I Found My Blue Sky – Repentance

davidbonifacio_city

I was on the roof deck of this towering apartment screaming my lungs off. The wide empty sky absorbing my anger.

“Does it help? The screaming I mean. Does it help you?”

“Who are you?” I asked the old man who had just interrupted my cursing at the sky.

“I asked you a question first. Does the screaming help?”

“Have you been here long? I’m sorry about that. It’s been a tough period.”

“I know. I’ve been listening.”

“I’m embarrassed now. Sorry. I can get carried away. How much have you heard?”

“Everything. Everything you said and didn’t say. I told you, I’ve been listening.”

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” I asked with more curiosity. I should have been weirded out but I wasn’t. There was something reassuring about this old man.

He stepped into the roof’s light, “My name is Abe. And I’ve been waiting for you.”

Abe. I recognized him. A friend from a lifetime ago. My best friend once.

“Abe! I was going to call. But I forgot how to reach you. I…”

“You were afraid to reach me.” He inserted.

Ashamed I had to admit, “Yes, I didn’t know how you would react. If you still wanted to be my friend. You know… After everything.”

Abe smiled, “After everything…”

“I haven’t been very good. Not since I left that straight road to who knows where. I haven’t been good at all.”

Abe looked at me, “David, do you remember why I invited you on a quest?”

“Yes, to go to who knows where.”

“No, that’s not why.”

“It’s not?”

“No. To put it simply, it’s to walk with you, or to run, or to climb, and even fly – with you. To be with you. That’s why. Did you really think the invitation was just to go to a place? I’ve been everywhere. There is no more joy in just being somewhere yet there is infinite joy in being with someone.”

His words came back to me. Words I had ignored for too long:

“Do you know what I believe? Let me tell you what I believe. I believe in love. I believe that of all the laws and forces that be, there is true love that embraces all. And I believe in you. I told you I was going to give you a reason, and that reason was my reason, my reason is you.”

My eyes started to glisten, “I’m so sorry Abe. I really haven’t been very good. And it’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve tried incredibly. I’m quite successful you know. I’ve built a few things. But look at me now, I’m on top of this building screaming nothing to no one. I was supposed to take this quest with you, and I walked away. I left. I left you. I left the the journey to who knows where. There’s no going there now.”

Ignoring my excuse, Abe asked, “And where is ‘there’? Where is this place ‘who knows where’?

“I don’t know. I’ve never been there.”

Abe walked closer, his tall frame overshadowing mine, “I’ve been there. I’ve been everywhere. You have too.”

“I haven’t been everywhere.”

“You’ve been to who knows where.”

“I have?”

“You’re so forgetful David. For a smart guy you sure forget so easily. Yes. Yes, you’ve been there.”

“When?”

“Many times. You’re so close now. You’re so close to your destiny.”

Then it came back to me. The one lesson I had to learn, and the very lesson I had forgotten:

“Destiny, where I’m supposed to be, isn’t a place on a map or a moment in time, it is everywhere, anytime with the one you love.”

Abe’s idea of who knows where was, no is, anywhere and everywhere with me.

With me…

Tears started to fall now. I looked up at Abe unable to bridge the gap of his kindness, his wisdom, and his goodness and my inner turmoil. We were facing each other but it felt like an eternity between us.

“I don’t know what to say.” I told him, “I don’t know what to do.”

“How about you invite me for dinner? We can figure things out later.”

“Dinner? You eat now? I’ve never seen you eat – ever.”

“Oh I can eat. If I want to.”

I laughed a bit. Abe always had a weird solution to knotted moments. “Ok, let’s have dinner. There’s a Japanese restaurant downstairs. Do you like sashimi?”

He laughed, “Fish is my favorite. Wonderful choice.”

Abe always confounded me. His greatness yet his accessibility, his goodness yet his humility, his wisdom yet his interest in me. In the time of our travel in my younger years, not once did I see him eat anything, and now, apparently, he likes fish. Another thing to add to the ungraspable character of this giant.

“Come my friend. Let’s have our fish.”

As we turned to the hall of elevators, my heart and mind were filled with one thought, “He called me friend.”

 

Thoughts On Independence Day

I like the progression of my morning, rising from the floor on to my knees, dedicating the day in prayer, then rising to my feet to take the day on. Despite the chronic lack of sleep, I can feel more and more creative energy, more strength to execute, and a clarity of vision for the future. It’s as if, one by one, the words of the past are coming to pass, and whatever difficulties that were holding me back, whatever situations and mindsets, are being torn away like Eustace’s scales. And though the process may be more painful, longer, and less glamorous than thought, the freshness of this new season is freeing.

Freedom. I love that word. I consider it, along with words such as love, beauty, and character, to be terribly misdefined, and so misunderstood, and so misapplied.

In today’s world:

Love is love until it’s no longer easy, when it’s difficult and you have to work for it, it’s not love. Love is proven by how we feel. If we don’t feel good about it, get out. Love should happen effortlessly, you don’t need to try.

Beauty is how you look. It is your appearance. Yes, you need inner beauty, but so that you’ll glow and be radiant, and so people will think you’re a beautiful person. Proof of your beauty is when people recognize you, have a crush on you, put you on a magazine, include you in a list. 

Character has become about appearances too. You have character if people recognize you have character. So it’s important that people perceive you to be strong, or hard working, or smart, or wise, or loving or even whatever dysfunction, just as long as it’s “truly you”. In this social age, it matters less who you truly are but who you project to be. 

Which brings me to the word Freedom.

On the way to visit my parents on vacation, I had a conversation with their driver, Manny, who has been with our family for maybe two decades or more. It was about politicians, the concluded elections, and governance. It was so nice to listen to the questions of someone truly interested in understanding national issues and the structures that determine the course of these issues. I can’t say most of the people I know understand what a government truly is, how and why democracy is different, what it means to have a constitution.

The sad truth is, most of the people I know don’t care to know. We’ve relegated knowledge to a few intelligent people.

What do most people have?

Opinions. Thoughts and comments that are more influenced by the thoughts and comments of others rather than study and reflection.

Again, we have a mob – and a mob who “feels” more than “thinks” is dangerous.

I like feelings just as much as the next guy, but it can’t be all about feelings.

I explained to Mang Manny that during the French Revolution there was so much chaos, but out of this chaos came three ideals that would form the foundation of Democracy:

Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.

I told him in mostly Tagalog, “Today, we tend to claim so much of our liberty, our freedom to do whatever we want, when we want, how we want, why we want. Yet what efforts have we done to make sure our neighbour enjoys the safety and opportunity we do. What do we do to encourage equality, at least equality of justice under law? When we bribe the traffic officer we do not encourage equality. We encourage corruption: the mother of inequality. When we give token gifts to the beggar but do not more actively participate in the construction of strong values in families, social and private institutions, we do not encourage fraternity but self-interest.”

The whole time he kept saying, “Kaya pala. Kaya pala. Kaya pala.”

“No wonder. No wonder. No wonder.”


No wonder no one feels loved. We think the trick is to first love ourselves. How does a hungry person feed himself from within? How does one love oneself without taking from others?

This is why love must be given. If love is taken that’s stealing and rape. But if everyone is taught to love themselves, then who is left to give first?

How can we when people are falling in love and falling out of it depending on how we feel? We all know how feelings are. They’re a terrible foundation for this dream of life long commitment. We, the very people promoting and embracing words of love, are the very same people incapable of cultivating love beyond feelings.

No wonder no one feels beautiful. Is a person truly beautiful if so much effort is applied to attract? Are someone’s eyes really pretty if it takes contacts and painting techniques to bring them out? Are bodies really beautiful if they have to be cut open, sucked, arranged, and scar-lessly assembled? Do we really want our children to think that the definition of beauty is to live a life that is so outwardly focused with so much time and energy going into our physiques and clothes, and so little going to our souls. “As long as you look like this, you’re fine.” our actions tell our sons and daughters, even as our hearts and minds, the two things that help us live meaningfully, get by on a minimum diet of inspiring quotes from who knows where.

Never in the history of humanity has our self-worth rested so much on the opinions of strangers, strangers who form one general mob, a directionless wave. The mob has never been known to be intelligent. In fact, it is proven irrational. Yet we live in a way that draws so much validation from how well we match the mob. And our children will do likewise.

No wonder there’s so much insecurity. Everyone knows they’re not as good as they project. If you think you are, you’re deluded. Everyone knows our thoughts aren’t always pure or wise. Everyone knows our motives are generally selfish. Everyone knows that no one is perfect.

Yet, because perception is more important than true identity, no one will admit the need to change, to be corrected, to be forgiven. There can be no forgiveness if there is no sin after all.

If there is no sin, there is no forgiveness. If there is no forgiveness, there is no redemption. If there is no redemption, there is no reason to love because there is nothing to love. If there is no reason to love there is no perseverance. If there is no perseverance, there is no character.

If there is no character there is no hope.

Let us choose the unseen overhauling of our hearts over the visible recognition of man.

To put things very simply, as it is my goal to learn to write more succinctly, my thoughts on Independence Day are these:

Celebrate independence from oppression yet embrace the need for inter-dependence, for community, for generosity, for kindness, for forgiveness, for love.

Celebrate identity and our individuality yet embrace fraternity and equality. We are different yet we are on the same team and all are made worthy just the same. 

Celebrate freedom and choice yet embrace prudence and wisdom. Seek to learn not just be entertained. Develop convictions not just opinions. Take a stand not a pose. Act on your beliefs don’t merely have opinions. 


As has been said:
We are free to choose the life we wish to live.
We are not free to choose the consequences of our choices.
#db

Be A Drop In the Ocean

Before anything else, here’s a reminder of my dad, Joey Bonifacio’s message at church this morning. If you missed it get the podcast.

I need to be more disciplined with my blog. I’ve been so packed with work. A lot of exciting things going on, things I plan to share with you as they come to fruition. I’m so excited because I know that these initiatives have a great chance of impacting your life in a meaningful way. I’ll be writing more about business and how passion and excellence can be applied in profitable ways of making life beautiful. I would be so glad to see you succeed in great ways, and if my small contributions through this blog helps you, I would count it as my privilege.

It is not my desire to be some superstar guy to admire. I find that admiring people we barely know is a sign of a lack of intelligence – and we’re all guilty of this. It’s easy to admire someone you don’t know and it’s easy to take for granted someone you do know.

But make no mistake, that person we think is so amazing? He or she is just AS amazing or un-amazing as the people we know. The fastest way to lose admiration and enchantment over someone is to simply get to know as much of them as possible.

Now loving someone we know intimately, warts and all, is a sign of the highest level of wisdom – it is a sign of love. As Victor Hugo puts it, “Love is the wisdom of God.”

It always baffles me to see how much affection and admiration is given by people to so-called “stars” who do not even know their name. They scream and crowd for stars. They cry in their funerals – and yet cannot answer when asked “How have they contributed to your future? Are you a better person because of them? A better father, a better mother, a better son, daughter? Do they call your name and speak destiny to you?

No. How can they? They don’t know you do they?

No wonder we never feel good enough. We admire someone who not only DOES NOT admire us, who does not cheer our success. We admire someone who doesn’t even know we exist, much less make us feel like we matter.

And the people that truly matter to us, and to whom we truly matter to, must share the attention and affection with strangers who truly don’t matter.

Shallow living is allowing the little “thoughtlessnesses” to fill our hearts and minds. This compiles of course into thinking and mindsets, into decisions and actions.

Our lives can be a bucket of thought- less-ness or thought-full-ness depending on what we allow to collect in our soul.

It is my goal to, in my own humble way, encourage you to live a meaningful life. To be thoughtful, that someday you can look back with satisfaction because you embraced God’s gift of life. Moving forward with my blog, I will endeavour even more deliberately to use it as a tool to help you become your best version of you.

And with all the other businesses, foundations, arts, and involvements, I hope to find ways for them to truly add value to your life. I would appreciate the feedback and your ideas. All our heads are better than one. Just as all our contributions are better than those of one. Just as all our lives can turn the tide of this ocean called life better than my little drop.

In this ocean of people I realized
It’s amazing to be even just a drop in the ocean
When you can see the ocean in every drop
#db