On trying out new things


Since coming back from a week-long vacation in August, I made it a point to start/try one new thing every month.

Last September, I started driving lessons. We have two drivers now in the family, and it won’t hurt to have a third, but since I live alone in Quezon City, I’ve barely practiced driving. Since September, I’ve only held the steering wheel thrice. The goal is to get my non-professional license before the student’s license expires in a year’s time. Hopefully, I’m as fast a learner as my brother is.

On the very first day of this month, I tried dancing. I’ve only been to a class once since my friend Marlo got injured on the day I joined her. Memories of that day are still so vivid – how, for two hours, I mockingly laughed at myself while trying to keep up with the real dancers. There I was, the newbie, flailing in front of professional and amateur dancers, trying to prove to no one but myself that I do not have two left feet. It made for a good workout, really. Also, walking out of that studio felt amazing; I did something so crazy and so…out there, I still can’t believe it. If the physical pain I’m going through lately subsides, I think I might head out for another class this week.

I’m already thinking of what to do for November. Right now, it’s a toss-up between learning football or sign language. Learning sign language has always been at the back of my head since I did that investigative story in junior year of college.

As for football, well, ask Kai. She knows why that’s on the table. :>

It’s been two months since I last blogged. Blame my lack of motivation, or the absence of wanting this enough – this, being life in general.

I’m at my worst when I’m lukewarm, really, and that has been my state of mind for the past few weeks. Today, however, the great CS Lewis served me a bucket full of ice with a 1943 essay titled Three Kinds of Men. 

May it kick you out of your sluggishness as it kicked me out of mine:

There are three kinds of people in the world.

The first class is of those who live simply for their own sake and pleasure, regarding Man and Nature as so much raw material to be cut up into whatever shape may serve them.

In the second class are those who acknowledge some other claim upon them—the will of God, the categorical imperative, or the good of society—and honestly try to pursue their own interests no further than this claim will allow. They try to surrender to the higher claim as much as it demands, like men paying a tax, but hope, like other taxpayers, that what is left over will be enough for them to live on. Their life is divided, like a soldier’s or a schoolboy’s life, into time “on parade” and “off parade,” “in school” and “out of school.”

But the third class is of those who can say like St Paul that for them “to live is Christ.” These people have got rid of the tiresome business of adjusting the rival claims of Self and God by the simple expedient of rejecting the claims of Self altogether. The old egoistic will has been turned round, reconditioned, and made into a new thing. The will of Christ no longer limits theirs; it is theirs. All their time, in belonging to Him, belongs also to them, for they are His.

And because there are three classes, any merely twofold division of the world into good and bad is disastrous. It overlooks the fact that the members of the second class (to which most of us belong) are always and necessarily unhappy. The tax which moral conscience levies on our desires does not in fact leave us enough to live on. As long as we are in this class we must either feel guilt because we have not paid the tax or penury because we have. The Christian doctrine that there is no “salvation” by works done to the moral law is a fact of daily experience. Back or on we must go. But there is no going on simply by our own efforts. If the new Self, the new Will, does not come at His own good pleasure to be born in us, we cannot produce Him synthetically.

The price of Christ is something, in a way, much easier than moral effort—it is to want Him. It is true that the wanting itself would be beyond our power but for one fact. The world is so built that, to help us desert our own satisfactions, they desert us. War and trouble and finally old age take from us one by one all those things that the natural Self hoped for at its setting out. Begging is our only wisdom, and want in the end makes it easier for us to be beggars. Even on those terms the Mercy will receive us.

Notice that I’ve lagged behind with my Smiles and Promises weekly blog. Again, blame it on my lack of motivation.

I’m not sure if I’d bring it back anytime soon, though. While I’m okay these days, I feel like that weekly blog should be the least of my concerns for now. I need to get back on track with many other things: my spiritual walk, my relationships, my work, my health.

But at the same time I want to practice photography again in preparation for my Korea trip next month. Maybe I should resume with that weekly blog after all.

Bahala na. 


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