Dying Thoughts

What would you do if someone held you at gunpoint? Would you run, or would you try to fight? That was the topic of a conversation with friends a few days ago. Best answer I could give is a general “it depends”. Is the gunner after something? Am I in a location where there’s a place to hide, or is it an open field? Am I with other people? One of my friends shared that he and his girlfriend already agreed on what they’d do if the situation does happen. That’s good planning. You’ll never know when something like that would happen, and if you’re not prepared it might already be too late.

Personally, I have a hard time preparing for death. Whether it’s planning for what to do in a life-and-death situation, or something less tragic like buying insurance. It seems like a pointless activity, a futile effort. Some activities extend your life for just about one moment more. Some are plans for future setups that extend beyond my lifetime, a future as unsure as the future where I do exist, like tomorrow. Plans we make collapse as we execute them. What reason is there for us to expect that our plans beyond our lifetime will fare any better?

Would you believe that there’s a whole book in the Bible sharing these same concerns? Our Pastor, Pastor Noel Espinosa, began a series on the book of Ecclesiastes years ago, and the message still resonates with me.

I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

– Ecclesiastes 2:18-19

Vanity is the common theme in the book. At first look it seems that the writer’s repeated refrain is that of the meaninglessness of his work, his achievements, his pleasures, or his knowledge. But as Pastor introduces the series, he shows how the Hebrew word hebel actually means breath, vapor, and is the key to understanding this book. Our lives are brief, like vapors that pass by and are no more when faced with death. Why worry, and plan so that I can extend whatever joyous moments can be hand in this all too brief life? Pastor summarizes it in one of his points:

The reality of death makes any happiness all too brief, and without God, a mere illusion

The writer, thankfully, does not leave his readers to their despair as it seems he has. The book points us to the reality where life is not mere illusion, but that we exist for Him who created us, our God. The Lord will work continue to work in our lives for His glory. What we do matters. Preparing for our eventual departure may still not yield what we expect, but as Christians we know that whatever happens it will be for the good of those who love Him. The future that extends beyond our lifetime will be governed by the same unchanging God, as will the moments that will lead up to it.

Book Review: Si

SiSi by Bob Ong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Walang kupas talaga si Bob Ong sa larangan ng pagsusulat. At sa paglabas ng kanyang ikasampung libro ay napatunayan na niyang kaya niya iba’t ibang kategorya ng kwento ma-horror man yan (Kaibigan ni Mama Susan; na hindi ko naman binasa), tungkol sa superhero (Kapitan Sino), script man ng iba’t ibang klase ng sine (Lumayo Ka Nga sa Akin), o love story na paksa ng librong ito.

Pagbuklat mo pa lang sa unang kabanata ay mapapaisip ka na, dahil ang nakalagay ay pang-72 ito. Ngayon pa lang ako nakakita ng librong sinulat ng ganitong istilo. Naiintindihan ko na kung bakit, ayon kay Bob, sinimulan niya tong isulat kasabay pa ng Stainless Longganisa pero ngayon lang natapos.

KONTING SPOILER LANG
Gaya ng nabanggit ko kanina tila pabaligtad ang pagkakasulat ng librong ito. Pagdating pa lang sa kabanata 60 ko napagtanto na ang bawat kabanata pala ay tumutugma sa edad ng bida. Bawat kabanata ay may inilalahad siyang alaala na karamihan ay may kinalaman sa pagmamahalan niya ng kanyang naging asawa. Paalala, hindi ito librong hapon na dapat basahin simmula sa huling pahina. Sinadya ni Bob na magsimula sa edad na 72. Maganda ang kinalabasan. Maihahalintulad ang karanasan na ito sa kung may nakilala ka ngayon lang sa matandang edad na at ikinuwento niya ang mga nangyari sa buhay niya. May mga detalye sa kwento na mapapatanong ka, “Sino naman yung karakter na iyon?” tapos sa sunod na kabanata ay saka lang niya maipapaliwanag kung ano ba ang kinalaman ng taong iyon sa buhay niya.

Natuwa din ako sa kung paano niya ipinahiwatig ang buhay niya. Kalimitan ang karakter ng isang libro ay may isang dimensiyon lamang. Kung ang karakter na ito ay matapang, mabait, madaldal man o hindi sa simula ng libro dadalhin mo ang impresyon na iyon hanggang katapusan. Pero dahil nga nilalahad ng librong ito ang pagtanda at paglago ng isang tao sa bawat yugto ng kanyang buhay, makikita mo ang pagkakaiba ng bida noong siya ay 20, at noong siya ay 60. Napahalagahan ko rin kung paano naipakita nito na ang mga nakatatanda sa atin ay nabiyayaan ng Diyos ng mas maraming karanasan na kalimitan ay nangangahulugan din na may dagdag na karunungan.

Marami pa akong ikinagusto sa librong ito. At kung nagkataon na 4-stars ang ibibigay ko sa librong ito, ay siguradong mapipilitan akong dagdagan ang rating na iyon para lang sa huling kabanata at pahina ng libro kung saan ay nabigyan ng panibagong kahulugan ang naunang 71 na kabanata na binasa ko bago makarating doon. Naglalaman ito ng isang mahalagang mensahe na sa panahon natin ngayon ay mahalagang pag-isipan.

View all my reviews

This review was originally posted on Goodreads.

Round Three

We’re gonna give this another go. Hey guys, I’m Jonn, software enthusiast and stuff, and I’m gonna give this blog thing another go. Just a dump for some random topics until I build up the habit and find out what I really want to end up talking about. Not gonna write a too-long introduction so that I don’t feel guilty when I eventually slack off on this writing exercise.

About Me

Hi, I’m Jonn. I’m a professing Christian (Reformed Baptist), a Software Engineer by trade, and an avid gamer from the Philippines. This blog is more of an exercise in writing down my thoughts in the hopes that it will help me form a more concrete and consistent understanding of how the world works. It’s currently a mix of my stream of thought, and the occasional programming post.

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