Also known as: Appreciating the rain

I am not a big fan of rain.

Photo from we heart it.

It’s kind of obvious with what my family and I went through almost 3 years ago. But thinking back, I realized that I never really liked the rain. You know those people who sang and danced and were just pretty joyful whenever the skies open up and release torrents (or not) of water on the earth? I’m not that kind of person. I can only count several times when I really, really liked the rain:

  • Back in elementary and high school, when rain meant no classes. (Didn’t everyone like this?)
  • On the second night of the YFC ILC in Davao back in 2006. We got rained in the first night and that got us all running for cover, but on the second night, the rain came right in the middle of a worship session and we just…stayed there and kept on singing. It was an amazing night despite all of us being soaked to the bone.
    Right after the rain. (YFC South A, circa 2006)

    And there I was, all smiles even if I was soaked. (Circa 2006)
  • And finally, there was that moment during the WYD 2011 vigil. Oh, I was scared at first, but after some time, I was able to calm down and maybe even appreciate the rain just a little bit. After all, we prayed for it, and God just gave the water to us.

Okay, so maybe other than that, there were several times that I liked the rain, and I felt like one of the many, many people who smile when the rain comes. But when you get flooded, and the sound of rains can set off a certain kind of fear in your heart…well, it’s kind of hard to find reasons to smile.

It’s the rainy season again in the Philippines, and as always, I’m wary of the impending rains and typhoons that will visit the country. This is one of the many, many times that I miss summer terribly and I can’t help but wish that summer here was just a bit longer. I can’t help but start weather watching again, checking the path of the typhoons and all that. I can’t help but sigh whenever I hear the rains when I wake up, and feel worried about how I’d get to work or how I’d get home.

But you know what? Lately, I feel that that part of me is…well, changing. Okay, maybe a part of it is because I got myself some trusty rain gear in the past months (rain boots from my brother and a pretty good rain jacket just a couple of weeks ago). Somehow, those things just give me comfort that I can at least commute without getting too soaked in the rain. I know this is shallow, but it’s given me a bit of confidence and its made me less annoyed whenever I have to go and commute in the rain.

And there’s another thing. I realized lately that the rains make me appreciate seeing the sun. You know how they say it — you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Or something like that. But being under a rainy spell for a while makes me want to dance for joy whenever the sun decides to peek from the clouds and bless us with its beautiful, beautiful yellow warmth.

So maybe I’m not one of those people who dance in the rain. (I tried once, it wasn’t really my best moment. But I am willing to try again as long as someone dances with me ;) ) But I am one of those people who’s learning to see the rains for what they are — a necessary moment, a much-needed cleansing and a cooling respite that prepares us for when the sun comes out again. :)

Literally, and figuratively. :)

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Also known as: I am loved by a generous God who delights in fulfilling my dreams :)
Missed the other Europe entries? Here they are: WYD1, WYD2, WYD3, WYD4, Madrid, Geneva, Paris, Vienna

This time three months ago, I just got home after an amazing two weeks in a place I only dreamed of going to. It’s been three months, but sometimes it felt like a dream, and sometimes it hits me out of the blue that I still can’t believe it happened. To me.

Every time I pray in the morning, I look back at my journal entries for this year and I smile every time I see my prayers for Europe in my handwriting. Please bring us to WYD. Please let us go to Madrid. Please give us our visa. Please help us fix our papers. Please give us airfare. Please, please, please bring us to Europe. Blessed John Paul II, pray for us. So many prayers, so many masses, so many sacrifices. And God was generous enough to hear it and give it to us. To me.

I still don’t know what I did to deserve all of it.

Back when I was still fixing my documents for my visa, I was planning to submit this essay to answer this question in the information sheet: Why do you want to attend WYD 2011? They said we can attach extra pages if needed, so I thought of writing a longer explanation, even if I never really got to submit it. I was reading through it earlier while thinking of this entry and I thought I would share the last paragraph:

I’d like to believe that this time, I’m better prepared to go to WYD. Maybe the “no” I thought God told me before wasn’t really a “no” but really a “wait”. I learned during my job hunt a few years ago that God sometimes makes us wait before He gives us what we ask for because He wants us to experience His blessings in a fuller sense, as well as prepare us in all aspects so we would be able to receive the blessing well. This time, I think I am more financially able to support myself for WYD, I am more prepared in terms of requirements, I have more focus and I have a bigger reason to attend this event. It may not be as big or as noble as others, but I’d like to believe that God delights in His people when they go out of their comfort zones and try reaching higher than they ever reached before, and this is me doing just that. Maybe this time, God will finally give me a “Yes.”

What a humongous YES that was, don’t you think? :) It’s been three months, and I’m surprised I’m still having a hard time writing about this because I should have digested it all now. I should have. But I still get overwhelmed with just how good God is. How awesome and how generous He is. And how blessed I am to be loved by such a good and generous God.

There’s really no doubt about it — my Europe trip could not be possible if it weren’t for God’s generosity. And when you know and believe and have seen that fact, how can you even say no to Him?

It’s been three months since Europe, and I still say thank You to Him. I also thank Him for new friends, new brothers and sisters and for all the experiences I had on that amazing two weeks. I know that maybe five, ten years from now (or even next year), there will probably be some other experience that will top this one (especially since I know God delights in surprising His children!), but I will never ever forget these amazing two weeks in August when I was drenched in God’s awesome grace and generosity. I dared to dream and He just didn’t dare to give — He gave SO much that I cannot help but be blown away. If He can grant a dream like this, can you imagine what else He is willing to give?

So as I end my Europe series, allow me to quote Lifehouse and say sing: Would you tell me how could it be any better than this? :)

I am loved by a God who delights in making dreams come true.

And He loves you, too. :)