Saturday, September 4, 2010

Renewal of Vows

     It's the 4th of September around 4:00 pm. I am with my friend sitting outside Starbucks Metrowalk waiting for my ordered brewed coffee. I am about to light my first stick of cigarette after a long time of abstinence. My conscience is telling me two opposite things: to light it in order to attain the high nicotine gives; the other, to remember the vows i made.
     Where is my coffee? The barista said it will just take three minutes to brew the coffee. It's been three minutes! It been three long minutes battling with my conscience. I want to light my cigarette but I can't do it not until my coffee arrives! Why? Maybe because I really don't want to smoke. I am hoping that after a sip of coffee I will be able to be satisfied; that the effect of caffeine can surpass the addiction, the high, nicotine gives.
     It's already five minutes! Where is my fucking coffee? Damn it! Why is it so hard to say no? Why is it so hard to detach yourself with worldly pleasures? Is it because of this place? Is it because I see Metrowalk as a "sin city"?
     I see Metrowalk as a sin city. I see it as it is because it is where evil is seen good. How? It is only the place I know today except of Las Vegas that offers and sees prostitution, sex, gambling, pirating, drunkenness and smoking as legal.
    First, prostitution and sex. Metrowalk have an establishment named iSpa which offers "tantric massage". A sensual massage that will end with hormonal release of the man's manliness. Here, it is seen as perfectly legal, natural, and merely a normal business transaction. There is also an establishment which sells lingerie and sex toys. 
     One may say, "How can you say that these establishments are immoral? They have permits and they are just doing business!" I say, "Yes! They do have permits and they are perfectly legal and even accepted by society. But does it follow? Does it follow that a legal act is also morally right?"
     According to Kant's categorical imperative, an act is morally good if it complies with the following criteria: first, it is universal; second, it does not make humanity as end-in-itself; and lastly, it gives others autonomy. On the sensual massage, it violates the first and second criterion. Though the masseur has her own autonomy to end or not to end the massage with the "extra service",is she really free? Given the benefit of the doubt, let say she is free and autonomous in that situation. But is the "extra service" universally good? It may be seen as good in India but is it good in the eyes of everyone? I say no! Moreover, isn't that act treated the masseur as an end-in-itself? That after the "extra service", the transaction is over? As if the masseur is just a machine used to release one's hormone.
     One may say it is not prostitution because it is legal and the masseur accepted it and they are highly compensated. But according to merriam-webster prostitution is defined as "the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money". Thus, isn't it prostitution?
     Metrowalk also has a poker casino and sells pirated DVDs, computer games and installers, and other pirated products. Here what is illegal is seen as legal. Though the poker casino is a legal casino, is it moral?
     It's already 4:08 pm. 8 minutes had passed but where is my fucking coffee?! I see crews of bar preparing tables and chair for the soon to come party where people will drink until they are drunk and smoke until they cough. And after that, God knows what will happen.
     But why should I care? Where is my coffee? I already want to smoke! A minute passed. At last, my coffee is served. I had my sip, and now the moment of truth: Will I light this cigarette or not?
     Why in the first place I should worry? This is a sin city! People don't care! I will just smoke. It is normal. Here, immorality is moral. So why should I care?
     I am smelling my cigarette stick and put it into my mouth. I am about to ask someone for a light. But something inside of me is saying that I should not. Why shouldn't I? It is just a stick. It is not like I will smoke a pack. It is just a stick.
     But then again, where does a pack of cigarette starts? Is it not from a stick? A series of thoughts comes into my consciousness: my vow to my God, my vow to my mom and dad, my vow to my people. But what is it to them? It is just a stick! My God is a forgiving and loving God. My mom and dad will never know unless I tell them. My people. What people? The pediatric cancer patients? The people in my communities? What is it to them?
     Is a stick so important that it dictates my future: life or death?
     I sip my brewed coffee. Once again, I feel the "high" caffeine offers. I am saying to myself, "Is it not enough? Do i still need to smoke? Why can't I be satisfied?"
    Then an epiphany comes into my consciousness. I am not the world! I can't live alone. I am a social being. But more than that, I believe that I am created by God in order to love and to spread His goodness. Thus, does a stick matters? I believe yes! This stick that I will light symbolizes my God, my family, and my community. Each inhale of nicotine will not kill them but it will kill me literally and my being. By being, I mean my faith, hope, and love. 
    I remember the time when I said yes to God; that my fundamental option is to say yes to good and no to evil. I remember the time when I said to my mom that I will not smoke. I remember my people who suffered, is suffering, and will suffer because of my perverted belief that the world revolves in me; that I should care only for myself and not mind other people.
     I take a sip of my coffee. Again, caffeine gives me euphoria. This is enough! I don't need to smoke anymore. I am too selfish. I am not alone in this world. I am with Others!
     I give a sign to my friend indicating we need to go home. I crushed the cigarette. It is enough!
    Lord, forgive me for closing my mind, heart, and soul. I am renewing my vow: to be of your service always! I will become stronger and not be misled by what my society tells me. Instead, I will listen to what you tell me. And from now on, all my actions will be made out of your LOVE.
     It's 4:20pm September 4 and I am renewing my vow to my God, my family, and my people.
     For Your Love and Glory!


  1. WOOHOO! Congrats for (1) having enough self-control to not light that stick, and (2) for your new blog!

    I'm sure you'll be able to keep your commitment. Rest assured, I'll be around to help ;)

    P.S. I'll write about iSpa one of these days. HAHAHA.

  2. Celebrating marriage is an important thing renewing your vows is equally important. Let your renewals be a reminder of your love for one another and a reason to celebrate the fact that you were lucky enough to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event not once but twice.

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