Black & White

Since that worst nightmare in October 2016, the world became “black & white” to me. I managed to convince myself that life is still beautiful… as beguiling as it can be, in the black & white world that I’m living in.

My career, chapel service, dates with my mother and occasional meet-up with friends made me overly busy that grief took the back seat, far back where I wanted it to be. I had to be “strong” — because I want to. There were few times that I just wanted to drop from the world, go somewhere far and reconnect with myself — cry my heart out perhaps… but “there’s no time for that.”

This year I turned 37, without my father. I already lost that one man who loved me for who I am and who I’m not. That person who never told me that he loved me and yet I know that he did — wholeheartedly. That person who never greeted me “happy birthday” but always made sure there’s something prepared on my special day because he knew that I am so much like him. I like to have loved ones around — as often as possible. Feeding people and “partying” was what I’ve always wanted to do on my birthday. Losing my father changed that, at least for now…

I planned to go somewhere far but it didn’t materialize so I just thought of letting the day pass as ordinarily as it can be by not telling my chapel family my plans and whereabouts. I refused to give in to my uncles who insisted that we celebrate. I just wanted to be alone…but, I made sure that I get to be with my mom for mother’s day and slept over at my parents’ home so Mommy was the first person who greeted me when I woke up. I went to visit Daddy too and on our way to the cemetery we accidentally saw my dad’s god-son, that one person whose loyalty to Daddy was unsurpassable. At that instant, I knew my dad sent me his birthday greetings.

I managed to spend time at my “comfort-crying place” over the years and shared a meal and conversation with a friend whom I have not seen for a while. But, the day didn’t go as planned because “my other mom” didn’t let the day pass just like that. I had to celebrate. It was bittersweet… I am happy and thankful because once again I was reminded that there are a handful of people who love me despite how unlovable I can be at times. That I am blessed to be a part a big extended family united by faith and love for God.

Now is the time that I have to admit, I am still grieving… I wanted to not to, but I guess deep wounds really take longer to heal… especially when you’re “diabetic.” Despite that pain and sadness that sometimes occupies a big part of my heart , I can clearly see that the beauty in this black & white world that I live in comes from God up above… that no matter how dark the world can get, His light shines so bright at times when it is needed the most and that no matter how difficult life can get, He will never abandon humanity.
He made sure that am always reminded of His love by giving me an awesome family and “chosen family” who can see beyond the smiles and laughter… the people who care for me so much that they understand my unspoken messages…

Tonight, a wonderful lady told me… “I want you to be happy. You take care…” I said, “I am happy Tita!” Then I saw her flashed the most lovely smile and then said, “Hindi. Talaga. I want you to be happy. You take care!” then hugged me tight. GOD bless her heart. I had to use up all my energy to stop myself from sobbing. 🙂 I must have done something right to deserve all these love that I’m getting… I am more than grateful that God blessed me with so much love, it can be overwhelming at times, nevertheless truthfully appreciated.

Life can be beautiful even if it is not colorful. Truly, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” because we can only see real beauty if we look at life with so much LOVE and TRUST in GOD.

Sometimes “black & white” is more beautiful…
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Grateful heart.

“Today, Sheryll, we believe God wants you to know that it is more than okay to live your joy.

Whatever makes your heart sing is what God wants for you! Of course it’s okay to be happy! Of course it’s okay to fulfill your heart’s deepest desires! What your soul most dearly and deeply desire is the very thing God wants for you.”

I am facing another crossroad in my life. The only difference (now), I am excited for what is there to come. The road that lies ahead is full of uncertainties… and yet I am thrilled to cross and take a step towards that direction. I get skeptical at times, terrified on some instances but in general steady and eager to cross thoroughfare; there are times wherein I wanted to dive into the ocean even without knowing that lies in it.

My entire life is full of God’s grace. I’ve been to the dark alleys and yet His grace brought me to see the light. My life is still isn’t perfect, I know it never will be but now I know in my heart that no matter how bumpy the road is, holding on to God’s promises is the only way to traverse that road…

My plans had been shaken several times, I was led to different directions, I made countless wrong choices and decisions but I will forever be grateful to God for He has always been there for me – always.

Learning to let go and let God is still something that I have to muster, but I am trying my very best to do so. To love and love more… is another story. =)

Without hesitation, I am eager to continue my journey and I couldn’t wait for the next chapter to unfold…

 

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source: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

Plans

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source: dailyverses.net

On Saturday, February 27 I was blessed to join Greenbelt Chapel’s Lenten Pilgrimage. It was such a blessed experience to have good friends with me as I go through that wonderful spiritual journey. I am grateful for that opportunity, however, since Saturday night my mind is restless.

Restless. My mind is wandering on so many different thoughts; what could have beens, what ifs… Some are beautiful and awesome – which makes me get excited on what is there to come… Some were awful that scares the hell out of me… I entertained worries and fears and allowed myself to give in to my own vulnerability.

Sometime last year, I am so excited for 2016 to come, summer of 2016 in particular. I made plans. Plans that could probably change the direction of my life forever. Here comes 2016, few months away from that much awaited escape and God seems to be stirring the wheel to turn (for now) on a different direction. As I always say, “Your plans Lord, all up to You…” and yet, these past few days I can’t help but ask, “What do You want me to do, Lord?” For the past two years, You have been “shaking” my world and causing me to alter and change plans…  now everything appears to be hazy.

Now, I wanted to go to the US or somewhere far and have some alone time… to be by myself. Away from everybody, away from work, away from my family & chosen family, away from the ministry… to travel… But, I don’t think that’s what God wants me to do in this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Tonight, I was blessed and privileged that I was given the chance to watch the premiere showing of the documentary film of the original image of the Divine Mercy. And tonight, I was also reminded that I have to be still and trust God… A lot of things in this world are beyond my control, a lot of things which are in accordance to God’s plans will happen in His own perfect time whether I like it or not. So tonight, I pray, “Jesus I trust in You” and I will keep on praying that until I get my mind and heart to get back to where it should be…

“Thank You Lord for what has been, Yes Lord for what is yet to come…”

Love Story Vol. 1

My (love) story…

Originally posted in Facebook on April 4, 2012 at 1:56am

 

Growing up, I’ve seen people cry and get hurt because of failed relationships. I’ve also seen how polygamous men are- (beep, beep- to all men who might get the chance to read this)- I love all the men (my dad, grandfathers, uncles, granduncles, brother & chosen brother, cousins and good friends) in my life but I just couldn’t ignore that polygamy exists. That, in a way made me wiser and paranoid- at least in my own understanding and definition of the words. During my teenage years, I had crushes and “kilig” moments but I told myself that I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship because I don’t want to get hurt. I’m happy and contented with my closed group of friends and a “special someone”- a crush and a very good friend who is always there for me.

 

At that time, I told myself- that’s all that I need- family, good friends & someone I fancy but not too much that will cause me pain. But, fate has its own way of playing around with me- I fell in love with “first boyfriend,” my first commitment which turned out to be a not so good experience. That is when “the crush-best friend” left the picture and a few months after that, my relationship failed too. That’s broken heart #1; I was a teenager and didn’t really take the relationship seriously, but I was still hurt.

The world did not stop because I was broken hearted so life went on…I was hurt but I have my cool friends around and within my reach whenever and wherever I need and want them. God is so good that He added more in my list. I met someone who practically didn’t leave my side. He comes to visit me every day; we go to different places in the metro to unwind. We visit my “mafia sister” almost every time that I feel like it. It came to a point that he already “liked” her but didn’t have the courage to court her; at least according to one of the letters that he wrote to me (yes, he writes friendly letters to me too). We talk and chat over the phone almost every night. He tried to help me move on… he tried, but failed. The only thing which is different about “new-found friend” is he practiced witchcraft; I almost did too. However, I chose to turn to God and asked for guidance, I asked Him to pull me away if it’s not good for me; in which He did.

Summer of 2000, I met he-who-must-be-forgotten. We met, fell in love and we’re already officially together before I even realized it. Everything happened too fast… first I was broken hearted, then is getting along very well with “new-found friend” and then I fell in love and got into a relationship with “he-who-must-be-forgotten.” That’s when “new-found friend” and I drifted apart. He told me, he feels I will be happy and wished me all the best. He left.

He-who-must-be-forgotten brought me closer to God and I considered that as God’s answer to my prayers. He was my first grown up love; the one whom I thought is the right one. We’ve been through a lot and managed to stick together through thick and thin (though, we were both “thick”). His family treated me like one of their own and my family learned to accept him. I loved his family like my own and I’ve always looked forward to my future with them- at least legally. I loved his friends too; they in return embraced me and accepted me like a family member. It was not a perfect relationship but it kept me going and made me feel “human.”

To my dismay, the relationship fell apart right in front of my eyes, (again) before I even comprehend what’s going on. Or maybe I should say, I realized what’s happening but did not do something about it. We had a very strong love relationship, which unfortunately didn’t last forever… The next thing that I knew- I am single and broken to pieces.

Summer of 2006, the day after our anniversary, we officially parted ways. That’s broken heart#2 and hopefully the last because it destroyed my heart. I was a mess! I didn’t know where to start picking up the pieces which are broken into a million tiny minute parts. I actually thought that I will never be able to move on. It was a difficult time- since during the time that I was mending a broken heart, a lot of things happened to my family. My dad and mom got sick almost one after the other and the person who I thought will be there for me is gone. The good thing was, I lost one person, God replaced him with a handful…

My friends and family were there for me – literally. To my surprise, he-who-must-be-forgotten’s friends were also there for me. And if there’s one thing I’m grateful for out of that failed relationship – is that I earned an older brother. My friends were the nurturing ones while my Kuya was the tough one. The one who “slapped reality in my face” and told me to move on with my life! He made me understand that it’s not the end of the world so I have to continue with my life and look forward to my future because life is still beautiful even without “the ex” – obviously.

 

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I enjoyed and appreciated the company of my ever so reliable friends but I also longed for “alone time.” I found peace and spiritual solace in church all the time (this is still true up to now). I dwell on the pain…I blamed myself for a lot of things…I was haunted by guilt. I was deeply hurt; I got mad, bitter, crazy and full of regrets…I was pathetic! Despite that, I protected he-who-must-be-forgotten, I didn’t want my friends to hate him because he’d been a good friend. I hated him- for a time…but I didn’t want that anger to spread… Anyway in the end, I was blessed with the gift of forgiveness. I just accepted everything that happened and learned to forgive, which turned beneficial for myself more than anyone.

It was not easy…it took me almost forever. The most difficult part was “breaking up” with the family, the pain was almost unbearable. It was more than double the pain that I felt when he-who-must-be-forgotten and I parted ways. I never actually thought I am capable of completely letting go and moving on. This time, my prayers to God was, “let me let go, find myself and be happy being single.” I begged him to please don’t send another love just to help me “stand up.” Let me do it on my own. Lo and behold, praise God- I did it! (And for the family, I didn’t actually wanted to turn my back on them, but I was forced to- for the sake of peace)

Summer of 2009, three years after he-who-must-be-forgotten and I officially parted ways, I “opened the doors to my heart.” That’s when I thought I was ready to commit- but I’m not. When I felt that I am almost falling for someone I immediately pulled myself back. But, it’s something that I didn’t regret.

Two years later, I am still single…but, at this point in my life, I know in my heart that God answered my prayers. I am single, happy and enjoying my life to the fullest. At the back of my mind, I still have my greatest dream of having a happy family life in the future- which means the NEAR future because I’m old. I always tell officemates that I just want to become a housewife—that’s whenever I get too stressed out with a lot of things at work; to translate in numbers – that’s basically every day of my life. Lol!

 

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A gift from an old lady at Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine

During this time, I met “the infamous crush” who makes me “travel back” to HS, gives me butterflies in my stomach- but those feelings keeps me sane and let my mind stay away from all the stress and problems at work. Someone whom I refer to as “my soul mate” whenever I talk to my nieces and the person who I refer to as the person who will eventually make me leave Sykes- if in case… Lol! Probably, he will only be a crush forever but we’ll see…haha!

Well, the real thing…I surrendered everything to God. I am happy that I achieved inner peace. My life isn’t perfect…I know it never will be, but whatever God’s plans are, I am willing to wholeheartedly accept it. I know He has plans for me and if part of it, is for me to become a housewife and have a happy family life – I will be more than thankful; but if it’s not – I don’t mind. I know in my heart, that whatever God’s plans are, that is the best that can ever happen to my life in this world.

I’ve been through a lot—it may not be as tough as what 99.99% of the people in this planet had been through…but during tough times, I’ve been blessed with insurmountable amount of strength that only God can provide. I am grateful that he’d taken me this far…

Now, I am turning 32…I didn’t become a lawyer but I have a career which makes me one way or the other help “shape” people’s lives; I have a better relationship with my family, I have a handful of good friends whom I can best describe as my chosen family. I also have my own personal relationship with God which to me is very important… I’m neither famous nor wealthy, but I’m happy my heart is finally healed…I am blessed!

That is my story…what happens next is still a mystery.

2021

 

 

Love Story Vol. 2 (unedited draft)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not 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, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, 13

Falling in love is a big risk, at least in my point of view. I had fallen in love, broken to pieces, fallen out of love and moved on. It was such an experience. I am no expert but I am glad I am where I am now. I have been single for the longest time – I was lonely until I moved on.

Single blessedness is something which is not fully accepted in our culture; or so I thought. I kept on getting questions and comments here and there about getting married & growing old. Luckily my parents aren’t the ones passing on that comments.

I am a fan of a happy-ever after kind of story but I am also aware of reality that most people get hurt because of love problems. And that made me extremely terrified of falling in love again. Though, having my own family and a lifetime partner is still at the back of my mind, I am skeptical if I’ll ever be able to overcome my apprehensions about falling in love and everything else associated with it.

Once upon a time (in my life) there was crush #1, the story ended even before it started. He was probably too rich and too cute for me. He still is, actually. I said, my role in his life has been fulfilled. Maybe I was wrong…but now, I know in my heart that he is not the one.

Looking back, I sometimes miss having that someone whose world revolves around you. That someone whose priorities include you; that person who makes your life so colorful… On the other hand,  whenever I day dream, the not so good memories especially the pain of having one’s heart broken to pieces would always resurface and burst my bubble–almost always.

I must say, I am enjoying being on the “safe zone.” Not to mention that I have a handful of supportive friends whom I can always share my laughter and pains; the ones who are always ready to give hugs and I love yous just because. My daily text mates, chat mates and what have yous…

Then here comes crush #2. That person who became my crush even before I knew who he is (and I am still getting to know him now, I guess). That person whom my friends (including my bosses at work) are so supportive of. It feels kinda weird but it’s exciting at the same time (I feel so “very high school”).

Up to this time, I don’t know God’s message and reason for sending him into my life. It probably is to teach me to become a better person; to think of others first, rather than myself or perhaps work on living my life in accordance to God’s will. I don’t know. I have yet to find out.

Nevertheless, from that day that he became my crush he puts a smile into my heart (and face) almost always despite the anxieties, stomach pains and cold sweats because I’m fretted that he might find out that he is my crush. I’m glad that the anxieties had worn down.

He still is my crush. He still makes me feel & act silly like a high school girl. Is he the one? I am not certain but I enjoy the feeling of having him around. So I guess I will let the “high school life” linger as long as it last.

I am not praying for us to be together… I am not praying for a future with him… I am praying for God’s plans to materialize… for crush #2 to find happiness by fulfilling whatever lies deep in his heart. Others say, it’s selfless love… I say, that’s facing reality and brushing off the feelingera thoughts. =)

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source: http://www.tumblr.com

 

Whatever happens next, is up to him… Haha… So this is an open declaration that maybe – just maybe I’ll find the courage to take the risk of jumping into the ocean without knowing what lies in it, so help me God! And yes, I am a certified feelingera… my gut tells me so; makes me be one… Haha =)

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source: http://www.picturequotes.com

Life…

Life is too short.

Early Thursday morning, I arrived home from church and as I was about to send a text message to few friends just to say the usual, “I said a prayer for you in church today, have a blessed day. Take care! Love you!” I saw that I have quite a few unread text messages in my Inbox. One which caught my attention and made me froze for few seconds is the one which states, “my dad died”

Three words and yet it struck directly to my heart. I clicked the phone and hit on call , I called my friend and yet, I am out of words. I cried silently on the other line while I listen to her sob. I can feel her pain, I wanted to tell her, I said a prayer for you in church. I asked God to make you healthy and happy…but I couldn’t say that. It’s simply inappropriate. 

I felt terribly sad and wished that I have a magic wand to wipe away the pain in her heart. I hope that there is something that I can do. Worse, I got sick at the same time and I couldn’t be by her side. It sounded like series of unfortunate events to me… I sometimes couldn’t believe what happened, but who am I to question God’s will?

After all the bumpy roads that I’ve traveled and all the trials that I’ve been through, I  managed to pull through and achieve inner peace through GOD’s grace. I will be forever grateful for that, but, sometimes I couldn’t help but wonder why do we have to feel such heartaches, why do we have to lose people who mean the world to us…?

I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason and that no matter how difficult it is to understand, or sometimes we never really get to understand it, I hold on to GOD’s unconditional love and undying faithfulness that all is according to His plans- for the best…

Reality bit me. Life is indeed too short, we must live it to the fullest. Laugh often…spend time with  your loved ones as often as possible and tell them you love them before it’s too late. Get mad when necessary but don’t let it run your life. Stress (and stressful people) is not worth your life, shove it off (I kept on telling this to myself OVER and over).

To you my friend, I pray to God that He’ll bless you (and your family) with insurmountable amount of strength, that you may find peace and comfort in His loving arms. Sorry that I was not beside you all this time, but never a day passed that I didn’t think of you. You are always in my prayers. Hang in there. I may not be physically present, but, I’m always here for you. I love you.

Priceless Christmas Gift.

Christmas season is my favorite time of the year- I get nostalgic every so often but it is the time of the year when I can feel that love is all around. Everyone seems to be extra nice and is generally happy. Life doesn’t get easier during this time of the year but everything seems to be lighter because everyone, Christians, I must say is looking forward to that special day when Jesus Christ was born.

December 2011 is no different from any other year. Despite the chaos in my work life and the neck deep tasks that I need to face everyday, I was happier and was excited to celebrate Christmas & New Year’s Day with family and few of my chosen family. Little did I know that this year’s Christmas season will be the most prayerful and life changing episode in my life.

My mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009, by God’s grace and mercy she was cleared of cancer on that same year. Two years passed, we enjoyed the blessing of good health until her doctors found traces of the Big C again. The news came to me as a shock but I pretended that it was no big deal. I had to look strong in front of my mom and acted as if I just heard that she had acquired common colds and will be cured in no time. It took a week before the news finally sank in and it felt like my whole world crashed. I allowed my work to consume most of my time and spent my very little free time with different set of friends. I tried to brush away the fact that my mom is sick. However, no matter how exhausted I was every time I’ll reach home, I will spend hours crying, feeling the needle prick pain in my heart. Worry was all over me, it acted like a poison that runs through my veins until my heart and mind felt numb. I felt so helpless, yet I am not – I am aware that God is with me. He is patiently waiting for me to turn to Him – and thankfully, I did.

I courageously talked to my mom and convinced her to aggressively “look for cure.” We trusted her doctors but we wanted to make sure, we seek for second and even third opinions while asking God for guidance. Weighing the options that we have and putting our trust in God, I convinced my mom to go under the knives once again, in which she agreed. God’s will, my mom’s surgery was scheduled on December 8, 2011, The Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, the date which I will never forget for the rest of my life. We were expecting that Mommy will be in and out of the hospital just like in 2009 when she went through the same surgery, but God has His plans. That same date, my faith in God was tested…at the same time, I was forced to realize my priorities in life and the things that matter the most. I dropped from the world and never left Mommy’s side; nothing else matters but God my creator and my mom who means the world to me.

We initially thought that Mommy’s recovery will be swift but a few hours after surgery right after she was brought to her room, she had difficulty breathing. I was holding her in my hands while she’s grasping for air and almost turned blue. I was scared, stunned nevertheless surprisingly tough. I was able to talk mom through it, I told her to relax and don’t panic. I told her to take deep breaths. I was a bit pissed because the nurses didn’t met my expectations – one was hella scared and I can seriously feel the terror rushing through her whole body while the other staff nurse acted as if nothing’s happening. I had to be firm, I told my aunt to hold my mom then I turned to the nurses and told them to act fast; thankfully, Mommy’s doctors arrived promptly, and they “intubated” her. We were in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit in no time.

I decided to not disclose the real situation to my dad and grandmother, in which my aunt agreed. Considering Daddy’s and Inay’s medical condition, we thought it will be best to not let them know of what’s happening at that time. However, my dad showed up in the hospital on our 2nd day in the SICU, I was frozen when I saw him at the waiting area, but once again I put a façade and acted that everything’s fine. He didn’t have the courage to go inside the cubicle in SICU and look at my mom. He was outside the glass door and just stared at the curtain. Seeing Daddy’s “pain” broke my heart even more. I didn’t have the spirit to talk to him and convince him to go inside Mommy’s cubicle. At that time, I (together with “my text mates”) am storming Heavens with prayers – for God to heal my mom and for Him to give strength to my dad (and our whole family). Thank Heavens; I found the guts to convince my dad to go home.

We stayed in the SICU for 5 long, sleepless and very cold nights which felt like eternity. I didn’t know where I got the insurmountable amount of strength at that time, but one thing I’m sure of, I managed to pull through it because of God, Jesus Christ and Mama Mary who were (and I know will always be) with me. I kept my Holy Rosary and Holy Octave in my pocket the entire time and whenever I feel that I am about to fall apart, I will only hold the two Holy Chains and miraculously, all my worries and fears were wiped away in split seconds. I stayed strong for my mom, dad, younger brother and younger sister. I managed to act detached. During arduous times when mommy’s in pain (I know she was, even if she tells me now that she wasn’t), I had the audacity to talk to her calmly which somehow let her relax. I became skilled at recognizing the normal BP, normal heartbeat rate, oxygen saturation and breathing pattern; I had an idea on ventilator settings and figured out when the doctors can “win” her from it. There was a point wherein one of the nurses thought that I was a medical doctor because of how composed I was in dealing with the situation especially while talking to Mommy.

We were blessed with God sent angels in our lives during those trying times. God bless the hearts of the wonderful and very caring nurses at MMC SICU, Dr. John Vincent Pastores (Chief surgeon), Dr. Jose Miguel Aldon (Resident surgeon), Dr. Alipio Abad (Pulmonologist), Dra. Thelma Crisostomo (Endocrinologist) and the brilliant, benevolent, earthly angel Dra. Valerie Zarza-Geron (Cardiologist) who “saved” our family numerous times; despite the circumstance that we are in at the time, they made us feel comfortable in their own way. The care that they have provided to my mom is something that I will forever be thankful for. I was also blessed to have my good friend Bingky Anne, my aunt Tati Dinah and my loving sister Myko Xylene who made me sleep for a few hours everyday; my “text mates” (you know who you are) who were holding my hands and supporting my back which kept me standing all along;  – I will forever be in debt to you.

By God’s grace and mercy, Mommy’s better and recovering at home. She actually went back to work because she felt better that way instead of staying at home. Though her strength isn’t back yet, I trust God and His plans. I am more than grateful for the priceless Christmas gift for our family which only God can provide – Mommy’s second life. Whatever His plans are, whether I understand it or not, I put my wholehearted trust in Him, the Divine Healer.