Lower thoughts, lower ways.

Category: Messays: Messy Essays

The Lambs Are On the Run

From the womb and into the world, we remain babies, kicking at the sound of certain voices and distinct sounds. We are equipped with a recognition device, one that lights up every time we see a familiar face or smell a scent that brings back a memory.

On more special occasions, this recognition device lights up to the point of a very warm feeling in the belly, of finally learning we are made for something bigger than we are, like a baby realizing it is inside its mommy.

“Significance over success,” one lawyer said during this evening’s prayer gathering for victims of human trafficking. He was on his way to becoming the next big thing in politics, exchanging handshakes and smiles with the most influential people in the country. It was a tough call to get out of the limelight and follow God’s leading to the darkest dungeons in the province, where abused women did not weep for what they did not know. What he said undid me, for for the past days I had been wondering about things I could achieve and things I could be famous for, and I had forgotten all about a vision I received a year ago. At that moment, my heart was reset and a plan for my life was laid bare before my eyes.

Justice for human trafficking and exploitation is not an elusive dream. I was a witness to that during the prayer gathering where several lawyers and a social worker testified to the sovereignty of God and the swiftness of His justice. It was very heartbreaking when one of the lawyers revealed that girls as young as five were being sexually exploited. But God does not allow abuse to linger and go unpunished. For the past year alone, more than a hundred women and children were rescued and put in aftercare by a single organization. In addition to the rescues, criminals composed of bar-owners and pimps were convicted in less than nine months, a breakthrough in the Philippine justice system. A lot may seem to have been accomplished, but the enemy never tires and continues to prowl. And so we remain steadfast.

Let me take a famous song’s chorus out of context:

“God, tell us the reason
Youth is wasted on the young
It’s hunting season
And the lambs are on the run
Searching for meaning
But are we all lost stars
Trying to light up the dark?”*

Most of the victims don’t even know they’re being exploited because they don’t know where else to turn to and where to get significance from. Some of the girls never experienced going to school, making new friends in the neighborhood, or getting a new toy for their fifth birthday.

My prayer for you, dear reader, is this: That you will finally recognize that bigger thing which you were made for, and know with all your heart that you are more than a self with individual desires and individual wants. You are not detached from the community you are moving and breathing in. What breaks your heart to see around you could be your very heart, your little role to play in this world. Pray with me.

*Adam Levine, Lost Stars


An attendee posting his prayer points for the justice movement.


Mission Statement


Off the Hook

320px-San_Leo-la_cella_di_CagliostroThe blame game began sixteen or fifteen years ago. I broke a video game disc my cousins owned and loved. Knowing I was in for a serious beating, I desperately thought of something to cover up what I thought was one of my biggest sins so far.

“Not me,” was a line that always came in handy, or so I thought. If I were proud of anything in the disc story, it was that I was good enough not to point the finger although it was itching to unfold from my red hand. Of course, pride wore the exact frilly ribbons I had on my head.

The blame game was something that I was eventually forced to play. I did not exactly want in, but I had to. And boy, was I good at it, especially when I had my dear baby brothers nearby. They were my best friends one minute and my scapegoats the next.

I registered a dangerous process in my mind, one that I would later find difficult to throw away because of the counterfeit comfort it brought. Back then, my mistakes were always the result of somebody’s influence, the urgency of a moment, the supposed lack of another option. I was not fully to blame.

Pontius Pilate raised me well. He taught me to wash my hands, even in front of the One who knew that my whole being was buried in muck.

Adam said, “It’s the woman.”

Eve said, “It’s the serpent.”

He said, “It’s you.”

My enemy and I are one and the same. When Paul said he could not do what he ought to do and did what he was forbidden to do, he was telling me my heart was capable of the same thing. And if we had to point a finger, we would need a mirror first.

He said, “It’s you.”

But He took the lashes. He took the beating. His blood for my blame. On that afternoon, in the searing heat of the sun and the deafening cries of the crowd, I was Barrabas the prisoner, set free.

Cheers, the sem is almost over!

Here’s to the late nights half-doing homework, a fourth listening to music and and still another fourth reading half-asleep (do the math).

Here’s to suddenly feeling your heart pump nervous blood as the alarm rings for the next time after you snoozed it thrice. It’s five minutes past the start of class but you decide to get up and attend, congratulations. It’s a decision you will mull over at the end of the day and pat yourself twice for.

Here’s to waking up early and seeing the sunrise for the fifth time in your three years in university.

Here’s to proceeding to class with a few sprinkles of water on the face and nothing more, well, probably, a few sprays of perfume is more.

Here’s to taking long, good showers with a recording of your professor’s lecture playing in the background. You think you can endure it but the next thing you know, you’re already changing it to your new favorite playlist.

Here’s to sitting in class, smelling good, a classmate you admire just next to you. The professor announces that it’s recitation time and your palms start getting sweaty until the end of the class when you celebrate because the professor decided not to call you or you decide to pretend that you weren’t called because when you stood up, nothing came out of you but a sigh and some perfume.

Here’s to owning the next recitation.

Here’s to skipped breakfasts, big and guilt-filled lunches, and energy bars and drinks for dinner. Your tolerance has gone up immeasurably and even thinking about a placebo effect no longer does you any good.

Here’s to Google (you know how well the search engine deserves to be recognized even in your thesis’ acknowledgment).

Here’s to choosing sleep over a class because the professor is also no different awake or asleep, and even if you attended the man would have just lulled you to dreamland.

Here’s to rationalizing bad or lazy or whatever decisions, like the above.

Here’s to sleeping in and finding out that class was cancelled.

Here’s to ghost groupmates and feeling helpless during the activity but powerful when evaluation comes.

Here’s to giving people and yourself a chance to grow.

Here’s to actually enjoying listening to a class you never thought would interest you. That’s a big thing.

Here’s to getting the highest mark, without expecting it.

Here’s to joining a protest against the evils of society (as if there is another viable option).

Here’s to meeting someone new, a friend, an acquaintance, a lover, another favorite professor. Keep the linkages, you might not know when you (or your org) will need them.

Here’s to keeping a new friend, not for anything concrete but just for the friendship.

Here’s to discovering a comfortable place to study (or sleep) in. An empty classroom, a café, a fast food joint. Hey, the library won’t grow old despite its aging and smug librarians and the smell of rotting books.

Here’s to finding out that librarians are pretty kind, after all.

Here’s to everything that’s been said and everything else that will transpire.

Here’s to never-ending learning and, cliché as it may sound, discovering education beyond the four walls.

Here’s to a well-deserved semestral break, which you can declare without having to worry about upcoming final exams. They’re all yours to notch.

And if you’ve read this through to the last line (every bit of it, promise me) and you’re a friend of mine, I hope to be able to reward you with something. Just send me a message.