Sunday is traditionally the first day of the week. The day after Sabbath.
Many of you know that the past year has been a Sabbath year for me. No involvements in any ministries, beyond fun gatherings with friends, like The Edge Media’s Thanksgiving, and First Day of Christmas. Oh, there was the pet show co-hosting, too, that gave us the opportunity to finally bring our girls to watch a movie in a real movie house, a 3D movie at that, all for free!!
Thank you, my beloved Edge Media family!!
While last year’s confirmation to begin the Sabbath came on my birthday, what made it a Sabbath year, a 7th year, was my mother’s death on July 24, 2004. July 24, 2010 – July 24, 2011 is the 7th year since her passing in 2004. And truly, that was when the “week’s” labor began that I definitely needed to rest from.
For most of those years, I was running on momentum. As early as 2007, I knew God was telling me to stop, but I kept misunderstanding what He meant, until finally, last year, as I turned 42, He pulled me away from everything and imprisoned me in His arms.
And in my house.
Yes, I confess: it really felt like a prison. Nowhere to go, and hardly anyone to talk to. Not even internet on at that time, as our ISP, instead of fixing the lines drowned by Ondoy in 2009 just laid down new lines but continued to charge us waiting subscribers for services they never rendered. THEN had the gall to charge us for pretermination! Poor customer service girl had to bear the brunt of my frustration, but then, forgive me, but that was the stupidest question I’d heard: “Did you report the disconnection, ma’m?” “Yes, twice at the actual office in Megamall. How many times do we have to report to your company something that you already know happened anyway? All your connections in Rizal have been DEAD since Ondoy on Sep 26, 2009!”
Argh, distractions. But gosh, it’s quite a relief to let it out. . .
I turned 43 last sunday, a year after the sabbath year was imposed on me.
How appropriate, isn’t it? I was told to stop working on a saturday (last year), and have been officially released from the sabbath on a sunday. The first day of the week, the first day of my year.
And the first door that was opened was my family.
When my mother died, things were thrust upon me that should not have been my responsibility. But when people refuse to be responsible for their obligations, sometimes the responsible get burdened with them. And then be accused of trying to maneuver yourself into a position of power. Usurper.
It’s the classic damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
And, as always, the first people to suffer was my own family: Irl and the girls bore much of my frustration at my helplessness to do anything; the girls, young as they were, began to see how I was being blamed for doing things right (like paying off debts and trying to pay bills on time), and began their own campaign to try to protect me. Irl felt helpless that he could not just uproot us and move us away from the poisonous situation, because we couldn’t just walk out on the legacy my mother had worked so hard to leave behind for my brother and me.
Was it fear of loss that made us stay? Perhaps. Was it disbelief that God can handle the situation? Probably.
Whatever our true motivation was, one thing was clear: God wanted us to rest from it. And restore us to what He had originally planned our family to be.
For my birthday this year, someone asked if I had cake and presents. I didn’t. At least, not in the expected tradition.
I just wanted three things for this year: watch a sunset, go to Vieux Chalet, have ice cream cake.
I got more. So typical of God, isn’t it?
Helplessness will contribute to a feeling of inadequacy that adds to the total discouragement a person might feel about herself. So the first thing God gave me was Irl:
“I’m sorry if I have been taking you for granted. I’m going to do my best to stop taking you for granted from now on, and if I do it again, please let me know.”
On the rare occasion that I had mascara on, too, right? And he was wearing a white shirt. Well, undershirt. That was God’s “thinking ahead” for us. ^_^
And then to realize that because of what has been going on, I have been the one pulling away from my own children. That was why the house felt like a prison: there was nothing else I wanted but to leave, but because I had kids, and I homeschooled them, I had to stay home.
Needless to say, I lapsed terribly and horribly on their homeschooling for the past year.
Now I see how my daughters have been just trying to involve me in their lives too: they want me to play PS2 with them. They research about Japanese anime, animals and plants, and show me what they find. They put on Baby’s Day Out for me because we all can’t stop laughing even if we’ve practically memorized the movie by now. Or they “ask to watch” Legend of the Shadowless Sword and Reign of Assassins because they know I like martial arts, specially if they’re done beautiful kick-ass women like Michelle Yeoh, Yoon Soy and Lee Ki Yong. And Maggie Cheung and Zhang Zi Yi. And Liu Yifei. And…
You get the point, right.
On my birthday, they also let me share with them something I like, and we discovered something we all found amazing: Vieux Chalet’s Shrimp Ravioli. We also got to watch the sunset from one of the windows at the restaurant, after which we had dessert: Swiss Chocolate Cake – with ICE CREAM!!
My three birthday wishes!
And my beloved family with me, doing it for me. Sharing it with me.
Today, I did something Jodie and Roni and Irl have been waiting for me to do for several months now: learn to play PS2. Irl is still an ace coach, and the two girls exhibit the all-too-familiar impatience of youth with an older person catching up with technology. Irl kept telling them “Mommy learns best when trying things out on her own.” (Now, if I can only remember that I need to move my thumb to hit the triangle, and not my index finger, making Athrun jump instead of finishing the planned combo…) Sometime soon, I need to make good on my promise to try to teach the girls knitting — I’m just a beginner myself — and to get that book on sketching that will replace our art lessons for now. Unless there’s an art teacher out there willing to take us three on? But even before that, we’ll need to take a crash course on grade 4 studies to get them on time for grade 5…
But right now, after sunday with my family, is monday: Irl has taken the day off to celebrate some more, and we’re planning to take the girls out to a movie. Transformers 3. Watch Optimus Prime and Bumblebee kick some Decepticon arses…
Happy birthday to me. And Happy 4th of July — Independence Day! — to all who celebrate it!