It is like the world has been thrown into chaos;
Nothing seems to be working as it should;
All major news bulletins are heart-stopping events;
Both nature and rebels killing people every day;
Always wondering what could possible get worse
But hearing worse news by the hour;
Promise-and-fail seems to be governments’ new résumé;
Economies falling hard like dominoes;
Protests rising everywhere, hoping for a change;
Leaders trying to appease citizens with ear-pleasing project plans;
But fulfilling them has been another ball game altogether;
Now all that people are saying is, “Talk is cheap.”
No one feels safe anymore;
Innocent people caught in the crossfire between rebels and the military;
Law enforcement agents are now killing instead of protecting citizens;
You wonder whether this is the beginning of the end;
Or just a rough phase we just have to endure for a while;
The systems to take care of us have now turned against us;
In all this chaos, people have not given up yet;
They are looking for peace in the midst of the turmoil;
The world they placed their faith has failed them;
Where else can they look?
I will look up to the heavens;
Because our help can only come from above.
We are gradually nearing the end of another year yet again and everyone is wrapping things up one way or the other. Some of us are looking over the goals and resolutions we set for ourselves and wondering how much we have been able to cover. Others have already given up on this year and waiting for 1st January to come so they can start all over.
This year like any other has had its ups and downs; success tales and defeat pangs but thank God, we are still alive and by His grace, everyone reading this is going to make it to the end and see next year. In the spirit of Christmas, we are all putting on the cheerful face and attitude to spend the holidays with friends and loved ones. How genuine that is, only God knows.
Sometimes it feels like it’s the children who look forward to Christmas more than the adults. Perhaps it’s because they expect to receive gifts and the anticipation keeps them excited. As for us, well, we’ll see how it goes. But I wish we would all look forward to the Christmas season with the same eagerness as the little children because Christmas is all about reminding ourselves of God’s greatest and most precious gift to mankind- His beloved Son, a part of Himself.
So as we watch the kids run to meet Santa whenever he comes to town, we should not forget to let them what Christmas is really all about. It is not about some adorable old man in a costume giving gifts because you have probably been good this year but because God showed His unconditional love by offering His Son to the good and bad people alike so we could all become part of His family.
It’s okay if you don’t have enough money to have the kind of Christmas you would want. What matters is that, you appreciate why the season exists in the first place. Its essence is beyond the pretty decorations on the tree; it’s about the gratitude of Jesus’ birth in our hearts.
If you haven’t set yourself in the mood yet, let’s start warming ourselves up for the upcoming season. And don’t forget to tell the kids about the story of Jesus ’birth and not what to expect from Santa. I have nothing against the Santa figure; I just want us to have our focus right. Let’s make each day count.
So here I was, 24 hours earlier, a carefree girl going out of her way to date a much older man and now a married woman. I guess it didn’t really registered in my mind what I had gotten myself into. It dawned on me the following morning when I woke up and found Fitz sleeping beside me. I sat up startled and stared at the rings on my finger. Fitz woke up and saw my distressed self. He put his arm around me.
“It’s okay, Emily. I know it’s now sinking in. your life isn’t going to change much. I will make sure of that. You can still be the same person you were before we got married. I promise you that much.”
His words helped a bit since my breathing got much easier. I nodded. He made me lie back down. Fitz dozed off a few minutes later but my eyes were as wide open as they could be. I lay still and watched Fitz enter the bathroom. Then I sprang up and reached for my phone.
Karen answered at the third ring.
“Hello, how’s it going over there, Em?”
“What have I done, Karen?”
“Huh? Is everything okay?”
“Why didn’t you stop me?”
“Okay, now you’re scaring me. What happened? Did he turn all kinky on you last night? I wouldn’t be surprised…”
“No, no, no…it’s not that. You know me. Why did you let me go ahead with this?”
“Trust me honey; I tried. I guess you were still under the spell of wearing the white dress and walking down the aisle. Are you telling me the spell has been broken already?”
“You’re not making me feel any better, Karen.” Karen laughed.
“You’ll be fine. Just freshen up, get some good breakfast and enjoy the day. Your world hasn’t come to an end.”
“I’ll try that.” Emily heard Fitz call out her name.
“Sorry; got to go. My husband calleth.” Karen laughed.
“Sure; take care dear.” The line went dead.
The honeymoon was as enjoyable as I wanted it to be. Oh, the perks of grabbing an already made man! No worries about money and budgeting for every little expense. Just point a finger and it is yours. And Fitz was as fun-loving as I wanted him to be. Or so I thought.
As soon as we got settled in our matrimonial home, he went straight to work. Actually, he buried himself in it. It didn’t bother me much as long as he made his MasterCard available. Before I realized, the long vacation was over and school had resumed. Although a part of me hated the fact that I was still a student, I was somewhat glad that I could find something worthwhile to do with my time and brain and I could get to hang out with Karen again.
I threw myself on the bed when we entered the room. Karen put her bag down and sat.
“That lecture was awfully long today,” Karen said.
“It felt like the time was crawling…literally. Gosh!”
“So how’s Fitz doing?”
“Fine; he’s been working a lot lately though.”
“But at least you two get some time together, right?”
“Well…mostly not but I found something to occupy my time with. Shopping!”
“Doesn’t it bother you that you two are not spending much time together, especially when you still qualified as newlyweds?”
I shrugged dismissively.
“Well, I knew him to be a workaholic before I said ‘I do,’ so I guess it’s my cross to carry. And besides, he’s working hard for me to have a comfortable life, right? Who am I to complain?”
I knew my defense was lame and weak but what else could I do?
“Is that all you want out of this marriage? Your spouse to work hard so you can waste it all on shopping sprees?”
“Karen, please! Not now, okay? As you said, I’m still a newlywed. Give me time to adapt to my new status. I’m sure things will smooth themselves out with time. Besides, he’s not complaining and neither am I. So we’re good.”
“Okay, I’ll back off…for now.”
“Thank you,” I said gratefully with a sigh.
“So how are you going home today? Our last lecture ends pretty late.”
“Fitz will come and pick me up on his way home.”
“Isn’t that romantic?”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d say I hear a sarcastic tone behind that comment.”
“But thankfully, you do know better.”
As I approached the car waiting for me, I saw Fitz chatting with some young dude. Fitz turned as I neared them and smiled.
“Hi honey.” He gave me a light kiss on the cheek.
“I just ran into the son of a close friend of mine who also happens to school here. Meet my new wife.”
“Thanks.” The guy’s face froze and I smiled coolly.
Tick, tock, tick, tock…
The clock never stops ticking time away;
Even if it stops, time still moves on;
Telling you when to go to bed and when to get back up;
When to work and when to take a rest;
Constantly reminding you that another year is coming to a close;
And yet another one to start;
Keeps you wondering whether your resolutions and goals have been achieved;
Whether every passing moment has been worth your while
Ding, dong, ding, dong…
Opportunity keeps ringing the bell on your door;
Waiting and hoping that you would hear and come open it;
It rings for a time and then stops;
Then tries again and again;
Sometimes softly; other times a little harder;
Not wanting to turn away without seeing you first;
May come under the disguise of a challenge;
Like looking for a pin in a haystack
While time is ticking away like tick, tock, tick, tock;
Opportunity is ringing like ding, dong, ding, dong;
Both cannot be retrieved when lost;
Within each tick, tock is a ding, dong;
A time to find something worthwhile to do;
No matter how little or insignificant it might seem;
And within each ding dong, you can hear a tick, tock;
Reminding you that time and tide wait for no man.
What makes costume parties and masquerade balls so fun? Perhaps it’s the fact that with the former, you get to lose your personal identity and take on another no matter how famous or infamous it may be. The latter however, conceals your image in the midst of others. People look forward to such events because for a brief period, they get to be someone else or nobody you know.
But unfortunately, some people have what should be a once-in-a-while pastime to be a perpetual habit. This is common among most groups of people even among Christians. We like to dress up looking all polished and fancy, waving hands to receive the greetings and admiration of others but behind the smile lays the harbored hate, scorn and bitterness against one another.
As quoted, why try so hard to be someone else when it is much easier to be yourself? Maybe it is this notion that we have to be good and perfect before we can be accepted in church. So Sunday services become another kind of costume party where we all look so saintly and turn to look down on the ones who have come just as they are: flawed and looking for redemption. And when we start the week, everyday becomes another masquerade ball where we put on this façade of being someone totally different so as to survive in this crazed and self-centered world.
Who are we deceiving? Church isn’t a museum for good people but a hospital to care for the sick, conduct checkups to maintain one’s spiritual sanctity and a therapy centre for those who need guidance and counseling. We cannot perfect ourselves by ourselves; that is God’s job to fix us. All we need to do is present ourselves just as we are; be sincere about our brokenness and let Him do the mending.
We have played games for so long. It’s time we put down the masks and get out of the costume. Let’s come before the throne of grace with our true selves and God Himself with clothe us with spotless garments filled with His glory and grace.
Before we know any better; before we even know who we really are,
We tend to believe and accept what others say about us;
The good and the bad, we take them in religiously;
Indirectly giving their words the power to shape our lives;
Most of the time, we tend to dwell on the negative more than the positive;
And later find ourselves becoming victims of self-fulfilling prophecy;
Not good enough, not strong, not pretty enough, we heard them call us;
And some way somehow, we started to see ourselves that way each time we stared at ourselves in the mirror.
But now we have grown and we know better;
And some of us are still bound to the portrait people painted for us growing up;
Good-for-nothing, epitome of failure, the words keeping ringing in the ears;
But forget the image you see in your head; it is a broken mirror-what you see isn’t real.
Whatever someone says to you is like a seed sown into your life;
But you choose to make that seed feel at home enough to take root;
So gladly accept the good and kind words and water them in your heart;
But for the cruel ones, shut them out and delete permanently.
You may have grown up believing that you couldn’t go far in life;
But you are still alive and that must count for something;
Pick up the pieces and keep walking on;
And replace that broken mirror in your mind with a good one.
Then you would see just how complete you are;
Even with your imperfections, you are clearly unique;
So don’t let someone’s rude words tear you down;
If they had better lives themselves, they wouldn’t be so bitter.
It’s time to pull out some weeds out of your garden;
And water the seeds.
The aftermath of being dumped by Tony turned my once soft heart of flesh into a hardened heart of stone. He gave me my first heartbreak and it didn’t go down well with me at all. Technically, I broke up with him first but the fact that he totally ignored me when I came back running was too much for me. (I didn’t even mean to break up with him; I just threatened a walkout if he didn’t talk sense at the time and he shrugged as if our relationship was not even worth a bargaining chip). So I walked out with my chin up but my heart crushed. So I put a lock on my heart; I made sure no one would ever come that close again.
Of all the guys who tried applying for the position as keeper of my heart, most of them tall, dark and handsome (just my type!), it was Fitz Daniels who finally got my attention. Till I met him, I never understood why some college girls went in for older (and often married) men when there were cute unattached guys roaming on campus.
Now I know. The amateurs think they know what’s up when they sip any drink called wine; but it takes one with experience to tell you what good wine really is. Men like wine, get better with age. They are more affectionate and more generous. They know how to take care of a lady. It was rather unfortunate that Fitz had to meet the broken me and not the happy-go-lucky me. But on the brighter side, if he hadn’t met me in my worst version, I would have never tasted the sweet side of him.
Yes, he was older than I was. And honestly, I didn’t care. If a peer could hurt me, what worse harm could an older guy do to me? And he was ready to pay for my love. So I thought, why not? Unlike God’s salvation, my love wasn’t for free. If he was going to dump me any time, I might as well profit in the meantime. But he didn’t.
At first, we were both just having fun but after a while, I realized he was falling for me. It made me feel tingly every time I thought about it. I must be lovable, huh? (Smiley).
And I decided not to tell Karen about it. Because I knew her cold words would definitely jinx it before it got anywhere. I only told her after Fitz had proposed. And the look on her face was priceless! I can still remember the look; that’s how memorable that moment was.
“It looks like it can pay for my entire tuition in college. Who is he?” Karen asked.
“You will see him soon. In fact, I’m inviting you to dinner with the two of us at his place.”
“Who’s cooking?” She asked suspiciously.
“You are; that’s why I’m inviting you. We’ll cook together and share the table with him.”
“You mean I’ll cook and you’ll sit idly beside me, filling me in with gossip,” Karen said.
I smiled. “I know you love my company. So it’s a date. Tomorrow. So if you have any plans, cancel them.”
“Gladly; I can’t wait to meet Mystery Man.”
We went grocery shopping together and then to Fitz’s house.
“He gave you a key to his house?” Karen asked when I took the key out of my purse.
“Of course; I’m his woman. Come on, let’s go in.”
“Wow; he must be the son of some rich business mogul. He is, huh?”
“You’ll find out.”
“Oh, come on; enough with the suspense. Help your sister out.”
“Nope; not this time.”
We were setting the table when Fitz arrived home. Karen saw him first.
“Hey; I think his dad is in or is he the big brother?” Karen asked. I ignored her and decided to answer her in a big way.
“Hi darling; welcome home,” I greeted sweetly as I walked into his arms and gave him a kiss. I could literally hear Karen’s heart stop at that instant. I gave myself a satisfied smile before turning to look at her. For a second, the shock had frozen her face; her jaw had dropped open and her eyes were as big as eggs. But she being the character that she was, she quickly regained her composure and wore a broad smile.
“Hi. I’m Karen, Emily’s friend and roommate. Pleased to meet you.”
“Karen; of course. She talks about you all the time. Pleased to meet you too,” Fitz said, extending a hand to her. It took Karen a moment before she could muster the courage to take it. She forced a smile.
“Hope they are nice things.” Fitz and I exchanged a smiling glance.
“Why don’t you go and change and then we’ll have dinner?” I suggested.
“Sure; I’ll be right back.” There was silence till the bedroom door was heard being shut.
“What the hell?” Karen shouted in a whisper. I know, it’s impossible but not with Karen.
“Just calm down. It will sink down in a minute or two. It is not as ridiculous as you think.”
“Oh I’m glad you called this ridiculous. Is he divorced? Have you met his children? Are they happy with this?”
“Calm down, honey,” I said coolly, tapping her cheek. “You’re overreacting.”
“Emily honey, could you please come up?” Fitz voice rang out. I glanced at my friend and gave her a wink.
“I’ll be right up, sweetie.” And I went up the stairs like a little girl.
Whiles eating dinner, Fitz asked, “Who cooked?” Karen and I glanced at each other. Fitz chuckled. “I know it’s you; Karen. Emily doesn’t cook much.”
“And he loves me all the same,” I said girlishly.
“Huh,” was all Karen could say.