Before my birthday came, I was already planning to go
on a getaway trip—somewhere “far from the maddening crowd,” Thomas Hardy would
say. Plan A was to go on a three-day trip to a foreign land. But due to budget
constraints, Plan B was just to climb a mountain and stay there overnight.
Alas, nothing happened. The weekend before my birthday, I was busy reviewing my
interview notes to begin writing my term paper. On Sunday, I was hoping I could
get a last ditch chance to celebrate when my parents promised we’d go to Nuvali
and spend the night there. But Murphy’s Law was just too strong—an urgent call
from Pap’s superior requested him to do “church” duties. We cannot stop him, so
he obliged. The night was spent tidying up the last class report for Wednesday
and binging on pizza and mojos. By 12 midnight, the ‘rents and my siblings
greeted me. Happy Birthday.
March 17! I was 30 minutes late for work but that’s
ok because I planned to just offset and sprint home. Network connection went
slow to nil, but I’m still cool. I thought I can use the time to read and
finish pending workloads. The afternoon was spent eating pizza and mojos again,
this time with office mates who requested for some “birthday celebration” rites.
Before the day ended, Murphy was back and this time,
I had to extend work hours just to finish the preparations for THE board
meeting the next day. Okay. I went home at quarter past eight that night. The
family just fetched me and the dinner at the new pizza joint at Eastwood
(sorry, pizzas were comfort food this week) was cancelled. We went instead to a
small Chinese resto at Gilmore and binged over their yang chow and fried
chicken. At 10PM, I thanked all those who greeted me (thank you FB for that
birthday notice J).
Before I slept, I was trying to sing Taylor Swift’s 22 but it was Karmin’s 23
The day was just okay; there’s wasn't anything
special of some sort, but that’s alright. I just told myself that finishing
work was a better choice than just mindlessly spending my money over something
so I can say I celebrated my day. But then of course, I would not really mind
using that special day to explore and just go YOLO.
The next days were spent gloating over the remaining
academic paper work. I only have a week and a half to finish three 15-page
essays and I was only halfway done with the first one. Because I feel the need
to pacify the cram-whore in me, I did not report for work last Thursday. The
whole day was spent writing, re-writing and re-organizing the first paper. When
I felt I already wrote something decent, I sprinted to school to present it to
my professor. Good thing, he gave me a go-signal to finish it and submit it on
the first day of April. Home happy.
Friday was spent polishing office paper works and
emailing a project partner to schedule a meeting. Quite productive, I must say.
I went to church that night for our Friday youth service. I was feeling meh the
whole week and I thought that God may be sending a red alert or something to
me. True enough, the message struck me like lightning. Totally grounded last
In Galatians, Paul told us that the fruit of the
Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control (5:22-23).” Last night, our youth leader shared a
message on JOY. He told us that joy is not just an emotion, rather a
spontaneous feeling that comes from us every time we experience something good.
He then asked us if we still feel joy when we succumb to different forms of suffering.
Of course it is hard and I agree. If joy is a spontaneous feeling, then
sufferings are the hurdles that hinder us from experiencing that spontaneity.
I realized that the Lord was already talking to me because the discussion took a bit of a turn. Our leader told us God wants us to be
always happy so He gives us everything we need. He illustrated this by
requesting his wife to stand in front and open God’s sari-sari store: there are
bottles of softdrinks, bags of chips and pancit canton. The volunteers were
asked to name what they want and God, being a generous God, gave them the food
they want. On two occasions, an extra goodie was given to the volunteer. Our
youth leader reiterated his earlier point: God is generous and He wants us to
be genuinely happy so He gives us the things we pray for.
Of course, there are times that God would say no, our
requests will be turned down and all of our hopes would then be broken into
pieces. Does that defy the generous-God-logic? Yes. But not really. Our youth
leader told us that God’s turning us down because the things we pray for end up
as our priorities—they get in the way of our relationship with God and we’re blinded
by it. They turn into proverbial “idols” that eventually define the way we talk
But more than turning into idols, God’s saying no
because He’s willing to give us something much better, something we need. He’s
willing to give Himself to us. And that waiting time should be relished as a
moment to feel God’s presence in the stormy parts of our lives. Sometimes we
ask, “Where is God in all of these troubles and sufferings? Has He left us?”
The question is valid. But our youth leader rephrased the question to something
that made me think: “Where am I when the storms come my way?”
The answer’s in Psalms 16:11: “You make known to me
the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy: at Your right hand
are pleasures forevermore.” God’s waiting to invite me into His presence and I
realized I’ve always declined. I guess it’s time to get back and leave the
storms behind. J
Labels: 2014, birthday, feeling profound, worship