that's circulating that begins with the sentence, "People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime."

It continues to state that when someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. When that need is fulfilled, they leave your life. Their purpose is extinguished.

People come into your life for a SEASON because your turn has come to share, grow or learn from them, or from each other. You will enjoy their company, but only temporarily, for a fixed period of time.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. I reckon this refers to friendships that stand the test of time. I have been blessed to have these kinds of friendships, and today I want to write about one very special person who has helped me to grow spiritually, emotionally, and even physically (by encouraging me to go the gym regularly in order to release stress and feel better about myself).

We often do not honor the people in our lives enough. Or at least we do it after they've gone. I'd like to honor someone who to me is a friend for a reason, a season, and a lifetime. He's leaving the Philippines by the end of this month after a six-year missionary duty. He's going back home to Australia. Even though we'll keep in touch, I know that it won't be the same. I have to thank him now. I have to recognize how good he has been to me now.

I met him four years ago, in October 2004, at the Lingkod National Leaders' Training Conference in Iloilo. I was told by my confessor, Fr. Steve, that their order of religious priests was tasked by the bishop to take care of our sub-parish (how blessed I felt, how specifically loved by God, for it was an answered prayer to find a home in my own parish). He brought along with him to Iloilo a priest who was to become our assistant parish priest. I was shy to approach him, for he was six feet tall, and spoke English with an intimidating (to a Filipino) Australian accent, but I needed someone to talk to, for Fr. Steve left that conference early, and that week I heard the Lord inviting me to give up my career as a lawyer to become a full-time missionary. I needed someone who could understand and give me wise advice.

I looked for him, introduced myself, and thus was prayed over for the first time by Fr. Geoffrey Coombe, mgl. It was a day of retreat but I could not sit in silence. I needed to speak out, to ask and express how I could be called to serve God in that capacity, when all I could see were the obstacles before me.

Thus began four years of pastoral care under him. Fr. Geoff guided me through a six-month period of discernment, through five-minute chats after the 6 p.m. mass, which I could attend regularly then as I worked a few minutes away from home. He checked up on me, prayed over me, shared his experiences with me, and discerned with me. I knew he was God's gift, for I really felt God's love through him. I looked forward to sharing my reflections and realizations with him, for he directed me gently but firmly towards focusing on the Lord and not on myself.

While I was a Lingkod staffer and was having difficulty reconciling that with being a lawyer, Fr. Geoffrey continued to be my spiritual director. I sought him out to sort me out, for it was good to have someone outside of my ministry who was objective enough to point out what I was being blind to. He taught me to discover my gifts and to share them at the appropriate time. He taught me to deal with the burnout I felt after giving to the point of exhaustion. He showed me how I could serve without losing myself.

Fr. Geoffrey also encouraged me to serve at the parish. He invited me to give my first Life in the Spirit Seminar talk in Tagalog, gave me a pamphlet about being a Lector at mass and then gave me a regular assignment, and sat down with me to discuss his dreams for the youth of our parish. This was before Bro. Daniel Strickland and Fr. Brian Steele came to take care of the Youth Ministry for our new parish.

Being an architect and an artist, Fr. Geoff had a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from, and that was exactly what I needed to discern my career. In deciding to leave Lingkod, he prayed with me. In looking for my next job, he prayed for me. He gave me books to read and asked me to submit reflections, just like a patient teacher to a wayward student.

He is a quiet man with a deep prayer life, and it is a blessing to be one of his directees. Yesterday, the first of October, about four weeks before his flight back to Canberra, I told him I felt like I graduated from a course from the Fr. Geoffrey Coombe School of Pastoral Care. I wanted to make him proud of me but I was nowhere near sainthood and still unsure about many things.

He told me that what was important was that I grew to be more honest in my relationship with God, and that I knew how to love even if it was painful and complicated. He felt his time here, in my life, was up too, and he was happy to endorse me to my new spiritual directress, a Cenacle sister. He believed in planting seeds and leaving them to grow.

I will miss having Fr. Geoffrey a text away to pray over my concerns, from the mundane to the melodramatic. I will miss seeking his advice and hearing his voice that did not ever judge me, no matter how disobedient I had been to God. I will miss his creative homilies. I will miss his Powerpoint presentations that illustrated deep Catholic teachings in a way that young people and young souls would understand.

He is moving to a new ministry and is very excited about it. He is excited at how God's plans would unfold for me, he said. I sit here today wondering what my next step would be, but grateful, very grateful, that for the past four years I have had someone to guide me, listen to me, and pray with me. I will continue to consult, or maybe inform, him over major decisions of my life. But even if this friendship is for a lifetime, I recognize the reason he was here, and the season we shared, as one of God's greatest blessings.

I dedicate one month of saying goodbye to him, made up of despedidas from all the groups that would organize it for him, highlighted by my family's first piano recital, with him and a few friends as audience.

Fr. Geoffrey, thank you for being a part of my life, in the context of the Parish of St. Benedict, Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon, Youth Alive, the Disciples of Jesus, and the Posh. I will never forget everything that you taught me. God bless you on your new ministry. And... see you in Canberra! :-)