Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Unquestionable Faith?

I was a bit flushed because of a slight fever when I woke up this morning. So, right after my morning routine, I decided to go back sleeping.

But sleep was elusive so I decided to switch channels and look for interesting shows instead. There on screen, I was greeted with a large throng of devotees of Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

Thousands of people would be joining the procession around the Quiapo area to honor the black life-size image of Nazarene which originally came from Mexico including of course no less than the Vice- President of the Philippines who is a known devotee.

It never failed to amaze me the conjecture of activities like this. Just the other day if I am not mistaken, the same Religious activity caused an accident to many devotees including the death of a twelve-year-old boy. The boat hit a live wire while they were having a fluvial procession.

Idolatry? Fanaticism? Devotion? or just plain and simple unquestionable faith?

Back in Naga City where I've finished schooling and worked for five years, the same activity is being held every year. Traslacion, Fluvial Procession, then as the years go by the activities became endless (sometimes, you won't see anymore the connection to the festivity- like having a street party or beauty contest).

But, the image of the activity I could never forget was the time when I was in third year high school where I've got to see the celebration only in TV. It was unbelievable! Priests tried to stop devotees from ripping the cloth of the image of Virgin of Peñafrancia. Drank voyadores (they call voyadores the men who carried the image) were shouting, some people who were about to faint were being thrown out of the crowd. My heart lurched many times when the image swayed left and right ready to fall but the ever attending priests tried to save the Patroness of Bicolandia.

Years later, I've got to experience first hand the Traslacion because the school where I taught was a Catholic school. It was a far cry from the one I saw on TV. We were first in the long line with my pupils in a formal attire. It was a solemn one because we were praying the rosary until Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. However, when I was home again and while watching TV, I couldn't believe it when I saw the same scenes back when I was in high school. What happened?

Then, I realized we were very far from the image that's why we didn't really see what was happening. The shouting, the foul smell of voyadores, then that uncontrollable desire of some devotees to touch the image even if it means shredding the Patroness with flowers that adorn her. The organizers tried every year to make the celebration a solemn one but it seems that some are just simply hardheaded.

I grew up with deep belief in God. The kind of belief that doesn't question where the origin of belief rooted from. However, I learned also that pure "faith" doesn't need to be shown in activities like these. I mean, if you can commemorate the feast in a solemn way like praying in a quiet corner, why not do so?

As far as I know Jesus by reading the bible, He communicated to His Father through deep communion in a quiet corner any time He wants it.
Why do we need for the feast itself to show our devotion? Why can't we pray everyday to show our love or rather why can't we have a celebration like a procession where solemnity will prevail? Sacrifice doesn't need really to be out in the street, join the crowd, endanger your life, walk bare-footed, and shout how much you love God.

I'm dreading watching the news tonight because I know just like every year, they would feature again those who get hurt or in some years those who died because of the large crowd. History really repeats itself. (Niña)

A Childhood Dream

About twelve years ago, we were asked by my high school teacher to draw the things that we could envision in our future. I made it very fast though I didn't know much about drawing. Maybe it was that silent conviction that I was sure what I wanted to happen in my future.

The drawing was simple, a newspaper headline with my name - Atty. Niña Buena made it again! Obviously, I had no idea yet about the rules in headline writing before. Then on the left side was a family in a beautiful (if you can consider my drawing beautiful enough) house and car.

I had no idea chasing dreams was not that easy. If the measurement of success will fall into the category of finishing law, in my case then, I guess I failed.

But then, with how my chosen profession turned out, did I really fail? I did make it in the newspaper, radio and TV news only that not as a successful lawyer but as a teacher. My name was also into countless streamers for my feat. Let's say, I became a bit known and recognized in my craft. Will that suffice? I actually have no answer.

If the measurement of success will fall into the category of finishing law, in my case then, I guess I failed.

Years later, I've found myself with an introduction enough to blast a whole stadium. I'm a frustrated writer. Do you get it? I'm a frustrated writer...I'm a frustrated writer...I'm blah blah blah. Every cell of my body is screaming to write but then again that shadows of doubt started to plague me again.

Dreams and plans are actually different. I planned for my future 12 years ago with that simple drawing then I started having dreams. But, I never got into realizing them. Will I let the shadows cloud my fervor to make a difference? I don't think so. Not this time anyway.

I've started with a book but I can't get myself to finish it. I was stuck with 1/4 of a book I promised to budding writers.

Where will the inspiration then root from in chasing my dream? Love, that is.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Difference of Innocence and Naivety

With my nieces, Shayne and Trisha. 

The house is filled with a deafening silence...the clock ticks like the sound of approaching death...I look at the mountain of work waiting for me and my heart was about to burst out...then...

Hey, don't take me so seriously. Quite the contrary, I'm not back to my insignia of complex words or deep (way too deep to grasp at times) elaboration of my miseries. Neither I was beseeched again with unforeseen melancholic drama that consumed my whole being- body and spirit. Ugh! Tough.

Well, I was just mulling over some thoughts that seem to draw my attention lately. Like not doing anything worthwhile (another ugh!), getting the habit of grinning ears to ears even when my nieces are talking about something quite dramatic. (Now, that's alarming, right?)

Oh, there's another thing, thinking about words and looking at them closely. It's hard to explain but more of I'm correlating finally uses of words with daily experiences. Still not getting it? Sort of a delusion, a mirage, figments yet real.

Like when you say, "I hate you", you can not see the words yet you could feel the vehemence of the tongue. The power of the words in our lives, that's it!

If you say, "you are ignorant", well, that's mean. If you say,"you are innocent" more of an admiration. Then there's "naivety". A compliment or an insult? Well, it depends really to the speaker and the receiver.

Innocence on the other hand is a word that tends to be abused. Some would say "You are very innocent" but actually the speaker meant, "you're stupid and ignorant!". 

Conversely, children will always have that innocence in their hearts. Why do I say that?

Well, last New Year I heard mass together with my two nieces- Shayne and Trisha. The two were quiet the whole time. Then came the "offering of the sign of the peace", I kissed the two of them and when Trisha glanced in front, she saw this cute little girl. Instantly, their faces lit up. They both waved their hands. No, she's not Trisha's classmate nor a friend. They both didn't know each other.

The waving was added with that pure smile one could only surmise it came directly from the heart. Before I knew it, the little girl told Trisha she's Pauline and she's four years old, she wants to study in Trisha's school, and she "demanded" to know also Trisha's name and age. Trisha then asked the ages and names of her companions.

It was a wonder looking at them. All these happened while they were singing mass hymns, kneeling, and praying. Shayne was shy at first but ended up hugging and kissing the little girl. Everything occurred for about 15 mins. The three kids plus adult companions ended up best of friends. It was hard to separate the three kids when we were about to go home.

The kids' minds were not yet tainted with suspicions. They acted exactly with what they've felt. No second thoughts, no hesitations, no reservations. Pure Innocence.

Then there's naivety. Exactly, how can you say a person is naive?

Well, my friend, Merriam (online dictionary, that is), states that a person is naive if she is deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment. Sort of not yet corrupted? It could be.

Is it bad then or good to be naive? As I said, it depends on the situation really. I would love to be called naive if it means my ideology was not yet tainted but I would hate to be called naive if it means I'm being treated as an ignorant.

Let's talk about love. When you fall in love, will the innocence remain? yes, maybe. But, naivety will not. After all, it's a process where you've got to learn things that can't be found in any best-selling books. Shared moments...shared learnings...

Innocence and naivety therefore are both transient- ephemeral? yeah, exactly! As we sail through life, both will be washed away. Like footprints in the sand. As time passes by the waves of life will fade the mark. Then, kaput.

Nooooo. I won't end it like that. Not ruined really. The innocence and naivety might be gone but then the person ends up wiser, stronger and more intelligent than ever! There, that's it!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007



'Tis strange thoughts that mind was haunt, 
Brazen stance awash thy fortitude 
Naught besmeared with unsightly hope 
In deep slumbereth pierced thy mystifying reverie. 

Love is strange yet potent as a sword 
It could perforate one's heart when oblivious 
It navigates to feed thy soul 
It fills one's heart with anticipation. 

Love is indeed an ever-fixed mark 
The origin unknown yet it beckons 
To trust...to hope...total abandon 
Trenchant wound at the end has no room. 

It could lead to a zilch or magnificent ending 
It could mar one's soul beyond mending 
Yet, how one would know 
If the heart's door would not open? 

'Tis love that one feels alive 
The ember of magical sensation stirs 
The sagacity of elation burns 
Thread of passion connects two souls.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Perfect Love in a Crazy World

Let me tell you a beautiful love story...


Once upon a time, the Prince met his Princess. She was the woman of his dreams while he was the man she prayed for. They met in a somewhat extraordinary way- where computer talked in a techno world. It would be apt to say a perfect match made in heaven. 

More than the physical attraction was the meeting of two minds. The Prince was an intelligent and decent guy while the Princess was an innocent clever lass. However, the happiness was short-lived.

The Prince realized he had more than his share of raw pain caused by love so he decided "he can't fall in love". Getting old alone and lonely was better than to be vulnerable again with heartache. After all, he's happy and contented with his career and to have a woman in his life might just be a headache and trouble.

The Princess being naive as she was yielded to his will. After all, her experiences to male species was only limited to age ranging from 10-12 year-old. She was made to believe also that she would just be a nuisance in his perfect world. Therefore, she deemed it necessary to remind herself over and over again why she can't fall for him.

If you are familiar with Elizabeth Barret Browning poem, "How Do I Love Thee?", here's the Princess' version.

Why Can't I Love Thee? 

Why can't I love thee? Let me count the ways. 
I can't love thee to the depth and breadth and height 
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 

I can't love thee to the level of every day's 
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. 
I can't love thee freely, he's too independent for that; 
I can't love thee purely, he won't allow me in his life. 

I can't love thee with a passion, he won't yield to his heart 
In my old grief, and with my childhood's faith. 
I can't love thee with a love I seemed to lose 
With my lost saints, I can't love thee with the breath, 
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose, 
I shall but love thee after death but not in life. 


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