Tag Archives: stories

Abandon

My closest of friends have a pet peeve for the mainstream. They don’t root for songs so popular they can replace the national anthem, extremely trendy fashion fads, and “crush ng bayan” guys who bask in the limelight. They are not fans of cliches and generic wordings. That is why there is this hesitation for me to blog about something that everyone used to talk about. But if it is too good to be kept secret, then it would be worthwhile to be shared, right?

Light and funny movies that are a must-watch for the whole family can be blog material too, as I find out. But really, little did I know that in a super funny zombie movie such as Train to Busan I would find realizations that will resonate in days or even months — lessons marked so true in our lives today.

Here are a few:

While Train to Busan is generally a social commentary on what it truly means to be human, it can be seen as a tribute to all men who are ready to fight for the ones they love, even if it costs them their lives. This is crucial given the status quo where women are treated as sex objects and families are left to the sole leadership of mothers. The irresponsibility of many boys who refuse to grow up as men stain the reputation of those who aim hard to be good husbands and fathers. In the words of father-to-be Sang Hwa in the movie, “Dads always get the bad rap and none of the praise.”

This insight is further emphasized when placed side by side with the story of a man who also loves, but selfishly. It is easily irritating to watch how the selfish businessman Yong Suk puts everyone else in danger because of his personal agenda. Later on in the movie the audience realizes that his end desire is to be reunited with his mother. Nevertheless, getting to your goal while putting others in jeopardy ends in destruction.

Another truth exemplified: everyone can be a hero. Father-to-be Sang Hwa, Su An’s father, Seok Woo, and the crazy stranger who lived until near the end just to save Su An and the pregnant woman Sung Gyeong from a crowd of zombies. Men from different backgrounds, each one a hero. If men would just realize. A normal student. A boy next door. A simple engineer. An “ordinary” dad, or househusband perhaps.  Just. Anyone. Can. Be. A. Hero.

One more learning that really struck me deep came hours after watching the movie, when I wondered who the real protagonists were — Suan and Sung Gyeong, or Seok Woo and San Hwa? If Suan and Sung Gyeong are the main characters, why is it that the sacrifices of both fathers resonate much longer? I heard it said that main characters are supposed to live until the end.  But maybe the best way for them to embody the theme is to die. As San Hwa hinted near the climax of the movie, “It’s all about sacrifice.”

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This truth is reflected in real life. We are who we now are because of someone else. We have what we’re having because of somebody giving way for us or helping us obtain it. It’s never a one-man team. Many times, we have what we have not because of our skills or efforts, but because someone else made a sacrifice for us. But oftentimes we act as selfish brats, claiming all of the rights and none of the responsibilities.

So while the end of the movie gave me a huge relief from a tireless attack of mad zombies, it forces me to rethink the word sacrifice. And I realize, sacrifices are oftentimes made out of necessity and not heroism. Then I think, How many people have sacrificed their time and resources for me? Who are those who have shed countless sacrifices out of love for me? And finally, how have I responded in return?

 

——–

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” — 1 Peter 2:21

Cheers to planning for a wedding!

But not mine, of course. 😉 I’m just so excited about the upcoming wedding of my friend-slash-officemate-slash-roommate. Yey! Have I told you that I was fond of weddings? I enjoy reading about it, hearing about it, seeing photos of it, and even writing about it. If you haven’t chanced upon my blog about wedding, you can check it here. I bet planning about one will be so great, and for sure I’ll be doing it years from now. So that’s going to be quite a long wait, right?

Anyway, the other day I got hooked reading one of the blog posts of our dear American intern Josiah. It is really amazing how he put into words his first and might be last participation in a Filipino wedding! Imagine a clueless, young American being part of the processional of a traditional Filipino wedding, putting the cord over the wedding couple, and mingling with other guests for photo-ops! How about that? 😉 Well, Josiah’s blog is pretty long, but his writing can lead to more realizations than you could ever think the first time you read it. So here’s a few insights I got from his latest post:

  • Filipinos LIKE photos
  • Feeling “essentially useless” can be a good thing–if it leads to you realize that all you need is to rely on Christ
  • Your ONLY value lies in Christ
  • God is the Lord of all timezones
  • Present mindedness: focusing on the present and living fully in the present

And the most striking insight I got today:

Do not be so familiar with the need you see around you that you become numb to it and learn to live with it. Avoid desensitizing yourself to the need. Rather, know the need and meet it. How?

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

P.S. Congratulations to Josiah for being engaged to Emily today! Yey!

Worth the Wait

Self-made poems. Some people think they’re boring or a little weird. But it’s funny and interesting how my roommate and I found a common hobby when we got to talk one rainy Sunday afternoon. We realized we both enjoyed writing poems and what have you when we were younger. Laughter filled the room as we figured out we both even wrote poems for our crushes! 😀 But that’s history now. 😀 Let me share one poem I made in high school, though:

A room was full with people

Wonderful music filled the hall

A smile was in everyone’s face

‘Twas one of the extraordinary days


Filled with the spirit of happiness

The people did not fail to express

The joy of being together in that occasion

Everyone was happy, and the band played on


But now all the cheers were gone

The party’s over, the occasion’s done

And all that’s left was one man

Who, before, spent time with everyone


Yet, as he plays the keyboard

The burdens of his heart began to unload

As he plays the music he used to play

The tears say all that he longed to say


Deep inside he’s been dying

But nobody knew what he’s longed to say

Behind the happy mask was the real him

Crying of the pain that so long bruised him


After some time he rose

Wiped his tears and set aside his woes

Then, he went out to face the world

Put on his mask an drew strength to hold

Behind the Mask

As I browsed through my old notes and remembered the years long gone, I realize that a lot of things have passed and changed during those four years I stayed in college. People have come and gone in my life. I learned new things, I forgot some. Definitely I made new discoveries. I grew and became a better person.

Now, I’m entering a new stage in life. They say this is the real world–the world of work. This is where all the practicing and preparing end, and the real stuff come around. They say it’s where ideals rarely exist and feeling real good is something one can hardly afford.

And right now, it feels just that way. It’s so easy to fall into thinking that high standards and great expectations would do me no good. They just seem too high to reach.

But His Word keeps on telling me not to live by what I see or feel, but on what His promises say. He says that everything I go through is according to His plans for me, and no matter what, I am at the center of His will. So if it is my faithful Friend and All-Knowing Mentor who’s telling me to trust Him, I’d gladly do so.

So I’m not gonna lower my standards but keep expecting the best–yes, waiting for the best–as I give my best and become what He has intended me to be. If what’s destined for me is His best, then sure enough, it’s going to be worth the wait.

————

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.

Isa 40:31, Msg

Just because I wanted to tell you

I love writing stories. When I was in high school, I made a lot of them, and interestingly, I also write some today. At present, I am a story writer for microfinance organization CCT Group of Ministries. I write stories, or profiles, of CCT’s partner micro-entrepreneurs who apply for business loans. These stories are edited and published in the website of an online lending platform of CCT’s partner organization called Kiva, which bridges loan lenders from across the globe to entrepreneurs who need financial aid. So, that’s a glimpse of an aspect of my life called work.

When I was far from “work” and enjoying doing some personal stuff online, I saw a surprising reminder:

Kiva makes its presence felt

New Social Media really makes the world smaller. Tsk.

Yesterday, my friends and I spent some of our precious time eating and laughing and, basically, doing nothing–just to have fun, talk about experiences, share stories. Sharyl called it one of our “idle moments” but definitely marked it as worth treasuring. Yes, stories that kept us all sane.

Last Monday my cell leader and I had a night talk about life. And guess what. She just made me share all that is happening in my life–from family to acads to crushes to love life–for most of the time. Before we parted ways, she said she learned a lot from me just from the stories I shared to her that night.

So what about stories? Ever since the time of Jesus stories are being used to make the audience see, hear, understand, establish a connection, relate, and draw as many insights from the topic at hand. Since time immemorial, stories are being used by humans to convey emotions, relay thoughts, give impressions and beliefs about life, and more. They’re being used to inform, to entertain,  to get people’s attention, and for many other purposes. There is a storyteller in each of us, because naturally, people love to hear stories.

People love to hear stories, even those that scare them 😉

So now that organizations realize that they’ve got to be human in interacting with their customers, organizations should all the more take seriously the habit of making stories–and propagating them–in order to establish and nurture human relationships with the customers. See how long it took them to realize something that we’ve been doing so commonly as breathing? Businesses can capitalize on stories to get stable ground with the community. Imagine, you are a brand, and there you are with a group of friends, laughing and sharing your story as you listen to theirs. You don’t just get a reputation that is amiable to the community; you also get the privilege of being “tagged” in every individual memory (if there’s such a thing) and getting the VIP invite in case of another get-together. You, the brand, being an indispensable part of the community. It’s the best picture imaginable.

So better hold on to the stories and make them as interesting and personal as they could get. Because truly, stories are what captivate not just the mind, but also the heart.