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Count Your Blessing: While Walking

29 Nov

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After a morning of delicious reading in the library, I decided to take a good walk before I eat lunch. Eventhough there’s a lot to finish this week, there seems to be more than enough time to accomplish them and plenty more left for rest, recreation and more reflection. I was quite satisfied. I left the world of the far past ( the German Präteritum) and let my mind wonder on the midday sunlight shining between the ancient trees that stood at both ends of the academic oval. (I remembered an adjective exclusive in Italian, alberato, meaning lined with trees.)

I can’t help to again thank God for this beauty and opportunity. You see, studying in the most excellent university in the country had never been a dream of mine. Still, God brought me here and I cannot even imagine what would it be like otherwise. I am always grateful for the beauty of UP’s landscape and quality of education, but inside the campus of UP lies a contradiction.

I grew up in the province. Every morning, I wake up to fresh air and cockings of roosters. My friends and I can freely play in the streets and huge backyards. Everyone knows everyone and everything going on in the neighborhood. Every night, we can watch the stars and dream peacefully with the sound of the crickets. So imagine my fear everytime I board the bus to Manila. It feels like willingly going to a dangerous street or an enemy’s lair. Manila is not only the capital of the Philippines but also of the country’s smoke, heavy traffic and noise. In the middle of the city, UP served as my haven. It is one of the few places where old trees still stand, natural creeks and canals still flow and fresh air still blows. Entering UP, after long hours of travel and traffic, is like entering Narnia after boring days of mud and rain. It is a completely different world from the modern malls and cemented streets outside.

Inside the classrooms, however, is a different story. Like the creatures in Narnia, the community in UP is at war. The university wars against ignorance and indifference; the students against deadlines and demands; the activists against political issues and the government; transgenders against persecution; vendors, drivers and workers against poverty; etc. Though professors try their best to make the class fun and the students try to enjoy, there’s always the pressure of being the best (and sometimes of showing of).

UP is both an oasis and a battlefield. The fight, however, is not a fight between good and evil. For me, it’s a fight between good and the greater good. Carefree living is very attractive. Almost everyone would agree with that but it can never be the answer to the problems an individual or the society are facing. Only battlefields bring resolutions. I thank God for the oasis but I thank Him more for the battle and the victory I can expect.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” -Romans 8:37