“Abide” in Baybayin Calligraphy

“manatili” = “abide”

I haven’t done calligraphy for a while. I’ve been focusing on my academic medicine career and solidifying life as a husband and now a father!

I think that’s the second travail of an artist. The first is the work of joy— pouring out the ink, flattening the paper, laying down the strokes of the brush. The second is the work of space— finding the place and the time to do the work. Working 55-80 hours per week (see my self-study here) and trying to contribute meaningfully to housework and family life does not leave much room for calligraphy or poetry.

While I complain of the lack of time to do creative work, I realize my own privilege: I have health care, can feed my family, and have the luxury to save for retirement. But as the biblical saying goes, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Mathew 16:26). That’s how I see art. It’s important for the heart; it’s vital to the soul.

“manatili” = ᜋᜈᜆᜒᜎᜒ = abide/remain.

Manatali is a word that means “abide” or to “remain.” This is a word that I’ve been chewing on for years. Before my wife and I married, we went on a medical mission trip to South Korea and China. To unify our experience and focus our purpose, we decided to pray through this verse from John 15:9-11 daily while we were there:

English (ESV)
Magandang Balita Biblia (MBBTAG)
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Kung paanong inibig ako ng Ama, gayundin naman, iniibig ko kayo; manatili kayo sa aking pag-ibig. Kung tinutupad ninyo ang aking mga utos, mananatili kayo sa aking pag-ibig, kung paanong tinupad ko ang mga utos ng aking Ama at ako’y nananatili sa kanyang pag-ibig.

When we married a few years later, one of the bible verse readings for our wedding church service was this same verse! Not only that, but on a night we randomly decided to practice some calligraphy, after finishing the pieces that are the images above in this post, my wife started having contractions and entering laboring. We had our son later that night!

Manatili is the kind of “remain” where you are centered and proactive. Remaining doesn’t make you one of the leftovers. You aren’t the forgotten bits of food or the last grains of rice in the bowl. It’s the confidence of staying where you are. It more of an inward fortitude rather than a stubborn mentality. It’s knowing where home is.

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