Year-Ender Journal: NEVER LOOK BACK.

(18) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (19) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -God. (in Isaiah 43;18-19)

My 2013 had been kind of passive as a quiet pond, quite thorny as the rose’s stem, and relatively gloomy as the dusk. I guess dusk is a good methophor to represent this year which is just about to end in a few hours.

Imagine that moment when you feel that awkward gloom, when the sunny and warm mood of the afternoon meets the shadowy ambience of the night? That obscure and cold aura. It was initially lonely, awkward, and grey. Soon, this grey turned blue and bluer, and turned darkest blue.

A very long year is (not always) beautiful.

My 2013 must have been the longest year so far, painstakingly long and dotted with lots of waiting and waiting and more waiting.

When I juxtapose 2012 and 2013, I can see the huge contrast. I even tagged my 2012 a Miracle Year – graduated from UP, taught in UP as assistant prof, started in the music ministry, went to countries via a youth program and made lotsa friends. When 2013 rushed in, things turned rather bitter and dry:

My laptop and ipad 2 were stolen from the department room by some random student-looking guy. Together with these units are loads of memorable photos and useful files. Almost all my photos taken in Asia were all gone. Some lectures and AVPs which could have been useful for my students were all gone. Worse than the monetary loss is the pain of losing my brother’s first pricey gift, and my parent’s gift too.

I quit my job in May. I had deep reasons. For the next months until now, I have been jobless.

I enrolled in the PhD program. I quit as one of my professors attacked me personally. I couldn’t accept it. I finished my other course subject, though. It was tough, and I had to write papers until dawn. But it was worth it. The professor was very helpful too. Until now, I consider her a mentor.

I declined to accept some teaching invitations in some good schools, as I dared myself to try other professions but teaching. I sent my applications to other organizations; Some yes others nay. To the yesses, I humbly declined again due to future commitments that might be in conflict with the contract. To other yesses, I had to consider financial matters. In the end, I have found myself jobless. With unemployment comes either rest or slow decline of self-esteem. I experience(d) each. Go figure.

I moved away from a bunch of old mates, due to various factors. I opt not to elaborate because I don’t wish to remember the deceit, pride, and reluctance to commit oneself to well-laid-out responsibilities. A few ones remained. Others were neutral, or rather coward to stand up for what is right. People come, people go. You keep the good ones. I hate wearing masks. I’d rather be real. Besides, when people isolate you, never push yourself in. Leave, but never revenge. “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Instead, “Cast all your cares on (God) for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).
Never ever revenge. If you do, you suffer. If you let God, He will uphold justice.

I have moved on. I have let go and let God, so goes the cliche.

Sprinkles of bliss come in surprises.

2013 was my misty year – foggy, dark, hazy, whatever you call it. But as the fog descended on the calm pond, occasional dews of bliss also sprinkled on me.

Losing my laptop and ipad 2 depressed me for a long time. However, during this period, I had realized that life’s essence can never be measured in material wealth and other ephemeral tangible possessions. It’s wiser to invest in eternity, in God’s Kingdom. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt 6:19-20). During this period, points for reflection surged in. I have found that comfort one is always assured of, and one certainly feels when he chooses to hold on to God, the source of eternal hope and peace.

The loss was never easy to forget. Occassional flashbacks hit me. But hey, never look back. Never look back.

In summer, my father and brother returned home for vacation. It was the first time after many years that our family had been reunited. The last one was about three years ago. That was a fleeting but blissful moment during that long dry period of my life.

Also in May, I applied to the Japanese Monbukagakusho Research Scholarship. The application was tough and very competitive. In August, when the result of the first screening was released, I was actually surprised. I thought I wouldn’t make it. It’s all by God’s grace. I knew some panel members did not find my proposal interesting and sufficient. They must have found something in it that is promising. In December, I received word from the Japanese Embassy and from the University of Tokyo, arguably Asia’s best, and one of the world’s top institutions for higher education. I will write a separate note about this some time soon. But hey, have you gotten that awesome truth: God’s grace has lead me through, and will lead you through as well. His steadfast love is new every morning. Although not all mornings can be as blissful as you expect it to be, certainly, His grace is present.

My 2013 had been relatively gloomy as the dusk. The gloom of the dusk continued until the darkest of the night.
However, let us be reminded that the brightest stars shine in the darkest nights.
Sure, the stars appeared slowly. I just had to wait patiently.

My 2013 had been quite thorny as the rose’s stem. But hey, life is not always rosy. The rose is a rise because it has thorns. Thorns can be crowns too. Get what I mean?

The year 2013 had been kind of passive as a quiet pond. But again, wait in patience. In time, the Lord will let the stars glisten and the pond will reflect it. This is such an awesome sight, isn’t it?

Never look back. Appreciate the present. Look ahead.

Before the year comes to a close, the Lord again reminds me of this:

(18) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (19) See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -God. (in Isaiah 43;18-19)

Ahhhhhh! such a sweet revelation. THANK YOU LORD!!!!! :)

I’m looking forward to His blessings this 2014. Tomorrow (2014) will be a beautiful day/ year. I hope and pray that you also experience God’s work in your life in ways that will marvel you. Happy New Year, pal.

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