It’s 4 a.m. and I can’t sleep. A million thoughts were running through my head that kept me awake; though my body is tired, my mind is in full-throttle. Minutes later, tears flowed through my cheeks and I uttered a prayer, “Lord, bring me back to New York,” a few moments later I finally fell asleep.
This isn’t the first time it happened. Caused by the painful feelings of missing home, I’ve cried buckets of tears. But the hope that things will work out because I am where I need to be has kept me going.
It was a warm welcome! As soon as I got out of the airplane, treading the tarmac of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the heat seems to be coming from everywhere. Though initially uncomfortable, it’s a very good sign that my plane landed in the right city. I’m back to the it-is-summer-here-year-round Metropolis of Manila.
It was November 2006 when I left for the States. The day I arrived was April 3, 2014, around noon. It has been more than seven years since I’ve been home.
From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, – Proverbs: 12:14
A few weeks ago I was listening to Toby Mac’s “Speak Life” single and the words in it are so powerful (you can see the video below) that I told my roommate this has to be the theme song in our Jersey pad.
You see, I grew up with a Mom who was determined to inculcate in her children the power of words. She would cancel and rebuke me anytime I speak words of death (or nonsense), warn us of any idle talk or conversation and cite verses like “So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the LORD, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: (Numbers 14:28)” from the Old Testament, referencing how God can move in situations by what you speak.
Redemption, realignment, reconnection and a whole lot of relearning were part of the many things that has happened to me this year. But if there’s one “re” that would define 2013 for me, it’s the word restored.
I realized this because my friend Pastor Kaz invited a few of us from church for a Christmas party. After an incredible meal, while we’re all full and lounging at his living room, he asked us what one word would define 2013 for each of us.
I’m far from a perfect Christian and I’ve learned early that it’s best not to tell people you are a follower of Christ if you have no plans on living His teachings. I have also always believed that Christianity demands the practice of utmost compassion and understanding towards other people, regardless of their religious belief, political stance, ethnic background or sexual orientation.
Christianity in its most basic sense is founded on God’s love and the value of sharing His teachings in a way that will lead people to Christ. If your method of sharing your faith will only drive people away from Christ, then your approach demands a second look – especially of its motives. If your goal is to tell people you’re a Christian and intend to emphasize the importance of your faith, you will not insult them, put them down and more importantly, degrade their character. Continue reading
In my first blog post, I emphasized the problem of overthinking as an impediment to writing your first draft. The goal of writing is to write and the only way to come up with a draft is to actually pen something. There are a lot of great stories from people that we don’t read about not because they can’t write, but because of self-imposed limitations and conquerable constraints that have kept them from writing their story.
If you’re someone like me who aspires to write his own book someday or make a career out of writing, you need to overcome these roadblocks that will keep you from putting your words in a format people can read and enjoy.
The goal for perfection is both a blessing and a curse for any ambitious writer. Ernest Hemingway revised the ending of Farewell to Arms 39 times before he was satisfied. Asked for the reason on why it took him that long to finish it, he answered, “getting the words right.”
Any writer who wishes to satisfy the littlest whims of her fancy to come up with an amazing piece will take the time to produce an article, blog post, profile or newsletter. Just like Hemingway, to get the words right requires tremendous effort and a huge amount of rewriting and revision, a habit that every writer loves to hate. As many writers would say, “great writing involves a lot of rewriting.”