A personal reflection on why I believe, told through voice, writing, and videos I have taken over the years here in our country, the Philippines, and different places that my loved ones call home. I hope that it sheds a little light for someone. Though little, I pray that it has helped.
Disclaimer: I do not own the song used in the background. The song is one of my favorites and always keeps me calm: House of God, Forever by Jon Foreman
Below are the words that I wrote back in June 2014:
The moon in the sky smiles upon the weary. His face is hidden yet I see His smile from here.
On our way home yesterday, I find it astounding how there are no two same sunsets. My workmates and I would point at the sunset and see how there was a gap between the light from the sun – we were amazed. How day and night always come, how the earth rotates on its axis constantly – never late, never too early. And like what an old book I love called Ready Player One said that we have to remind ourselves that when we look at the sun, we are gazing at a star miles away. And it isn’t just any other sun – it is our sun that helps things grow and holds a metaphorical meaning of hope for us who sometimes find ourselves sad at the end of the day.
I am also reminded of the stars which are always there, how we human beings have discovered ways of seeing them closely, how we even shot up through the atmosphere and built a space station way up high.
Then I am led to think about us, our potentials, our knowledge, and experiences. How we have built magnificent yet meek towns here in the Philippines with thousands of islands, how varied the food is from different cultures, how other nations merge with one another and find a way to appreciate and respect both their similarities and differences. Likewise, I find it amazing how we can communicate with people through the universal language and how even when we do not speak, hugs and handshakes and tears tell us plenty of things.
There’s how we also meet people who think like us and act like us, and then at one instant, we too are suddenly becoming friends with people who are different from us, who like other music, food, or shows, who have unfamiliar outlooks in life than what we have. We are learning that we have no right to devalue what someone else finds important to him. It is his story, not ours. It is our story, not his. Respect is born.
And then there’s the thought that something has got to start somewhere and something great did start in the town of Bethlehem thousands of years ago but His love still persists up to today and tomorrow and the years that will follow.
Whenever I am faced with these things I do not see always or that I forget at times, I say these words: “I believe.” Sometimes, out loud, sometimes, quietly. Even when sometimes I too doubt if this goodness does exist and that our sins have been paid for, I still believe.
I believe and I accept that there is a grand design behind everything. A great big ball of gas cannot come from nothing. And Earth is just the right distance from the sun. Also, if we just take care of our planet that has been entrusted to us, then maybe there is still hope not only for us but also for animals and nature.
Our bodies naturally heal when wounded. I stand up for not violating or corrupting our bodies and for not viewing them as objects, because this keeps our heart and soul in its place, as a Mumford and Sons song goes. This is how we run, we walk, we teach, we study, we help, we swim, we dance with. For these great bodies to only be regarded as someone else’s property or for pleasure – I cannot stand the thought.
I believe in God, this Father, who met me at my weakest and most shameful state, kneeling down in darkness and crying every now and then. Who also was at the core of every survivor of war, illness, imprisonment, or just tiring everyday life. Who made and loves the people we call sinners and saints, men and women, people we like, people we do not like, everyone. Who calls for love even when it is hard, who calls for acceptance even when the person we face is different, who calls for thankfulness for our hands and feet that help us get through. Who does not scare me but just waits for me to come to Him when I realize that I need Him. Who thinks that grace is not an exchange but a gift. Who stands up for forgiveness for those who are willing to repent and change for the better.
I believe that when unexpected things come our way like unexpected struggles or triumphs, there is a reason. And for the times that we ourselves led our way to sin, He will turn everything around for the better and find the right opportunities and people for us to be good again.
Everyday, I see things and meet people who make me believe more and who strengthen my faith that true love does exist. Like people who also write down their thoughts for others to be inspired and happy, and people who take photographs to showcase the beauty of familiar and unfamiliar places in various countries.
When the sun hits the buildings in front of our place even when I cannot see this star, I still see the sunlight shining on the buildings. I see the sunlight shining on other people. How can I not believe when all these years, decades, and centuries, people have found peace in times of anger, war, disappointment, and conflict because they believed and loved? How can I not be moved by other people’s faith and by my own experiences – both painful and blissful – in which I have learned so much from? What I have gone through and am going through is not an illusion – everything is real. It is true. It happened.
As I gaze at the moon tonight, or even when there are days when I cannot feel its presence or see it in the sky, I believe it is always there. I know it will always be there.
And so it goes with God.