Saturday, December 29, 2012


I would like to close my eyes, pretend I am on a plane, snugly strapped in, and the PA announcements are just finished ... thank you for flying with us, and see you in your future journeys.

Then the plane makes its final descent, the tires burn against the runway, and before I open my eyes, the different kind of quiet that pervades my inner space interrupts, and I am awake.

I am still in my bedroom, semi-frozen, alone.

Realization comes that further introspection may prove to be of less help than it should, but then, so what?  So says Don Juan de Marco, there are only four questions of value in life:
"What is sacred?  Of what is the spirit made?
"What is worth living for ---- and what is worth dying for?" 
His answer, as I mumble in reflex while watching the movie, is love.

It isn't corny at all, and the more I think about it, my apprehension disappears.  Yes, the hard life snaps at my tiller.  Sometimes my confidence gets shaken.  Yet I must keep in mind that I am the helmsman now, as it should have been clear to me years past.

I miss my family dearly.  It should be, and it will be, until I choose to end this exile.  I tried sometime back but it wouldn't take.  Too much to do.  Too awful to contemplate surrender.

Let the next year come, and the next, and the next.  What the sky can hold, that is how much I am ready to lay down before my ticker says, no more.

One more year, one more year.  Onward, that I may encompass not only thousandfold, but skyfold (a word and a pun of my invention) the hopes and dreams of those whom I love.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Not Yet After, But It Is

Willing Exile: Just Hangin'

If there's a way I can gift-wrap this message for a particular someone, I would.  But then again, what I mean to reach one person may just end up being misinterpreted by someone else.  I'd like to be known yet still unseen, not much unlike Lionel Richie in Hello, only not as creepy.

It gets tiresome to sweet-lemon the result when there is so much residual bitterness.  Intellectually I am aware of this feeling of never fully letting go, but emotionally it is still there.  And I don't like to pretend that the feeling isn't affecting me.  It does.  Because the feeling, because of the choices surrounding it, encompass my whole life as it stands right now.

No, no more positive spin for this right now.  I'd like the feeling to sear into me and leave its mark.  Only then can I let it go and try, as best as I can, to move on.

I'm not begging to be pitied.  In fact, I don't even care for acceptance or understanding.  I just want to say what I would like to say, and then I hope that will be the end of this.

Friday, December 21, 2012


In a few minutes, standard Arabian time, it will be the 22nd of December 2012.

It isn't an important date by any means, not to me at least.  Tomorrow will just be another day here in Saudi Arabia, another cold day in Riyadh in a succession of very cold days.  I am not making a reference to all of the millennial talk, to the "end of days," or some other facsimile of signs that the Apocalypse is upon us, namely the passing of the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines.  Hardly made a dent in world consciousness.

I am glad that life continues on giving, and giving, and giving.  Whatever the impetus, new life comes forth and within that moment of tenderness, of vulnerability, one finds all the reasons needed to live.  As for death, it is always unwelcome, whether in the ICU or on bullet-riddled, blood-stained kindergarten walls.

It is awe-inspiring that the cycle of life continues even with all the dumb mistakes we humans commit everyday.  While we have reduced Evil to a small "e"  I am very thankful that even with all the buttons waiting to be pressed for a worldwide conflagration, cooler heads have managed to hold onto the tiller.  At least for now.  Every time I see a video or a picture of children growing up, even though they are not my own, I am grateful for time's passage and the blessings these children have made possible to their families.  It hurts me, it pains me that any one of them has to face a moment of privation.

It is therefore bewildering that for all of our aspirations to virtue, only we have the capacity to be inhuman to ourselves.  How, instead of teaching future generations how to live, love, and learn, we are teaching them to hate, maim, and discriminate.

Out of all this bleakness, it is not unreasonable that one learning we can take out of this is that the best intentions aren't enough.  Loving and cherishing one's family is not enough if the primacy of the family means oppressing other families.  Learning and developing new skills must not prescribe that others not as popular should be excluded.  Celebrating one's personhood means also appreciating others, especially those people whom we find so different from ourselves.

It is also not unreasonable that we prepare ourselves by being fooled by this season of glee to expect that somebody else will be doing the hard work, the pedal-pushing, the small sacrifices. We can dream of good things for everyone, just like ol' John Lennon says (bless his soul), but we can't stay dreamers forever.  It is time to wake up and do something.

Merry Christmas.