Thursday, October 28, 2010

You’re happy, I’m happy. You’re sad, I’m sad. You jump off a cliff…

With a friend like me, why would you want to jump off a cliff??
There’s something heartwarming about friendship. That sweet camaraderie among those whom you’ve known the longest, the ones who’ve you can count on anytime of the day, and yes, those ones whom we just love to hang around with, no matter what age. We know that love is what binds friendship together, and that God is Love itself. We’ve seen many scenarios that teach us valuable facets of it, for example, in the media that so often effects us today, good ways, and pretty awful ways. But do we really know that it’s also a facet of a vocation to holiness?

In Toy Story 3, the toys are being called to a special kind of calling; the vocation of being present. They know at times, that even though they may never be played with again; just being there for their owner in good times and bad, strengthen their friendship more than ever. Lord of the Rings, I think, is all about loyalty and responsibility. As a friend, we are entitled to a responsibility and loyalty that goes beyond measure, but it acts on both our parts – Frodo and Sam are the best examples. In those desperate situations, many friends are promoted to family, and our responsibility and loyalty rises to that of a sibling. The Soloist teaches yet another valuable lesson that is often concealed. We can provide happiness, beauty, and everything they have ever dreamed of, but we cannot do everything. We may able to change their heart, with God’s grace, but we cannot change who they are. In the movie, Nathaniel suffers from schizophrenia; his friend Steve does everything he can to help him, but blames himself that he cannot solve the real problem. We can’t fix them into the way we want. Only God can do that. And those are the precious moments that God calls us to be in – just to be there for a friend is the best you can do – and let God do the rest.

There are way too many examples I can give that show the beauty of friendship. I chose these three, mainly because they have taught me a valuable lesson that gave an impact on my life. It may be a little strange to focus on that area, but if you know me pretty well (I tend to be a little too nice sometimes :P), it’d make sense. And maybe you’re like that, too. I don’t think of myself as a reliable and responsible teenager that everyone can count on. And not in the way you might think! Yes, I strive to clean up my room, make my bed, cook lots of desserts for my family, and stay constant in my faith, but when it comes to reaching out to someone, a friend or sibling, maybe, I find myself wavering over the decision to help or not a little too long. No, I’m not cold-hearted like that, it’s just that it takes a while for me to trust in God and remember that I should just be an instrument of his Love, not the one playing it. But that’s responsibility. Being there and reaching out to those in need – because in Christ’s eyes, we are all brothers and sisters. How could stand by and wait for them to come sobbing at our laps?

It’s that leap of faith, and that moment when friends get promoted to family, and you find/see yourself a little more clearly, too. If you don’t, it’s gonna be pretty lonely, for your friend, and for yourself, too. I know, it's scary. But don't forget that God is our Friend too, and He won't let us down!

We also must remember we are JUST God’s instrument. We don’t take charge, just take hope and know that God’s taking care of it, through you. I had a hard time accepting that. Not too long ago, I was driving myself nuts over a friend who was feeling broken – I felt really awful that I couldn’t heal whatever was wrong. I blamed myself for failing; it made myself miserable and made me want to give up. But God didn’t give up on either of us. Through the movie ‘The Soloist’ (and some reflection after seeing the film), I was able to understand a little bit more, and remember that I’m human. Duh! I can’t do everything – I can do everything I CAN, but I can’t do the impossible. Only God can. It was those moments when I was there for my friend, that God used to heal whatever was broken. Just being there may be the best thing you can do, like those toys, or the way Frodo and Sam portrayed it. I was only holding my friend’s heart together, while, not I, but God was healing it. And that experience taught me a lot that still deserves some more thinking.

So yes, true friendship is a facet of vocation to holiness. It’s through them that we feel God, and allow God to work through us. And you can never ever ever have too many friends; it’s like food. (No, no, don’t eat your friends!!) You need to eat, and you’ve got your favorites, but you can’t ignore the healthy stuff. And of course, there’s no harm in trying new food. Who knows? Might just end up as one of your favorites, too.
Love, responsibility, and loyalty. Three voices that combine to make one glorious hymn. Can you guess which one sings the melody?

“Friendship isn’t about whom you’ve known the longest. It’s about who came, and didn’t leave your side.”

So, if you’re happy, I’m happy. If you’re sad, I’m sad. You jump off a cliff…

And you can be sure that I’ll be at the bottom to catch you! :)

pic source

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"When you're fighting to believe in a love that you can't see, just know there is a purpose..." ♫

Waiting isn't much fun, huh? :(
Many times, a lot of times, we find ourselves waiting for something. A hope, a promise, anything really... Something that would spark our spirits to love God in that amazing way we have before, but somehow...we just don't feel it. Then you wonder what would it take for you to fall in love with Him again.

This has been one of my favorite songs for a while. It was the first song that came to mind when I heard the first Reading on Sunday (oh yes, I was paying attention!!). Sometimes we can't feel God and how He, at those moments, is wrapping His loving arms around us. He didn't love us any less. Did it ever occur that maybe we have...?
Yet, in the midst of all the brokeness, His promise - or whatever He has spoken to your heart - still stands firm. If it hasn't come, you can be assured that it's on its way, without fail, and has never stopped from coming. It's kind of like Christmas or Easter. It's not going to stop from coming, even though the days seem miserably long and hard. Even when it finally seems like everything has fallen apart (like in the vid when the girl's violin was smashed to pieces), God is still there to take us through. If He can't take us out of this dark night, then He'll at least take us through. :)
Pain, brokeness, sorrow...they're all a part of life, and necessary, too. "The pressure makes us stronger, the struggle makes us hunger... The hard lessons make the difference, and the difference makes it worth it." A lot of times we forget that God's time isn't always our time.

A mom of one of our close family friends gave me this to think about when I was going through some tough times:

Humility --do what you can and let Him do the rest.
Confidence--faithfully believe He will take care if things.
Abandonment -- His will be done.
Love- do what love requires and love yourself right where you are, He'll do the rest.

These were the four virtues that St. Therese taught - and this mom is a very close friend of hers. :) I figured it'd be a good time to post it - especially that I've missed posting a bit of St. Therese for her feastday, so...
I like that she mentioned "He'll do the rest," at least twice. I think we tend to forget about that... I do, for sure. :P

In the meantime, while we wait, we can be that hope for someone else. Share His love, even if we don't feel it, and let them know that they're not the only ones who feel broken inside, and struggles to hide it. It's hard, but yes, ultimately worth it.

P.S, I know this is super off-topic, but could you please vote on the poll that's on the sidebar? And let me know - 'cause I changed my backgrounda while ago, forget to mention - if the text is harder to read and if I should change the color...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Okay, who threw their watch out the window...?

I blame you for making time fly by!!!!

Can you believe it's October already? *doesn't raise hand* I still remember Christmas Caroling down in Waikiki with some of my bestest friends...and that only feels like five months ago.
For me, October is always that moment when you think somewhere along the lines of: "Darn. It'll be Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Years one after another. And before you know it, it'll be Valentines day, and then Lent AGAIN!"

Don't you hate it when life throws itself at you like that? Life should be treated like chocolate; savored slowly and with each little bite, you feel that satisfying sensation. Chocolates shouldn't be gobbled up. Where's the fun in that?

I've had a lot of grown-up moments this year. Several times I had to assume the title of 'big sister' when my older sister wasn't around. I'm pretty bad at it, but at least I've got a brother who looks centuries older than me. We don't even look alike...(on the sidenote, my younger sister just told me that if we weren't related, and she saw me walking around Waikiki, she'd definitely think I was a tourist).
Besides being stressed out about moving, which I never really had before, there was the teenage drama going on with my friends, and that whole friendship thing, when you talk to someone about why you're hurting and God's miraculous intervention. This was the first time I've talked about stuff like that to a friend. Okay, it wasn't a real-life conversation, nor a phone conversation. ...It wasn't email either. It was uh, Facebook messaging... (you can laugh now) But that still counts, right??
I can remember the many times I've rolled my eyes whenever my mom talks about stuff like that with her friends. I was like, 8-ish, and seeing my mom cry about emotional stuff that has happened was amusing(my mom has this really loud & jiggily laughter that you can hear a mile away). But now that I've experienced it, I can really understand why talking about it brings you to tears. Wow. Just amazing. Weird, but amazing.

Another grown-up moment was when I was camping this weekend. I snuck away with my older sister to go stargazing on the beach. Lying there on the cool and fine sand, I wondered about a lot of things that had happened lately. I realized that there was a very big difference between two times of the homeschool group I have been in. The one that seemed like decades ago, and the one now. Why do I think of them as almost two seperate groups? Because the one decades ago - almost all of the members had either moved away to the mainland(military), or decided to non-homeschool their kids. They were all replaced with new friends and families. Anyway, the old group had lots of kids around 8-12yrs. There was a teenager or two, but that was it. Now? I can count up to almost twenty teenagers, most of them around my age. And not a lot of them are military. I realized that these would be those friends that you'd grow up with - throughout the rest of highschool year, graduation, and possibly college. Years ago, those things would never come to mind. Years ago, growing up never existed. And years ago, it felt like God was holding the future in His Hands, and there was nothing to worry about.

That's another thing that I've been wondering about. Why is it that the older we get, we worry more? God HAS been holding the future in His Hands, before we were all born. It's not like the future is like one of those annoying toy thingies - you know that plastic tube/thingy with sparkley liquid in it that you can't squeeze? Something like that.

This school year I'm doing my best to be a Junior. Already, you may ask? Homeschooling can be confusing, yet extremely organized. The good news is that I've caught up with some school work and have gotten ahead in those areas. The bad news is that I'm still behind in some areas. The plan so far that I've tried to sketch in my head goes somewhere along the lines of getting enrolled in Seton Home Study School for my Senior year, so that I can fly to Virginia in 2012 for graduation.
I have a lot of friends graduating that year, and are also flying to Virginia. That gives me a year to catch up with my not-so-good areas. It's not impossible; it's just that I have those moments where motivation is very much lacking in me. So do keep me in your prayers. :) And if you have any helpful advice, please, do share!

What goes beyond that, I am not entirely sure. I do know though, that I'd like to do something with art (art history is so AWESOME!!...that, and I love to do artwork). I'm self-taught, and very sad that I can't afford art lessons. I suppose my top area is manga/anime art. I'm not much of a fanatic, and haven't had much time lately to do anything, but I'm pretty surprised that in a period of about a year, I've gotten farther than I've expected to. (to close friends: I can email you a couple of pics I've done before). But an ultra-awesome thing is that I've drawn several saints in this style. I don't think they look as awesome as they deserve, but it's still pretty cool. So I suppose this brings me to an idea of learning to do animation? That would be really neat. John Paul the Great University provides classes on animation. Other than that, I do want to learn other art styles. But who knows what will happen? Only God does. :)

Another thing is writing. As you can probably guess by this super-long blog post, I do love it (Yes. I know. I'm weird.). I admit that I have had many attempts at writing a book, fantasy/fiction, and maybe a short story or two that's connected to another story, but that's it. It's either lack of motivation, or another idea springs up and I want to go with that one that stops me. Believe me, I have plenty of ideas, stories, and fun stuff in my head that I want to write, but those ideas outweigh my writing skills. In other words, I can't write it all out very well. I'm still trying to find out my writing style. But now that I'm getting older, and running out of time before Senior year, I really want to finish up at least a draft of a story. That sense of accomplishment would be really great. On another area, essays don't prove to be too hard unless there is absolutely no inspiration. Do pray for me regarding that...

One last thing is music. I'm no prodigy - all I can do is play the piano and a bit of the violin. But I've also done a little experimenting here and there, and actually has gotten into song writing. Song writing? Really? Yep. It's a lot more fun than I thought!

So...any college hope for me? I've taken a look at lists of degrees and majors and whatnots, and looked at the list of "These are more necessary if you want to get a nice and well-paying job." Is it just me, or is that kind of scary?

Oh, and another grown-up moment: I lost my keys. (No, not my car keys!!! I don't wanna drive yet!! ...That comes next summer.) Now I know how annoying that feels...

P.S.~I hope this post made up for the absence. The picture is a sunrise at the campsite I was at.