Why, yes. Of course. I do plan on keeping this going. I was pretty bummed out that I broke my streak, and then it didn’t help that I was pretty busy last week – my birthday week, by the way.
Where did we stop? Sunday? Right. Monday morning, I was up pretty early because my church team and I were supposed to be picked up so we can all head to the beach together. I set my alarm for 2:15am, so I had at least 2 hours of sleep (I was up until around a little past 12 doing last minute packing).
When I woke up I started doing even more last minute stuff, and just as I was about to have a cup of coffee I receive a text that we should all just go back to sleep. The reason for this sudden change in events was that one of the vehicles we rented was used by the owner for an emergency. No problem, I thought. I set my alarm for 5:45am and then went back to bed. More rest is good.
I woke up, double checked to be sure that everything I had in my 2 bags was good to go, and just as I was about to jump into trying to do a thousand words for that day, I receive a text that the other car is on its way to pick me up.
That’s right, I’m giving you, my dear reader, a full detailed report of what went down, day by day. Not sure if there’s anything to get out of this, but bear with me. You may not see much from the details I’m sharing now, but who knows if some sort of realizations come as I keep typing?
I’m picked up, we pick two other folks up, and then we head over to an impromptu meeting place, where we find out that the replacement van isn’t available yet. Oh, this ‘impromptu meeting place’ I’m mentioning is actually the church-school complex where we held our service the day before, and we all started cracking jokes about how this ‘beach’ wasn’t exactly the best place for us to relax. I remember breaking my fast pretty easily, by way of gulping down a mug of 3-in-1 coffee.
Anyway the van finally arrives. Weeks before, we planned to leave at 3am so we could see the sun rise from somewhere in the lowlands, on the way to the beach. Now, it was 9am and the sun was pretty high up in the sky… and we were still in the highlands. The driver apologized by way of operating the van just short of the whole thing taking off, and we finally made it to sunny Bolinao, a little before our check in time of 2pm.
I remember my body needing to adjust, and at one point I was worried I might pass out, because the back of my neck started to ache like it was having trouble under the sun beating down on us as we brought the stuff from the vehicles to our rooms. Thankfully I was aware of the problem far before it caused any sort of damage, and as soon as I was under the shade I hydrated, big time.
We had a quick lunch, complete with entertainment – courtesy of our neighbors in the next room drinking so early in the afternoon and making the most out of the karaoke machine they rented… which would have been nice if they knew how to carry a tune, at least. Imagine singing the greatest hits of the 70’s and 80’s without your ears aware of how the tone coming out of your mouth sounds. They weren’t just singing with a lot left to be desired – they were ruining the classics.
But they were a nice bunch. They offered to share the karaoke machine with us, offered a drink, and asked nicely when they said they were short of water.
Anyway, lunch was out of the way, and our bags and stuff were more or less settled in. What was left to do was to get to the beach. I played it a little cool, holding the excitement of being at the beach for the first time in a little more than 2 years, just a little longer… and at around 4-430pm, we all headed out. I went fully armed, camera bag and tripod and all. I was not about to waste my chance at a beautiful sunset.
Obviously the pictures I took did not need much technical know-how to look good… but more than the pictures I was glad to have taken the opportunity, not to shoot photos of the actual sunset, but to lay the tripod down and take video instead. Within a couple of seconds of me setting up and pushing the shutter, the sun began ‘pouring’ into the sea. It took a little more than 2 minutes for the sun to completely disappear beneath the horizon. I thought to myself, glad I didn’t take that as a time lapse.
Pretty soon it was dark, and we had dinner. I heard the plan was we were going to play some games after cleanup, so I thought I’d go out and shoot some stars after the games. Little did I know that my team had a surprise meeting for me.
We all gathered inside the air-conditioned room, and I was surprised with gifts and greetings. Here I was, relaxing, feeling pretty good already, and it brought me over the edge to think that my team would go through so much lengths… I was speechless. Not enough for me to cry, but still pretty overwhelmed by their efforts. I am thankful to the Lord for them and all they do.
After all of this, I broke out the whiskey I sneaked into the room, and despite my wanting to down the entire bottle, we only had a few glasses before I decided to head out and shoot. It was a little bit before midnight at this time, and I thought I’d do some time lapses, to make some star trails.
But lo and behold… I was surprised yet again. There was a lightning storm in the distance… but the only problem was, the stars and the sea were on one side, but the storm was going on behind me. I had to choose which scene to shoot between the two… and I figured, the stars are always going to be there. I turned the tripod around, composed, and set it up so I was taking a time lapse, in hopes of getting some good streaks.
After looking at the shots back here at home, I remember regretting shooting this scene with the lens wide open. That left me with a lot more flashes, sure, but definitely a lot less actual streaks of lightning.
I stopped the time lapse after a little more than 5 seconds worth of frames. The streaks and flashes were getting longer and longer in between. I went ahead and shot more of the stars before heading back to the room. On the way back I remember seeing a couple of drunk blokes pouring beer on a poor starfish, trying to get it drunk. Idiots.
Okay, so that was last Monday. Pretty eventful, sure, but let me add some value. See, earlier I said I regretted breaking my fast with the instant coffee, but I guess the caffeine worked wonders. I was doing some critical thinking on the ride down to the lowlands, and as we traversed the different cities to finally get to Bolinao.
I was brought to think about that one quote by Michael Prince, in the final episode of Billions Season 6. He mentioned how there were two types of people: People who have things happen to them, and people who make things happen. And no matter where we may be between these two choices, he pointed out that the more important thing is to decide what to feel. Deciding how to feel, to him, was true power.
I thought about this in the light of me berating one and all about how emotions, or getting emotional, would lead to our ruin. It’s certainly led me to more than one embarrassing moment, and by default I’ve been letting people know that I am all for us suppressing our emotions as much as we can, letting them all out only with people we trust, or with the Lord Himself.
I also thought about how we were subscribed to the mindset of deciding what to think. The true power Michael Prince was mentioning was actually a marriage of these other thoughts I’ve been having. Apparently, we ought to decide how we feel. It’s deeper than what we think, and it’s certainly more of a proactive move, versus the reactive suppressing of feelings and emotions.
I’m reminded of what JP Sears said when he said in one of his earlier podcasts or videos, that we ought to feel our freakin’ feelings. And though I may not agree with this a full hundred percent, I believe that we could do so much better by making the choice of what we want to feel with such energy.
Truth be told, though deciding what to feel certainly sounds like a lifehack, and a shortcut – we wouldn’t be seeing it that way if we understood the price that had to be paid for us to feel in freedom. We can have peace, understanding that we have absolute and infinite Power, not only there for us, but loving us. We can also have power, this by way of the peace that goes beyond all understanding. And I do remember saying that – it takes infinite power to back up our claim of having peace beyond understanding.
Thankful, we have Christ, who is our Prince of Peace, and who is our High Tower. He’s the literal peace in times when we lack the power, and He is the power that holds us together, the power that keeps us on solid ground even when the world and this entire reality would stop at nothing to steal, kill, and/or destroy our peace.
It’s from knowing the Power and Peace we have in Christ that we are able to not only face our feelings, but we would respond and take action when necessary, helping where we could and sharing when and where we can. We are able to demonstrate power by way of deciding what we feel, and the thoughts, words, and actions follow.
I’m pretty sure there were other thoughts that came up along the way. I know I have them written down somewhere – I mean, if it’s not on this here laptop, it’s probably going to be in the phone – and I’m not necessarily going to open that stuff right away.
Not gonna lie, it’s only a little past 8pm and I’m already pretty sleepy. I’ve been dozing off in between sentences, but I’m at the home stretch. I’m not really sure if you got anything from this – I don’t even know if I got anything, myself – but all the same, it did feel good, not only be back to writing, but just to unload all of it before I keep on going. Of course, I’ll be telling you guys what’s been going on since Monday night, but I’m telling myself now, it doesn’t have to be this format exactly.
I hope everyone’s been fine since I’ve been away. I hope and I pray that we all have a good week ahead, full of realizations of the absolute peace and the definite power we have in and through Christ. I pray that we would just continue down the road of celebrating the truth of Christ and all He’s done, and in the process, we would be deliberate, not just with our thoughts, but our feelings, at any given moment.
God bless you and the family you represent. God bless all that concerns you and all you’re concerned about.
God bless us all.