It’s been a reflective week of self-examinations and observations of the world around me as I watch the days unfold and see history repeating itself. Perhaps it is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy as I continue to readjust to life back in the states but really, I tend to think it’s deeper than that. As I resettle myself back into the asphalt jungle, reclaim my career and plan ahead, there’s the small echoes of a mantra lingering in the forefront of my mind: I’ve heard this song before. I know what’s going to happen before it happens as I walk three steps ahead of myself.

No, it’s not ESP and neither is it the dreams of déjà vu that plagued me so much in the distant past. This time it’s the lingering wisdom of experience. Everything makes sense in a way that will either give you the rock solid peace of Christ or the nightmares of Donnie Darko. I pause for a moment with the overwhelming desire to scream as I watch the masses cram themselves into the wide gate of the latter. How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?

I watch as people struggle with money, struggle with relationships and struggle with themselves. Poor souls struggling with the wrong things for the wrong reasons and blinded by the deceptive sweetness of misguided sincerity. If you stood in the middle of a crowd and screamed from the top of your lungs you would surely garner the attention of those around, even if briefly. But out of that crowd, of the throngs who could hear your voice, how many would inquire within themselves, “Why do I feel like doing that too?”

Truth is a mysterious flame. You never know what will catch fire and when. Yet, despite the famine of heat, nothing it seems in this day and age is flammable. People continue to blame politicians, blame government, and blame their jobs while never once blaming themselves for the space they occupy; self-righteous hypocrites living day to day as the victims of circumstance or worse, blanketing themselves with the illusions of a false confidence.

It’s easy to be consumed and deceived by the myriad of fears surrounding us; hopping from one fear to the next. One day we’re afraid of not paying the rent. Other days we fear the opinions of others. We live in a world of changing fears where there is no controlling the ebb & flow of such tides. We can, none the less, choose what we are afraid of; we can choose what we are deathly afraid of.

I sat on on the rotted bamboo & wood bench outside the dirt-floor nipa, hungry from the lack of food as I encouraged my wife. “Do not be afraid of starvation or poverty. Money will come and go your whole life”, I told her. “Do not be afraid of having a lack of things and do not be afraid of other people. Work hard, pray hard and be afraid of God. That’s a fear you can have confidence in.” Without any surprise on my part, our trials ended that week and we never missed another meal.

Perhaps hard times will visit again someday. I’m fairly certain of it. I recall with a bit of humor my last day in Manila when my wallet (with credit card & over 6000 pesos) was stolen. It was [mildly speaking] a day of stress & anxiety to solve the crisis but both Jenn & I made it to our destinations safe & secure. While I would rather not deal with such crisis, who am I to complain if God needed 6000 pesos elsewhere?

I certainly don’t know all the details of the future and I’m glad. What would be the fun in that? One thing I do know for certain though is that history repeats itself. There will be hurdles & obstacles. There will be moments of trial & temptation. There will be tough decisions and choices ahead; life is made up of those things. Yes, life is truly more than a journey. It’s the journey you decide to take.

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