Thursday, April 21, 2011

manahimik at makinig.

I went to mass at the Church of the Gesu last Palm Sunday. I meant to sing again with Hangad, but, at the last minute, I chose to listen.

I'm glad I did. Sometimes, in the flurry of preparing for the next song (or the lines to say during the interactive Gospel reading of the Passion), I find no time to reflect on the mass readings. But that day was special; I felt it was necessary to find time to be quiet, and to wait quietly for things to come.

I had always been one to speak my mind; at times, to a fault. I may be patient, but to be patient with grace is a skill I have yet to master. Even as I was dutifully attending to my family responsibilities, it was not without complaints. When I feel I have been wronged, I say it; when I know I am wrong, I profusely ask for pardon and give a mountain of reasons. I don't know why, but I always feel vulnerable whenever I am at a loss for words or when I'm not given a chance to speak out, so I end up saying too many things to avoid the silence.

As I sat in the Gesu that day, I was at my most fragile state. There was nobody I could talk to (since I was at mass and I shouldn't really be chatting with anyone), and suddenly I didn't feel so confident to sing anymore, as I hadn't done that in a long time. I closed my eyes and I felt tears welling up. I shushed the thoughts in my head, and I listened.

As Hangad sang for the offertory, I reflected on St. Ignatius' prayer. It is indeed difficult to serve, to fight, to love without expecting anything in return. Yet too often I forget that the reward is in doing the act itself, because in doing it I am fulfilling what is willed for my soul. During communion, in the middle of Here In This Place, I remembered my Dad's passing and Dylan's birth, and how they have given our lives hope amidst loss.

I kept still, and looked at my family. We all have different roles now, and each of us have moments wherein we would deny the gravity of our responsibilities or expect a little more patience with each other. Yet I know we will be always bound by love that rises above despair. I marveled at Hangad and how the group continues to inspire its listeners, myself included. I feel lucky to have been a part of it, and to know that I am welcome to return when I am ready. I thought about those who have gone but given much of themselves for my happiness, and prayed for their happiness as well.

Now, while I am allowed time for it, I will learn to embrace my silence, and remember to listen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

no one's gonna take that time away.

I was greeted this morning by a song in my head. I first heard the version of Janis Siegel with Fred Hersch on piano, but I am very much drawn to the original that James Taylor and Carly Simon recorded while they were very much in love. It may be of note, though, that the comments in the video speak of a painful truth that one could not see in their eyes; yet, the lyrics are wrought with bittersweet sentiment that would manifest itself to them only after a decade.

This Holy Week calls me to peace. Palm Sunday began with a triumphant and glorious welcome; yet, it was also a prelude to a sorrowful passion. Nevertheless, I am comforted with the hope of an Easter morning. As he said while I was in tears on the way home, "it will be better." It was not all sadness, anyway. In fact, it was a chance at a dream, and the best days always outnumbered the worst. There are no villains in this story; nobody wins when there is something lost, there are no sides to take. At the very end of it, mutual respect and gratitude remain for the love that was given and gotten.

So close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it's alright. Everyday, I pray that it will be alright for you and me.
"That today you find peace inside you, that you can confide in your highest power because you are exactly where you are supposed to be, but do not forget the infinite possibilities that are born from the faith, that you may use the gifts that you have received and transfer the love that has been given to you, to make you feel satisfied that you are a child of God. Allow his presence in your bones and give your soul the liberty to sing, dance and be warmed by the sun, that is there for everyone and each one of us."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

just walk the line; you know you just can't fight it.

I was browsing through youtube for 90s music, and I was brought back to the summer of 1993. I had just graduated from elementary with the second highest honors in the entire batch, excited to start high school. We didn't have a landline phone yet, the internet was unheard of, and the only way to get in touch with the few friends I made was through snail mail. I hardly knew anyone from the neighborhood and I rarely went out of the house, so what kept me entertained were MTV, HBO, my looney siblings and the radio.

Radio was my best companion. I longed to have a walkman, but all I could afford was some China-made ripoff at a bargain sale at Duty Free. It even had dual headphone outlets, in case I had a friend I wanted to share my music with (I didn't). At home, we had a mini-component system that I turned on instinctively in the morning after my parents left for work and my sister played 56 Games by herself. My brother would still not be awake until noon.

99.5 RT was my favorite station. I would get Dad's latest copy of Reader's Digest and I'd be reading it from cover-to-cover while listening to RIck Dees' Weekly Top 40. I'd sing along to "Dreamlover", try to figure out the lyrics to "Informer", wait forever for "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" to finish, and sing along to all the released hits on the albums Ten Summoners' Tales (Sting), It's About Time (SWV), Beverly Hills 90210 OST (Various Artists), Toni Braxton, and The Bodyguard (mostly Whitney). Rock for me at the time was just Bon Jovi and Aerosmith, which would exponentially multiply in the months and years to come. Want to reminisce with me? Click here.

It was probably the last summer of my childhood. I haven't even met half of the friends I would keep for the rest of my life, knew nothing about boys save for the few ones I met at the Ateneo Children's Theater about a couple of years back (they're now superstars in their own right :P), and romance was just plain uninteresting.

But it was all good. Radio was there to acquaint me with love stories I have yet to relate to, from "Weak" to "Freak Me" to "One Last Cry". I danced to "Can't Get Enough of Your Love" with my door and sang to my stand fan, and imagined what a school dance would feel like. (I would end up bringing my brother as a date.) My world was all in that black box of frequency waves, and it was big enough for me :)

I went on a roadtrip a few weekends back and I listened to RT for the first time in a long time. After a gazillion reformats, it was back to the old RT I grew up with. While on the SCTEX, I heard the strains of Def Leppard's "Two Steps Behind" and I sudddenly remembered the 14-year old girl that I was -- smart, secure, solid, and sure of herself.

That bright and promising 14-year-old is still here, reminding me that it only takes a minute of my precious time to turn around.

Time to dance with the door and sing to the fan again :)