Friday, December 25, 2009

A Writer's Pain

“A Writer’s Pain”
(Random Blogging Series #7 – Friday, December 25, 2009) – Christmas Reflection

Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

I got a phone call one day, asking me to write a short article in a magazine. Sensing the desperation in the caller’s voice, I said yes, even though the dead-line was just the following day. I did my best, finished the article, and e-mailed it. Then I got a phone call. With a mix of embarrassment and guilty feeling the caller told me that the editors had changed the theme, and my article simply would not be published.

There was another phone call. Same situation: a request for a short article that had to be sent within a couple of days. I put all my instincts of a writer at work. Given the very limited space, I had to edit it several times. Finally I thought that I had been able to put the best part right at the end as a surprise twist. It was supposed to be the “catchy phrase,” and I was quite happy with that (even tempted to tap on my own shoulder!).

Now imagine my reaction when it was published as scheduled. Even if I had not gone beyond the limited space, the published article had been truncated. Still worse, my best part, that “catchy phrase” that I had planned to become “the bomb” was simply not there! Of course, it’s the job of an editor. I’m quite familiar with that. Yet, still, to find that the best part of my article had completely been erased was rather unexpected.

As I was trying to reconcile myself with the pain, God seemed to show me something. How many times have I come to God, asked urgently for a help, and after it had been granted, I simply said to God, “I don’t need it any more. I changed my mind”? How many times has God given me all the best things that God could do, and I simply rejected them, for no clear reason whatsoever?

Thinking about Christmas? Well, if I can feel the pain of being used, neglected, rejected, misunderstood through my writing experience, how much more God can feel the pain writing that four letter word L O V E in the most intimate chamber of my heart? So I pray, that next year on Christmas I may be able to say “I’ve learned to let God help me; I didn’t give God too much pain.” Have a joyously blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baggage Claim... Again?

"Baggage Claim… Again?"

(Casual Blogging Series #6 – Sunday, December 13, 2009) – Birthday Reflection

By Deshi Ramadhani, SJ

I know this is not new. I must have mentioned it several times. Recently I’ve been traveling across the globe: in October westwards to Rome, Italy, and last week eastwards to the down under, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. I’ve earned a nickname, for better or for worse, a “flying priest.” During those trips, as had happened several times before, the baggage claim experiences turned out to be significant.

Waiting for my bag on the baggage belt can become like life-or-death experience. If after some time I don’t see my bag, I begin to worry: Is it coming? Has someone stolen it? Has it been taken by mistake? Once I see it, I feel such a big thrill. But this time something new dawned on me. Assuming that there is no malice, why on earth do people take a wrong bag that doesn’t really belong to them? I can only find one answer: because the bag itself appears to be theirs! No surprise! Many bags just look the same! [And worse, if you go to Indonesia, they don’t really check your baggage claim tags before you walk out from the airport! Oh well…]

This made me think. If I were like a bag moving on the baggage belt, who will pick me and claim me? What would be on my bag tag? Is it clearly written “Christ’s,” or what? This is what I have done so many times: I put other names on it. Here are some examples: “Career’s” – “Pleasure’s” – “Comfort’s” – “Lust’s” – “Fame’s” – “Pride’s” – “Intimacy’s” – “Success’s” and on and on and on… you name it. Whenever I put those names on top of the real label “Christ’s,” then of course, I make my life such a mess. Not only that, I hurt others as well, because I turn their sincere trust into just a cheap toy!

Yesterday, December 12, I turned 43. I thank God for so many wonderful people who have always been there to peel off other labels I have glued on my life bag tag, and make the real one visible, “Christ’s”! And when they see me being taken away, they are willing to fight for me… “God, You know me, nothing hidden to You…”