The Forest, the Fear, the Future

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Hiding is over.

I took a hiatus. A break. A three-year break.

I did it because I needed to heal my heart, my mind, my soul, and my spirit. The spirit of depression took over my life. It was the darkest, scariest, and saddest moment of my life. I felt alone, abandoned, neglected, and unloved. It felt like I was the only one who was dealing with this unimaginable situation. I hated people. I hated my family. I hated my friends. I hated the church. I hated God.

I wanted it to be over. However, God reminded me of Paul, and his thorn. I need to rely on His grace, because that is enough for me. Someone reminded me of my transformation. He told me that when I was so depressed, that he could feel and see my sadness. But, now, he sees a joyous celebration. And, I see it too. There are still little things that lingers and dark clouds that reminds me of my past, but there is a bright future ahead of me. I no longer have to hide. I have shared my darkest past, I have shared my inner desire, I have shared my suffering, and I have shared my purpose in life.

I earned a degree in Biblical Studies. I will soon get my credentials as an AG pastor.

I am moving on with my career at work. I will soon partner with my church about my plans for the future. I am excited what lies ahead.

And, I am opening my heart to love again. I am opening myself to trust someone again. I am done hiding in the darkness, in the forest, in a place of loneliness. I am ready.

“Lord, take care of me. I have learned so much over the past three years. These experiences are now tools and life lessons for the future. Lord, continue to guide my heart, my mind, and my spirit. I will continue to serve you with all my heart, my mind, and my soul. Lord, have your way in me. Keep using me. Here I am Lord. Here I am. I am scared, but I know that I can trust you. I know that Your Grace is sufficient enough for me. Forgive me. Thank you. I love you. Amen. “

Tula

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Bakit ganoon?

Hindi naman tayo

Pero namimiss kita

Bakit ganoon?

Lagi kang nasa isip

Napapangiti kapag

Naaalala ka

Pero hindi naman tayo

Bakit ganoon?

Kahit ayaw mo sa akin

Masaya lang

Kapag nakakausap ka

Hinihintay ang ingay ng cellphone

Kung nag-message ka na ba

Bakit ganoon?

Hindi naman tayo

Basta alam ko

Ikaw ang dahilan

Sa aking magandang nararamdaman

Kahit isang sulyap ng ngiti

Ito’y sapat na para sa akin

Sana pagbigyan mo naman ako

Matagal na akong hindi umibig ng ganito

Malakas na ata ang tama ko sayo

Bakit ganoon?

Kahit hindi naman tayo

Sana balang araw

Maging ikaw at ako

 

Sayonara & Hello

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Crush is a funny word. Its literal meaning is “romantic attraction that is somewhere short of love” – something short-lived and superficial. But buried in the word’s etymology is somewhat contradictory sense of intensity, of something pressing or grinding (and even a sense of violence if you consider the word’s original meaning, which included a loud crashing or cracking sound). Crush can lasts only a brief while then is gone, can also be intense and even overwhelming. (Literature: The Human Experience, pg. 122)

It is a good feeling but also a dangerous one.

Sayonara is a Japanese word meaning goodbye. However, that goodbye is used for not seeing someone for a very long time. Or saying goodbye to a stranger. It can be sad goodbye. It is used when you are about to leave, and you won’t see them again. It can be a sorrowful farewell.

The word is far deeper in my own personal meaning. I went to Japan just two weeks ago. It was a wonderful experience. I was amazed how polite Japanese people are. They may not know English very well, but they are still trying to communicate to us westerners. One thing that I truly enjoyed was when I was in Shibuya, the famous crossing. I am not fond of buildings or anything that was created by human. I am more of a nature kind of guy. However, there was something in that place. I was lost in the midst of the crowd. There were tourists who were just there to take selfies and pictures. There were regular people who just wants to go to the other side of the crosswalk. And, there were people just like me, who were just absorbing such existential experience.

I have to say goodbye to some people for a very long time. It was a sayonara to some strangers that I met, and also a painful sayonara who are also dear to me. I have to accept that. It will be hard, but I have to.

I have a crush right now. I am like a teenager again, having the butterfly feeling inside my stomach. Yes, I threw up already. Due to my anxiety attacks, having a crush on someone is not a good thing for me. However, she’s making me smile. And, I am glad.

I know that it might be short-lived, and I also know that I might end up devastated. But, what the heck? I am glad that I met her. I wonder if she’s my “sayonara,” a quick goodbye, because It will be for a while to see her again. I wonder if this crush is also fleeting, or will turn into something more? Or maybe, she’ll be my “hello.”

So, Sayonara to my past. Hello to my future!

Jireh

Bridge Over Troubled Water

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Are you the bridge or the troubled water?

Sometimes, we are the troubled water. When life gets weary, tears are falling, and life seems so unfair, we just need a bridge, a friend, or someone who can be with us.

 

Today, memories came coming forward. An old friend said to me, “just like old times.” It may be a sincere thought, but it was a painful one.

It reminded me of my failures. It reminded me that I was the one that they couldn’t save. I was the one that they left on the side of the road because they thought I was hopeless. It reminded me of losing a family that was dear to me. It brought negative ideas instead of hopeful meaning. It reminded me where I needed to be.

I need to be far away from them. I no longer need to visit, come back, and put myself in a situation that brings painful past. I have moved on. I have carried this pain for so long. I have been punishing myself for three years. They are no longer my family. They are no longer my bridge. They are no longer my troubled water. They mean nothing to me now. I have tried, but I am too tired of trying now.

I am writing it all down because maybe I am the troubled water. I keep hating myself for pushing myself that maybe I can get better if I try. I want to try. I want to forgive. I want to love. But, I just can’t. Three years have gone, but I am still in pain because every time I see them, I just want to vomit. Not because I hate them, but because of this uneasy feeling of anxiety that my mind had produced.

I wish I have never gone there. I wish I was somewhere else. Because right now, I feel like crap.

Diary Entry: The Road Ahead

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It is okay to not be okay.

It is okay to be sad. It is okay to feel pain. It is okay to cry. And, it is okay to get upset.

I will go against to the usual post in social media. No food, no selfie, no highlights, but a raw unattended feeling of reality. It is not all about happiness and fun.

Right now, I just want to cry. There is something heavy deep within that I am having migraines and nightmares again.

And, I know why.

  1. I am stressed out on what I will do after I graduate.
  2. I am getting involved in ministry once again, and my trust issue is acting up.
  3. I went to a familiar place, and it triggered so many painful memories.
  4. I watched 13 Reasons Why, and it opened up old wounds.
  5. I am preaching on April 30, and my topic is about suicide.
  6. I have a big project due soon.
  7. I am turning 30 in a few days.

I really do not want to go in deep depression again. I do not want to feel that pain again. I don’t want to run away again. I don’t want to push people. I don’t…

However, the road ahead may be unclear, but I know who is with me. My hope is in Christ. He guides me with His Word. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Therefore, I know that I will be alright. I have people praying for me. I have people reaching out for me. I have people that supports me. I am not alone. 

And, even if I am, I will never be for Christ is enough for me.

 

13 Reasons Why

Bravo. Brave. Annoying. Triggering. Upsetting, Sad, Real, Truth, Suicidal, Death, Pain, Help, Hope.

These are my 13 Reasons why You should and should not watch this show.

  1. Bravo – Well done. The acting, the music, the story line, and the pacing are all in sync to get the viewers captivated. Bravo for the director, producers, actors, and other people that were a part of this show. Well done. You guys are brave.
  2. Brave – In a way, that you are bold enough to tackle something that is prevalent and happening, but most people are afraid to talk about. Not because, they are shy or embarrassed but because they just don’t know how. This show is an opportunity for a conversation starter. It provokes a conversation that is quite annoying.
  3. Annoying – I do not know how to express what I feel after watching it that it I am annoyed right now. Is it because it happened to me? Is it because I was also a victim of assault? Is it because I am also someone who caused pain and suffering to someone? Is it because I had also the opportunity to help someone but did not do anything about it? Is it because I also asked for help and someone neglected me? Yes, I am annoyed and it triggered me.
  4. Triggering – It is a concept that is going around the social media world right now. Triggered is used when you are upset, when you don’t like anything, or when you are emotionally unstable. I am glad that they are talking about, but I am also afraid that it loses its meaning. Trigger events or episodes are not a joke. It is real for me. Watching this show, it triggered so many memories. There was a scene, where I had to pause because I was uncontrollably shaking and crying because I felt the scene. It was hard to watch, but I was watching it. It upsets me.
  5. Upsetting – I was upset not because the movie was bad. I was upset because the movie was so powerful to me. I was caught up with what was happening inside a television. I was captivated by the stories that are sad.
  6. Sad – It hit my soul. I felt this feeling of loneliness again. I felt the same feeling when I was suicidal. I felt the same feeling when I tried to open up with someone seeking for help. I felt the same feeling when people left me. I felt the same feeling when I just wanted to end the suffering. It was real.
  7. Real – This show maybe fictional. The characters are fake. The story is not real life. But the theme is real. It is happening. It happened to me. It is happening to my students. It is happening to my youth. it is happening to my friends. It is happening to your children. Let’s get real. Let’s know the truth.
  8. Truth – Rape is not a joke. Attempted rape is not a joke. Suicide is not a joke. Depression is not a joke. Bullying is not a joke. The truth hurts, but it is happening everyday. And not only to children, teenagers, and college students, but also to adults. The truth is, it is painful and traumatizing. No matter how we keep moving forward, it will always be there. And sometimes, suicide is the only option to end it all.
  9. Suicide – I’ve been there. I know how it feels. I know the darkness. I know the drowning. I know wanting to express the pain in words but you can’t. Ending it all not to be selfish, but to end the pain of suffering. The torment that seems like it will be forever. And death seems to be an answer to end it all.
  10. Death – I wish it ends there. But in reality, if we survive or not, the pain continues. Survivors will always have the scars. The pain never stops. Family members will feel a different kind of pain. Grieving can be a lifetime. Friends will ask themselves why. Death is the ugliest thing that is happening in this world. Pain will never stop.
  11. Pain – Physical pain. Emotional Pain. Psychological Pain. Spiritual Pain. What else? They are real. And I don’t care what else is out there, but I want you to know that you are not alone. Ask for help.
  12. Help – If you are reading this! Get help. I want to help you. I want to find help together with you. I’ve been to a talk therapy twice for all the BS that happened to me, and that was when I was twenty-seven years old. I do not care if you are a child, a teenager, a young adult, or older. I want to help. There is hope.
  13. Hope – My faith in Jesus Christ gave me the courage to seek help. I will be honest with you. God was the first thing that came up to me when I was desperate. Where did I go? Church. However, I felt that the church did nothing to help me. But, I did not stop there. It was my faith that kept me from seeking help. I went to counseling, talk therapy, and seek other people. Yes, I was on my lowest point of life. I even felt that God was not even there when I was desperately seeking Him. However, my faith in Christ gave me that hope that I will be alright. It sounds cliche, but He saved me.

There is no image, there is no spell check, I am completely writing this off the top of my head. I am triggered right now. The show touched my soul. That is why I decided to write all in here. I wish I have never watch it but I am also glad that I did.

I wanted to cry

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I just came out of an office. It was my last meeting with my academic adviser. She gave me this paper to congratulate me. I wanted to cry.

3 years. Over 100 weeks. Over 10,000 minutes of driving. Insurmountable sheets of homework. Over 1 million words used in essays. And, it all ends in one day, May 5. I’m graduating.

Crying does not even surpasses the heavy burden that I went through over these three years.

Did I really survived?

Did I just overcome the endless therapy sessions because of my mental illness?

Did I just overcome battling migraines while driving back home?

Did I just overcome finding ways to pay for my tuition fee?

Did I just overcome not doing homework because I was too depressed to do anything?

Did I just overcome not getting enough sleep because of traumatic nightmares?

Did I just overcome thinking about giving up on school?

Did I just overcome thinking about quitting life?

Did I just overcome one hellish journey?

Yes, I DID!

I wanted to cry, but my tears are already dry for the three years that I went through.

So, now, I will rejoice. I will be thankful. I will dance. I will jump for joy. I will smile. I will sing. I will shout. I will scream. I will yell. I will hug someone. I will pray.

It is done.

Time for my next journey.

Jireh

 

Dear Sunset

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Dear Sunset,

You look beautiful. I am thankful for you because I can stare the sun without hurting my eyes. Even though, you were only there for a few minutes, to see a glimpse of your beauty is beyond description. You remind me of my personal weakness; sadness. When my depression sinks in and sucks the happiness out of me, your beauty reminds me that I will see you again. You remind me that is not an eternal goodbye; it is only a moment of pain and darkness. You remind me to keep holding on, and to have hope in times of my depression.

Like right now, my depression is creeping in again. I want to see you, I want you to remind me that I will be okay. Tell me that even if it hurts, I will be safe. Tell me that even if it is dark, it will not be forever. Tell me that I will be okay.

Sunset, thank you.

Sincerely,

 

Jireh

 

Conflict

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Are you willing to understand someone’s point of view before stating your own? Conflict happens because of misunderstanding. It occurs when an opposing belief, opinion, or a statement differ against another’s perspective. Conflicts result in wars, divorce, broken relationships, and even death. Conflict is damaging when it is handled poorly. Marriage ends up in divorce. Friendship turns into backstabbing. Alliances are broken. However, these results can be prevented.

The best way to prevent conflict is humility. Humility puts the other perspective first before oneself. It is pride that stops one from showing humility. Thus, resulting into conflict. There is a famous argument called “Rogerian Argument.” It is used as a possible effort to find common ground when conflict occurs. If one has an issue towards another, this person needs to listen and understand the opposing view before stating their own. Then, this person needs to repeat it in a way the other person can agree. For example, if someone killed another person. One must allow the killer to express why he or she did it. Then, the listener will speak and explain it to the killer what he or she heard. If the killer agrees with the listener’s statement, then it is for the listener’s turn to speak about what he or she feels. Then, the killer needs to repeat or explain what the other side thinks or feels about the killing. Rogerian argument puts two people in conflict to find a common ground and understanding.

Overall, conflict is messy and takes patience to handle. Prayer is helpful as well. It takes maturity and trust in the Holy Spirit when conflict occurs in church, work, family, and relationships. God’s ultimate purpose for humankind is reconciliation. Human conflicts with God because of sin, therefore, he sent His son, so that there will be an ultimate reconciliation. Even today, our flesh continues to sin but God’s death reminds us that we are reconciled with God.