Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reducing God to a chain of ....

Almost every week, I receive a forwarded email containing the word "God" in the subject heading. So I take a peek thinking it might be an inspirational story, but as soon as I see that it is a chain letter, I delete it right away. I cringed at the thought that people, even people who call themselves Christians, would think or believe that you can manipulate or cajole God into doing something because you prayed the scripted prayer and forwarded it to at least 10 others. Jesus said " when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words, so do not be like them." Matthew 6:7.

Before I became a Christian, I used to be afraid of receiving a chain letter because I was told 'bad luck' will happen to me if I break the chain. And back then, you literally have to write (however many was called for) and mail it. No internet then! Not only was I lazy to write 1 letter, but also pay for postage when I could hardly buy bread? So imagine my anxiety when I received a chain letter and did not do anything with it. I did not know what to do; throw it away and pretend I did not read it or keep it and pray that no bad luck will happen to me. I would wake up every morning and wonder if it was the day I would have bad luck. I was even afraid to tell people I received a chain letter because I know for sure they would tell me more horror stories. What an emotional blackmail!
Thank God I have been delivered from that foolishness. Jesus died to set us free from sin and bondage. Throughout the Bible, it is very clear that nothing happens unless God 'allowed' it or 'caused' it. I do not believe in luck -not anymore -but in the sovereignty of God. I believe in Gods' blessings not in random chance.
The other day at work, there's this buzz about fasting. One is fasting, simply to cleanse and lose weight; good purpose and right motive. The other is fasting because she wants some "blessings" from God. She told me that she heard a pastor on tv say that -" if you want a big blessing from God, you should fast longer." What a blasphemy towards God to think that He owes us something, that He is obligated to do something for us because we did something for Him. And what really irritates me is that this is taught by so-called "people of God". These people may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. If you read Isaiah 1 in context you will understand a little bit about God and His desdain for our so-called "sacrifice". God requires obedience, Not sacrifice. To heed is better than the fat of rams.
God wants nothing more than to bless His children, but with His blessings comes discipline. And it is the discipline part that we don't take so well. With the right heart -fasting is very beneficial, spiritually and physically. But when I walked by this ladys desk and saw the heaping of green salad, (almost 2 lbs.) and baked potato with all the toppings, with her lips shimmering from the dressing, I had to ask. "I thought you are fasting?" "I am fasting from meats, I don't like meats anyway, " her quick response. I wanted to roll my eyes, say something preachy then show her Isaiah 58, but I held back and remember instead that I, myself needs to fast. Fast from being critical.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


It has been 6 days that the weather seems like a manifestation of what I am feeling inside; gloomy and cold. I just moved in to my new apartment. It is nice and I have made it cozy, but why do I not feel at home in it?

Well, this feeling is not new to me. I never knew where "home" is. When I am in the Philippines, I always say " I want to go home" meaning: go back to the US, but when I am in the US, I always feel that home is in the Philippines. I felt that when I was married and had a happy home with my Don, imagine now being alone and somewhere in between confusion and depression. I think I need to heed my doctors' advice and start taking anti-depressants. She said "there's too much to do, you need to get on the anti-depressant so you can move on with your life." Since when do we need anti-depressants to move on with life?

Of course, we get the occasional blues, the occasional unintelligible ramblings of the heart, so does that mean we are depressed and unhappy? Maybe. But without this feeling of unstability and unhappiness, we will never desire for better and bigger things, we will just settle for the mediocre. It is healthy to be unhappy in this world, after all, this is not home --we are just passing through. We need to long for our home in heaven, the one "not made with hands" as Paul said.

But what would be unhealthy is for us to stop living, to stop giving and loving while we are in this world. I am very aware of my inner turmoil because I am a very analytical person. I like answers to every question, but what I notice is that when I am in the Philippines, I don't really need answers. I still have the same questions, but they don't seem to beg for answers when I am there. The workplace here is at a maddening speed and almost everyone I talk to on the other end of the phone wants things done yesterday. But I think, people are always in a hurry so they don't catch up with themselves and find that everything is shallow and lonely. People take up causes and goals only to find after each accomplishments that it really is chasing after the wind. Vanity- all is vanity.

Choices makes people unsatisfied and depressed, otherwise, why is half of the people in this country being sedated? People change spouses as frequent as they do oil change in their cars. Why? because they can I guess. As for me, it does not take much to depress me. I look at my pantry and I see two different types of canned cuttlefish, and I say " whoa, this is too much". So I pace back and forth and try to decide which one I should eat, by the time I make a decision, my brain dictates my palates for a different food craving. So I go back to the pantry and start the same process again. See what I mean? Choices leaves open the possibility of missed opportunities and that depresses me.

I am just rambling and ranting so no theme to this article, just endless choices of topics to rant about. So I better quit before I get more depressed.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Bloom where you are planted

After 6 months of vagabonding, I am back at my desk at work. Again. I have been at this company since 1987 and I stopped counting (so has my co-workers) how many times I have told my boss " I quit". I remembered the 4th time the new manager wanted to give me a going away party, (she did not know I have quit 3x before already) one of my co-workers said, "Again?" I was not sure if she was disgusted or was excited. I came back to a new boss who is still my present boss and quit several more times after that. This last time, I did not quit but told my boss "I am leaving but don't know when I will be back, so don't wait for me." I don't know how I got so blessed with this boss, but she told me " you go and finish your menopause lunacy and when your plane lands back at DFW, get your butt back on your desk." The lunacy lasted 6 months, I mean no, the lunacy is still here, but I have to get back to work. ( if I want to eat) I surmise that I must not be that important for a job to wait 6 months without me or maybe I am just underpaid for this position that no one wants it anyway. I may be underpaid but where can I find a boss who will let me sit in her couch while she acts as my psychiatrist? And sends me off on a 6 months leave so she can be rid of me so she can do her real job.
I was glad to see my co-workers again. Work makes me feel grounded and a sense of direction.
I miss my co-workers and they all seem to be real glad to see me, although the big boss (the owner) happened by my desk and took a second glance at me and said " Oh, I thought you were a myth". The rate you pay me is a myth. I did not say that, even though he pays me like I am 12 years old.

I have resolved to make myself listen more and care more for other people. To be more accepting and tolerant, yet at the same time stand for what I believe in without compromise. The people I work with have their own unique stories to tell, I want to absorb that and use that to make this year better and richer, not with money but with relationships. Deeper relationships. I miss Cebu and the people there that have become a big part in my life, but for now, I will try to bloom where I am planted. I can't promise that I will be a perennial, but I will try.