picking up the pace by slowing down

I am grateful I was able to come home for the holidays. December was a blur, fast and dizzying and back-breaking, like a carousel going around too fast. When the plane slowed to a stop and the lady said, Maligayang Pagdating – time, as if on cue, slowed to a restful pace.

Before I came here I asked for forgiveness from God because my advent was so structured, in a sense. I wanted it to be free and slow and smooth and open to any interruption. I wanted to stop controlling things for once. I realized that even in my wishing I was trying to control Advent, so I said sorry again. Hehe.

I haven’t been picking my phone up that much since I arrived. Good sign. I haven’t been making any to-do list, good sign. I have been sleeping multiple times a day. The activity that fills my day is conversations with family. Within a few hours I picked up their accent, a singsong rhythm with extended last syllables and laughter that makes you run out of breath. Yey. I’m home.
Funny, I came prepared with answers to the ever-dreaded Ba’t Wala Ka Pang Boyfriend question, but surprisingly, that only came up once. What I do not have is the answer to the question “anong gagawin mo after college”

 

For some reason I find it hard to tell them that I have a commitment to honor, have to work a few years in the church that sent me to school. Which is fine by me. But I know they wouldn’t understand it the way I understand it. The other day I was napping when I woke up to hushed adult conversations outside my bedroom door. They were talking about me and Jerry. About our life after college. About what we want to do. About what they think we should do.

The final card they placed on the table – “hayaan natin sila magdecide

Maybe this is why I react violently when I feel like people want to shape me or mold me into what they want – because nobody in my family does that. They wait for me, my growth, even to the point that when I get confused about decisions, they say “Kaya mo yan, ikaw na bahala”. A favorite line of mine that I’ve used on overbearing people and suitors is Daig mo pa nanay ko ah. Siya nga di ako pinipilit.

All that aside, I want to give my family an answer. To be definite and sure and to allow them to dream with me. But the next few years of my career are borrowed years. They’re not mine to hold. And it’s tempting to just give up on planning, and dreaming, because based on previous experiences, they only end up in harsh emotional fits. To dangerous comparisons with others who are not in the same situations I find myself in. Dreaming had been detrimental to me, but that’s because of me.

But you know, I’ve been thinking. A lot. About cinema, about poetry, about writing. About motherhood, maybe. I haven’t told my family about these, yet. I want to talk about these things with them and dream. Why do I feel like I am not yet afforded that opportunity?

Having said all that, I am grateful for this season and all the time it has given me to pause. I don’t like to forget the moments I find myself actively forming my future – not just in grand, round table discussions of after March nor the times when a question is handed towards me; but when I brush my teeth or bend over to tie my shoes I get to think about the things I want to do for the rest of my life. I have a tiny list. It looks like a certain career. I do not want to hold it too tightly because we all know what happens to that.

The quiet, the static, the hum of nothingness has been the most formative to me lately. I still lie awake most nights here, but I’m finally having higher thoughts, not thinking about tomorrow’s class or Ingress or worship service.

I advocate dreaming. I believe it is a God-instituted human capability. I would write about that extensively on a separate post. I am tempted to not dream on the grounds of avoiding disappointment, but the fabric of my soul is weaving a different story.

God knows what 2018 has, even 2019 onwards, for that matter, and that should be enough for me to dream. To believe that whatever is there is good, is provided for, is God-written; the good days and the bad days and the spectacular days. He is there. I know it. He said it. Why should I be afraid?

On the other hand, this season has been teaching me to wait, too. I am a person with active decision-making. I want it fast, I want it now, I’ll recklessly pursue it. But when passion is placed where it is not supposed to go, the fire reduces everything to ash, instead of providing warmth and light. I love the wisdom I reap from the quiet. The things God say through the sunset in EDSA when i’m stuck in traffic or through the noises of the chickens I wake up to. After all these years of breakneck pace, who knew a few lazy days in Caloocan would be my healing.

2018 is heading to my curb, slowing to a stop. It’s about to pick me up. At this point I realize that the pace is up to God, and not up to me. If I don’t wait for His green light or acknowledge His red light, I’m gonna crash. I’m still learning when, where, how to surrender. But I’ve never been better than today. Thank You, Jesus. ✨

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