Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mourning into Dancing

Today is a day of total rejoicing!

 Why pray tell?

It's because of a simple thing, God's abiding mercy.

You see 6 days ago, I came home very anxious.
Our cook said our cat Midnight was ill.

True enough I found him very weak and not eating.
He also had some loose skin sagging on one side of his abdomen.
This was the first day of mourning.

The following days were days of pain and sadness.
But also of miracles!

Midnight before this episode

When I rushed Midnight to the vet, they said they didn't have an X-ray available and I had to go to another place 30 minutes away.  My car was not allowed on the roads that day due to a coding scheme to ease traffic so I had to pass a longer route.  What troubled me was what the vet said, that Midnight could have had his organs jumbled up!  

When I was driving, I was praying hard that I could find the other vet clinic and to reach it in time.

By the time we got there, the doctor couldn't find anything wrong with him.  I had to show him the signs of hematoma on his tummy but he didn't see the sagging skin anymore!  Neither did I!

Midnight was given meds to be taken twice a day for a month.  He was on IV at home.  I took a leave from work to be by his side 24 hours a day waking up at 1 in the morning  and other odd hours just to check on him and if his IV wasn't tangled or if he needed to go poop.

Despite all the meds he was really weak and would hardly move.  I prayed and cried and prayed and cried.  I asked all my family and friends to pray for him.  I asked for the Holy Spirit, Blessed Mother, St. Joseph, St. Francis, St. Roque to whisper to God and pray that Midnight get well.

On the sixth day,  I read this quote by St. John of the Cross...

"In the twilight of our lives we will be judged upon how we have loved."

By that time, I was already resigned to Midnight leaving us.  I already told him "if it gets too difficult, Midnight just go to the light.  Go to Jesus".

I felt at peace reading the verse knowing that I had done everything in my power to love this wonderful cat.

I was so tired by this time.  In my heart I knew that it was possible that we could just go on like this, weeks of seeing Midnight so immobile and weak and not knowing if that was the day he was going to die.  Then someone greeted me "Shabbat Shalom" and I wondered what this greeting meant.  It was the Sabbath (on a Friday), the day of rest.  God was giving me "rest".  That brought me comfort as well.

The miracle of miracles came in the evening of the sixth day, while I was feeding him on a syringe, he started to go for the food bowl and started licking it!  I was dumbfounded!!!  Then he even drank water on his own already!!!  Hallelujah God heard our cries!

The bible verse for the day read "God is at my side, like a mighty hero" - Jeremiah 20:11

Today, the 7th day, Midnight got his IV out!  Wow!  The time of his resting was also a time of testing.  I went through a phase of just thanking God for every minute that Midnight was still with us.  I don't know how long the Lord has extended his life for but when I see him I will always see him as our Miracle Cat.

Today's verse is "I shall change their mourning into gladness, comfort them, give them joy after their troubles" Jeremiah 31:13

Friday, March 22, 2013

Crowned with Favor

Wear your invisible crown.
This is easy to wear in good times but in
not so good times, you may forget
this truth.  

That we are crowned with favor.

That we are sons and daughters for the Most High God.

He has loved us with an everlasting, infinite, immeasurable love.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Petrifying Petra!

And so continues the glimpses from my Holy Land journal...

In today's post, we remember setting out for one Smithsonian's "28 Places to See Before you Die", Petra, Jordan.

The road to Petra was like a winter wonderland as you can see in my shot below.  We couldn't go the day before because the snow made the road impassable.

Petra, meaning "stone", was a city carved out of a red rock valley where the water used to run through.

When we started our hike to the Treasury, which was a drizzly walk maybe about 2.5 km long, our tour guide John said, "we must be like an army, walk together and be fast.  We can't keep taking pictures along the way because there might be a flash flood."  Oh we just laughed it off!  (We Filipinos cannot, repeat, cannot stop taking pictures!)

Finally we reached the breathtaking Al Khazneh or The Treasury.  

Once again John said, we should have a group shot "quickly, quickly!".  People weren't taking pictures of the the Treasury thinking there would be time later on but no, he said, "those who can, get the carriage now!" 

Thinking of myself as a tough mountaineer, I simply refused the thought of getting a carriage.  

John said, "we need to go now" (in a slightly higher pitch then his usual).  We started walking back and noticed the rain already starting to form a slight flood rushing towards us.  John then said "Hurry! Hurry" (very frantically).  I hurried.

The rain started to pour harder.

John said "Run! Run!" I asked myself "What? Is he serious???"  Okay I'm obedient, I started running but it felt like my feet were so heavy, like carrying buckets of water and each step just let the water splash in my face and let my 4 layers of clothing get all the more wetter!

I felt quite ridiculous, at the same time like I was in an Indiana Jones movie.  Wow, so exciting!!!  I was not at all concerned for my safety rather I was thinking of the senior citizens in our group who would be slower than I and more vulnerable to the cold.

Just when I was contemplating how I could help them when I could barely move my feet myself, some Bedouin-like men grabbed us (rather roughly) onto a cave on a ledge. They urged us to clamber onto a rock which was somewhat my shoulder height.  

I motioned to them, asking if the water went that high?  And they nodded.  Uh oh.

Minutes passed and our group huddled in the cave, our usual noisy chatter silenced.

Then we were motioned to "Go, go!" One by one, out we went to the rushing water which was around almost knee high by now (with a strong current).  We were told to hold each other but I couldn't reach the man behind me and I felt I would fall if I tried to break away from the person in front of me so... on I went.

After just a few moments of walking slowly, carefully through the water rushing towards us, we stepped up onto a side ledge that seemed to appear out of nowhere (I mean I hadn't noticed it all before when we were passing here before).

I saw this waterfall up ahead and thought of how it just naturally had to bring in more and more water!

Here's our little team hurrying as fast as we can back to safety over the ledge.

At this point I thought of how this valley was actually formed by water.  Everything was under water here before. I looked up and pictured myself doing some slippery rock climbing... yes I could do that but what about my group mates?

Three police cars came to do the rescuing.  I was able to get out more quickly than the others so they didn't pick me up anymore.  What a harrowing experience.  Our tour bus was full of cold, wet tourists and some started sniffing and coughing afterwards but I know everything has a purpose.  

Just today (several weeks after this experience), Petra suddenly came to mind.  I was reflecting about God's love and how limitless, boundless, infinite and immeasurable it is.  Words cannot describe God's love for us.  I pictured the water flowing towards me as God's love.  It was so powerful and when I experience it, I can be afraid and try to say "stop Lord, I feel it already, I don't want to cry".

The waters are also a form of cleansing for us.  When God washes us, it's not with a few drops of water, He washes us until we are white as snow.  He is blind to our failings and forgive us more than we forgive ourselves.

God doesn't want us to limit the flow of His grace.  It's like a cup that you just keep pouring into from an open faucet.  Water will overflow and not stop and cause a flood.  There is a flood in my heart today remembering Petra.  A flood recalling God's amazing love.  I will not limit You Lord, I won't be afraid to experience the height, depth, of Your great love for me.

I pray this prayer for you...

From Ephesians 3: 17-19 "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Hop on over and enjoy more inspiration.


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