The Dream

Then a stirring came upon my heart. I need to protect the lady.

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It was bit amusing yet chivalrous, bizarre yet encouraging, finding myself in a dream fighting to win someone’s heart. I know, it is imperative not to over-spiritualize things, especially dreams which are most of the time product of our ‘subconscious’ personality, but I believe my dream speaks of every man’s journey to search for his ‘better half’ and upon finding her, to serve and protect her with all his might. After all, God sometimes speaks through dreams. And while I do not claim any direct, divine explanation for my story, allow me to just sprinkle some thoughts I pondered as soon as consciousness hit me on my bed that day.

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The story unfolds inside a mansion with many rooms; contemporary in design yet the expanse so big it is comparable to an ancient castle. Some of the rooms are breathtaking in design and intricacies; some are so plain and dull. A fine, attractive lady is escorting me in my trip inside the mansion, bringing me from room to room boasting of its beauty. Her facial expression goes along with the design of the room – plain and mediocre when inside the plain rooms, radiant and spirited when inside the beautiful rooms.

As we progress in our journey that day, I noticed that the rooms are depreciating in splendor. The surrounding becomes damp and crowded; cobwebs begin to be visible and there emanates a stinking smell. Then I also noticed the embarrassment in her face. Our pace reduced and I can see the hesitancy in her eyes. It’s as if all the pain and doubts and worries and fears in life came upon her that moment. But I admired her for being strong. We moved slowly and she led me to the rooms with the worst condition compared to the first ones. She cries as she was telling me the stories behind the rooms. For some rooms, she can cite reasons, for others, she just returned blank stares, suggesting her lack of idea. I joined her in tears until we reached the terrace, which is also the end of my journey with her inside the mansion.

[I joined my friends outside the mansion. There we talked about our respective journeys in life. We poured out ourselves to each other as a band of brothers, ready to protect one another.] But when I gazed at the terrace, there I find visions of men and women contributing to the ugliness of the rooms I have witnessed inside the mansion. Some are even attempting to create new ugly rooms. Then a stirring came upon my heart. I need to protect the lady. I need to rescue her from people who try to add tears from her eyes by building ugly rooms in her mansion.

But we fought on the same battlefield. Our weapons seemed to be small and weak compared to our antagonists’, but we can retaliate. It is as if Someone stronger than anyone else in the field is backing us up.

With friends alongside, we fought the forces. We fought our different battles. They had their own motivations. Mine is to rescue the lady. But we fought on the same battlefield. Our weapons seemed to be small and weak compared to our antagonists’, but we can retaliate. It is as if Someone stronger than anyone else in the field is backing us up. Ultimately, we won. We ended up victorious. And a celebration awaits us.

I gazed again at the terrace. There she is, surrounded still by the horrors of the ugly rooms behind her. With her as well are the people who love her and care for her welfare. But now I can see her welcoming countenance. Without hesitation, I asked her to come down from the terrace. She turned around and bade farewell to the people behind her, as if asking for their approval, which they gave. And with just a glimpse, she joined me at the celebration below; with the happiest face I can ever imagine, ready to build beautiful rooms in our own mansion.

The Power of Rebuke

An open rebuke is better than hidden love.

Ayaw natin, as much as possible, na pinanghihimasukan tayo sa mga bagay-bagay na ginagawa natin. We feel offended when somebody cares enough to point out the wrong in us, aware man tayo o hindi sa mga ito. May pagka-sensitive tayo, ayaw natin na nasasaktan tayo.

On the flip side, hindi rin natin gusto ang makasakit ng damdamin. Marami rin sa atin ang hindi confrontational type. Sa halip na sabihin natin ang mali sa iba, we try to sugar coat our criticisms para hindi masyadong masakit pakinggan. To us, di bale nang masaktan, wag lang ang makasakit ng iba.

ON NOW

There was a time when I made a sensitive joke about a certain Facebook video. For me then, talking about (and laughing about) that joke is no big deal. Until someone who cares enough about me rebuked and reminded me how disappointing it is for a Christian like me to join the world in humiliating the person in that video by watching such over and over again, to my heart’s content. In fairness hindi ko naman ni-like and share, pero just the same, I took time to laugh about the misery of the person. Kitams, nag-justify pa ako. Haha!

An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Marahil sa iba, madaling i-brush off ang mga ganung remarks sa atin. “Ang KJ naman”, “masyadong sensitive”, “parang yun lang” to some even we have this snide remark: “masyado namang pakielamera”. Different responses – ang iba umiilag, ang iba naninisi, ang iba nagju-justify ng sarili, yet the best response I should say, ay ang pagtanggap ng rebuke without holding any grudge.

A rebuke is like a bitter herb given to us by people who cares enough to help us get rid of our “attitude” disease. Parang gamot na kung hindi natin tatanggapin, maaaring hindi tayo maging maayos.

There is power in rebuke. Hanggang ngayon ay naaalala ko pa rin ang lesson na dala ng rebuke na tinanggap ko out of my insensitive patronage sa video na yun. Ngunit marahil kung hindi ako napaalalahanan sa bagay na iyon, I am still living in the futility of my so-called entertainment. A rebuke is like a bitter herb given to us by people who cares enough to help us get rid of our “attitude” disease. Parang gamot na kung hindi natin tatanggapin, maaaring hindi tayo maging maayos.

May mga taong masyadong tolerant sa atin. Sila yung mga taong ayaw tayong nasasaktan. Kahit sobrang evident na ng mga bagay na dapat nating ayusin para sa ating sarili, mas pinipili pa rin nilang manahimik. Nakikita na nila ang dumi sa mukha natin pero wala pa rin silang imik. Hindi sa hindi nila tayo mahal o wala silang pakialam. Their dilemma is that they don’t want us to get offended. Subalit ang ganitong uri ng pagdadamot sa tao ng dapat niyang itama sa kanyang sarili ay hindi pag-ibig kundi pagiging makasarili. It’s the same as saying, “I don’t care if you’re living a lie or being destroyed by your misbehaviour – as long as you feel good about yourself you’ll be fine”. Again, ito’y isang pagdadamot. Kung malaman mo ang mahal mo sa buhay na may sakit at ang gamot ay nasa iyong mga kamay, ibibigay mo ito kahit gaano pa ito kapait. The same goes with our rebuke.

There is power in rebuke – and it is given to encourage, and not to bring a person down. Maybe a rebuke is the most loving thing you can ever give to a struggling person, something that sweet, flattering words can never become. Sabi nga ni King Solomon,

An open rebuke is better than hidden love! – Proverbs 27:5 NLT

Kaya naman thankful ako for people who take courage in rebuking me. Masakit, mahapdi, pero kailangan natin para matuto. In fact, they are the most loving person one can ever have.

Gusto mo bang maging mas loving sa iba? Maximize the power of rebuke. Pero word of caution lang, do this in the spirit of love and not with a motive of bringing someone down.