Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Sabay Sa Ihip ng Hangin - click to view lyrics

Being active in a choir for liturgical activities for the past 10 years or so, I've found myself imposing my own religious traditions for the two busiest Catholic observances -- Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. I've struggled to complete the Advent novena from Dec 16-24 (Simbang Gabi) almost every year not only because I'd be a singer or instrumentalist for the liturgy but also because I'd be caught up in the whirlwind of excitement of my choirmates who braved the cold December mornings (4:00 AM!!!) and walked or carpooled like schoolchildren from their homes to church -- and back, armed with bibingka and puto bumbong to share with the lazy family members who decided to forego the mass and sleep a bit more.

Holy Week would be the counterpart of Advent's 9-mass ritual during Lent for me. I recall a few years back when we had choir practices from Holy Monday-Wednesday for the Triduum masses headed by the seminarians at our parish's in-house formation center, then participate in various activities in remembrance of Christ's passion and death. These would include Stations of the Cross along the village roads, our family's Pabasa/Pasyon, Visita Iglesia, and looong masses and processsions from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday. All throughout this week, I would avoid using the phone for anything other than coordinating choir schedules, and would deliberately disconnect my cable TV. At the end of the Easter Vigil mass, we'd go to the seminary's backyard and hide plastic eggs in preparation for the kiddie Easter egghunt, then go back home to rest for a few hours before marching again to the village streets and witness the Salubong before Easter dawn, have breakfast, and finally give food and goodies to the children who eagerly and patiently searched the entire seminary field of prize-laden eggs. It seems like I practically wouldn't have slept from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, but it wasn't much of a bother. It was my tradition, my own ritual.

This year's Holy Week, I didn't join any parish activity because I chose to participate in Hangad's own Triduum duties (masses, Stations of the Cross) in Ateneo. I didn't go to the Salubong for the first time in 10 years. And there wasn't any kiddie Easter egghunt because the church apparently had construction ongoing at the seminary's back field (uh-huh, right. at least that's what they said). And because my 24/7 load would be expiring by Black Saturday, I chose to forego my telebabad sacrifice altogether, as well as allowing myself to watch non-Lenten shows on cable TV.

Come to think of it, I wasn't that active either for the Advent/Christmas parish events last 2004.

I realised I had been following and complying with these rituals and failed to remember the reason why I started them in the first place. It came so automatically for me to be there all the time that I wasn't there for the right reasons anymore. It then dawned on me that I no longer found such activities helpful for my own spiritual reflection. And I discovered I was able to ponder on my faith even amidst the nonchalance of daily life.

Yet somehow, there remains a part of me that wishes to find meaning again in those practices I chose to let go of. Maybe I will find it again, not in a whirlwind of excitement as it was in years past, but in the soft whisper of a breeze inviting me to come home.

Monday, March 28, 2005

our Jimmy Boy (seen here playfully posing for the camera at home) passed away just this morning. everyone (even Dad and Mom) mourn the loss of such a lively soul whose cheery face and bubbly disposition brightened the darkest of evenings and the bleakest mornings. he is survived by his mom, Lucky; his twin brother, Paquito; his uncles, Java and Ampon; and a father he never met. hope you can spare a moment to pray and thank the Lord for blessing our lives with such a wonderful pet even for just a while. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 25, 2005

sometimes i wonder where i've been...

Why didn't I find out about this blog thing at the same time my other friends did? I feel kinda lonely writing to myself knowing that there are only about 3 people who know this exists: Person #1 who reads every now and then (but actually knows the story pre-published and unabridged); Person #2 who got the link from Person #1 and probably didn't visit more than twice; and Person #3 who just knows it exists but doesn't bother visiting.

I've been looking at other people's blogs -- some of them by acquaintances; some by complete strangers. All of a sudden it feels like late 2003 when I registered to Friendster and had about 12 friends under my account while others' were close to 200. Like a blast of urban NLEX breeze I felt dizzy and wanted to sleep the loneliness away.

I just may have lost my old friends.

I think I distanced myself too far for me to grow up with the buddies I had in high school (even college), and now that I get to read about their lives I begin to wonder if I could spend more than 10 minutes with any one of them without feeling a bit queasy. I know nothing about chamber music or bestselling novels, my poetry sucks, I've never joined a charity/volunteer group, can't relate to the toxicity of med school, got no juicy illicit love affairs (don't get me wrong, I'm totally satisfied with my lovelife), and I think I've stayed pretty much the same after a decade while all my friends have made spectacular progress in their lives.

Of course there are a few whom I have managed to keep in touch with and still get to talk to; pero syempre andun yung kalungkutan na dulot ng pagkakatuklas na mayroong mga taong maaaring nakalimot na sa akin o sa pinagsamahan namin, tulad ng mga kaibigang nangibang-bansa na, ang mga kapitbahay na nagsisipag-asawa na, o ang pangkat na nakakabangon na kahit wala ako.

Buti na lang naisipan kong magbasa ng email kanina at nataong may pinadala sa yahoogroups ang isang dating kaklase -- isang panalangin, na humihiling sa Panginoon ng katatagan ng loob sa gitna ng pag-iisa, pagkabigo o pagtalikod ng iba. Naroon din ang pagsusumamo na matutunang gustuhing unahin ang kapakanan ng iba bago ang sa sarili.

Naalala ko na naman nung minsan kaming nag-usap ni Daddy. Sabi niya, hindi na siya mapaghinanakit ngayon sapagkat malaki na ang kanyang puso. Sa kanyang katandaan naunawaan na niyang kahina-hinayang ang nalalabing araw niya rito sa mundo kung hahayaan niyang maghari ang sama ng loob sa kanya; kung kaya't minabuti na niyang magmahal at magbigay nang hindi na naghahanap ng pansin.

Siguro nga'y musmos pa ako sapagkat mahalaga pa rin sa akin ang makatanggap ng panukli sa ibinibigay kong pagtingin sa iba; at ako'y madaling nagdaramdam kapag nalalaman kong hindi ko na makilala ang kinagisnang buhay ng aking mga kababata.

Sana hindi na lang ako matampuhin. My loneliness is killing me...(insert Britney clip here)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

"this is the one thing...

...the one thing that I know":

i was swept away by jars of clay.