During one of our midweek church services, we
have this portion where attendees are given the chance to share their stories
of how the Lord blessed and guided them recently. We call it testimony. Some
share the most depressing stories like how they're leaning on God's word to
deal with cancer or on how God helped them through a family problem. Others
choose to share inspirational encounters with God-- like how they're able to go
through a hectic work schedule or how they're able to resist temptations.
I usually sit at the back pew so that I won't
be called by the Pastor or whoever is presiding over the service. I find it
inspiring to listen to these different stories because it gives us a glimpse of
how heaven is here on earth. One
Wednesday night, as soon as I seated on my usual place, the deaconess asked me
to speak and share my testimony. I was a bit dumbfounded because I don't
normally talk too much on church unless I'm with my friends. Also, adult people
are listening and I'm kinda shy. But then again, I thought that it would be bad
to pass up that opportunity to share a part of me with others. Also, there's
nothing to lose so ok I spoke up.
I shared with them the story of a friend who
experienced a LOT in her life. Her dad died when she was young and their
business went bankrupt twice. Since she's the eldest, she took on the cudgels
of responsibility to be the head of the family. As soon as she entered her
second year on college, she already chose to be a working student-- for one
because she just wanted the feel of it but secondly because she thought it
would add up to the family income. She pays their house rent, their utilities
and groceries; she even sends her siblings to school. Just wow. And did I tell
you she's studying law right now. Yes, and she manages to buy shoes and give
alms to beggars lurking in Cubao. She just loves to share and spread happiness
to people around her. You'd literally laugh your
ass jaw off. Hahahaha. She's thankful that she's able to still do that. I mean, if a person has a family to feed and siblings to take care of, you wouldn't want to share your meager income to anybody else especially to beggars--- one would reason out that you're working a lot and these people would just ask for your money. Anyways, I told my churchmates how life's challenges gives us a choice to
either sob in the corner and curse the world for showering us with burdens or
smile and be happy with what we have. I told them that such stories are told to
inspire us to find happiness and contentment in the simplest things. God allows
us to meet people like them to tell us a message we so often shrug off--
I dunno if I was able to inspire my
churchmates when I told them that story but one thing's for sure. I learned a lot.
And I thank God for having her as a friend. I pray for her happiness and continued
inspiration to others. Naks. Anyways, I have a lot of friends with the same
story--- we're all poor but in the end we find joy in each other's company. I
have a friend whose parents were separated but he still dreams of having a
family of his own. And then there's also a friend whose dad suffered stroke--
she still thanked God because it brought their family closer. There's also a
friend who is happy to have a step-brother-- they may not have the same mother
but she's glad to have someone to play with.
Haba ng intro. Anyways, life may be a total
badass and bitch rolled into one. It may disappoint us from time to time and
kill our optimism. But as said, we could always choose to see the brighter side
So today, I choose to be happy. I choose to
be thankful. I recently turned 21 and I felt it would be a good way to start my
year by embracing the attitude of gratitude. So here're 21 things to be
1. I'm alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic and
2. I have the smartest and coolest parents on
earth. Mejo strict minsan but that makes me feel secure naman. I feel that they
care. Plus, I have the most insane bunch of siblings. Beth who just laughs so
hard at any joke you end up laughing hard too. She's LMFAO and ROTFL personified.
Tel who's just pacute and papogi you can't help but target all the jokes on
him. He's caring and OC too so you'll love him for knowing where the missing
things are placed. Lost and Found Section sa bahay. And then there's Ephra, the
over-protective brother who I guess just doesn't want us bashed off. Oh and
he's a choir singer too, which makes us proud of him. And then Nik who suddenly
churns out Bio facts as if they're random quotes lifted from a book.
Tel: Ma, may sibuyas ba tong niluto mo?
Lasang-lasa e. (Ma, did you put onion on this dish?)
Ma: Oo. (Yes).
Nik: Alam niyo ba na ang scientific name ng
onion ay Allium sepa? Meron syang enzymes na nakakapag-paiyak... blah. blah.
Us: toot. toot. toot. toot. toot.
3. I have a nice job with the funniest bunch
of people in it. Plus, I get to work at Eastwood, which is like the alta place
of alta people. Or I'm just exaggerating it. Lol. Anyway, I thank God for my
job because I enjoy it. I find it fun to read discussion papers and speak with equally intelligent
people. It makes me look like an inteligensia too. Hahaha.
4. I learned debate. Debate gave me lots of
opportunities to be able to express my ideas. Actually, I think I learned more
from debate than from school. I was also able to listen to people of my age
discuss economics, international issues and pop culture as if you're just
talking over lunch. Debate helped me become more open- minded; it widened my
spectrum and perspective on a lot divisive issues. I also learned to value
other people's opinions.
5. School of Debaters! This organization is
more than just an academic group-- we're a family! We may have had tensions or
some misunderstandings but all were resolved as soon as we talked and discussed
things. Also, we find it fun to bond over the more mundane things like Ate
Gay's funny song mash-ups or Jose and Wally's stand up comedy. We even made a
Moy Moy Palaboy video during my 21st birthday/ sleepover. And we don't just
debate-- we sing, we dance and act. We also love making fun of each other. I just
find it great to have an extended family through them.
6. Church! Our parents raised us far from our
cousins and grandparents because Dad has church duties to fill. We literally
grew inside the church and we find it great to have found another group of
people we can consider our extended family-- church friends. We spend our
Sunday lunches with them and even play Wii right after the service. We eat and
watch movies together and even swim every summer. We've been to three church
congregations and we all loved them-- sabe nga sa Vietnam shirt na dala ni
Ephra, "Same, same, different, different." In rough translation, they
may all be different but they're all still the same. Gets? Pag hindi, keri
lang. Kaw na bahala. Hahaha.
7. I love food. I maybe getting a bit heavier
now but I'm still thankful because I get to eat food I was ~deprived off when
I'm still grepa. Hahaha.
8. I enjoyed my childhood.
9. I've been to a number of places in the
Philippines. My work gives me the chance to travel to a lot of cities in the
country and get a taste of their distinct culture. I plan to go to a lot more.
:DDD It's more fun here ya know! The Philippines is really a wonderful place. We may have a lot of flaws and we may always be under construction or repair or whatever, but we're a happy and hospitable bunch and that makes up for everything.
10. People appreciate my works of art. I've
been able to create cute and catchy shirt designs and nice posters for various
school activities. I plan to enrich my God-given talent by studying Graphic
Arts as soon as I have enough money for enrollment.
11. I'm into a lot of things. Being friends
with different types of people diversifies my interests on various fields. I
decided to take piano lessons as soon as my brother learned to play one. I tried
reading books with deeper themes and it made me more profound. I guess?? Haha.
I'm also into musicals and theater plays right now. Haha. Next thing you know,
I doing poetry-reading or jamming at someone's gig. Wouldn't that be totally
Music. It just makes me totally happy. Right now,
Beth and Tel influenced me into listening to One Direction and Carly Rae
Jepsen. Hahaha. Hello, Brit pop! Carly isn't Brit so that would be wrong.
Hello, pop nalang! Hahaha
13. One of my essays was published in a book.
:D A professor-friend inspired me to do so and voila, I'm now a published
writer. Lol. Haha. He asked me to join their upcoming projects and I already
said yesssss. Hello, new career.
14. I have a healthy body and a sane mind.
Nuff said. Ok, so people might object the sanity thing but I guess I'm
relatively sane than most of my zany friends. Hahaha.
15. I have a good sense of humor. I make people
laugh with my jokes and my contorting face. I may have slightly annoyed them
but good thing they haven't sued me yet so keri pang mang-asar. If I go
overboard, unjust vexation and sagot. Wala pang cyber-bullying or anti-bullying
16. My Bible is in technicolor and full of
doodles and scribbles. It means I read it. Hahahaha.
17. My life is full of optimism and love.
Yes, love. Hahaha. I am thankful I am surrounded by a lot of good people. Most
of us may be poor but the laughter and pain we all shared makes up for
everything. Char. Masaya lang talaga ang buhay. Hahahaha. At kahit zero ang
lovelife, keber. Madami naman kami so pwede ng gumawa ng unyon. Hahaha
18. I will study na! Next next sem pa naman
(i.e. 2nd sem). Ok, actually, I plan to study. I claim it, I will have enough
money to pay for my tuition and my schedule would permit me. Hahaha.
19. We're good financially. Our family may
not be that rich but we thank God because we have enough of everything. We eat
three times a day, sleep with blankets and pillows and we have a roof over our
house to protect us from weather changes. We may not be able to stock up tubs
of ice cream inside our small fridge or enjoy the luxury of having an
airconditioned house and a fast wi-fi connection but we are still grateful we
have a nice, cozy home to live in. We're enjoying the buffer when we wait for
the Youtube vid to load up. It teaches us patience. Hehehe.
20. I graduated! Yay. With nice grades.
Double yay! With honors. Triple yay! Hahaha
21. Big dreams and a vivid imagination. Trust
me, it makes the world better. :D
There are lots more to be thankful of. Book.
Second-hand books. The smell of books. The yellowing ends of old letters.
Thrift shops. Fried siopao. Ice cream. Siomai. Jumping ropes. Chinese garter.
Hand-me-downs. Frappes. Karaoke. Videoke. K-Hub. DVD. VCD. Quiapo. Divisoria.
Ali Mall. Vente. Cubao Expo. Spaghetti. Cake. Baking. Shoes. Bags. Everything
else under the sun.
I'm 21 and I'm thankful for the experiences
I've had. Yours may have been tougher and thugger, but life has its own ways of
revealing its soft and sweet spot, one just has to stop, look, listen and
appreciate. Smile, life's good, sabe nga sa blog ni Jackie.
It's good for the heart to count blessings
kaya ikaw, what are you thankful for?
Psalm 136:1-26 ESV
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for
his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his
steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his
steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his
steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Labels: blessings, books, experiences, family kemelars, life, music, sunscreen song