Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Of Faith and Old Books

I promised myself to do nothing today but review for my upcoming exam, but I knew I HAVE to post this. :)

Painstakingly hand calligraphed. XD

For the past couple of days, I’ve been trying out something so new to me – doing a DAILY DEVOTION. For those who have known me for quite some time now, I know that they will say how strange it is of me  --  I must admit, I haven’t been a very religious person for these past years. My friends urged me to do this, and so I tried it.

And so... I bought a notebook, and reach up to my old Bible. I read it slowly, write down the verse(s) that got to me, jot my interpretation and why I chose it, and compose a simple prayer – every day.

Frankly, I never really expected much of myself when I started doing it. I initially did it just for the sake of trying it out, and I honestly envisioned myself abandoning it when I get tired of it – BUT I WAS WRONG. It started out simple, but now, I regret not doing it for the last couple of years. I understood Him more, and because of that, I also understood myself more. It clears my mind, and as time passed by, it became both a meditation and a self reflection of sorts.

Add the fact that these good things have been happening to me lately, and seemingly, all the things (even the trivial ones) that I’ve been wishing and hoping for are coming true – bit by bit. I am just so thankful to Him that though I didn’t really deserve the love and all the things in between, He is still there giving me His blessings and guiding me throughout.

So... I was doing my early morning devotion and when I got the prayer part, I suddenly remembered something. It was a book that I had way back in high school – a prayer book of sorts.

This book was given to me by a certain someone as a gift for Christmas. I remembered feeling the preciousness of this book because of how special that certain someone is to me. I immediately devoured it, finished it in whole. And when he asked me about it, of course I said it’s good. Well I’m not lying when I said that, in fact, the book  has had its share of highlight marks for all the passages that I feel I connected so much. But it centers on religion and finding one’s self, and I must admit that those topics were quite vague for the naive high school girl that I am.

Upon remembering it, I scoured through my bookshelf. I tend to be so nostalgic whenever I see that book so I tucked it away where I can’t really see it easily (Hehe). But alas, I found it.

The Green Desert: A Silent Retreat by Rita Winters. It was dated December 19, 2007 (the day I received it), I can’t believe it’s been almost 5 years!

I loved this book when I first read it. But I must admit, I haven’t really understood the meaning of this book much at that time. This time though, when I saw it again after all these years, it’s like seeing it for the first time. I was so overwhelmed, so I start flipping through it. And what amazes me more is the fact that suddenly...the words I have highlighted 5 years ago seem to mean so different and so much more to me now. I even felt myself almost crying.

Things like:
“Turn anger to love
As you turned water to wine.
Change me
As you once changed yourself.”
“When God sends us crowded days, it is because he wants us to find our prayer in our work rather than in solitude.”
And also this:
“God always waits for me no matter how late I am. After the twenty-minute grace period afforded by convention, God doesn't leave in a huff. God won’t fire me or banish me from the communion of the faithful. And if I desert her, I will be welcomed back as warmly as the Prodigal Son. God’s arms, like the saguaro’s, are always ready to enfold. The Holy Spirit, like the nurse tree is always there to protect a vulnerable soul.”
Plus this:
“When you look closely and for a long time, you discover things that are invisible to others. Most people make the mistake of trying to ‘look deeper’ when all they need is to pay attention to the obvious.” (I think she quoted ‘God Was in This Place and I Did Not Know’ by Lawrence Kushner)

It was just so good. And I think, this devotion’s doing good things to me, and I strongly feel that this is going somewhere.

How can I explain this? Hmm... It’s like... yeah, reuniting with someone that you’ve loved so much in the past? Something like that? Hehe. It’s like rekindling the love and everything. Loving the book all over again, and much more!

Plus, I also got to see this card that a friend gave me five years ago. This made all the difference during those times when I was down in the dumps because of certain things. It made me really happy to see this after all these years. :)

On the other hand, these are two of my favorite prayers in the book -- those that exactly echoes what I am feeling right now.

"All I do is wait.
I wait or your call.
I wait for your voice.
I wait for ecstasy
only to find
you've been here with me
all along.
Then I wait and I wait and I wait
for your rebuke,
which never comes."

"I believe you will come again.
Maybe even tomorrow.
Like the sun
you have set on my soul
many times,
only to shine your face
that much brighter
upon your return.
If you didn't go away
how would I ever know
you were here?"

God has been barely present in my perspective in the past few years -- and when I finally realized that He was always there, I appreciated everything He ever did and felt guilty for everything I've ever felt all this time. My devotions were full of apology, but I know He forgives me. I know I do not deserve the forgiveness, yet I know He still loves me for who I am.

I am still in the process of slowly building up my faith. Someday I will finally get there. And when I get there, I know He will be waiting – his arms wide open, ready to embrace me. :)

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