Faith – never leave home without it!

Last week I took the 1-hour ride into the city on an “FX” or route taxi. Crammed snugly in with 10 other people (for a total of 11 — in a 9 passenger vehicle), I marveled at the driver’s ability — and penchant — for quickly grabbing any open space on the road. In any lane. And even in spaces that could not really be called a “lane” at all!

Just one view of typical Manila traffic

The good thing about this was that we did move right along, despite the heavy traffic.

The bad part was that I soon realized the book in my bag was going to have to stay there. Swerving and reading do not make particular good travel companions!

To pass the time — in addition to praying, that is — I began scanning the signs inside the front window. There was the usual “Barya lang po sa umaga” (“Please give [small/exact] change in the mornings” – this because the driver hasn’t done enough trips yet to have accrued change for big bills).

Then on the left side of the window: “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Which, from his driving, I would guess really meant “If God be for us, who can be ahead of us?”!

But my favorite sign was appropriately affixed in the top right corner of the windshield — right in front of the front seat passenger. “Faith is a requirement, not an option.”

Wise words. And not just for riding on public transportation in Manila!

Q: Got any transportation experiences that have changed your outlook on life?

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Boxes

A friend of mine who recently moved posted the following on Facebook: “Does anyone need boxes? We have many!”

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The last pile of boxes waiting to move from our Bagabag house 2 years ago. Those same boxes have assisted in 2 moves since then. They now rest quietly in our upper cupboards. (Well, except for the one that got its big break as a Minecraft creeper head…)

What a wonderful status message! I actually can’t remember the last time we got rid of our moving boxes. To think of reaching a point where one doesn’t anticipate needing them in the foreseeable future… well, I think I’ll have to put that on my bucket list!

But (you may say), boxes are a fairly available commodity — why clutter up one’s home with them, no matter how soon the next move is? Well. I have two words for that. Pack. Rat. Yep, as much as I dream of having a boxless house someday (imagine actually being able to store linens in the upper cupboards!), the truth is we do get attached to our boxes!

We even kept a box once just because of the message on the outside. This was years ago. (25, to be exact.) We received a wedding present in the mail in a worn box subtly tatooed with the marks of a past life. Scrawled in ballpoint ink across one side were the words “ugly plastic wreath”. The backstory of that box — released at long last from years of unwanted-Christmas-deco bondage — so delighted us that we kept the poor thing long after the cheeses it conveyed were consumed.

Boxes. Such a part of our transient lifestyle. But someday I’m gonna ditch ’em all!

Q: What are your best “box” memories?

 

The Jesus Diet

What does a natural-born alien eat?
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During our cross-cultural training, an oft-quoted rule-of-thumb was “Whatever is put in front of you!

Ouch! The ultimate challenge for a picky eater! And all the more so when faced with unfamiliar — yea, bizarre-looking — local “delicacies”. (Take rambutans, for instance. I mean, who would have thought such a spiky, alien-looking fruit would be not only edible, but delicious!)

Whatever is put in front of you? Seriously?!

But Jesus apparently agreed. He was ready to “eat” whatever His Father put in front of him.

I just can’t stop thinking about that Jesus Diet: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” John 4:34

How do I — a picky eater in food and life — develop a taste for the same? Well, maybe I could start with an appetizer.

Appetizer: A food or drink served usually before a meal to stimulate the appetite.

When our son Jonathan was four, he had a standard prayer for mealtimes (honed to 5-second perfection!): “Thank-You-for-this-yummy-food. AY-men!”

Then one day, completely out of the blue, he amazed us with a spontaneous variation: “Thank you for this yummy food. We don’t want you to take it away! Whatever You give us, we’ll eat!”

Thank you for this yummy food. Whatever You give us, we’ll eat.

Out of the mouth of babes. That simple expression of thanksgiving for God’s gifts and faith in God’s goodness points the way for me.

When I, like Jesus and Jonathan, can turn from complaining to rest completely in God’s goodness … when I can begin every “meal” (of food or of life) with wholehearted thanksgiving … will my appetite grow for more? More of God. More of His will. More of the Jesus Diet.

With Jonathan, I say “AY-men!” Let it be so.