Manhood, Leadership, and Discipleship

We are starting another chapter of our lives.  As the new year begins, let us continue to find our passion and do the things that we love. Let us be inspired and be an inspiration to others as well. We try to focus more on the good things in life!

The next person I am featuring here is an inspiration to others. He is a minister. He leads people and prays for them.  I do not share the same religion with him but, we are both Christians.  I was raised Catholic and I am still a devotee. Religion for me is a path. We all have different paths to one destination. So personally,  I always believe in respecting people’s differences.

Anyway, I would just like to share why I am featuring this Pastor. He was an acquaintance in College more than twenty years ago. I believe we went to one class together in De La Salle University Manila. Just a few months back, my friend sent us a message. She  was telling us about the conference that she attended, and she wanted to confirm if the speaker was the person we knew.  With technology on hand (which makes research easier), I checked his Instagram account and sent him a message. He recognized me and my friends.

I can still remember in  College, we were all trying to survive school and meet its demands. We wanted to follow our dreams and fulfill our destiny. Sometimes you will never really know what life has to offer.  I just feel very happy seeing people become successful in their chosen paths. For this particular instance, Pastor Dennis is living  a meaningful life and that is being of service to others.

Dennis Sia Sy was born in Tondo Manila on October 7, 1979. He is a Pastor, a blogger, and an author of four books: (1)  SYNC: How to Know God’s Will for your Life , (2) Rich for Life: Secrets of Those Who Stayed Rich for Life and How You Can be One, (3) Act Like a Man: Taking Manhood Back and (4) Why Settle for Good Sex when you can have Great Sex?

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What did you study in College? What did you do after graduating?

“I had a Major in Social Planning and Development. During delay days, I worked part-time in our family business as the marketing and sales head. I was also a bodegero. Our family is in the textile industry sa Divisoria.”

When did you FIRST hear the calling to be a pastor?

“First felt called when I was 12 when a youth pastor preached and told him I want to be like him going to different schools raising next generation leaders who will change the world.”

How did you become a Pastor (training/schooling?)

“After working for the family business for 2.5 years I decided to pursue my study as a Pastor at the same time working at night hosting events and doing stand up comedy to provide for my needs.”

Where do you preach?

“I pastor at Victory Greenhills (Shopping capital of the Philippines).”

The most difficult challenge you’ve experienced as a Preacher?

“It’s difficult challenge is leadership is ME. The major hindrance to living Gods purpose in my life is me.

I needed to be transformed by His word. Romans 12:1-2

The fear and insecurity of a young pastor leading was evident in my first few years in ministry trying to prove something when there was really nothing to prove because Christ already paid the price by dying on the cross for my sin.

The tyranny of doing more for God and trying harder to be good to earn Gods blessing till you read the Scripture and realize that you are already blessed and favored by God.”

Your prayer for the Philippines

“Prayer for the nation is that we would see a resurgence of people’s hunger towards the things of God – that we might see that real change comes from us going back to Jesus who is the ultimate hero of history.”

For more information about Pastor Dennis, you can visit his website: http://dennissy.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Gift of Life

Last night, I found out that a person I knew just passed away. He had a heart attack last week. I could not stop thinking about him because exactly three months ago he was at my father’s wake trying to help out. Who would ever think that he will be gone?  Truly death comes like a thief in the night.

At this point in my life, I just figured out my greatest fear. To see a loved one gone, and the thought of leaving my family behind. With my father’s passing, I often think about things pertaining to the after life, about our existence, and some other “weird” things. It is like seeing things differently. Talking to my  husband keeps me grounded. He would plainly state that it is the reality of life. So he does not really think or worry about it. That it is something that we should accept. Maybe I am just about to learn that step.

Last night I told him about one of the things I always pray for. And I said he should pray the same thing so it makes us two. I said I hope we will be blessed together with a long life (I state specifically at least 90 years old) so we can see our children and grand children grow. He replied, “Whatever is God’s will.”

Now, when I kiss or embrace my family, it feels more than that. When I say some good words to a friend or to a relative, I truly mean it. Slowly, my heart is learning how to forgive and how to sing to each waking moment.

This song was in my head when I woke up and I feel the need to share it. It is a beautiful Filipino gospel song. I really love the acoustic version but unfortunately, there is no vocal. For non-Filipino speakers, I included an English translation below. I hope you do enjoy the music.

Sino Ako?

Hiram sa Diyos ang aking buhay
Ikaw at ako’y tanging handog lamang
Di ko ninais na ako’y isilang
Ngunit salamat dahil my buhay
Ligaya ko na ako’y isilang
Pagkat tao ay mayroong dangal
Sino’ng may pag-ibig?
Sino’ng nagmahal?Kun’di ang tao Diyos ang pinagmulan

Kun’di ako umiibig
Kundi ko man bigyang halaga
Ang buhay na handog
Ang buhay kong hiram sa Diyos
Kundi ako nagmahal
Sino Ako?

Who Am I? (English translation)

My life is only borrowed from God
We’re only a living sacrifice
I did not wish to be born but it’s
A God given blessing to have a life
I am glad that I was born…
I am born with dignity
I have love and I know how to love
Because God first loved me

If I didn’t know how to love
If I didn’t know how to be grateful of
The life that God has given me
Then what is my worth?

What Every Human Should Remember

My alone time. My quiet time. So precious. I have more or less an hour. Done with the morning routine. Sent off hubby to work. Sent off my dear son to school. The little girl is taking her morning nap.

I have never ending chores just like any typical stay at home mother. But I told myself, today I will do my best to take it easy. Chores will always be there!  So this one hour (or one and a half hour) is very precious to me. This is my prayer time. My blog time. My treadmill time. Sometimes chores time when they can not wait. I debated if I should run on the treadmill just like what I do whenever I get a chance. But the mind and the words are stronger. They just want to be out here.

This morning I had some news from home. And I had some reflections.

What should I pick? Image of crocodiles or some predators in the wild?

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photo credit: www.sci-news.com

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photo credit:www.care2.com

To be clear, these are just images in my head. I mean no harm. No offense. These pictures are part of nature. Maybe part of human nature as well. And that is the reality.

They are watching, observing from afar.  It is a waiting game. Some are moving closer. Discretely. Slowly and quietly.  Some are sniffing and fishing around. Waiting for the perfect time to get what they want.

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Can this really be part of human nature? Can people just be assertive protecting what they think belongs to them? Will it be possible that sometimes people just want to acquire more? Power, assets, money, properties. All these worldly matters that matter so much? For me it is alright as long as no one gets hurt or harmed in any way. As long as these things are never the source of disagreements, hate, or divisions.

This part of life makes makes me feel a little sad. The important things that matter so much to a human being. Suddenly I thought of the pale blue dot by Carl Sagan.

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Photo credit: www.patheos.com

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

PLEASE VIEW THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO

Until The Day We Meet

Today is the second week we first saw him in the coffin. 
It was the first day of wake. 
My mind can not stop going back to memories of the past. I always remember exactly a month ago I spoke to him. Two weeks ago, a week ago this and that happened.
I know I will never be able to keep up with time. Soon I will stop thinking how many days, weeks or months have passed. I know the time will come when I will just look forward…just what he wants us all to do. 
The pain will slowly go away but the love for my father will remain. It will be within me until I see him again…

14 Day Journey

This is my very first time to have a lengthy post and will probably be the last.

The last 2 weeks of my life was very significant and will never be forgotten for as long as I breathe. It was filled with life changing events and emotions. I lived each day in pain, suffering, and sadness. It tested our family and the bond that my siblings and I share.

It was my son’s 7th birthday (July 19, Sunday). That night I had a video chat with my family from the Philippines. I had a very enjoyable and funny conversation with my Tatay (Father/Dad). I clearly remember all the things we talked about.

After two days (July 21, Tuesday), Tatay was rushed to the hospital due to difficulty in breathing. His color was described as grey. I remember that Sunday I was chatting with him, he mentioned that he was feeling tired. That night, the same thing was observed by my sister when she visited him. The next day  that he went to his regular kidney dialysis session, he complained of dizziness so the doctor gave him oxygen while he was into his 4 hour dialysis. He reported to have felt better after, had dinner, and slept. Then the next day, Tuesday,  he was sent to the emergency room.

That week my brother took off from work to stay with my Tatay and my Mommy Eve. He would always update me and my sister about Tatay. I was really worried that he was hospitalized again. Two weeks prior to that he was also hospitalized because of his Potassium… Now as my brother was updating us, the doctors said he caught Pneumonia. I did not have a good feeling about it. It sounded serious. So I already made plans of going home.  True enough, that night, my Tatay was “intubated” They had to put tube into his mouth down to the lungs to help him breathe or else he would die. It was said his lungs collapsed, there was a lot of water in it. The worse thing is they had to do it  while he was conscious! The anesthesiologist was currently unavailable at that time due to an ongoing surgery in the Operating Room.  I can truly imagine how it was very traumatic for Tatay.  My brother was crying because Tatay was really terrified and in pain. It was not successful since they could not put the tube through, his muscles in the throat constricted. In the meantime they were waiting, they had to do BI-PAP (Bi level Positive Airway Pressure) to help him breathe. Finally anesthesia became available, and the procedure was done. According to my brother, he was sedated. He was not really conscious that Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Came Friday night, my Tatay gained consciousness and was very upset, terrified and frustrated to find himself in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and with tubes in his body. He could not talk anymore. He was clearly frustrated. He asked my brother through hand signs if he can have a pen. He wanted to write something. He attempted it twice but could not hold a pen. He was really upset. My brother explained to him why he had tubes, why it was necessary, and why he was in the ICU. My Tatay, although he was an NBI Assistant Director (counterpart of FBI in the US) with guns and all, he had always been scared of hospitals, dentists, tubes, and being alone in an ICU. So with what happened to him, I exactly knew how he felt.

July 25, Saturday, at 5am he had a cardiac arrest for 15 minutes. My brother gave me a call that they were trying to revive him. Words can not describe how I felt at that time. I was crying and I was really scared. I had to book a flight right away.

I left that night for Manila. They said they were able to revive him but he was brain-dead since his pupils were not constricting/responding to light.

I was at the airport. I was crying. My eyes were swollen. I was by myself. I could not believe that I was going home because of that reason while the people around me looked happy and excited for a visit/vacation. In the flight, I just kept crying and praying and thinking about him.

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My 14 day journey began.

Sunday, July 26 – I arrived at 3:35 am in Manila and went straight to the hospital with my luggage. I was so nervous to see what I had to see. My family was paying for a regular room alongside the ICU room.

first room

So I was directed to meet my brother and Mommy Eve. My brother showed me the way to the ICU. Words are not enough again to express what I felt when I saw my Tatay. My heart was crushed to see what happened to him. They said he was no longer brain-dead, but just in coma. He was not moving and opening eyes since he was revived from the cardiac arrest.

I was hoping he could hear us. I talked to him a lot. My brother used to sing songs to him as well. That day went by, a lot of family and friends came to visit. They all felt for him. Imagine a tough and strong man lying helpless on a hospital bed, unconscious. Slowly, we noticed his head started to move and he was doing his best (making a grimace) to open his eyes.

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Monday, July 27 – Mommy and I were praying and talking to him all the time. Then that day, he started to move his hands little by little. We could see his foot trying to move too. He was trying to open his eyes. His movements were involuntary, like he was starting to feel for the first time. He had no control. He was given 72 hours (3 days) to wake up. It was his second day today. I was hoping he could wake up some more. He had his 6 hour kidney dialysis.

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Tuesday, July 28 – His sister arrived from Illinois. She is a Medical Doctor in the Navy. She is 4 years older than his brother.

grandma ludy

A lot of people came to visit that day. Today he was already moving more (right side of his body – arms and feet). He would frequently open his eyes. I thought he was more establishing eye contact when visitors came, but still more of a blank stare. I was not sure. That afternoon, Tatay had a fever. We could see how he was having a hard time gasping for breath. He was very restless. I was having an emotional breakdown. He was doing very well that morning. We were hopeful. But that night, it seemed something was wrong and he looked like he was in pain.

Wednesday, July 29 (I called Worse Wednesday) – Thoughts in my head. The mind is willing but the body is weak… The power of the mind, the person’s will can do extraordinary things. From being described as “brain-dead”, into comatose, now he was moving his body. My Tatay needed to have blood transfusion. They said five bags of his blood type. There was no blood bank in that hospital so they gave us numbers to call. It was not easy to find what we were looking for. Finally a relative helped us. Just a call away and it was available for us.  It was really stressful. We were feeling the weight. Physical and emotional.

Staring at his blank eyes

Holding on to his wrinkled hands

Caressing his arms and legs

A sight of agony and pain

Looking tired and old

Helplessly calling him

Hoping to be noticed

A roller coaster feeling

Hopes up then a broken heart

It breaks me to see you like this

A sight I never really imagined

You were always the strength and our fortress

The Father who always protects

Now that you are helpless, sick, and very weak

Let me be the one to give you the strength

It is a pain to comfort you through all your pain.

I will be here

I will not leave

My heart is with you

You are in my care…

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This situation right now gives us emotional punches. Punches to test our limits. It is also like a roller coaster. Emotional strain. Hating to see what the eyes do not want to see. A reality you wish only a dream. A tug between helplessness and hope…And yet in the end courage is required.

At 5:50pm, these were my exact thoughts: “I am sitting on the lazy boy where my Tatay sat on the first day he was admitted.

InstagramCapture_5008c5da-752a-47b9-9267-f928a1c06101_jpgLooking out of the window to a very beautiful view. Looking around this tiny cozy room, this was the place my father was before he became unconscious. I am looking at the things he saw, reliving the experience… Too much that I do not know what I feel anymore. I just know it struck too deep and I can never fathom.

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That night, it was the first time I gave up. I could not see/visit him tonight. I felt it was already too much for me. It was killing me inside to see how he was. I could not bear the pain anymore. The tears have run out. I just wanted to rest.

Thursday, July 30 – I woke up to a new hope.

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He was mobile even the left side of the body (arms and legs). His eyes wide opened. Although he was not “back” yet and eyes were not focused, we had the feeling that he hears and understands. My siblings and I talked to him and we saw tears fell from his eyes. Regarding his fever, he was referred to a doctor from the Infectious Disease. They said he had blood infection or Sepsis. From the Lungs then led to blood infection.

Friday, July 31 – Alone in the room. I was writing this:

I can’t stand to see him like that. Going through a very painful experience, that is, seeing your loved one in pain, sick, dying. And that there is nothing that you can do but to hope and bear the pain. I feel I was losing my father and that is somethings so difficult. I did not really see this coming. It feels so surreal. After six days, I feel so numb. How will I know if I need to let go? I hope and pray that he does not feel scared or he does not feel the pain. I pray he does not know he is suffering. And If ever he is…. I would ask the Lord to take his hands and comfort him in every way. I look in his eyes. He is lost somewhere inside, and I miss him so much… I sit in this room. I savor every moment. I see what he saw. I am in this place where he often went when he regularly had his kidney dialysis Monday and Thursday for more than half a day. He was walking in this room, hallway, rode this elevator, been to this driveway, this road, this hospital, this place, this route.

Saturday, August 1 – We moved to a smaller private room to be more practical.

smaller room

We are losing hope. Multi organ failure: lungs, kidney, heart, Brain damage, diabetes. Treating Pneumonia. Blood infection. Immune system down…thinking of the quality of his life after when he survives…

This has been physically, emotionally, and financially draining. Never knowing what to do. Hold on or Let go? He was seen by at least 6 doctors. 20%, 30% 50% survival. Left us confused. Not knowing what to do. Our family had an open forum. Weighed things. What to do? Conflicting Ideas.

You are still here but you are not really here. A doctor prayed over him. She said that he has lived his life to the fullest. The achievements for 82 years. His family, grandchildren, enjoyed his days. She said your family has given him all the best. He was blessed in everything. Then I thought, is God really calling him now? I will surely miss him…

He was not getting any better. We even saw a Neurologist. He said for the 15 minutes his brain was not with Oxygen, definitely a damage to his brain is expected. Maybe this explains his involuntary movements, his facial expressions, his eyes, detached.

I thought he is still here. Physically. I savor every moment. I try to remember his eyes. How it looked. And feeling his hands on mine…

my hand

Sunday, August 2 – Conflicting views within the family. Our common ground is our love for him.

Monday, August 3 – Hopelessness. Reality. I am trying to capture as much memories as I can.

Happy to still be able to touch his face, his arms, his feet, his hands..

Be able to look into his eyes, staring, gazing, and blank.

I wonder how you feel.

I wonder what is in your mind.

Do you want to fight or do you want to rest?

The will is strong but the body is weak…

A painful reality we all have to face.

If you will rest my love,

I implore our Merciful God and our Sweet Mother,

To hold you and embrace you

To take away all the pain and the fears away

I have already grieved these past few days

My soul and heart have cried so hard

From the day I set my foot in here

And until the day I will have to say goodbye

I will carry you in my mind and heart

No matter where I go and as long as I breathe.

In every waking moment of my life.

One day my time shall come too

Like everybody else

When my journey is through

I know you will be there for me

To comfort me and to take my hand

Until we meet again

Bring our love, take it all with you.

Tuesday, August 4 – So many things happen in a day. Turn of events are fast. Last night it gave us hope. Tatay was showing that he was calm. And we had the notion that there is a chance. That there is hope. The whole day too, he was just calm. This whole morning Mommy Eve and I were by his bed. I sang a lot of songs for him. Praise songs and all his favorite ones. I ran out of songs. I felt so happy. Around 6 priests came (close family friends) to anoint and pray for him. We saw that as a blessing.

Wednesday, August 5 – At 12:06 am, Tatay passed away. He had his second cardiac arrest. July 19 was our last conversation. We never got to speak to each other again. I was there the whole time when he was dying and was trying to bring him back. When it was over, I was so overwhelmed. I was heart broken. I had to break the news to Mommy Eve who was waiting upstairs and I had to call my brother and sister to inform them. He was there on the hospital bed without life. Words will never be enough to describe the moment when we were gathered watching him, waiting for the funeral service to take him.

 I had to go home for the first time to the place where I grew up. Each thing reminds me of my Tatay. And the place felt so empty.

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Thursday – Friday, August 6-7 – It was my Tatay’s wake. Family and friends came together. It was very heart warming to see the love and support.

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Saturday, August 8 – Tatay ‘s interment. My daughter’s 3rd birthday. After the burial in the morning,I had to fly back to my family in California that afternoon.

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It is night-time. I am now at the airport going back to California. The longest 14 days of my life. So many things happened in 14 days and now I feel so exhausted. It is all sadness in my heart. Exactly two weeks ago I was sitting here on the plane and I could not stop crying over my sick Dad. Now going back home, I am not shedding as much tears like I did before. My heart is numb and sad. Recalling each moment and memories , the images in my head so vivid. My eyes have seen it all. From his suffering each day, to the time he was having an arrest, down to his wake, and was put into his grave. I know this experience has changed me forever. The experience of pain, suffering and overcoming them has mold my character and my understanding of life and living.

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As I look up on the heavens and gaze at the white glowing clouds, I wonder where he is right now.

Am I closer to you up here?

Or are back down there at the cemetery or lingering at your home?

Can you come with me here in the plane and fly to the US?

I wish you can see where I live

Please come visit in my dream and tell me how you feel

10 days of staying with him in the hospital

3 days of wake

1 day interment

My 14 day Journey

Lifetime of Memories and Love…

Acknowledgment

I would like to thank the Divine Grace Hospital ICU Nurses who took care of my Dad: Jeff Koyama, Eman, Che Che, Gab, Jeff, Cresta, Frank, Kristel , and Mindy. You have been a part of this very memorable journey and you will never be forgotten!!!! All the family and friends who helped us and prayed for us.

Unconditional Love of Mommy Eve for Tatay. In sickness and in health…

mommy and eve

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You will be missed…

InstagramCapture_13d10096-bd51-4752-8ab2-e71f690d5b65_jpgwith tatay

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We will see each other someday

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Peaceful Mind

I feel my soul has evolved

It has matured and grown

After I have overcome my fears

After I have let go of the hatred in my being.

Forgiveness is indeed possible!

Forgiving oneself and the people who hurt you

But It would only require time

Time away and time to heal

It is never easy

But is worth a try.

One’s effort to help oneself is the next important thing

Train the mind and teach it to be open to forgiveness

Feed your mind with positivity

Be open to certain wisdom that aid in one’s survival

Feed your soul with prayers and hope

Be accepting of the realities of life

and that of being alive,

and being human.

We all make mistakes. We are not perfect.

So do not be too harsh on yourself or with others.

Take it all in. All emotions that you feel.

They are all but indications that you are alive!

Life is short. Life is delicate. It is frail.

Let us do our best not to spend our moments

worrying, being afraid, or feeling hatred.

We have to strive to see the light.

To seek enlightenment and be better and happy.

Yes, we often hear these lessons

And it is easier said than done

But believe me, what they say is true

Human kindness truly work.

Go through the process

Be brave and strong

Hold on to those lessons…

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Recurring Creepy Dream

At around 3am, I was glad I awoke from a nightmare.

I thought I was awake but somehow aware that I was dreaming. I was lying down on our bed and I see a black shadow gliding to the sides up on the ceiling. I knew something was at my side too. I remember reciting prayers. I did not stop. I woke up and I knew it was not real. When I was closing my eyes I felt like I was falling deep into something.

This is the first time I  write about this. Maybe some of you will have an explanation about it or some can share the same experience.

I am not so sure when it all started, but definitely it was more than 12 years ago. There was a time when my dream was very frequent. And it gradually decreased when I got married. But I would still sometimes have dreams about it.  In 2003 (12 years ago), when my family and I had a vacation in Europe, we visited Lourdes, France. I told the priest about this experience and he said these things are of sensitive matters. I  just remembered him saying to sprinkle holy water around my bed before I sleep. I never did that. It sounds creepy. I just prayed.

It came in different forms and I would always find myself battling with it. I am talking about the dark side, the dark forces. In my dreams, I mightily fight with them and I can feel every prayers I recite: The Lord’s Prayer, The Apostle’s Creed, Glory Be, songs of praises to God, and a lot more. After which, I felt very tired.  Most of the time, I win over them. In some dreams, it does not say how it ends. The fight goes on.  In my dreams, I feel not scared. I am brave. I feel I have the power. I began to think maybe in my past life (if there is) I was an exorcist or something.

Why is it the same theme in my dream? Battling with the dark side and reciting all the prayers? This is one weird dream I have always had.

I lit up a candle in the altar. Maybe it is a reminder to have more prayer time.