A Tribute to my Favorite Storyteller

…Aaaand it hit me. With myself fumbling beneath the veil of shame and guilt, a subtle ray of light struck me. The words of my favorite writer sank into the hollows of my gut, sending me somewhat of an “esteem booster” in the midst of an unlikely place in the metro.

Mr. Paulo Coelho never fails to amaze me. The humble yet empowering wit of this Brazilian man always sends stars on an otherwise clear night sky. He makes the simplest things beautiful; he creates loveliness out of mundanity. He fills dreamless wondering with inspiration. And brings more depth into a slightly shallow and clouded perception.

I wish to see him someday. This might mean that I will travel to Brazil with my man, and if that is the case then let it be! I wish to look into his deep eyes and swim into the wisdom that they contain. I wish to hear right from his mouth the very words that have given me a glimpse of hope, and passion, and inspiration. I wish to have a conversation with him and share with me his secret of living such a marvelous life as a not-so-ordinary-writer.

I wish that soon (hoping it’s sooner), he would know that somewhere thousands of miles away, someone takes delight in the love and faith that he bespeaks.

I might be shooting for the moon, but I am hoping to see you soon, Mr. Coelho. ❤️

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“Do You Have Love?”

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it isn’t proud. Love is not rude. It isn’t self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, it always perseveres.

Love is patient. It is enduring. It bears difficulties and understands flaws. When the right time comes, love will always rejoice, it will celebrate its persistence and faithfulness.

Love is kind. Love is generous. It is broadminded and forgiving. It teaches, not degrades. It empowers, not cripples. It uplifts, not pulls down.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it isn’t proud. When genuine love is present, it doesn’t have to be a life compared to that of others’. When there is love, one can live with peace and gratitude in their hearts, because love completes and satisfies.
It doesn’t brag about what it has. Love doesn’t make one conceited nor arrogant, rather, it makes one humble and wise.
Love puts our feet on the ground; it makes us level-headed. It consumes our pride and drains our self-righteousness. It acknowledges the love of others; it is always ready to listen.

Love is not rude. Love is gentle. Love is when one is down on his knees, a hand reaches out and pulls him back to his feet to stand again. It encourages and nurtures. It disciplines in the right way. It gives what it can give, until the end.

It isn’t self-seeking. Love is selfless, not selfish. It isn’t “me first”. It realizes the sake and needs of others before oneself.

It is not easily angered. It is not ill-tempered. It sets allowance for faults and shortcomings. It does not oppress nor unreasonably judge, rather, it shows respect and understanding to those who are honorable.

It keeps no record of wrongs. Love forgives. It forgives right away. It doesn’t take revenge. It doesn’t set boundaries and conditions. It is unconditional. Love is immeasurable, unfathomable, beyond understanding. It does not imprison; it gives life. It does not condemn, doesn’t hold one’s past mistakes against him. Love sets one free.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love knows the truth. Love loves the truth. It does not lie. It does not scoff, humiliate, and abandon. It always seeks, does, and shows what is true, honorable, and admirable. It sets out the path to wholeness and fullness of joy. Love guides and corrects.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. One can trust without loving but one cannot love without trusting. Love comes with trust. They are inseparable, a perfect combination in a world that is otherwise full of lies and chaos.
Love always wants what is best for the other. It does not wish ill of others nor does it bring harm to them. It does what it can for others’ sake.
Love never gives up. It gives hope and shines its light in darkness. It provides a way out; it directs to the right path. It gives what it can. Love never gets tired. It never fails.

God is love.

Inspired by: 

Jaeson Ma’s “Love”, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and real, personal experiences

Cruel Fate

If only you could see through the eyes of a person,
If only you could hear her silence,
If only you knew her mysteries and revelations,
Then maybe, just maybe, you would understand all the things that were long-concealed.

But I guess, all these deep cries and agony,
All these- and the quiet sorrow
only deserve to be written
and kept hidden
on the slate of misery and forbearance.

I can’t help but speak up.

Amidst everything that is happening in my country, the Philippines, and in the world, only the TRUTH that is written in the BIBLE will be exalted. People have different views and opinions but in the end, the truth shall prevail. As the end approaches, there will be divisions among people and wars among nations. These things are inevitable for they are already written in the Bible.

These are the times when TRUE Christians will surface and will be tested in the flame. These are the times when people who proclaim His WORD are the ones who are persecuted, humiliated, condemned, and even labeled demonic. These are the times when those who stand for what is RIGHT are the ones who are imprisoned or killed.

There’s no doubt that the signs are manifesting already. There is the gradual rise of the ‘New World Order’, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the impending World War III, and other abominations against God (worship of idols, premarital sex, adultery, etc.). Christians should all the more PRAY. We should pray that God gives us more faith, courage, and conviction of the Holy Spirit.

This is not the time to play safe. Let’s get real. The world today is NOT for the faint-hearted. Stick with the truth of God’s word and let us pray that we will not be deceived by the lies of the enemy. JESUS SAVES!

Why I Love Dreaming

I have always been dreaming. Before I sleep at night, I anticipate the time when I have no control over anything. There, I would be in different places and scenarios in the past and in the future. I would be with many different people- people whom I’ve known before, people whom I used to know, people who are currently in my life, and people whom I do not know.

I love dreaming. There, I get to be in a different reality that only my soul can experience. I get a glimpse of something that only my future self can see and know. I also come back to the time what my past self used to hear, feel, and love. I love those things.

What makes me wonder and amazed is when my dreams foretell me of life events that are yet to be seen. And they do happen! To my surprise, I am able to see, hear, and know what I am about to witness the next day or the next few weeks. Sometimes dreams also tell me secrets and untold stories of the past. I do not know how this happens but I love whatever I have.

In the midst of everything, I know there is a reason why I dream dreams. I believe dreams have deep meanings, and only time, space, and fate can tell what those are.

Tonight, I am ready for another adventure and mystery. God bless everyone! ☺️

Would Anyone Care to Listen?

Only by listening can you truly gain a deeper understanding.

I will never forget that line. It’s from a life insurance T.V. commercial that I overheard some six years ago. I say, it was perfectly catchy and meaningful. It was so substantial to the point that I had to stop from what I was doing and turn my head to the television.

Days after, I waited for that advertisement to replay. When I watched the whole commercial, I got to love its essence all the more:

Listen to me, even if it is difficult, even if I don’t speak up, even if you disagree, even when you already know the story, whether it’s sad, or late…

I loved how they formulated the essence of their cause and business right off the bat. They got their audiences’ attention, and at the same time were able to insinuate in their minds that, as an insurance company, they do listen to people’s concerns.

We all have something to say. We do because we’re humans, we’re social beings. We have the inclination to convey our inner thoughts and ideas to others. We may have different ways of expressing them, but we all express ourselves either consciously or subconsciously. Some of us stay silent, or want to be just introspective. Some of us communicate verbally, or through actions and body language. Some people demonstrate their convictions through writing. We use our freedom of expression most of the time. However, do we also make use of our privilege to listen to others at least from time to time?

Listening is different from hearing. We may all hear the words a person is saying, but we can also choose to not listen to those words. Listening comes with understanding. How can we effectively communicate to each other when we refuse to comprehend, appreciate, recognize, and realize what the other is conveying to us?

Communication is not a monologue. It is a two-way process wherein both communicators are able to understand and respond to each other.

It is always important that we exercise and improve our listening skills during social interactions. One can only be an excellent conversationalist if he/she knows how to apprehend what his/her fellow discourser is saying. Your interpersonal skills are measured by how you clearly express your ideas while properly interpreting and responding to the person you are talking to.

Sometimes, I get to think why the world is full of chaos, misunderstandings, and wars. Yes, there may be people who are listening and communicating, but either one of them fails to understand and acknowledge the true essence of what the other is saying. Or maybe one of them does understand and acknowledge but fails to accept what is being said.

It is not only understanding that is needed in communication, but also acceptance.

And accepting is different from agreeing. One can accept but disagree. One can also choose to agree but not accept. The difference lies within the right and necessary way of showing this irony.

It is true that not all of us may agree with a given truth. It is also true that not all of us are willing to realize that the world does not adjust for us, but that we are the ones who should adjust to the happenings in the world around us.

The world does not succumb to our own shortcomings, but we should learn how to adapt to the unfairness and injustice in our lives.

We do not know everything, so it is but fitting to also listen to the people around us. Real wisdom does not only mean knowing a precious truth, but it is also about knowing how to apprehend the wisdom of others.

Listening also means respecting. A broad and wise perception is approved and accepted if the person himself knows how to respect other people’s decisions, opinions, beliefs, and convictions. And when one knows how to respect, then he is all the more being listened to.

We should learn how to listen, understand, and accept. If not, we can never taste the goodness and simplicity of life. You see, life is really simple. It is our own pride and ignorance that make it complicated and hard to grasp. If only there was love, understanding, and humility, then the world would be such a beautiful place to live in. If only there was the giving of chance for others to speak up and explain, then the world would be fair and forgiving as well. If only there was understanding and acceptance, then our lives would be simple and worthwhile.

Now, I have said what I wanted and needed to say. Have you listened? I hope anyone has understood.

 

© CJDP 2016

Credits to: Pru Life U.K. 2010 advertisements

 

At Ocean’s Depth

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Mesmerized by the words of this song, “Oceans”, I saw myself drowning in the grace of God. Perhaps the reason why the title of my blog is “At Ocean’s Depth” is because when I first heard this song, my spirit was caught up in the loving presence of the Lord. As His words tell us in Ephesians 3:18,

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

This blog is all about the love and grace of God speaking through an imperfect and flawed woman like me. The musings contained in this portfolio of sentiments and realizations are inspired by the subtle yet powerful love of the Lord for me. As I cannot grasp how deep His love is, I pour it out through my words. Though my words can never be sufficient to at least express His goodness in my life, I try to. There is nothing that can be enough to tell of His faithfulness in my life, even at the hardest times, even at the most fearful moments. 

Even when the tides and waves of oceans are raging. 

His depth and unfathomable understanding can never be surpassed by anything that is great in this world.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

His words convict me to trust Him in this voyage, without limits and measure. Perhaps what I have always been dreaming of is only a prerequisite of His irrefutably perfect dream for me. No one knows but Him. Perhaps what I have always loved to have is only the start of the unfolding of His indispensably beautiful plan. But surely, everything is going to be completely magnificent and amazing.

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Though my life seemed to have no unfurled sails, I know His undeniable love is the compass of my boat. He never abandoned me in this ocean of life.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

At ocean’s depth, He is with me. And though the ocean is deep, I do not drown in the waters, but I drown in His grace.

The Day That I Stopped Believing

Today, I stopped hoping.. and waiting for it to happen.

I stopped dreaming and believing.

I stopped loving what I love.

For what I’m hoping for, waiting for, dreaming, believing for, and loving is in vain.

I stopped forcing my own will to pursue it, and instead I let God’s will make it happen.

Until then, I know that what I stopped doing will begin again.. but not anymore in vain.

For it is God’s will at work and it is as sure as His love that is my gain.

The Reciprocity Between Giving and Receiving

I learned the word reciprocity during my college days. I was then reading Republic Act 5527 (The Philippine Medical Technology Act of 1969) Section 27:

Foreign Reciprocity. — No foreigner shall be admitted to examination, or be given a certificate of registration or be entitled to any of the rights and privileges under this Act, unless the country or state which he is a subject or a citizen permits Filipino Medical Technologists to practice within its territorial limits on the same basis as the subjects or citizens of said country or state.

It stated that no any foreign national can practice their profession here in the Philippines unless their country lets Filipinos practice Medical Technology in their territory in return. It is fair enough, I should say, since other countries are also looking for Clinical Laboratory Scientists (U.S.A.) and HAAD-licensed Medical Technologists (Middle East).

Furthermore, I had also encountered reciprocity when I studied Real Estate a year ago- Republic Act 9646 (Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines) Section 24:

Foreign Reciprocity. No foreign real estate service practitioner shall be admitted to the licensure examination or be given a certificate of registration or a professional identification card, or be entitled to any of the privileges under this Act unless the country of which he/she is a citizen specifically allows Filipino real estate service practitioners to practice within its territorial limits on the same basis as citizens of such foreign country.

It is quite similar with the one formerly mentioned, only that the latter is a different profession. All in all, almost every profession that is practiced in the country has its corresponding foreign reciprocity.

So what am I trying to say here?

The word reciprocity has gained importance in my everyday life. I can say, with utter certainty, that in order for us to receive blessings in abundance, we should learn how to give generously, freely, and cheerfully. That is what I call, “The Give and Take Reciprocity”. Let me present an analogy.

A man keeps and values his possessions so much. He thinks that by holding these material things, say, money, jewelries, a house, a car, or any material possession, can make himself financially secure, or assured of his future, or he won’t be in deep water when the going gets tough. Metaphorically, he deliberately closes his hands, so tightly, thinking that those things are his treasured possessions. He believes those are all he needs in order to live and enjoy life. Because of this, he refused to give.

Time passes and he lives the same life he has lived, with the same amount of possessions, the same “financial stability”, the same mediocre life, with the same mindset. He doesn’t open his hands for he fears that he would lose something that is his. He wants to keep them all for himself. Little did he know that there are greater blessings that should have landed on his hands should he opened them by the time he was so confident that he has everything he needs, and that he was okay with it. There have been many times when chances for a better and more prosperous life were given to him, but he missed them because he thinks that when he let them go, he will live in misery.

Logically thinking, how can that man receive more if his hands are closed?

The reciprocity of life is portrayed in our ability to open our hands wide enough to give, and wide enough to receive. This fact is also counted as a law of balance in our nature: The sun rises at dawn but eventually sets at dusk. The heat of the day is replaced by the coolness of night; there is darkness after the light. The animals in the wild are under the laws of ecology- they eat and are being eaten. People’s cries are followed by laughters; there is joy after sadness. And as we give, we are to receive. In the law of nature, there is balance. In everything and everywhere, there is a reciprocal equivalent, there is fairness.

If we, the doubtful and the fearful ones, cannot trust this mandated balance, then we are fated to live in mediocrity, ordinarily. Like the man in the analogy, we can never have the extraordinary life that we have always wanted if we cannot trust the One who is the author of this natural balance on earth.

God is the maker of everything that we have, and it is but right and fair if we know how to return to Him what is ought to be His. We should not forget what He said in the Bible in Proverbs 3:9-10 which is called the “Principles of Plenty”:

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

God is not unjust to not give us His abundant blessings if we know how to give back to Him. If we just learn how to open our hands to give to the poor, to give support to those who need help, to share a word of encouragement to the hopeless, to bring our tithe to church, to give love to those who are feeling left out, then see if God will not open the heavens and shower us with His abundant riches!

God is also clear about giving, out of the pure intention of our hearts:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Giving is not just about money. It can also be in the form of words or actions for those who who need them. If we want a wealthy and extraordinary life, then believe in the rich and extraordinary God who is “able to bless us abundantly” (2 Corinthians 9:8). Don’t settle for earthly gains. What matters most is our heavenly wealth that is intended for us in eternity.

 

© CJDP 2016

Five Reasons Why I Want to Write (and One Reason Why I Don’t)

Writing, for me, is like painting a picture, only that I use a keyboard instead of a brush, and a monitor instead of a canvas on an easel. Most of the time I use my phone too, when I’m outdoors or when I just feel lazy to get up from bed. I get to create a masterpiece, but instead of using colors and imagery, I use words. I can paint an abstract too, if I would please, by using such power held by letters and language.

I am not new to blogging. Well, the oldest post I have here was almost two years ago. Even when I did not have my WordPress account yet, I had been writing my heart out through Facebook notes. But then I thought maybe it would be nicer to create my very first blog account; I felt writing via social media wasn’t enough. And I thought it was time to take my blogging mania to another level.

Because of this, I devised five reasons why I love writing. Adversely, there is but one reason why I don’t. And because five is technically greater than one, I have made it to two years here in WordPress. *claps for myself*

Here are the “love reasons”:

  1. To express. It would be the first and most obvious reason. I heard once that writers write to express, not to impress- and my hats off to that. Everyone wants to express themselves, even once in a while, and I would love to express myself in my whole life! I mean, communication is not so much of a complicated thing to do, only if we know how to communicate well. Personally, I find writing a very therapeutic means of “unloading” myself. And the freedom of expression, for me, means the freedom to live.
  2. To know thyself. Do you know yourself? I know that’s a stupid question to ask. But knowing ourselves means knowing more than just our name and all the other personal things, secrets, and crazy conspiracies that we hide within. Knowing yourself means having the clear idea of your own identity, strengths, assets, flaws, weaknesses, and fears, even at the most critical and compelling situation. Knowing yourself should also tell you what you want in life. It should make a clear path for you to tread on. As for me, I get to know and recognize myself more and more when I write. I discover my irks and quirks, my uniqueness (my weirdness), my desires, dreams, and my ultimate goal. I get a clear reflection of who I am deep inside. I write because I want to see a picture of my life, from a kind of perspective that I am both the observer and the person herself.
  3. To learn. Yes, I gain more knowledge when I write. While I get to know myself deeper, I also learn the things that I would not be able to know should I not explore and express. When I write, I discover things that were unknown to me once. It compels me to read, read, and read. I get a grasp of what other people are thinking and exploring. I welcome other intellectual ideas, artistic ideals, and humane thinking. I drink from the cup of wisdom of the wise, and eat the words of the genius. Because I believe in what I once overheard, “It is only by listening that we truly gain a deeper understanding.” Touché.
  4. To document. Who would not love to sit on a rocking chair, enjoy the warm breeze of the countryside overlooking the serene landscape of the meadows and admire the flying larks, whilst reading the past journals of herself? That, for me, is a lovely reminiscence of my youth, a beautiful remembering of my memoirs when I was young and free. Personally, I would adore to record my own blogs and savor the moment of just flipping through (printed copies) of my written thoughts and musings ages ago.
  5. To make a difference. Final but vital reason. Words have power. Words are doubled-edged swords; they have the power to change another person’s perspective and at the same time the ability to change mine. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone- I get to alter people’s thoughts (even just a bit, so be it), and alter my own viewpoints for the better. I would like to make a change in the world I am living in, and this change can only be possible if I would do something, even in my own little ways. I would like to envision a world that is receptive to transformations and revival, a world that is appreciative of the good things, and a world that is able to perceive more than what they see. A world with depth, substance, and sense.

That was all for the beauty and goodness of blogging. But if there’s beauty then there’s madness. For this, I have the single reason why I would not want to write (counts as my “hate reason”, after all):

Plagiarism. Okay, you may think that’s a sign of paranoia. But it is not! I have heard stories (painful ones) of their works, technically their intellectual properties, being stolen or used without proper citation. And I would never want that to happen to me. I have to admit that I am really, really annoyed at people who have no originality (and even a sense of sensitivity too) and just get the heck of your ideas, and worse, your exact words and personal inklings. I do write to express, yes, but that does not leave out the fact that the world is full of thieves and malevolent people.

Even then, my passion to write surpasses my fears and doubts alike. Writing does have risks, too. Giving away my ideals, thoughts, and lessons learned in life poses judgments, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations. Thus, writing displays courage. A courageous writer is not afraid of what other people might think and say about their written expressions. Their “love reasons” are far more important and sensible than all their “hate reasons”. Writing also serves as my training ground for a higher purpose. I choose to conceal what it is. I believe success only comes when you silently work for it.

Despite this plagiarism danger, I know that in the end, writing could be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. It is like something that has been entwined with me since birth, and I would never want to be apart from that something that is wound around every strand of my being.

Writing is life!

© Camille de Pano, 2016