04 June 2024

Round and round it goes

The month of May had not been a merry one for me. I contracted COVID so I had to isolate for a week. A couple of weeks later, I'm still feeling the effects: dizzy spells and drowsiness especially in the afternoons. I get disorientated with the most simple of tasks; I misplace my keys, wallet, ID. That's really annoying. More annoying than when I first had my first bout of COVID when I lost my sense of taste. At least that didn't affect my appetite. But this one hits different.

When I was in isolation I lost the energy to do anything. I totally missed blogging about the 4th of May (Star Wars Day) and Mother's Day. I even had an idea on what to write about for those days weeks before! But I couldn't muster the energy to think and write it down.

And a couple of weeks after that. I still feel lethargic.

So May came and went, and now we're in June. Winter has officially started. There's been a lot of sickness going around - flu and COVID mostly - and I'm sure it's due to the colder-than-usual winter.

On a positive note, we have a couple of birthdays coming up so that should brong some much needed cheer 😊

19 April 2024

Sometimes I get tired of this me-first attitude

This month is certainly flying by so fast.
My son had gone back home for term break and his three-week 'holiday' ends today. He will take an Uber with his mum to the airport early this morning, as I am not with them today. I'm in Auckland for a weekend conference, and my wife is flying this morning to join us.

The weeks past have been a whirlwind of activities. I can't recall most of them now, so I do feel a twinge of regret that I haven't had time to blog about it.

One highlight would be my daughter winning silver in kata and bronze in kumite! She's always striving to better herself and she is aiming for the gold on the next tournament. I'm do proud of her and I'm thankful she did not inherit my introvertness.

Yesterday was a milestone of sorts. It was my first time to go up Auckland by land. Thank goodness I'm not driving though as I don't think I'll survive such a long journey. Overall we travelled eleven hours. It normally would have been nine hours but we took meal breaks inbetween, which makes a lot of sense.
As a matter of fact, I do enjoy being a passenger more than being the driver. I get to observe the scenery and take it all in.

We left Wellington at 6.30am and the sun greeted us on the road. We were greeted by the Auckland traffic at around 5.30pm.

Along the way we swapped insightful stories with my good friend. We had a picnic-style lunch with other friends under a huge tree whose leaves have started changing to a reddish colour to welcome Autumn. They brought lots of food - chicken adobo, laing, fried chicken, noodles... I bought fried rice from a nearby Chinese takeaway because rice is life.

In that journey I felt so fortunate to be surrounded with such good people.

This morning I think about my son who's going back to Christchurch. While he was at home he was mostly back to his usual self. He slept til late, but instead of waking up by lunchtime or even mid-afternoon, he would be up by mid-morning. We still didn't see much of him, but not because he would lock up in his room but because he would be out and about. But the one thing that made us realise he was really home was when the cooked rice that normally lasted us for days was gone in 48 hours.

It was awesome.

These past few weeks have taught me to open my eyes and appreciate life as it unfolds. I've been wallowing in my own thoughts for too long that life is passing me by; attitude is not doing me any favours. I have so much to be thankful for.

31 March 2024

Here comes the sun and I say, it's alright

It's Easter Sunday. For Catholics, Lent is a very important time of reflection and prayer. I had been observing Lent as I always have - starting with Ash Wednesday, then visiting Churches and praying the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, and celebrating on Easter. This year is a bit different; I've had the most revelational Holy Week. 

While we were doing a Church group activity in the local parish, a member of the Liturgy group who was assisting us with setting up asked if our group can assist with the Altar of the Repose on Maunday Thursday. This is something new to me, and I didn't know what it entails. He said it's scripture reading and singing meditational songs and silent prayers. It's for commemmorating Jesus' time in the Garden of Gethsemane. We were assigned the 10-11pm slot (the vigil starts after the 7pm mass).

I managed to get a couple of people sign up and we started planning by chat the night prior. I told them in all honesty that I did not know what it is about. With one of the volunteers, we identified three songs and the other suggested getting readings from a Lenten reflection booklet. Then we called it a night. The next morning. I checked our chat group and saw the other volunteer had come up with a very extensive document we can use that has scripture readings and various songs woven inbetween. It was eleven pages long, surely enough to last the hour. What a relief that was!

That night, my family attended the 7pm mass which highlighted the washing of the feet, then we went to a different place near the church for the Altar of the Repose. We left for dinner then came back a few minutes before 10.

I was expecting my family and only three people from our church group to be there. Instead there were around 14 of us! We read scriptures and sang and a couple of our group took turns playing the guitar.  What a moving experience.

Then on Friday we started our Visita Iglesia 11am. Again I thought we'll only be a handful but we had quite a turnout. We visited seven churches and on the last one, we heard the 3pm mass for the Seven last words. At the homily the priest emphasised John 3:16 replacing 'world' with a someone's name in the congregation to drive the point that Jesus died for each one of us.

We stayed at a friend's home for dinner while watching the first episode of a short series about Moses.

It had been a long Thursday and Friday day and I went home exhausted.

When I woke up the next day, I suddenly felt enlightened. Have you ever experienced mulling over a problem and then you sleep over it and you come up with a solution when you wake up the next day? That's how it felt for me.

When we were approached that Saturday to help out for Thursday, I spent those nights worrying as I did not know what I was doing, and only a couple raised their hands to help. But it all worked out in the end.

Then on Friday as they planned on the Visita Iglesia which required a lot of driving, I became anxious as I don't actually relish the thought of driving to seven different destinations. I had braced myself mentally for the day. Friends were going to come over and carpool with us. Then at the very last minute, our friend offered to use their car and he will drive.

That Saturday made me reflect on these things. I was willing to do things for Him but I was also very conflicted inside. And He knew.

My wife and I managed to watch the second episode of the Moses series before sleeping on Good Friday. I was somewhere between dozing off and focusing on the show but I somehow managed recall one message when I woke up the following morning. One of the narrators said God was fighting for the Israelites; He was doing the work for them. In some form I also experienced that this Lent. Surely it was not coincidence that help would come when I least expected it!

Faith is indeed a very mysterious thing. I know that in matters of faith I am still wanting and I doubt when in times of trial, and yet I would like to believe that God pulls through for me. He helps me fight my battles. This Lenten season is a lesson for me to not just hear, but to listen.

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