Category Archives: Nothing really

The Light-Bearer

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. But when the mighty voice of God broke into the silence, the darkness parted, and overwhelming light was cast upon the universes. So goes the story of creation, Genesis. But what the good book did not say, was that the light did not come from the voice of God. For it was not brought about by the power of the Word. It was brought about, by the light-bearers.

The light-bearers were benevolent creatures, who were under the command of God. They were as many as the stars in the galaxy, each bearing the radiance of truth and the light of God’s magnificence. They were astounding creatures,  much like the stars at night, shining brilliantly against the backdrop of the twilight sky. Stories of old said, that when they frolicked across the universe, they moved so fast yet so gracefully, that their trail of light would mock the most wonderful comets in the nightsky. It is also said that when they danced in unison, hovering over the edge of space, the night sky would become a spectacle. Belittling any fireworks display then and now. They say that even the Perseids meteor shower paled in comparison, with the beauty of the light-bearers’ dancing in symphony.

Of all the light-bearers, there was one who stood out the most. His name was Lucifer. He was magnificent, for he bore the brightest of all the lights. He had in him the power to outshine even the sun and he can radiate much stronger and warmer than any super giant existing in the vast expanse of space. He was fair and kind, possessing the heart of a champion and the visage of eternal light. It is said that when the creator finished everything on the seventh day, Lucifer, not Prometheus, brought fire into the world.  And God, seeing what he had done, was pleased with him. More than any of his kinsmen.

Lucifer made sure that the earth blossomed. He made sure that there was enough warmth to cast upon the flowers and trees of all kinds. And during the sixth day, when man was not yet man, it is said, that he made the rain come pouring into the earth. Enough water to sustain the magic of what is now known as Darwinian evolution. The rising of man from single-celled life forms which roamed the earth. God was so pleased with him, and the creator trusted him like his own son.

It came to pass though, that God, seeking to further enrich the existence of his favored light-bearer, asked Lucifer for a journey of faith, a trial for ascendancy. And even up to now, Lucifer holds the previlege of being the first light-bearer to had been granted the previlege of ascendancy. Such a test however, can only be done into the great void. A region of “moment” where God, nor any of his creations did not exist. Lucifer though, having faith in the wisdom of his master and taking pleasure in the gift bestowed, accepted God’s offer. And so, the brightest, the greatest of the light-bearers, in all his splendor, in all his radiance, ventured into the great void.

The void surprised Lucifer. For never in his life had he thought of a place beyond the presence of the Almighty. In the void, there was nothing but darkness. And because there was no air, only silence can be heard. It was a place of desolation, despair and destruction. A place that can bring shivers into ones spine, shooting straight down to the soul. But Lucifer’s faith in God was not built on steam nor water. His faith could not be swayed simply by the despair nor darkness which surrounded him. And in prayer he tried to nurture his faith, with hopes that God would answer and grant him grace. Oh how he prayed in the vacuum. He prayed every single moment in his infernal solitary confinement. Millennium after millennium, he kept on praying.

But, all his prayers were unanswered. And as time passed in the oblivion, the inner voice within him preaching of magnificence in all that is good, gradually started to fade. Like any solid rock subjected to infinitely perpetual drops of water, his faith started to break into pieces. For there was no light, no planets, no trees, no creatures to remind him how beautiful creation was. There were no other light-bearers, no man, no woman, no other sentient being to remind him what he was and of his existence’s purpose. Lucifer though, even in his dwindling conviction, prayed on steadfastly. But unfortunately, only silence cometh again.

In his prayers he hoped, asked, pleaded and begged for nothing else but a mustard-seed of grace from the maker. But eons passed and still there was no such sign, no hope whatsoever of deliverance. Until one day, one momentous crack in time, Lucifer stopped praying. And for the first time in his existence he started feeling cold, and became aware of the nothingness which enveloped him. At that infinitesimal moment, at that exact instant he broke away from prayer, the prophecy of the “Fall Of The Morning Light”, may have not yet been fulfilled, but the wheel of destiny started turning towards the direction of its fruition.

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Of Shoes and Memories

For some time now I had been uploading on facebook, images of the rubber sports shoes I buy here in Japan. I appreciate it a lot when people comment and react on the type and style of shoes I choose. Some of them have shown keen interest on my collection. So much so, that they ask how much I pay for the shoes. Honestly, some of the shoes I chose come with a heavy price tag even though I buy them discounted or during “sale” time. However, let me tell you candidly too, that for each pair of shoes I buy, i remind myself of a fond set of memories.

The Jordan series

I remember when I was 13, sometime  1990’s. After almost nine years of service in the oil industry, my dad came home from Saudi because it was becoming dangerous due to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. After a few months, my family living on a strict budget by that time, went to Bacolod one day, to buy me a new pair of rubber shoes.

And so we went to one of those department stores, and I eventually ended up falling in love with the Air Jordans on display.   And even at 32, I can still sense how much I wanted those shoes. How much my eyes glistened at the very idea of wearing the Air Jordan.

When I asked Papa if we can afford it, he was sad to tell me that we cant. I wanted to cry back then but instead chose to “man up”, make a decent enough face in front of Papa, and opted for a Lotto rubber shoes which fit our budget. Not that Lotto was not good, in fact the shoes served me well. It was just that, as a kid who only had but a handful of desires, it pained me so much when i cant get something I truly wanted.

I never told anybody, until now, how much that incident affected me. From that day forward, I swore to myself I will never ever buy NIKE rubber shoes. It is not that I hated the brand. But I guess I just ended up with the conclusion, that those shoes were far beyond my reach. That I may never afford them.

That incident stirred up something deep in me. Subconsciously, i decided that it is better for me not to get the best NIKE I can find. For some insane reason, the idea of me not “affording” them keeps me plodding on with what I intend to achieve. In part, I guess it is a reminder for me, that there are things in life, better not having, temporarily or otherwise.

“13” fast forward “31”

I celebrated my 31st birthday here in Kyoto, Japan. There was really nothing special to it. If memory serves me right, we just ate dinner at one of the better ramen houses here in kyoto. A ramen meal composed of :

1. Karage Teishoku (4 pieces of fried chicken with rice and cabbage)
2. Chashu hosomen (ramen with thin noodles (“hoso-men”), and chashu (pork) cutlets)
3. Negi tappuri (a lot of “negi” or welsh onion)
4. Ajitsuke tamago (a boiled egg topping)

When the meal was over, we all went home unceremoniously. As I went into my apartment, I was surprised to see a big paper bag on top of my bed. It had a whiteboard sign saying “SURPRISE!! Happy B-day! Enjoy your day -Stabs & Mike”. When I opened the bag, I was awestruck to see a pair of NIKE air direct II running shoes. They were my first ever pair of nike rubber shoes.

I dont know if Mike and Alwyn had any idea what “NIKE” meant to me. But needless to say, they have reminded me of a very wonderful moment in my life. Albeit, a poignant one. And though it has been over a year now since I received their gift, I still keep the whiteboard message from that very special day.

Going Back To “Shoes”

I used the shoes Alwyn and Mike gave me extensively. I used it for running, trekking and walking here in Kyoto. It offered a comfortable snug fit, and was as durable as hell. Recently though, it has shown signs of wear and tear. And because of this, I have opted to retire it. In its stead, as a reminder of alwyn and mike, I also bought a pair of running shoes from Nike. The one I recently posted on facebook. Not too expensive, but looks good and feels good on the feet.

Now dont get me wrong. I am not a sales person for nike. In fact, if I remove the sentimental value of the Nike Air Direct II from alwyn and mike, my favorite shoe of all time would be the Rebook Pump Triple Break. Nothing can beat the triple break when it came to comfort, snugness, and overall toughness. My second favorite is the Gigaride A3 of adidas because it looked good, felt good on the soles and more importantly, poses a challenge to the Shox technology of Nike. Though I gave my Gigaride to my brother-in-law, I bought myself a newer version, known as the Bounce series. And finally, I would give the third spot for Nike’s Air Direct II for its overall performance, comfort, durability and value.

Its never about the shoes

My good friend Alwyn always says “We are what we are deprived of.” So literally I am a shoe. Just kidding. But it does make some sense. I had been deprived of some things in my life, which explains probably the hunger in me. Not that I want to eat a shoe or anything. It is just that a part of me, like everyone, desires a “good life” represented in this blog by a pair of Nike Air Jordans, to a 13-year old boy. I guess, I continued feeding the hunger, by depriving myself of a pair of nike shoes. A constant reminder that I am not yet there, that I cannot afford it yet.

To some it may sound hypocritical considering that I have other pairs of shoes that can match the price tag of the latest models from Nike. But for me, in a very weird and insane way, I feel that for now, I would be better off without buying the latest Nike models. Dont get me wrong though, I am still fascinated by some designs from Nike. So much so that I bought my mom a pair of NIKE shox as a combined present for her birthday and for christmas.

The way I see it, in a very simple way, “not having a pair of wonderful Nike’s” keeps me ticking personally. It is a reminder for me that the job is not done yet, that I have not reached whatever goals I have set before me. In my gut, I can sense it, I am all but half-baked.

Someday, when I feel that my job is done, and that I can rest a little, I will buy my pair of Air Jordans. The very same model I wanted way back in 1990. I will have to save for it though because most probably, it will be a collector’s item. It will become one of the many reminders for me, that in spite of and despite of, I got the job done. I made it through.

In my head, the mental image is that of a son asking a father for a pair of shoes, and the father having to say “NO” due to circumstance. But this time around, the son replies “No pops, I think we can afford it now.” And as far as my context is concerned, “afford” doesnt necessarily mean having a ton of  money, but more in the light of a “rightful reward” for finishing a hard-arduous-wonderful-happy journey.

But as for the moment, come my 33rd birthday, I will have to commemorate it by buying a pair of Lotto shoes in Manila or Bacolod. Preferably, together with my father.

How about you? What are the inanimate things in life that help you remind yourself to strive for better things?

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No Rest For The Wicked

He stepped into the hot water. His body almost soaked in blood from the day’s unending battles. His once proud ivory wings are now just but fragments of what they used to be. The burnt skin, the scars, the ugliness of his physique was a testament, of the commitment he had made to those whose lives hang in the balance.

The hot water was soothing. For a moment, he closed his eyes, trying to forget the pain within, with the seething heat offered by the water. His thoughts roamed, they wandered into the void within him. Blessed nothingness. The water trickled down his spine, down his broken wings offering some respite to the weary body. It has been a long time since he felt anything good.

The war is not yet over, but the outcome has been predicted long before. And no matter what the others do, for him it will all eventually be over. And as he has envisioned since the start of the war, he will eventually evolve into something new. The inviting water from the hot springs, the greenish lush surrounding him momentarily interrupted his train of thoughts. He dipped his head into the water.

As he held his face diving in, he once again felt the scars. The scars of the battles that had been almost an onslaught at the start. Three long years of aggression was not really what he wanted. But the fates have decided on him, via a series of unfortunate events. And in the solace underwater, he opened his mouth unleashing a sound no man under his command should ever hear. It was a swan song, a howl of a dying dog roared with a dignity of a lion, albeit a dying one. It was pain, unbearable, unceasing pain. A tormented soul’s lament over what there was and what there is.

He gets his head out of the water. He gazed into the stars that watched him that night. He stared at them nonchalantly, for they have witnessed what should have never been seen. His cry to the fates, his wail to the heavens. He was calculating whether he should pray that night. For in his eyes, God never really favored him. But in a rare act of piety, he bowed his head, and uttered a very simple prayer. “Why?” he gasped with all honesty. God had never answered him before, nor will he probably ever. But he does not question his God, he believes. But being human, even though he has been granted wings, it is his nature to ask.

As he stands up from the water, he exhaled everything there was in him. Hoping it can take the pain and the weariness of his spirit. He puts on his armor, sheaths his tarnished sword into the scabbard, the seraphims have given him. He grabs his helmet, sets it on, making sure that the sun-gold hair is properly tucked in. Tomorrow will be another day for a bloody fight. Whether he will live to see it end or not, his resolve remains unwaivering. And though recently he has been dragging his fatigued legs into the battlefield, he tries to carry on. Steadfastly, patiently.

Yes there is no rest for the wicked. For they are the only ones who know what a real fight is, and how it can be fought to win. He looks up, makes the sign of the cross and hopes that God has not forgotten him. For now, there is no real rest, no place nor time of respite for the wicked.