Dear Caleb

(A break from the writing challenge. Will get back to that soon enough. But first, a post dedicated to my newest friend and companion. :D )

Thisizit pansit. From this point on, it’s just you and me, my dearest darling C.

So. How do we go about this?

Let me tell you first off that I’m not good at traffic lights. Red lights scare me. Hitting the brakes is not my problem though. Shifting from neutral to gear one and getting the right clutch-accelerator mix is. I find it especially nervewracking when there are cars following us. I panic at the thought of pressure. Yes, the thought of pressure. So you better help me out on that. Be comforting enough so that I’ll be able to keep my cool. Divert me well enough so that all destructive thoughts will disappear.

I’m not so good with touch-n-go machines either. I’m afraid of getting too close thus I end up going so far away instead. Let me know what the right distance is. Let me know how to get close enough so I can reach out without struggle, so I can get by without fear or uneasy thoughts.

Keep up with my turtle-like speed. I don’t want to go too fast. The fastest I can go on the freeway is 90kph for now. Well, 100kph is also okay. But we’ll have to stick to the slow lane. We’ll get to the fast lane soon enough.

Forgive my poor parking skills. I still have to adjust to you. You, after all are not one of ‘em small Kancils. I have yet to know how your steering wheel works. How far you’ll move if I turn a little bit to the right, what will happen if I turn a bit to the left.

Oh, but I can change gears almost seamlessly now. I don’t have to keep looking at the gear stick every time, unlike before.

I know I still have a lot of things to work on. Well, you do too. But I promise to take care of you. Sorry for your baptizing scrape. I’ll try my best not to let it happen again.

I’ll keep you fed; I’ll make sure you’re maintained well. As long as you work with me, you know very well I’ll work with you. You are a blessing from heaven. An answered prayer. Your name means, “faithful companion” and you’re one of those things that will keep me “fearless in the face of overwhelming odds” (http://www.thinkbabynames.com/meaning/1/Caleb ).

So, Caleb. Are you ready to roll?

This will be the start of something new. :)

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From the Ground

(Day 14 – How have you changed in the past year? I’ll let this little story tell mine.)

So. This is what it’s like here. The tiny sprout looked around the lush terrain surrounding her, quivering in delight as she beheld the iridescent hues of the outside world – the world beyond mud and soil – for what she believed was the very first time. A cool springtime breeze welcomed her, planting a gentle kiss on one of her fragile leaves. Surely, the sprout thought to herself, this place would make all those dark days trying to push through the ground well worth the effort and the wait. 

She remembered how it was like being underground and shuddered. It was a disheartening mixture of darkness, nothingness, and hopelessness down there. But she had pressed on steadily, through unforgiving gloom, and here she was now, in a whole new world, filled with renewed hope and expectations.

This new world holds a promise, the little sprout breathed out.

Indeed, those very words proved true. But the sprout could never have imagined the challenges that the new place also brought with it. For, along with all its magnificent splendour and beauty, the world above also contained trials more difficult than the troubles the sprout experience in the world beneath.

There was the wind. The tiny sprout almost forgot its gentle welcoming kiss when blistering gales caused her to sway and bend over. There was the heat. Sometimes the burning sun turned the sprout’s leaves yellow, sometimes it made her transpire until all the water left in her poor body was gone. Then there were the rains. Kind drizzles were gladly received, but relentless outpourings were terrifying. Sometimes thunder and lightning joined in the merciless assault and the poor sprout would have given anything to find a big tree to hide under but alas, she had found that there was none. Her surroundings were lush and abundant when she first broke forth, but, as the seasons passed, shoots were transplanted, trees were cut down, and crops were harvested and brought to the storehouse. Now the world around her seemed almost desert-like.

But in her loneliest hours, she found out that she was not alone. A Great Gardener always came to her rescue. Pruning. Watering. Singing over her, even. He shielded her from the strongest winds. Covered her when the sun was harshest. Revived her when the rains almost brought her down.

For this she was grateful. Though it was tempting to go back underground, though parts of her desired to hide from the challenges that she knew still lay up ahead, she knew that she had to stand firm and hold her ground. Her Gardener would not leave her to wither and die. Her Gardener would see to it that she would bloom and blossom like into a tree of life.

Yes, this is what it’s like here.

The tiny sprout looked around and smiled when she saw fresh green leaves shooting out from the ground surrounding her.

Goals, Dreams, Faith, and Risks

(Day 13 – Goals)

Oh hello, May. I can’t believe you’re here already. In less than thirty days, it will be June. And we’ll be halfway through 2012 when that month comes around.

I’m still holding on to the word that this year is the year to build. Some speculate that this world could come to an end by the time 2012 will draw to its close but well, if it does, I’d like to go to that place “further up and further in*” knowing that I had at least made a difference and built whatever He wanted me to build in this very Shadowland**.

And so here’s a piece about goals. About dreams. About faith and risk.

Back during my undergraduate years – before a year or semester would start – I would make it a point to head off to the right side of the main library to spend some quality time with the Lord, writing down my goals and dreams for that year (or semester). I listed down the typical grade conscious goals. Get an “uno” or at least a 1.25 or 1.5 in my subjects, go the extra mile in projects and all that. But I also listed down goals not typical to the geeky computer science persona that I apparently projected back then. Like write and record songs. Mentor people and touch lives. Know more about God and His great love.

It was important that I wrote those things down. They kept me moving forward, kept me on the right track, kept me passionate and inspired. As McManus puts it:

“We need both to aspire and accomplish. Without a vision for your life, without a sense of purpose, you will begin to die a slow death.” (Erwin McManus, Soul Cravings)

And so, though those goals sometimes made me zombie-like in college (review-slash-project marathons and overnight-slash-dawn prayer meetings anyone?), they kept me very, very much alive.

I still do that though I have long graduated. Ehrm, write down my goals and dreams, not transform into a zombie, I mean. But I would bore you – oh, and even possibly surprise you – if I listed down all the things that I’m dreaming for this year. A lot of them have something to do with the word “more” though. Love more. Read more. Write more. Sing my heart out more. Grow more, in terms of my career and personal life.

You know, basically just live more.

And living more involves faith. It involves risk.

You see, we’ll never see those dreams turn into reality and goals will simply be mere words written down on paper if we don’t risk it out, if we don’t act out in faith and make things happen. It’s scary. But we must never be afraid to make the biggest – or even the tiniest – step of faith to get there. If we let fear paralyze us, or if we let it turn us to the opposite direction, we’ll live haunting lives filled with “what if’s”***. I don’t want to live that kind of life. I want to live knowing that I was brave enough to try.

So dare to dream. And dare to have faith. Dare to risk it all.

Dreaming. Believing. Risking.

*Oh you must read The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle. And the rest of the Narnia books for that matter.

** Here we go with the Narnia allusions again. Chapter Sixteen. :D

*** Quoting a friend who shared about faith and risk last Sunday.