I’ve been wrestling with something lately – not the physical, grapple-down sort, more of a fight to the finish – and, thanks to my nightly devotions, that resolve thickens and grows more muscle. It’s tremendously tiring to run after something for more than a couple of years. And, being one who is ready to fling things out of the window when things get rough in the midway, this is already a miracle. I celebrate it.
I celebrate the tiny changes happening in the dark. I celebrate the small joys in the morning. I celebrate the knowledge that holiness is more important than happiness. That there are things I should unlearn, things I should give up for the sake of something more precious. That, in undertaking and giving honor, in grasping a responsibility passed-down to you because it was expected, there should be no pity party. No victim-hood. Things had to be done. And if you’re there, you’re anointed to do it. Doing is not easy.
When Jacob’s scene in Peniel came up in my devotion, I saw it in a new light. I saw myself. I may not be combating with a supernatural creature appearing out of nowhere in the night, but I am battling against my circumstances, the lack of opportunity and exposure, and I’m keeping at it. There’s no other route for me now. The road I’m taking is the only road to take. It was what I have prayed for. What I have hoped for. And it isn’t easy.
Looking at a blank space is never easy.
But I’m wrestling with it. I’m pushing on, shouldering forward, bearing those spurts of shame from my past mistakes and hopefully, like Jacob, in one way or another, I prevail.
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
– Genesis 32: 24-28, NIV, The Bible Gateway
I have resolved to keep at it. Pray for it. Write for it. Act on it. I’m going to wrestle. And one day, I’m going to prevail. God’s going to give me a new name (not necessarily literal). But more importantly, God is going to give me the honor of being in His presence, and acknowledging my efforts. Because, “Well done, my child,” is the best honor ever.
This week, I have learned something about myself. It was unexpected. I never paid attention to this detail for three decades straight, but now that I know, it made a whole lot of difference. I could give more parts of myself to the world. Blood, an essential life source, has never been more precious to my sight than now. After reading what was on paper – with a gasp, since it was none of my parents’ indicated type – I had to find out more about it. Yes, while sat in the bank, waiting for my turn to pay my taxes.
Now, I understand my deep love for chicken. I came from a heritage of savages and gatherers and hunters. Other meat, however, does not rest well in my stomach. I hate beef unless they’re tenderly cooked; probably my digestive enzymes can’t take red meat well. When I told mama, she said that I have the same blood type as Nanay (my lola in the paternal side). Now, I get where the savagery comes from! Love you, ‘Nay.
On Friday afternoon, while I treated Aling Che and myself to McDo, I chanced upon CNN’s Stories of the Filipino and – just my luck – saw an inside take on a local marching band. I saw there telling myself, “These are the stories I want to write.” It’s them, the common Filipino, trying to make a living, nothing sensational but pure and whole.
That episode was about a band conductor who hesitantly took the role after the previous conductor, his father, died all of a sudden. Mister, my heart goes out for you. And I’m so proud to have seen your story, the story of your kids, and I pray that you all go places, because you allowed this miracle to change your life and change theirs.
Sobrang ganda. I want to write about this. I hope I have all the words. I hope I have all the fire. Medyo nakakapagod lang kasi I just got through a big revision of the silliest story ever written, and possibly never published.
But, God, when this changes, I’m gonna get back to this post and say I’ve wrestled well.
Meanwhile, one thing that keeps me busy is the newly-opened Caris Writes on Instagram. It’s not exactly new; it’s the old account for Courageous and Meek. But since the platform closed this year, I decided to have my own space for words, and here it is. I’m growing it. I hope it does. I hope my words are seen and find homes in empty hearts.
Ending things here: