Repost: Dear Humans: A Stray Cat’s Open Letter

“Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.” — Sri Aurobrindo

Photo by Edgar on Unsplash

I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic today. It’s my Mother’s anniversary of her passing. I also remember  my pet cat whom regrettably I needed to leave behind when I moved to a new place. So I’m always overcome with guilt at the thought of my dear cat. She used to be a stray, until one day, she came up to my doorstep, and I gave her food. Since then, Muning made my home her home, too.  And now as I remember Mom, the more I feel sad because she was a lover of animals and had a soft heart for strays.

It is a cruel fact there are many stray cats and dogs. Many are abandoned, abused, and ignored. So it always pains me to see or hear of cats and dogs being at the mercy of people’s callousness, uncaring attitude, and even cruelty — especially towards cats. I remember my old neighbor in my previous place calling me out for taking in a stray cat. In that place too, were many homeless cats and dogs.

One day on my way back from errands,  I caught sight of one parched cat clinging to some plants, trying to sip some nectar. My heart broke while feeling helpless and frustrated and angry at those neighbors who didn’t care enough.

So upon reaching home, on behalf of them who cling to the tiniest hopes that they be fed or given water to drink or be adopted, I wrote an Open Letter — partly I repost here.

I am just but one of the many wandering furry souls in your village, and every day, together with the other furry creatures in the neighborhood, we roam up and down your winding streets, climb your trees and your rooftops.

Day and night, we tread, or creep along the many crooks and crevices of this tiny conclave of yours, hoping that I and my fellow felines may be taken in, and become part of your homes.

This mission of seeking homes that can shelter and feed and care for us may take a lifetime, but still we are happy with our fate, happy we populate this place along with you, dear humans.

So at night, we may bother your peace with our caterwauling, as we exchange notes with cat friends, or safeguard our respective territories from our enemies, lurking within the shadows of your own apartments and houses.

We have nine lives, you humans say that about us.

Thus, we have somehow made your streets, or your vacant lots or even your gardens and yards as our home as well, as much as you fiercely shove us away and leave us to the harsh elements of nature and evil ways of some of your specie.

We have no choice, and we are possessed with a strange resilience in order to adapt to the way you have been treating us so callously, like garbage strewn carelessly on the roads or canals.

Sometimes, we don’t bother to give you time to let us in – you wouldn’t so anyway.

Thus, we just jump right onto your terraces, or backyards – just for a chance, if any, to have a taste of some left-over morsel from your kitchen or dining tables, to appease the raging famine we suffer from, each day of our pitiful lives, and find ourselves some shelter from the heat, or rain, or cold.

We cannot even find a bowl of fresh water waiting for us at your doorstep or yard for us to sip in order to quench the deep thirst in our parched tongues and throats.

So we have no choice but destroy your plants to squeeze off some of the bitter juice from the leaves and stems…to give us momentary relief from the scorching heat of the summer sun.

As we mark each day of our journey in this place called Earth, we look up to the heavens above to guide our steps. Perhaps, we are made to scavenge, until some of you, my dear humans, may find it in your heart to love us, as much as we yearn to be cared for, to be pet, to let us belong.

And until you do, this is how we survive, looking for morsels among your rubbish. If only these ornamental plants and trees were made for us to eat – but they are not. […]

Now my dear humans, may I then suggest that you no longer let my specie to grow exponentially – if you cannot have the compassion to care for us. Please!

It is not within our means or nature to do so, to stop our specie from growing. But you, my dear humans, have been gifted with brains and brawn and I suppose – a heart within the very core of each of you. Continue reading here

 

 

 

Contemplating God’s Presence

City blend of steel and nature…

O what joy it is to
Contemplate on God’s Creation
His Divine Presence everywhere abounds
In the gentle wind rustling through
My few potted greens
Crisp air and quiet
cool rainy day
Clouds floating in the skies…
Music of sweet birds’ sweet refrains
Or soft rain’s rhythmic pattering…
Morning pale blue sky
Crowning the distant grey mountains…
Sunset’s glow blending
With the city’s evening lights in a show so striking

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Rain or shine
In stormy weather too

God’s Mighty Presence abounds…

O GOD, may we always see You,

feel You in your Creation around us,

most especially in the people in our lives and

those we meet each day…

In good or bad times, in the ups and downs

of our lives, may we never fail

to praise and give You glory, O Lord. Amen

“It is not the objective proof of God’s existence that we want but the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle we are really after, and that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.”  — Frederick Buechner

 

 

Random Thoughts to Share on a Thursday Morning

It’s a Thursday morning, 78 days to Christmas and the 208th day of lockdown.

Here is a list of random thoughts I scribbled here and there in my notebook and journals which I’d like to share today.  The skies are gray and I’m feeling a bit down, but glad to see the sun shining through.

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash
  • As  is often said, the best antidote to one’s feelings of hopelessness is keeping the faith, being strong and positive. This can be real hard especially if we are beset with problems that seem insurmountable. If you are experiencing this right now, just know you are not alone. Each of us has our own difficulties to face — but then there are others in more desperate conditions.

 “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

  • Each one of us has our own “Dark Night” of the soul.
  • No matter how dire the present situation is, God is ALWAYS with us all, in each of us. He never forsakes us. We just have to experience our own Dark Night of the soul — for it is there we are strengthened and emboldened to SEEK GOD more and more.
  • Let us clothe ourselves with humility and love and adorn ourselves with kind thoughts and good deeds. Digest the Daily Bread for the sustenance of our spiritual lives.
  • When you are tempted to put others down, put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.
  • There will always be someone who will find you beautiful, and someone who will find you ugly. The big difference will be in how you see yourself. Be confident and secure with who you are.
  • Though Up, UP HIGH we may Soar on the wings of success, may we still learn to keep our feet on the ground.
  • We all have only ONE life to lead, and each moment is precious. But it goes on quickly. Thus, let us make each moment last through our good deeds, words, and thoughts so that each moment will be filled with God’s blessings and graces.
  • Let each one of us be blessings to others, to our family and friends as well as foes.
A Good Morning indeed…

Source of Image on my screen (not downloaded)

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

 

 

 

My Difficult Journey as a Writer Finding Her Unique Voice

I’ve been thinking about this certain quote by American writer Jan Clausen for some time —

“How can a writer express what is most vital in her experience while anxiously watching her tongue lest she slip the wrong word?”

Then I came across an old scribbled note of mine from four years ago. I wish to share it here so you’ll see how I then thought of myself as a fledgling writer trying to find her unique voice. Oh, in fact, I wrote something along the same vein in a previous post – around the same time, On Finding My Unique Writing Voice.

Back to my scribbled note, most of it is still true of me though writing for work no longer takes too much of my time these days.

A work-in-progress, that’s what I am, as far as my being a writer (I’d like to think that of myself) is concerned.

I still have a long way to go before I can find my unique voice – in my personal blog and in the pieces I write for my work (even though I remain anonymous) – but I’m getting there.

Each time I post a piece of work content, over which I’ve spent precious hours laboring (researching, drafting, revising/editing, formatting, fact-checking, etc.) I get a huge relief and a sense of achievement, yet always with that nagging thought I can still make it better in the next article or post.

The more I write, the more passionate and committed I become to honing my writer’s skills, growing my craft, as they say.

My random personal thoughts find their way scribbled on my private paper journals every so often – there is nothing like handwriting…easier to get into that “sacred state of flow” as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist, describes that zone of “heightened focus.” Some I type in my digital journals, or in my personal blog.

As for work, I need to discipline myself to get wired in, the earlier in the morning, the better it is.

Like those athletes out there in the Olympics aiming to win even just a bronze, or breaking their personal records, so do I also aim to better my writing best with each piece I compose.

I used to teach writing, – enjoyed it much – but never thought writing for work is full of roadblocks: mental block, or doing my daily routine outside of work, of course.

And these I find as both a distraction and a diversion, each one pulling me away and pushing me back at the same time into the mode of writing and shutting me off from my immediate environment.

I cannot go back to class for now, though I hope so in the near future to attend writing workshops, or to secure a personal mentor to give me feedback.

Fortunately for me, in this age of the internet, there are many good and reliable resources for neophyte writers like me in the field of journalistic writing, blogging, and content-writing that I make use of.

Perhaps, this is why God has put me where I am now, so that each time I look out to the horizon – literally and metaphorically – I can see new frontiers waiting for me to forge, the doors waiting to be unlocked. The key. Myself. And I thank God so much for this talent and passion He has given me.

All for Your greater glory, O Lord!

Back to the present, nowadays, I continue to write on this blog of mine, not caring anymore whether there will be someone to read it or not. I write for the sheer delight of it without having to seek an applause or approval. While I still yearn for those caring enough to critique my writing for the sake of improving, I just content myself with nurturing this passion. I continue to read a lot and learn more about writing from experts.

As to the above quote, my writer’s voice is still a caged bird yearning to be free! Perhaps because I avoid discussing or expressing my opinions on difficult topics, such as politics — which most people on social media find it easy to do. But what I don’t like is how most opinions degenerate into expressions of hate or personal attacks, or how the rantings go on and on in each and every post ad nauseam.

Perhaps I still lack the courage or the venom or enough writing chops to help me crystallize my thoughts on such topics. Yes, many of the things happening in the country and in the world bother and pain me so much, or make my blood boil in anger and frustration. Yet, I’d rather write about what I think can help you and I grow to be the best human person we can become as we are meant to be by God.

Perhaps, in a future post, with the right words and form, my writer’s voice will find its way to say what’s on my mind.

One of my few attempts at digital 3D painting…

 

 

 

Sign of Hope

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu

The other day close to evening, the sky was overcast with dark, purple clouds threatening heavy rain. I didn’t exactly relish the thought of another rainy evening but my heart leapt with joy at the sight of a glimmer of light in the midst of the gloomy clouds.

Sign of Hope

“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” — Emil Brunner

 

The Most Meaningful Preparation to Make for the Coming Christmas

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis

92 days to Christmas! I am sure many of us Filipinos as well as the rest of the world are having mixed emotions about the coming Christmas season. Can there still be Christmas, no doubt many are asking in their hearts — especially those who have lost loved ones, jobs, and livelihood.

True, we are living in such a most difficult, painful, stressful time, with the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating until a safe vaccine is found. Given this, despair and fear can easily take hold when sickness, death, and loss are around us.

Yet, amidst the gloom, it is heartwarming to hear of stories of sharing, caring, and helping one another. This indeed is the most meaningful preparation we can make for the coming Christmas. Opening our hearts and doors to others. Being more kind, understanding, and compassionate.

Christmas this year may be totally different from what we have been used to — but isn’t it time to celebrate Christmas in the way it is meant to be — without the trimmings?

To make this year’s Christmas more meaningful, especially in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, may we celebrate it with more love to share, with more humility to accept our circumstances.  For after all, Jesus Himself was born in a stable rude, in the company of animals and a handful of poor shepherds.

I find the lyrics of this Christmas song for children simple yet so full of insightful reminder for us all. Each of us even in our littlest ways can do so much to light up the world around us and bring cheer to those who are suffering or in pain. Let each of us reflect the Light of Christ through our words and deeds, and maybe God will grant us the miracle we yearn for at this time – for COVID-19 to go away.

The Friendly Beasts

1 Jesus our brother, kind and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around him stood,
Jesus our brother, kind and good.

2 “I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried his mother uphill and down.
I carried his mother to Bethlehem town.
I,” said the donkey shaggy and brown.

3 “I,” said the cow, all white and red,
“I gave him my manger for his bed.
I gave him my hay to pillow his head.
I,” said the cow all white and red.

4 “I,” said the sheep with curly horn,
“I gave him my wool for his blanket warm.
He wore my coat on Christmas morn.
I,” said the sheep with curly horn.

5 “I,” said the dove from rafters high,
“I cooed him to sleep, so he should not cry.
We cooed him to sleep, my mate and I.
I,” said the dove from rafters high.

6 Thus every beast by some good spell,
in the stable dark was glad to tell
of the gift he gave Emmanuel,
the gift he gave Emmanuel.

 

 

 

Remembering My Father

“Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.” – Hebrew Proverb

Recently, my family commemorated the first anniversary of my father’s entry into eternal life. I still grieve at his passing and times when tears just well up in my eyes at the slightest thought of him.

Yet, at the same time, due to the raging pandemic, the pain seems to have been tempered by a sense of relief and gratefulness. Yes, it may seem selfish especially as I think of those who have suffered deaths in their families because of COVID-19. But to me and the rest of the family, it was a blessing in disguise that our parents had gone on when they did.

And as a tribute to my father on his first birthday in the afterlife, here I share another of Dad’s legacy to us his family and loved ones.

We grew up with Music at home, with different musical instruments: the violin which was Dad’s forte; harmonica, banduria, guitar, xylophone, and the organ. He even sent me and my sister to learn the piano in school from Grade 1 to Grade 3. But I grew tired of it.
My father’s violin and his loyal pet dog…artwork by another sister of mine
Dad was blessed with a deep baritone voice so he also taught us to sing, even teaching us the Solfeggio and letting us sing one by one. Singing together was one of our family weekend activities. We older ones were members of our church choir with Dad as the choir Conductor.
The nuns in the convent where my sister belonged would even request him to sing the Exsultet (Easter Proclamation) during the Easter Vigil each year, which he faithfully did, until my parents moved far outside the metropolis.
Dad also had a large collection of long-playing albums of classical music, Ray Conniff Christmas albums, plus many other musical records which we’d play and listened to on the stereo every weekend (often with him singing along or playing the violin).
Later on, he inspired one of my sons to play the violin and the banduria. Picking up from my Dad, my son learned the organ as well. Now a father himself, he guides his own children in playing the violin and the piano. Such is my Dad’s legacy of music to us, so cherished in our hearts.

 

Psalm 113:2-4

“Blessed be the Name of the LORD from this time on and for evermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and His Glory above the heavens.” — Psalm 113:2-4

Streaks of rain on the window pane

cannot dim the glow

of the fading sun slowly sinking

beneath the purple skies…

— teachmarich

Psalm 147:8

“He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills.” — Psalm 147:8

Rain clouds

As Psalm 147:8 says that God put clouds in the heavens to make way for rain to water the earth and make the grass grow on the hills, so does He also allow difficulties and challenges to cloud our lives, not because He wants us to suffer. Rather, it is His loving way of preparing us for the rains of blessings to come and make us grow into the best person He wants us to be. To be the beautiful person we are meant to be, in and out.

 

Psalm 34:17-19

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and rescues them from all troubles. The LORD is near the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all.

One recent morning, I spotted a lone pigeon on the rooftop of the building next to ours. I was so used to seeing almost every day a group of them, either resting or flying around in circles.

But today this little bird looked forlorn and sad and a bit confused.  Where are they, my dear companions?

My heart filled with pity and wondered too about his usual companions. Have they been caught and served as a meal? And oh, why wouldn’t he fly away despite the soft rain? In the drizzle, he kept still, seemingly awaiting his friends. I waved my hands and opened, closed the window shutters in hope of catching his attention. Alas!

Lonely pigeon
All alone in the drizzle…