There’s this still surviving superstition in the Philippines saying that babies born at around midnight are known to be daring. I (or at least I have been told that I) was born some time around midnight. It turns out, some superstitions just aren’t always true, and this is one of them.

I very rarely take blind risks. Unlike others, my risk threshold is lower. I avoid taking risks unless in my calculation, I have a considerable chance of winning. A famous author once wrote that forward thinking leaders simply need 30% of all the required information to decide. I usually settle at around 70%. This can be both shaped by pride or tempered by logical reasoning, perhaps both. As such, I don’t gamble at casinos (well I did once, using someone else’s money).

Come to think of it, not taking risks unless otherwise necessary may have some blessings. The biggest is that I tend to evaluate my investment of time with much more scrutiny. After all, it’s the only legitimate currency we all have.

I am horrendously incapable of maintaining conversations on a wide range of topics. I care very little about social trends, fashion, music, TV shows, celebrities, new computer games (I still play old games and franchises occassionally), memes, sports, even food. On the other hand, I do spend quite a significant amount of time reading and reflecting on theology.

A.W. Tozer once said that what we think of God is the most important thing in our life. I think he nailed it. Our perception of who God is will define how we live our lives. Notice that I used the word perception, not knowledge. We may perceive something differently from our knowledge of it. For instance, while we know that safety is barely a concern when we do bungee jumps, we tend to back off because we perceive it to be dangerous. Similarly, our knowledge of God’s holiness is often tempered by our defunct perception. On many occassions, we move forward in life as though God isn’t holy and He isn’t watching.

I find that doing theology is very important. If there is a God, it is imperative that one lives his life according to the precepts defined by that God. Thus, I do invest a lot of time studying theology. I am not the most intelligent guy around. There are so many people that can assimilate and process information better than I do. I am neither the holiest person around. I screw up more often than people think. I am just another guy with his own strengths and weaknesses, his own personality, thinking patterns and so forth. I really am not THAT special by any means.

Going back, I do think doing theology is a calculated risk that I personally find beneficial. After all, I really do wonder in the span of eternity if our brief recollection of things temporal would really matter. Are we going to talk about sushis or DOTA in the afterlife? Or are things there going to be just so awesome that none can compare what is to come with this life?

I remember in my childhood, we are plagued with frequent power interruptions that span to a quarter of a day every day. Further, I was forbidden by my parents to play on weekdays. That having said, I can only do two things: watch TV or read. My parents are probably oblivious to it but decades down the road, I realized they made a great decision. Because prime time TV shows are generally geared toward adults, I developed a liking for books (there are no other options). I would often finish reading my textbooks on Reading, Filipino, and certain parts of my science textbook before school starts. I also spent a considerable amount of time as a boy reading those colorful science books/encyclopedias for kids. I loved dinosaurs and astronomy as a child so much that I’ve read all the books I can get hold to (even neighbor’s). I no longer do it now, and most of the information I used to know are now likely outdated. I do collect (but not read) Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Space Invaders, and those Choose your own Adventure books. Some of them still survive to this day. I enjoy fiction, but I enjoy non-fictions a lot more.

I had a good friend who was a valedictorian who also happened to be my classmate in college. I read fast. But he reads MUCH faster than me. I am thoroughly amazed at his capacity to devour and process information. It’s something that I am not wired to do, even with my exposure to books.

There was one time when I was browsing the best seller racks in Powerbooks (a bookstore in the Philippines). One book caught my eye. The title says, “You’ve Got to Read This Book!” Being obedient as I was, I thought, “What the heck, show me what you’ve got.”

As it turns out, it was a book about fifty authors sharing which book made the biggest impact in their lives. Popular titles were mentioned. Pride and Prejudice, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Space Cadet, To Kill a Mockingbird, just to name a few. As I flipped through the final pages of that book, I thought to myself, “wait a minute. If I were to contribute to this book, what would I say? What book would I mention?”

The answer was obvious. If there’s any book that would make it there through my pen, it would be the Bible. I’ve finished Genesis and Revelation prior, but not the books in between. So I thought I’d dive into it for once. I started reading Matthew on January 15, 2008 and finished Revelation on February 15, 2008. Two months later, on April 15, 2008, I penned the title of my blog entry in the now defunct Multiply website: “Bible Accomplished.”

True enough, the Bible is going to be the book that impacted me the most. To this day, it remained the most important book to me, and one that I would recommend anyone to read. I say this not because I am a Christian. I say this because whether or not I am a Christian, the contents of the Bible, when properly and contextually applied, are life changing.

When I was younger, about two decades ago perhaps, I thought life to be meaningless. After all, what is there to life really? Some work to live. Others live to work. Of course, I knew better now, but back then, this was reality to me. Life on earth, when deconstructed to its bare implications in the absence of eternity, ends up to be a drudgery. In the silence of the night when I was on my way to sleep, I contemplate on the nihilistic aftermath of death. What is it like to die? Will I exist suspended in eternal nothingness? I am frightened even at the thought of it. Yet, in the absence of eternity, such is what awaits.

I am grateful that God allowed me to read the Bible without risk of persecution or death. I learned a lot and am continuing to learn from it. This lifetime is certainly insufficient to draw out all the life lessons in that book. That being said, I am still more than happy to keep learning from it. I have just crossed my birth hour. Today, I am 30 and am nearing midlife now. I don’t want to live that long nor do I think my health will make me live THAT long. To me, it doesn’t really matter. I am more than excited to meet my Lord any time. Home is where I want to be. Home, not home. I am now a year older, a year closer to that day when I meet my Lord and Savior face to face.

Will I dance? Will I cry? We’ll see.

 

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