Chronicles of Benia

STORIES.REFLECTIONS.PRAYERS

Day 89 of Lockdown

It was the usual afternoon mood at the school, crowded at the canteen, warm but every corner was filled with students laughing as if there would be no more tomorrow, that kind of having the last laugh on earth.

Then, it was my turn. I picked a paper and unrolled it. It says “Who Am I”. After reading, in splitting seconds countless thoughts came running into my mind. My heart begun to pound but my hands remained calm and so was my mind, I went to the middle of the crowd and these were few of those words that came out and will be forever in my memory.

I was walking towards the venue. My steps relaxed but defined, then I entered a room and I saw few familiar faces, both students and faculty members. Few minutes after everyone got settled, a familiar person spoke and an instruction was given. Looking back more than relaxed and little lesser nervous, I was exactly excited to be called.

“I am Benia. I am a middle child. I watch basketball at playground near to my home with my baby sister in my arms. I believe she is cheering for my favorite team, although she’s only less than 2 years old. My mother assigned me to wash the dishes and clean the kitchen after every lunch and I love doing it because the dishes love me because they are too many every lunchtime.” The crowd smiled and allowed me to hear the sound of it. I continued.” I am also tasked to pick up the daily newspaper at the plaza and this is the only time I could be free. Days ago, the President declared a wipe-out drive against the Abu Sayyaff there in Mindanao. It might be peaceful here in our school and we can all laugh but somewhere down at our island, within our country, there are people might be as young as us, running for the safety for their lives. They might be having dreams same as mine. If there is one thing I have come to desire in picking up our daily newspaper, my noble task for my family is that rebellion in the country comes to rest. So, they don’t have to flee but can enjoy simple moments like watching basketball with a sibling and washing the dishes for the family. “

I looked around and the crowd looked back intently at me.

In today’s gospel, John the Baptist answered the question of “Who are you? ” not with descriptive words but what is he for. He illustrated his task for the Saviour. “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.” He is to prepare the way of the One who is to come whose sandals John says he is unworthy to untie.

Just like the John the Baptist and I when asked during my younger years,”Who are you?”, let that question triggers our purpose.

Who are you is what is your purpose.
This new year may you have an answer and live it.

Dear Lord, thank you for this brand new year.
Thank you for the gift of our past. May our learnings be the best gift of it.
Arouse our purpose and grant us the love, grace and faith to live it, for Your greater glory and honor.
Amen.

Thank you for reading.

02/01/2020

Photo Credit: The Nativity Story of Jesus Christ

The other night while I stared at the image of nativity of Jesus Christ, my mind got lost on the smile of Mother Mary. It was not a LOL-LOL-LOL-smile neither a friendly smile for me. It was a smile more than of confidence. There is something in Mary’s smile and it must be because, while Mary smiles she was looking at Joseph, her husband and the foster father of Jesus. While she smiles at Joseph, Joseph’s head slightly bowed down.
My mind got so lost that I felt something warm rolling down on my cheeks.

I finally figured out what is Mary’s smile about and Mary has on her face is the smile of trust.
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When Trust Is Lost

The truth is one the deepest wounds of heartbreak is losing trust to oneself. Sometimes, it is easier to forgive people who have caused the pain. Sometimes, accepting the heartbreak that happened but the nagging feeling of losing the trust remains there or it seems it’s already embedded in the heart. And that situation is the hardest part to bear after every single heartbreak.

Losing trust is allowing fear to take in control. Fear that you might get heartbroken again. Fear that you might say the wrong things again that it will lead to a premature closure or as the goes song “afraid for love to fade before it can come true.” and a long list of fears.

Most of the time, the reason why someone can get to be so protective of oneself is lack of trust. I know someone so completely who intentionally drives both interested and interesting men away by showing her worst self on an onset of courtship out of complete fear – – fear of getting heartbroken again.

That’s how fear operates in our lives. It creates illogical and hurtful behaviours in our pattern. Then, if fear is the root

reason, faith is the answer.

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This goes to say that if we have faith, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that He hears our prayers and that He knows our heart’s desires and that He wants the best for us, we can act in faith, decide in faith, love in faith and open our hearts to love and be courageous again in faith.

To learn to trust again is to have faith both in the Lord and to oneself.

Mary and Joseph

As my mind got lost on the smile of Mary, I remember the words of angel to Mary during the annunciation. It translated to me “Do not fear. The Lord is with you. He loves you and He will guide you and protect you.”

Mary’s faith is something I found on her smile there at the image of the Nativity of Jesus.

25/12/2019

Last year of this month, I witnessed the coffee shop near to my workplace closed down after 40 years in operation. As their way of expressing gratitude, the owner offered discounted food items on the last day and people pasted farewell sticky notes. Here in Singapore, the local coffee business is quite huge and each has it’s own loyal customers.

It was sad, but, heartwarming, too.

It never dawned on me that closures can be good and that closures are also necessary, it is most specially for relationships, not until my favorite office coffee shop closed their business.

On the month of November, I looked back how the Lord granted my prayers to find a closure to someone I truly love. Someone I will endlesy love.

I was working on a night shift when I thought I have done what I had to do and thought it was OK to take a nap. So, I placed my pink chair pillow on the table and placed my head on it. I was all ready for a power nap. I checked the time, clock said it was 2:50 am. After a while I heard somone approaching. I hid my pillow and stretched my bent body then seated straight. I was supposed to be alone that night shift but my boss had the habit of staying until 4am of the following day whenever we had audits. My boss office room was at ground floor while mine was at second floor. Prepared to see my boss, I was all ready to smile. But, a man in white shirt came. He was not my boss but he was someone so familiar. He looked like me and there was so much resemblance to my father.

He was smiling and I smiled back. I finally said, “I knew it, Kuya (elder brother). Your son is right when he said you didn’t die.” He continued to smile outside the door of the office and I was just sitting on my chair. He was about 2 arms away from me. Suddenly, I saw the mirror for our office halls and realized that he does not have a reflection. There, I realised that time was coming to an end. I gently said, “I love you Kuya. Sorry for not being there when it all happened. Please take care.” I rose to my chair and wanted to hug him when I heard an alarm. I stopped from taking steps and heard an engine of a motorbike started while my phone alarm continued to ring. I started to panick and remembered clearly well that my Kuya was saying goodbye too. There were no words but my mind can interpret. The sound of the engine was getting louder and so was my phone alarm.

My eyes saw it was 4:00 am. I saw that my chair pillow was still on top of my table and my head resting on it while still sitting on the chair. I was dreaming.

I started to cry.

Finally, I got a closure, two years after he left. Ironically, there was so much joy in my heart. The void has been filled. That joy brought me to call my mama, we are all ready for new beginnings.

When closures transpire, a new beginning is set to take place.

08/12/2019

It is the first of 14 years that she is not anticipated to show – up. Although, that she did not join us in a yearly basis, at least we get to receive her message and we talked about her and receive her life’s updates around the table of dinner during family’s special occasions. On this event of my mother’s birthday and my parents’ wedding anniversary, it is the first time that it finally sunk deep to our hearts.

She is not a sister by blood but their 14 years of togetherness with my biological younger brother that started during their early part of university days made me feel, act and think like she is my sister. I and my family, have only been waiting for her to legally acquire my last name. I can go to a long list of how the entire family treated, anticipated and worked on for that day where she would be my sister-in-law and mother of future beautiful nieces and nephews. Until that she was not around during the Christmas season and my brother kept quiet of our inquiries…. Our concerned questioning.

Having my two other elder siblings married their first boyfriend and girlfriend, I am not used to parting ways of someone who has been attached to a family member.

I didn’t know that it is this… painful, too.

When the news broke then, I left her message telling her that she still has a sister in me and that I still am here to support her dreams.

Then, I felt the need to question my intention of reaching-out to her to check whether this intention is purely for her benefits or this is intention is tainted for me and my family only, and not even for my brother.

During this dinner of my parents’ wedding anniversary, my father asked about her to my brother. There was silence and someone said “Let’s move – on from her.. together, as a family.” There was even longer silence.

We definitely miss her and maybe it would take a while to stop looking for her and presence, but for now, I and my family need to step back. I need to stop trying to.. win her back to be future my sister-in law. I.. or…. we need to stop longing for her presence as our future in-law.

We need to let go of the label.. the label as future in law.

For now, we have to learn to value and cherish her as a person, as someone who has been part of our lives. She is someone who had done great things to someone we truly love, my younger brother. She was there during the family’s darkest time and her presence and support were truly felt by everyone.

And that alone is a reason to love her.. forever..without the label of future-in-law.

Knowing that reason made me think that she has been a family member ever since we started loving her, in spirit and in truth. She has been my sister all though-out that 14 years. That loving her does not necessarily mean that she becomes is a sister -in-law. If love is setting free then it means we are setting her free and we have to let the label of future – in law go. We would love to respect their decision where she would be happier, find true and lasting love even though it means she will be physically parting ways with us. Without asking for explanations.

For now, my family will move on, together from the label but never losing not the good memories we and our families have shared together.. once upon a time.
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Thank you, Lord, for people who once became closer to our family. God bless their hearts..physically far from us.. Amen.

15/06/2019

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