PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

 

In dire straits He rescues us

When I am in dire straits, God rescues me. He has rescued me so many times before. Today, I will mention only those I can recall easily.

When a cousin asked me to live at his place, a place I have left several times but for some reason kept on returning to.

When I found work in these two companies, where I experienced the same: I constantly found ways to ship out yet I found myself going back again and again.
Up to this time, I can’t believe how I got out of this sticky situation of bankruptcy, thanks to maxing out on my credit card – twice! (I have learned my lesson since.)

How I entered college, and how I was able to finish it despite my parents being jobless through that  whole duration of time.

How I obtained my scholarship.

How I ended up in my high school. (I personally preferred this school, but I took up the exam at the rival school anyway, only to be interrogated about my real plan and with my test result stricken off from the list of passers.)

When my young family was able to move out of Manila and planted ourselves in the province, where life was simpler but better.

The so many instances I couldn’t make both ends meet and I was living on loans on top of loans.

The several sicknesses I survived: allergic attack, amoebiasis, ear infection that threatened my hearing, flu (severe cough and cold with fever).

How I was led a charismatic spirituality and became an active Catholic again after a period of apostasy. How this brought me to have a prayer life.

How I eventually discovered the wonders of spiritual healing through integration work and silent prayer, how God led me to an awareness and eventual resolution of perhaps hundreds of personal issues I didn't know I had due to denial. This means a lot of things: lots of forgiveness, less neuroses, less insecurities, and less toxicity in general, meaning much growth and transformation.

All the ‘impossible’ requests I had for other people, starting with family members: my siblings’ college education (my parents were jobless, and I certainly couldn’t afford to send everyone in school); a brother’s employment in a stable multinational firm after losing his job for a very long time, and his marriage in church; a sister’s job in the difficult public school system; a sister’s troublesome marriage; our parents’ own livelihood so they could have their dignity back especially in their twilight years.

***

As to other people, the same prodigious story is happening on a smaller scale. at least in the restricted confines of my neighborhood back home, amazing is the operative word. No, stupefying, as I was left speechless, even humbled and mortified.

Thanks to OFW money, many people’s houses are almost like those of exclusive subdivisions in Manila: gated, with a tall fence, car... Make that cars. There is at least a couple of houses with high-end roofing material. When I was little, most people's houses were just huts made of palm leaf (nipa) or cheap cement and galvanized iron.

Gone are the days when certain people I know from childhood were just the helpless, sniveling kids that they were. Most of them are gone now, in that they have long left town, but look at their own families and houses today.

J’s house now looks like a grand mansion compared to its old self.

R’s house looked already grand then – marble tiles and all. It is even better furnished now, with an air-con in each room.

How on earth did J. possess a car? Or even his younger brother N? Isn’t life unfair in some funny way? J. couldn’t even pass his subjects in school!

One house even have, not one, not two, but three cars! (There was a time all of us only had tricycles or motorbikes, or not even, just bikes.)

As for B’s family – everything has now leveled up, starting from the ornamental plants.

L’s house is one of those high-end houses I was talking about. How did he obtain all that when he was just a high school dropout or something? I heard he hit the jackpot with his wife after they got a big break as local fish dealers at the public market.

As to my first cousins on the father’s side, if I recounted their good fortune one by one, I would not have enough space.

Most of my childhood classmates are gone as well. The nurses abroad have specially struck it rich, hit a gold mine, made it big. They can afford to travel around the world monthly and build palaces that would make the mansions at Ayala Alabang look like tenement or bunkhouses.

The shocker is when I went to B’s house. Also fueled by a nursing job abroad, the house improvement left me totally incredulous. The change was an unbelievable leap from a flimsy nipa hut to a richly upholstered and tiled affair! Oh my God! Was I overcome with a kind of envy I didn’t know I had.

***

I was reminded that nothing is indeed impossible these days. 

Justin Bieber became an international star because of one YouTube video of his that went viral. How many such talents abroad have been featured by Ellen DeGeneres on her TV talk show? It's quite hard to keep count.

The same story is repeated locally in the case of, say, Charice Pempengco and Arnel Pineda. To be sure, these three people have something remarkable in them with or without the validation of gazillion YouTube hits. Their excellent talent has always been there. It just so happened that new technology turned things around to their favor.

***

These developments can only remind me of the many things we, people from the world over, never expected would happen in our own lifetime:

- The fall of communism, including the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the rest of the invisible Iron Curtain --> I honestly thought the so-called domino effect would run its course after a few more decades at least

- The end of apartheid in South Africa --> Just when I’ve accepted that man is evil and life is unfair comes this mind-blowing change, which I honestly expected would come only after perhaps a century of mass murder by both sides

- The return of Hong Kong and Macau to China --> If such hot ‘properties’ could be returned, then all natural and cultural treasures looted in the colonized nations can be demanded back?

- “People power” revolution in the Philippines and around the world, with many ongoing, with various results --> I was a 'Marcos baby' and a Marcos loyalist at 15, but I was praying that not a lot of people would get hurt when Cardinal Sin called for a rally. I never expected that almost no one would get hurt and that the demonstration would in no time become a gargantuan street party! And it would be replicated in a lot of countries in the world! We Filipinos wish we could claim the entire credit, but the French and Mahatma Gandhi’s India had something like it before, although most likely, we never consciously thought of them when we staged our own. Meanwhile, it would take years before I admitted to myself that I was deeply scarred about being wrong about Marcos.

- The ongoing fall of the American Empire --> Who would have thought the domination of a highly secularized culture could possibly have an end as well?

- Loose coalitions of Catholics, Evangelicals and Protestants (and even people of non-Christian religions) ministering to one another in love --> Never thought the day would come! The total lack of desire to convert each other into one's religion is simply jaw-dropping!

- A growing global ethic, a world crying out for a third way or a middle way --> The signs are everywhere, and I'm neither talking about communism nor New Age.

- The puzzling popularity of what I thought to be extinct spirituality in the form of meditation, contemplation, silence and the continued popularity of its opposite: rambunctious charismatism --> Funny how I used to despise both, lividly.

- The astounding exchange of free information in the Internet (lots of thanks to Google) --> Wow. This info and opinion junkie is on a roll.

- Business process outsourcing --> I never planned and never thought I'd work on other people's work from other nations -- and at home too.

***

Each event at which God's hand intervened to change the course of history is seemingly random and minor here on earth, but each deserves a special feast in heaven. Eternity will not be enough for you and me to express all our gratitude to God for how things had turned out.

With this parade of miracles in retrospect, we know He’ll come rescuing us again this time around, in this present hardship, and for always.

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