I am above than angels
I am an appointed heir of Abraham
I am alive forevermore
I say so because Hebrew 2 says it.
I am above than angels
I am an appointed heir of Abraham
I am alive forevermore
I say so because Hebrew 2 says it.
Ms. Goper is furious. This is the third time her subordinate fail to do the revisions she had been asking her. “Ashley, where is your focus?” she askes herself.
Ashley began her apprenticeship in her publishing company 3 months ago. She saw the potential of the girl – with determination and diligence – and she will go places. However, for the past 2 weeks, Ms. Goper noticed that Ashley seems to be in a different dimension. She is loosing the eye on details, and her written works are loosing its essence. Alongside, on the same duration of time, she is affected.
She need to do something.
Pouring herself a cup of coffee and taking a buttered biscuit, she set aside all her editing work. “This is a moment I have to think as a manager”, she said. In her mind, she moves 2 steps back from her situation. Assessing her feelings, surroundings, relationships, and work. She ponder about Ashley, not only as her subordinate but also a person – a young girl working in her company. It was a slow process, as she gently sip her coffee and take a bit of the cookies, she think things through.
Then she said to herself, “I must not grasp beyond my reach. Ashley has her own career and life, and I am not God to mold her. Whatever she is going through is part of God’s plan. Ashley is not me and I am not Ashley. I need to respect that so I can respect myself.”
Ms. Goper finished her coffee and biscuit. Returned to the papers and did the revisions she wanted. Here she is on the same table as before doing the same thing on a different paper.
Without the knowledge of Ms. Goper, Ashley is learning to cook. She plans to have her own deli one day. No wonder her focus is no longer as razor sharp as before because she has knives to watch out.
Years had passed and here she is back in the ancestral house. Her parents had settled on the southern part of the country to enjoy the view of the beach everyday. But they decided to keep this place because they know that some day one of their children will be living here. And now here she is clearing the cobwebs.
She gave up her flat in the city and alongside with it is her promising career as the company’s most acclaimed writer and devoted editor. She wanted to slow down and give time to reflect. The first place that came into her mind is this – the same old walls, floor and rooms. This is where she grew up and learned most of the things that led her to places.
“I think I am in the transitioning period, this is what they are all talking about. Well, I will not be in a hurry so I can figure out what is this transitioning and where is it going,” she said to herself.
Then she picked from her tote bag the bible and opened a page
Psalm 90:12 NIV
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
After reading, she closed her eyes and prayed, “Here I am Lord, a dutiful student. Teach me.”
In all her successes and a promising career, she never forgot the childhood that taught her about the Lord her God.
Good thing her parents kept the house.
She has been crying for days and anytime soon no brightening eye cream can remedy the dark circles that are visibly forming around her eyes. “Maybe my examiner will have pity on me,” she mumbled to herself.
Words, sentences and ideas used to flow in her easily and her hands are quick to put them into written form. But for the past days, everything was blank except for the pen in her hand that is dripping with ink.
She needs to write this last chapter but the chapter is preventing her to write. “What is wrong?” her agonizing cry while staring on the ceiling of her room hoping to find what she is looking for. So she grabbed her coat and decided to go to church. “The university chapel is still open. Maybe I can find the solace there for my dark circles,” as she stepped out of her room.
She is sitting on the bench when she noticed the liturgy of last Sunday tucked on the side. The cover had the verse –
Psalm 37:4 NIV
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Immediately she ran out from the chapel back to her dorm room. Words, sentences and ideas are pouring in tremendous amount and speed in her mind, and her hands are trembling as if putting all in written form.
“I should have brought a pen and paper,” she exclaimed while catching her breath.
She returns to her hometown where she grew up. The air is fresh, the relations are very familial. She remembers her childhood and the games she played with her friends. She can recall her adolescent years and the friendships she forged. It was fun being in her hometown until she was forced to grow up, or she thought she was forced.
She moved to the nearest city and earned her bachelor’s degree. It was a struggle during those years, or she thought it was a struggle. There was no childhood friends and no friendships. Well, how can she have child games and forge friendships when her time was filled with lectures to attend, assignments to finish and books to read. It was different here in the city.
Then she moved to the central city of the country when she received her college degree. This time it was difficult, or that was what she thought. There was no childhood friends and no friendship to forged. It was replaced by comrades to play along and peers to keep ties. Unlike her childhood ways, comrades were meant to remind her of her duty to play. Unlike friendships, peers were meant to strengthen her creed.
Then she got married, had children, had grandchildren.
She is back in her hometown.
But only for the summer.
She has to go back to her city where she will grow old.
She is a graduate with a fine arts degree. Then she was employed as an apprentice in sculptures. Her output was always regarded as “the usual”, “uninspiring”, “so ordinary”. Until she chooses to work as a curator in a museum.
Months passed when the past critique faded in her memories. Years passed when she forgot how to mold a clay.
Today is one of the countless unveiling of an artist’s work. There are many people who will view the art. The gallery is dressed up for this momentous event. An artist will be recognized, couples of hand with thousand applause. It could have been her work, but she has no time to work on her art. It could have been her, but she has no platform to express her passion.
Then one day, she took home a clay. She will mold it, form it into her own meaning of artefact. Days had passed when she remembered how to form the clay again. Months had passed until she remembered her worst critiques. Until she finished her artefact and took it to the gallery. The master curator approved a platform for her single work of art.
Today is the day that she unveils her work – a simple and very silent event. Only she knows who is the artist, no invitations, no cocktails. Then a man entered the gallery, old enough to be her grandfather. He walked around the floor, passing walls filled with paintings, cruising platforms filled with sculptures. Then he stopped on front of her work. He stared, moved around it, lingered.
She knows who the man is. Then he turn around and walked towards the door. Before crossing the glass door, the man looked back on her work and smiled. She know that smile. He recognize the work.
The man’s recognition of her work superseded the grandeur of thousand applause. She had redeemed herself, and that was enough.
She has a hand of an artist.
They are friends, forged by experiences and sustained by desires.
Anna has been dating Raul for almost 3 years but until now the relationship has no label. It is frustrating for Anna because she wants to know where will this relationship go. Is there a future in it? Daily she utters a prayer to God, “Lord, tell me where this relationship is going. Should I stick to Raul? Should I wait? Tell me Lord, what should I do. I am tired, frustrated, and honestly I want to give up and let go of the relationship.”
Sarah is an aspiring writer and employed as media coordinator in a well-known company. Undeniably she is good in what she does. Her co-workers recognize her exemplary skills and her supervisors rely on her dedication. Despite the success she is receiving in her work, she feels insufficient. Her success cannot overcome the longing she has. So she prays every night, “Lord what should I do? Why am I so sad, feeling so alone? Why do I have this depressing emotion despite the victories I have in my work. I do not feel the joy. Help me Lord, tell me what to do. To be honest Lord, I want to write and explore the desire that has been in me for a long time. Tell me what should I do my God.”
Karen is working as a professor in a university. She has always been the conservative type among the three – cautious and always act in accordance to the norm. She would not do anything that will raise people’s eyebrow, she would not defy the convention. Until Karen met the new hired professor in their department. She likes him, his charm is not superficial but virtuous. She can talk to him, or better said, she can converse with him. There is an undeniable union of mind between them. But not one of them would risk to go beyond what they have. Until Karen prayed, “My God, I really like this guy. He is nice, kindhearted and not bad looking. We share the same values and belief. Though there are differences between us, there is respect and care that balance our uniqueness. What should I do my Lord, I really like him. To be honest God, I want to take the first step and tell him what I feel.”
These three women would meet every Sunday, share their stories and frustrations. They listen, they advice, they care. Then on the next day, they always go back to their work and routine.
Then one sunday, they decided to pass by the church before parting ways. “It would be nice to light up a candle”, said Karen. Sarah and Anna nodded. After lighting the candle they sat on the bench and uttered their petitions.
Anna, “Lord I am giving up my relationship with Raul. I am done. God, strengthen me.”
Sarah, “Lord tomorrow I am resigning from my work. I will be joining a small company as an apprentice writer. God, able me.”
Karen, “Lord I will tell him how I feel, tonight in our dinner. God, sustain me.”
Then the church bell rang so loud, declaring its presence in the midst of the noise. Then the priest passing before the three friends said, “Alas the bell rang. Though late for the last mass. Well, it is better late than never.”
What is wrong with statistics? It is not bad. What is wrong with epidemiology? It is not bad. But they are now excess. And in the journey I am embarking, any excess is not good. The time has come where the roads of these knowledge reached its end. However, the road of God’s way is endless and there I walk.
There was a time I do statistics because it is part of the road I travel that time. Then there was epidemiology, and the Lord approved of that because it is His way. However, like any street there are endings. The way I walked before when I was young is not the same now. And if I keep on travelling on that path I had during the past then I will never reach the destination God had planned for me.
On those past highways I cruised, I use to walk by sight but now I must walk by faith. Things that the Lord God wants to impart to me can only be learned if I walk with the Spirit. And so, I must live not by bread alone but by the words that comes from the very mouth of God.
I know that not everyone can understand me because not everyone can travel the avenue I am traversing. I think that is part of the choice I did, the choice of taking refuge in the righteousness of God.
The stage of my life had passed where I never stop learning, working, developing. I was young and I do not want to waste my time and energy. I will not let my youth passed without making the most of it.
At the age of 32, I resigned from a promising career because I missed myself. There is the I that must be nurtured. I went back to school got my master’s degree and pursued a PhD. I am searching for that “thing” to complete myself or could it be finding more about I.
Now, I am turning 40. I left a work as an epidemiologist, some said that I wasted the opportunity to be part of the big league. But I do not want to be part of the big league. In my desire to find the missing part of me, I tried teaching. Theb after all of that, I still miss me. I cannot find it there.
I went back to philosophy. Maybe there is something in philosophy that can help me not miss me or stop looking for it. From epistemology, to discourse, to logic then to moral and ethics. There in moral and ethics I found myself, the very elusive part of I.
Now, I enjoy philosophy. The me that I was looking for and missing was always been in inside of myself, but I cannot deny the truth that I was looking for the tools that will unearth it.
I was awaken by the sound of strong winds against the thick curtain on my window. I tried to go back to sleep but the attempt was futile so I surrender to the wakefulness. I sat and turned on my bedside lamp, then took my journal. If I cannot sleep then it is better to put my mind to work.
With pen tapping on the blank page of my journal, I asked myself – what could be keeping me conscious? “Love the Lord with all my soul”.
This phrase has been lingering in my thought for quite a while and now it seems has taken root and beginning to bear some fruit. Then all began with questions.
How can I love the Lord with all my soul if I do not take care of my soul? But what is my soul, how will I know my soul? Then I hear myself mumble, “Be faithful to yourself”. But who or what is myself? So these are what keeping me awake and I am suppose to answer these.
Well, I need to be retrospective on this matter. So, let me try how far can a go back in time.
I was born as a child and as years passed I acknowledge I was a girl. That was not hard. Then a lady, which again was not hard. And now I am entering the stage of being a woman. Well, I think it is in this stage that my life become complicated. Not in a way that I doubt my gender but the roles that seem to take a lot of toll in me that I forgot to take care of ME. Aging and maturing demands a lot – the circle of influence kept on enlarging. And alongside this maturing, is the demand to be faithful to myself, that is, be a woman. He who created me wants me to love Him as a woman – her principles, ethics and knowledge. There are competing demands here – the Lord and the world. But I cannot be myself if I do not nurture, sustain and hold fast to myself.
Like the futile attempt to go back to sleep, so it is futile to ignore the truth that I am to nurture the woman in me. If I cannot go back to sleep, then it is better to put my woman mind to work.
The circle of influence need to decrease so that myself in me will increase. In this way, my soul, my conscience is wholly in God. Thus, the I can be faithful to myself.
Once a person accepted and believed in Jesus Christ her life is transformed – from sinful nature to godly nature. Her old “self” is gone because God will give her a new “self”. Then the new “self” is captured and safely hidden with Christ in God. This I believe is true, why so? Because God will not sacrifice His Son for a person and then leave the person to her old wretched self. The Lord God is the most responsible and dutiful being in the entire universe, He knows how to take care of His flock.
But, the God who is gracious, responsible and dutiful is also selfish. After saving the person and giving her a new “self”, the Son of God gave the greatest commandment –
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 ESV
This commandment has the word “all”, that is, the person who is now in Christ must give the “all” of her new self to the Lord. And to be able to obey the greatest commandment, it is now her duty to be wise and responsible of her choices on how she will spend her time, energy and relationship. She is accountable to God of the “all” of her new self, and any less of her “all” will compromise her obedience to Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, the Lord God who saves demand the person whom He saved and gave a new “self” to preserve her “all” so that she can give her “all” in loving God.
Now, isn’t that self-preservation and selfishness? And it seems that God demands it from His children.