Introspections & Retrospections

When We Get There

I wonder what this coming year will bring. I learned that’s all I can really do— to wonder: in hope, in worry, in faith, in surrender, in this colorful turmoil of emotions bursting through the dark skies, momentary beauties juxtaposed on the apathy of the blank void beyond, booming sounds and tooting horns and all sorts of man-made noise heralding another end as it welcomes another beginning.

And I wonder what it’s all for: all our expectations, all our resolutions, all these plans and dreams that we keep making and breaking and burying into forgotten memories until one day we wake up and realize it’s been years, decades — and with a sheepish, regretful grin, we find ourselves in the very place we hoped to be a long time ago. But that place wasn’t what we hoped it would be. Continue reading

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Nativity Scene at Pacific Star
Spiritual Reflections

Then I Could Wish You Merry Christmas

I stare at the ATM display screen. My heart leaps. Finally, I can pay my bills! But just like a beautiful falling star, it fades away. Just barely enough to pay the bills. There goes my Christmas plans.

I stare at the computer screen, browsing through posted Christmas photos. People and pets in costumes, nice and odd presents, and food. Lots of food. I try not to be envious. I wanted to sour-grape, but even that is something I can’t afford.

I grin as I overhear an officemate’s Spotify play an old song from Christmas with the Chipmunks album. I sang along as the crittery caroler crooned about his lost two front teeth, as it brought me back to a happier time, a happier Christmas. Continue reading

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Introspections & Retrospections

Let Everyone See Your Heart

Do you like her, they ask. And we balk, torn on how to respond. How do I explain it, we think, in such a way that I won’t be misunderstood, that my words won’t be mistaken for what I truly mean? How often do others listen for what they want to hear in the things we said that wasn’t what we mean?

Lub-dub.

Do you love her, they ask. And we hesitate, cautious on how to reply. How do I explain it, we ask ourselves, when I’m still trying to understand it, that my heart won’t mistake what I feel for what it truly is? How often do we look for what we want to see in the things we find that wasn’t what we’re searching for?

Lub-dub.

Is it for fear of rejection, of ridicule, or mere criticism? Why do we hide behind our justifications — these elaborate excuses masking our truest thoughts, even when they remain untrue?

And so we hide this fragile, vulnerable heart of ours.

We protect it, defend it, in the best way we can. For isn’t that how it should be: for us to fight for the weak — including these weak and helpless hearts?

Lub-dub!

But is it weak at all, this heart of ours — even if it easily breaks?

Lub-dub. Lub-dub! LUB-DUB!
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Introspections & Retrospections

Sundays, Self-Reflections, Stargazing & Suburi

My legs were shaking. My knees were shaking. I barely finished 10 hops of ‘frog suburi,’ but I was already panting hard, and part of me wanted to just give up and call it a day. But a couple of strangers behind me snickered, and I could barely hear a girl’s mocking voice say: “See, he can’t do it anymore.”

I was tempted to whirl around, snarl at them to try doing my exercise routine. But I did not. Instead, I took a deep breath, stood up, and proceeded with the next routines. Faster. Sharper. Stronger.

By the time I was done with my second round, it was quiet again. I didn’t even notice them leave. Part of me wanted to feel smug. Part of me wondered, hoped, if in some way, they learned something from me that night.

The grass was moist, but the ground was dry and cool. For the first time in a very long while, I hugged the earth without a care or thought. I smelled the sweet aroma of the soil mixed with organic decay. I listened at the sounds: of footsteps from various joggers and strollers, of distant honks and beeps from cars whizzing outside the park, of children squealing as they try to chase after the resident cats and parents yelling after them. And slowly, I gazed around me: at the artificial lights diffused by the rustling leaves of trees, at the ever-unreachable dark sky pimpled by stars where the luminescent clouds couldn’t hide them. And for a moment, I was filled again with the same longing, heartbreaking joyfulness that I’ve always felt at nights like this during my youth.

Oh God, I’m already 36 years old. I’m too old for this.

Why am I even doing this? Continue reading

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Spiritual Reflections

Just Saying

This is the original draft of what I submitted to OMF Literature for the ebook “What About Justice”. To the editors, thank you for accepting and including its excerpt.

To the readers, especially to those of us who believe in the Bible as Christians, let us be reminded: “We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.” Ephesians 6:12 CEV

In our pursuit of justice, let us not lose sight of His Light as well.

• • •

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Introspections & Retrospections

On The Book: What About Justice?

At first, when OMF Literature called for contributions on the topic of justice, I was excited. Then, I hesitated.

First, I don’t really get along with everyone’s idea of justice — especially with my fellow Christians.

Next, what’s the point? Sure, some might agree with me, and some will disagree — and so it goes again: this cycle of division.

And lastly, what do I really know about justice?

Who am I to write about it?

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Introspections & Retrospections

01| Bushi+DO: On Benevolence

It had been a tiring, yet good day. I had fun, both during the kendo practice, as well as the club dinner afterwards with our guest teachers. I headed home, giddy from the freebies, my thoughts drifting to the manuscript I need to work on when I get home.

A stray kitten mewed in the night.

I stopped. You don’t really have the time for this, don’t you? I told myself.

So I spent the next 15-20 minutes coaxing the kitten from its hiding place. Save for some minor scratches, I felt happy. But now what?  Continue reading

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