Saturday, February 04, 2006

A Way of Life That's Upbuilding

Last Wednesday, Tess San Pablo celebrated her birthday. We took time after the First Friday Mass and prayer meeting of Lingkod QC to honor this dear sister.

It's the way of life in community (not just Lingkod) to honor birthday celebrators, as opposed to the more common "roasting", bring out their best traits, and share inspiring anecdotes about them. It builds up the ones who give the honoring as it teaches them gratefulness and appreciation at the right time (and not when the person is already gone, or worse, in heaven), and it reminds the honoree that she/he is among brothers and sisters who see Christ in him/her. We use only upbuilding language when we make an honoring. In Lingkod QC, celebrators are given an extra treat in that they are given the birthday rap, to which the whole branch claps and chants (You know the "B" is for ... we use adjectives for each letter). Some of my fondest memories of felowshipping with brothers and sisters came from birthday honorings, and not only when I was the honoree.

Tonight was like Lingkod QC's second childhood, as we went home at 1:40 a.m. and lived out the tradition of singing and performing even in public places (this time we were at Chowking E.Rod, Open 24/7 which suits our schedule). In the early days of our branch, we usually got home that late due to fellowship, where impromptu concerns were common, and had more than enough energy to meet the demands of the next day. As the members grew a little older, we started to slow down a bit and to go home a little earlier. Tonight, however, the fellowship bug seems to have bitten us again.

Curious at us, probably, the manager of Chowking asked us from what company we worked because there were around thirty of us and we looked like we were having fun. We told him we're from a community of singles, Lingkod, and he's welcome to join us. He said that he just might! Too bad that the retreat for single men was concluded last weekend. Perhaps we could invite him to our upcoming Christian Life Program and other activities!

It is always a joy to share God's love to others. Sometimes it starts with people asking us about Lingkod; or others witnessing our closeness and happiness at a secular event (like a Bukas Palad anniversary concert, where we met Victor, but then again a Bukas Palad show is not a worldly event); or with our respective officemates wondering why we all rush out of the office on Friday nights, not to Midnight Madness, but to attend prayer meetings. There are countless ways by which we meet people who want to have a personal relationship with Christ and to have a community in which to live that out.

Thus, the Lingkod family has grown to 31 branches nationwide in 21 years. Lingkod QC, like most branches, has members who are officemates, siblings, friends, and acquaintances of its members.

There is no other way I'd rather spend my Friday nights than to worship God, share what He has done, and break bread with my brothers and sisters! I am grateful tonight for the gift of life for my dear friend Tess, whom I have shared life with since 1998, and for the gift of community in Lingkod QC. We were able to convince Tess to sing a song for us with her beautiful Karen-Carpenter-like voice. Afterwards we sang a song for her (long story, it was a baduy '80's song that we couldn't get out of our heads the whole night).

Then, I wasn't planning to sing a song, but it seemed appropriate, so when I was asked, I broke into the theme song of my friendship with Tess. She sang it for me February 2002, during Lingkod's mini-pre-Valentine concert entitled "Seasons of Love", which showcased different songs about different kinds of love. I sang "Just My Imagination" and debuted the now-classic "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge with favorite singing partner Sunday Cabagay in that concert. Aside from the original artist, Phil Collins and Lea Salonga recorded the following song as well, showing just how beautiful it is. It's from the '80's, an era of music that is close to my generation's heart.

True Colors
by Cindy Lauper

You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then,
Don't be unhappy, can't remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I'll be there

And I'll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow.

It may be that God is singing that song to all of us. He sees us as beautiful, all the time, even if the world could sometimes make us believe that we're not. We deserve to be with people who see us through God's eyes. Our true colors are beautiful. I know that now.


rowena said...

hello sister.. tis a first for me to ever make comments on blogs, but i'd like to just say it anyway. the song "true colors" is also special for me... especially when i heard the lea salonga version. i always get tear-jerky whenever i hear're right, it's like God saying - each of us is beautiful ... like a rainbow. thanks for bringing the song to memory. i'm rowena of lingkod malaybalay (from the nltc2k5 loop)..hope i'm not intruding in this personal blog, i'm just looking around and tis one makes a connection to me. thanks for wonderful insights sister..God bless you.

Ella said...

Hi Rowena, thanks for sharing as well! Of course it's ok to comment on blogs, we appreciate it so we know when we're connecting to people. God bless you sis. See you next NLTC. :)