All These Things (5): May Edition

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I decided to check my Feedly earlier for a quick mental break and started going through the long Relevant Magazine feed backlog. I saw this article entitled, Anxiety is a Spiritual Issue, and found this:

Maybe, even though God made the night and knows there is nothing in it to fear, He gave us stars to light it because He knows we might be afraid anyway.

I had to stop and read it all over again. There’s something about this that’s really comforting. It could be the mention of stars (that I always, always love), or it could just be the plain truth that this line carries.

The rest of the article is very good, too. :)

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A few weeks ago,  I I lost my train of thought there — that phrase has been here since this morning when I started this post, and now I can’t remember what I was supposed to write. I’ve been experiencing this lately, along with other things that I figure is a sign of aging: wanting to sleep early, choosing not to drink alcohol, going home before midnight. I haven’t quite mastered not eating all the good sinful sinfully stuff like bacon, chocolates, and extra amounts of cheese in everything, or actually getting my work-out time back, but I’m getting there. (I started taking my coffee black, with a single serving of stevia. Yay, me?)

Anyway, the “shock” of realizing that I’m not getting any younger since I turned 29 hasn’t worn off, so I’m trying to make wiser choices to prepare myself for the next decade. Because…well, it’s about time, right?

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Green is Faith's favorite color. #amwriting #SparkNA #KTF

A photo posted by Tina Matanguihan 🌻 (@storiestotell) on

Speaking of time, I’m right smack in the middle of writing my next novel. I signed up for the Spark NA class just to get me writing. It’s worked so far, but like with the first writing workshop I joined at the start of the year, I am not doing so well with time management, because work and other things. I have made significantly more progress than I would outside of a class. Slow and steady progress, as always.

I’m gonna work really hard to get this out this year. Especially since I really, really like my new Lead Interest.. :”>

* * *

One more, before I go back to proofreading: It’s the first of June on Monday. Can you believe it?

Remain in My Love

I think it was late last year, during my most stressful days at work, when I thought of running away.

Not really run away from home, mind you, but run away somewhere just so I won’t have to deal with the things I had to deal with everyday. I was so, so tired, and I thought of all the options I have in front of me: to resign, to study, do something else – just be anywhere but there.

But in the end, I didn’t do it, because responsibility won me over. Plus I couldn’t help but think of what my manager told me before I joined the team when she saw my tenure – that I was someone who stayed, and it’s a big thing. I thought maybe I should hold on a little while longer, and not make hasty decisions. And it’s not like it was so easy to just run away.

Besides, if I didn’t remain there for a little bit longer, I wouldn’t have found my 2015 word, and I wouldn’t have moved to this other job.

So it all worked out in the end.

The One Who Remained.

At the SFC International Conference at Cagayan de Oro last year, the second talk was all about the apostle John, and the crucifixion.

You see, John was the only one among all of Jesus’ apostles that was at the foot of the cross up until Jesus drew his last breath. When everyone else had run away and hid, John stayed. After Peter denied Jesus three times, John followed Jesus to the cross.

Why was he there? The speaker asked.

The answer was simple: He was there because Jesus was his friend. 

The speaker further explained: He was there because he loved the Lord. John thought that his presence there would somehow ease Jesus’ pain and suffering just by merely being there.

It was early morning, and I was on my way to tutoring when a thought hit me.

Why don’t I study abroad? That’s something nice to do.

It was, admittedly, a nice dream. It was something I had parked at the back of my mind years ago, but I never pursued because I didn’t want to leave. And then I found a reason. Or perhaps, it wasn’t really a reason, but a push.

It seemed like a good idea, though, and it is still a good idea now. Except back then, the reason I wanted to do that was because I wanted to run away again. I wanted a fresh start that I can’t seem to get here, so I thought, where else can I get a fresh start but in another place where no one knew me?

Of course that didn’t happen, because other things did.

John could have ran away, too.

Continue reading Remain in My Love

The New Normal

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A few days ago, I woke up and felt unsettled.

This was new, because the past months have probably been the calmest I’ve been in since 2013. There wasn’t a rush of emotions, thank God, but there were twinges – and those twinges were the kind that gave a warning, like maybe if I keep them unchecked, I will spiral back to where I used to be.

It didn’t scare me, really, but I felt a little confused about these feelings, the ones that I didn’t expect to come. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, and I felt that all this had to happen now, during the Holy Week, for a reason. So I sat down and tried to unravel it all.

* * *

A few months ago, after Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines, I asked: how can you go back after all of this? The Papal Visit was one of the most amazing weeks of 2015, and it was only January, and as I packed my things from the press headquarters, I felt nostalgic. Sure, I was about to go to my new work by then, but the glow of the Papal Visit weekend has overshadowed everything. How is life supposed to go back to normal after this?

But maybe it’s not meant to go back to normal.

That answer came to me soon after. Maybe it’s not about going back to normal after something life-changing comes your way. Maybe it’s all about making a new normal, you know?

* * *

But the thing is, new normals are out of our comfort zones.

The thing about life is that when we have learned to live with what we have for a while – be it happy thing or not. Resilience has taught us that, how to live with what we have against not functioning at all. And with this resilience, we become comfortable with what we have, and when we’ve finally moved to something better, adjusting to it is a whole new thing.

And sometimes, we’d rather be where we used to be because we’re comfortable, even if what’s being offered to us is something new and better.

* * *

It was in the middle of cleaning my desk on Maundy Thursday that I finally understood. Nothing like household chores to give you clarity with the things that bother you.

“I think I just missed being where I used to be. It was comfortable and I knew how to deal with it. Now I need to navigate through unfamiliar waters and a part of me wants to regress.”

I wrote this in relation to that little twinge of feelings that I felt last week, but I realized later on that it applies to all the things that has happened in the past months: a new job after seven years, new projects, new responsibilities. Old and new friends, restored relationships, and new memories. All the things that has come and will come are a part of the things that make this new normal that I have to learn to not just live with, but enjoy. :)

“I guess what I want to say is instead of looking back to how I used to deal in the past, I should just be thankful that I am given a chance to have another set of normal. That God loves me enough to give me this so I might learn to see how He works in my life.”

“This realization earns me plus points in self-awareness,” I told my best friend via text message, smiled, and went back to clearing my desk.


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