Dangerous stories shouldn’t be whispered – Part 2

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…Many years ago, cities were filled with people from all over the world. They had running water, constant internet, they even bought stuff with plastic cards! Everyone lived together and the people were much happier and less suspicious as they are now. Then, all of a sudden, a sign came down from the sky. Grandfather called it “The whip of God.” Anyways, it was basically a giant rock that was hurled from the heavens and struck the world. Pretty incredible huh? That’s not the end of it though, because out of the ashes from where the meteor hit came strange demons that began eating people up-”

“I’m sorry Solomon, I have to stop you right there.” She intervened. “You are being really, um, just, over the top? There is no such thing as meteorites or monsters, just accept that as what they really are: stories.” She gave him an incredulous look.

“I told you to listen to me, ” Solomon continued. “This is really important for you to know.”

“Why? Why do you keep insisting on this? Why did you make us meet in this abandoned shed? David I think you’re taking this too far. I’m going home.”

“Don’t please! I’m leaving tonight.”

Stopping on her tracks, she turned around from the closed door. “What? Where are you going?”

He took a few seconds, considering whether he should tell his secret.

“I’m going there. I’m going to New York.”

A few songbirds had perched on the tree just outside the dilapidated shed. They sang songs in the sad wilderness that surrounded them. They filled the deep silence with their sweet singing.

“Solomon.” She bit her lip. She knew there was nothing she could do. Once something was in Solomon’s head, he wouldn’t let go. She didn’t want him leaving, she couldn’t. Solomon would die outside the town’s perimeter, and winter was coming in a month. She had a deep-held secret though. Something she swore to herself never to tell, but this was the hour.

“Solomon, I love you,” she stood up, “and I never want to hurt you.” She stood tall and proud, her shadow seemed larger than before, and for a moment, Solomon could feel an overwhelming presence overtaking the room, the shed, the whole world, even. He felt this in his bones, and, even though she still looked and talked the same as before, he realized a newfound magnificence radiating from the person before him.

“Solomon, I am not who you think I am. My real name is Hope, and I’m not from around here.”

 

Thanks for reading. Comments and suggestions are welcome. I will post the third part here soon.

Dangerous stories shouldn’t be whispered

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I’ve found very few people who agree with me on this. Almost everyone I talk to about it looks at me with a strange face, as if I were making it all up. I know I’m not, I remember it distinctly ‘cause it was repeatedly told by my grandparents when I was a kid, and I know some friends who can corroborate to the story I am about to tell. I can tell you the names of them, but only after you’ve first listened to me. My parents doubted their authenticity, and almost everyone I know thinks it’s just a bedtime story —like the boogeyman. If there ever was any evidence for it, I don’t have much hope of finding it. Most books pre-dating our grandparents can only be found in places called “libraries”, and those are rare to find. I

think the closest one is like, six hours from here, in Duluth.

The best memory I have of this story was when my grandfather was celebrating his 85th birthday. I was 7 and he drew me close after the brief festivities were over. Don’t get me wrong, my family loved grandpa Jones. It’s just that, he could be quite annoying with his constant story-telling and nonsense talking. He started having dementia by that time, and he would ramble on about dragons and giants battling each other. His eyes would flare up when his rambling started, and he would mimic battles by attempting to jump and flail his arms wildly. Now why on earth would you trust the veracity of my story now that I’m telling you this? Actually, that’s exactly the question I wanted you to ask. I wanted to be completely transparent with you about the circumstances which he told me this. Call me crazy or whatever you want, you have every right to do that —I mean, most people do that anyways—. But I trust you, just don’t tell anyone that I’m telling you this. I’ve been hurt enough times. Anyways.

Here it goes.

To be continued…

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Love & Forgiveness

Loving someone does not mean you have to like them. That’s basically the gist I got from CS Lewis’ chapter on Forgiveness in Mere Christianity.

It’s funny how often we think we have to like someone if we are to love them. To think that I need to like the people who cut across me in traffic is tedious at best, unwilling at worst. I can forgive them (at least, in the abstract concept) but I will not feel any sort of sympathy or “warm feelings” toward them..

Good news: That’s ok!

As St. Thomas Aquinas put it, love is not a feeling, it is the active will of desiring the good of the other, for the other. In that sense, we can be assured that forgiveness can be achived without having to actually “like someone.” Still, it would be the Christian thing to do to reach out to the other and desire him/her infinite happiness in heaven, as we all are called.

Adventures in Dreams, California and San Salvador – Part 1

This is the first draft of a story, “A Day In the Life of Fernando,” that I hope to polish up and eventually publish. I like to think of it as a sketch to get the ideas going. I’ll post the following chapter later this week. Enjoy!

It was 4am and Fernando woke up to the screeching sound of his alarm. He debated in his mind about getting up.  He had stayed late studying, and he could feel his body yearning for rest. But it didn’t matter what he felt, he knew he had to go for a run. The ROTC semester test was coming up, and he wanted to be among the best. Still, he thought, there’s only so much the body can take, and he needed rest. A few seconds passed by, and Fernando could feel himself drifting back to sleep. 

Not out of courage, but out of habit, he suddenly threw one leg over the bed. He brought the other one over and propped up. Sitting still, he swung between consciousness and sleep. Like a baby taking his first steps, he precariously moved one foot in front of the other towards the bathroom. He turned on up the sharp bathroom lights and washed his face with cold water. He looked himself in the mirror and was content with what he saw.

He was ready, and there was no going back. He put on his running shoes (he’s wore his workout clothes as pijamas), and finished a half-eaten banana from the fridge in his room. After a few bites, he took his iPhone and carefully tip-toed his way past his roommates, heading out into the streets of Los Angeles. 

It was pitch dark, and the cool ocean breeze immediately struck his face. He remembered the comfort and warmth of his bed, but quickly dismissed it. It was no use to think about it any longer. He put on Bloomberg radio and sought to immerse himself in the 6 mile run ahead of him. The houses around him were suburban and small, but very expensive due to their close proximity to the college. Fernando didn’t have a car, and Los Angeles isn’t the most bike-friendly place, so he had to find a place nearby to attend his morning classes. He found his shared apartment on Craigslist, but the high price of rent did not give justice to the its dilapidated state.

As a Political Science graduate, Fernando thought he had a lot ahead of him. Born in San Salvador but raised up by his grandmother in San Antonio, it seemed like a different saint was now blessing him in his incredible climb of success in the U.S. His parents were killed in the gang violence that wrecked San Salvador in the 90s and 2000s. Fernando was therefore left alone in a dust-filled house with his grandmother in Texas. It was originally his parents’s house, their first in the US, from wherein they could start their lives anew in America.

His father, being a software programmer, was hired by a startup in San Antonio, who later found out that his hourly wage was cheaper than the weekly budget for dog food in the office. His mother was already a naturalized citizen from Mexico working as a housemaid for the wealthy oil men who had winter houses in the city. After his parent’s death, it was a climb against all odds that now, Fernando thought, could reach as high as the heart of D.C politics. His daily runs fueled his ambition, and kept him in shape for the upcoming ROTC physical that was coming up. Without the ROTC, there would be no way he could afford his education. To trade a few years of combat service for graduate studies was simple math that led to his  current situation now: running at 4am in the sleepy, hallowed streets of L.A before work, before class, with no social life for him, in pursuit of a social justice for all.

Hamilton’s Quill

In Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, Eliza Hamilton recounts her husbands work ethic as follow: he wakes up early morning before sunrise, takes a strong drink (understood here to be coffee), and works on his letters and manuscripts until 3 in the afternoon, whereupon he would eat, spend time with his family, read and go to sleep again. This wouldn’t happen everyday of course, but the essential fact is that Hamilton had a-near obsessive predisposition for work. It’s important to note there was no social media or internet to distract him, only his paper and quill were in front of him. Work became the means to entertain his mind. In other places throughout his biography we also see his superhuman work ethic in action. He once delivered a 30,000 word report on the commercial and financial state of the United States to congress in a mere month or two (It was a Herculean feat that Democratic-Republicans didn’t think he could accomplish). I believe that a singularly focused mind dedicated wholeheartedly to a task can achieve great things in this world. I also believe it would attain some special recognition, as the world has become connected and exceedingly distracted by the myriad of communicative opportunities.

In work, we can find meaning. If we can toil away our bodies and minds for the purpose of achieving a higher end, we are becoming fuller in our Christian identity. The ultimate toil of course, being that of achieving heaven -no greater reward compares to this, and there is no greater work required than the sacrifice of oneself for this purpose.

Let us work then, in dedication, focus, and earnest confidence that what we do can serve a higher purpose.

We don’t care anymore

When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet, and made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns, red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days, and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham, they simply passed Him by.
They would not hurt a hair of Him, they only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender, and they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street, and left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, ‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do, ‘
And still it rained the winter rain that drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary.

Continue reading “We don’t care anymore”

The Necessity For Tradition To Transform

In the convention of bringing something new to discussion, I would like to bring up something as old as civilization itself. Tradition is generally thought of as a fixed set of cultural rites, actions and relationships that pass on from one generation to the next, with a fixed power dynamic on those who create the tradition, and those that follow it.

Continue reading “The Necessity For Tradition To Transform”

Introduction

Before St Francis Xavier departed on an evangelizing journey that would take him to India, China and the far reaches of Japan, he received a farewell that became the dominant focus of the mission he was about to partake in.

Ite, inflammate omnia – “Go, set the world on fire”

St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order, proclaimed this to all his missionaries, and its the same tagline I’d like to use to start this blog. The aim of this space is to become a place where ideas and mental processes can help us arrive towards a fuller understanding, a more truth-filled outlook, on the whole word. Yes, I do profess there is something as truth, and I also profess for there to be an absolute truth. And through it all it accompanies us as we dwell in this world of tears and joys, of sorrows and praise. Join me, so that we too, might set the world on fire.