“How was it the first time?”
“First time what?”
“Your first plane ride?”
Oh yeah, that was fun and thrill. That was sometime in 1997, October I guess. I tried to orbit Mindanao as a vocation promoter (amazingly, I’m still doing vocation promotion for holy living through this blog) and my point of departure was the famous Zamboanga International Airport. I had a 3-day chat with a prospect applicant who was into a booming dried fish business. At 25, he was already earning around P150,000.00 a month. That’s Zambo folks where Karl Marx’s fish quote could be a cliche: “Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.”
So literally, a plane ticket was a fish bait to this rich, young guy. He wanted me to linger a bit and enjoy the City’s “hidden haven” (whatever conjures up in your mind is acceptable). Tarry I should not for honesty reason. I planned for a boat ride to Cotabato but surprisingly had flown over instead. Commonly, except for children, there’s always a bit of sneaky pride in doing “first things,” especially if it’s open to a public. I did not really want to appear totally ignorant about travelling by plane, or plane for that matter. Afterall, I’ve seen it a countless times darting the open sky. So, from ticket inquiry to buying it to boarding, the mixture of pride and excitement made me quite nervous all the way: where to check in? how does a take-off feel like? who’s gonna be my seatmate? is it safe? On a normal flying day, we landed on the grassy Cotabato runway safely.
Haha, not my second plane ride, mga kapatid! I mean the ignorance. Because the more often we do the same thing, the more confident we do it. But confidence can sometimes turn into mindless doing.
Oh, yeah, it’s the same John the Baptist the locust-eater we hear year in and out. Is there any additive added to his honey? Remember, his voice rang from the wilderness, from the most ordinary, non-ornamented place that could hardly get somebody’s attention unlike Greenpeace’s solar-powered lantern.
As I slowly approach the same sheep-encircled Belen this year, I ask myself: is there anything worth my excited attention the way I was excited with my first plane ride? Absolutely, it’s a different year and a different Advent. Last year, I was not blogging. This year, I’m giving name to my ever-growing hunger for God in blog-form. I’m pretty sure it’s a different time of the year as well for you and your family. If things seem mechanical through these years, here’s a simple formula: slow down, smell the time, and notice the difference no matter how subtle. God has the habit of speaking in the less glittery nooks and crannies of life. God did with the seemingly insane-looking John.
Photo credit: Will Humes