Monday, August 17, 2009

No More

1 March 2009

Reflections during the ILC:
Honestly, my reasons of going to the ILC are less than noble.

1. I just wanted to take a break.
2. I wouldn’t want to miss out on all the fun if I don’t join.
3. The fare was cheap, so I should book asap. I’ll think about my schedule later.

These were flimsy excuses, but reasons nonetheless. February came and I found myself trying very hard to arrange my schedule.

I was reminded that I’ve been neglecting my relationship with Him for the longest time. At first, I thought it was okay. I’m sure the Lord would understand. You see, I’m very busy with my work and lost school life. Basta, I’ll make it up to Him one of these days. I didn’t realize that the distance has grown wider. I needed to go back to that inner sanctuary where I can be with Him, talk to Him freely, worship Him, thank Him.
When I worship, I keep this image of a small stream, amidst a grassy field, with a leafy tree beside it. We’d be watching the sunrise together. That is my ultimate idea of Heaven.

Ps. 1:3 He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering.

I’ve grown tired of going through the motions. I need to experience Him again. I thought I would experience it during the ILC. But the Lord wanted me to learn another lesson. I should never wait for a spectacular event, or a miracle, or a life-changing moment to go back to His presence. I have to make a conscious effort to experience Him in my daily prayer time, through the Bible scriptures, the commentaries, even during my daily commute.

I realized my shortcomings. I still shy away from the challenge of boldly proclaiming God’s word. As talkative as I am, I am not very vocal about expressing my beliefs (my close friends can attest to this.) I’m afraid of being judged. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I’m pressured to exude that aura of independence and strength – so as not to appear vulnerable. I know that these are cowardly reasons for not proclaiming God’s love. But I’ve been using this for the past years. I realize now that this is precisely the challenge that I have to overcome. This has been the devil’s subtle way of hindering me from following God’s way. Now I say, no more! I need to go over that hump. God’s love is like an ever-consuming fire within me which I have to share (or else I’ll burst) so that God can bless other people through me. This should be my ultimate battlecry! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Teacher Named Mila

I'm sure at one point in our lives we'll meet someone who makes a deep and lasting impact. It could be a classmate, officemate, a public figure, a teacher, or even a total stranger.

I can still remember the buckets of tears I shed when I was reading Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie. I also had one such teacher. She was my professor in Hum 1 and more than the lessons in literature, I will always remember her exciting stories about the revolution during the Marcos dictatorship - how she and her husband went underground and lived with the rebels in Mindanao. Sadly, her husband died fighting for his ideals.

After that class, we lost contact. I graduated from the university, but after a one-year hiatus, I was back again to pursue my MA. Until now, I'm still prowling the hallowed halls of Malcolm. But I never forgot Ma'am Mila.

Recently, I was able to reconnect with her through FB and I was elated to know that she remembered me. hehe. I wasn't sure if I made a good impression but if a teacher remembers a student after all these years, then she must have seen something in me.
She has not changed. She still wears the same printed blouses and her smile hasn't changed a bit. And she can still engage us in a very lively discussion about anything under the sun - from academics, to politics, to business and especially faith.

With that meeting, I was reminded to dream again. Filipinos should learn how to become business minded. We have a lot of potential. That's the only way to improve our situation. Its time that we veer away from the employee mindset and start thinking like business owners. One will never become rich by being an employee and working for other people in his lifetime.

Know your gift, nurture it, develop it, and pursue it - then you wouldn't have to work for the rest of your life.

Just like the movie Mila, starring Maricel Morales, I will always treasure the lessons that Ma'am Mila taught me and I hope that someday, I will have a chance to pass it on to others.

Thank you Ma'am.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

nuggets of wisdom

Many people are afraid of growing old. I'm afraid of growing old and boring. Many people are afraid of growing old, alone. I'm afraid of growing old, insane. Many people are afraid of losing their looks. I'm afraid of losing my dreams. Many people are afraid of losing youth. I'm afraid of losing my soul.

When you're 15, 35 seems ancient. When you're 35, 15 seems juvenile. A turnaround in a split second - two decades zoom past and before you know it, it's only a mile to the next millennium. Don't fear age - it's a right of personhood. Don't fear death - it's God's greatest jest. Don't grow old - you don't have to.

Don't date because you're desperate. Don't marry because you're miserable. Don't have kids because you think your genes are superior. Don't separate because you think it's fashionable. Don't drink because you have troubles. Don't gamble because you think winning is inevitable. Don't philander because you think you're irresistible. Most likely, you're not.

Don't associate with people you can't trust. Don't cheat. Don't lie. Don't pretend. Don't try to buy your way into the kingdom of God. Don't dictate because you're smarter. Don't demand because you're stronger. Don't sleep around because you think you're old enough and know better. Don't hurt your kids because loving them is harder. Don't sell yourself, your family or your ideals. Don't stagnate. Don't regress. Learn a new skill. Find a new friend. Start a new career. Don't live in the past. Time can't bring anything or anyone back. Don't put your life on hold for possibly Mr. Right. Don't throw your life away on absolutely Mr. Wrong because your biological clock is ticking and you can't afford to have your eggs harvested before the new millennium.

There's always a mad rush to something, somewhere but victory does not always belong to those who finish first. Sometimes, there is no race to be won only a price to be paid for some of life's more hasty decisions. You can't always go with the throng who could be wrong. Sometimes, you have to be alone to be enlightened.

To terminate your loneliness, reach out to the homeless. To feed your nurturing instincts, care for the needy. To fulfill your parenting fantasies, get a puppy. Don't bring another life into this world for all the wrong reasons. To keep yourself warm, buy a jacket. In the long-run, it will be less complicated and less costly. To make yourself happy, pursue your passions and be the best of what you can be.

Simplify your life. Take away the clutter. Get rid of destructive elements -- abusive friends, nasty habits and dangerous liaisons. Don't abandon your responsibilities but don't overdose on duty. Don't live life recklessly without thought and feeling for your family. Be true to yourself. Don't commit when you're not ready. Don't keep others waiting needlessly. Fall in love - it's the greatest thing on earth. But take care and remember, after the fall must come the rise.

Go on that trip. Don't postpone it. Say those words. Don't let the moment pass. Do what you must even at society's scorn. Write poetry. Love deeply. Walk barefoot. Hold hands. Dance with wild abandon. Cry at the movies. Take care of yourself. Don't wait for someone to take care of you. You light up your life. You drive yourself to your destination. No one completes you - except you.

It is true that life doesn't get easier with age. It only gets more challenging. Don't be afraid. Don't lose your capacity to love. Pursue your passions. Live your dreams. Don't lose faith in God. Don't grow old. Just grow up.

An article from Sun-Star
By Melanie T. Lim

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Poverty inspires creativity

For the record, I don't really consider myself as poor, or even my family for that matter. Let's just say that we're in a temporary financial setback which I already explained in my previous post(s). I'm learning a LOT from this experience and one of my most treasured lesson is that poverty inspires creativity. You learn to be innovative with your scarce resources since you wouldn't want to waste anything on useless stuff. I was able to prove this "theory" one Sunday.

A typical Sunday for me and my siblings is to go to church then eat lunch together. Since I'm on a tight budget, we usually eat at Lutong Bahay (LB). Its the usual haunt for students and dormers who want to eat homecooked dishes without having to spend too much. Come to think of it, when I was a student I rarely eat at LB since I was on a tighter budget. I can survive a day with just a can of pork and beans and a cup of rice. Anyway, I had a dilemma last weekend because I only had 200 pesos in my wallet. If we were to eat at LB, it wouldn't be enough to feed four mouths for lunch. I was thinking about it since Saturday and when I passed by the mini-market stall in Philcoa, I decided to buy half a kilo of fish so that we can have fish tinola for lunch because its the easiest dish to cook. The next morning, as I was preparing to go to mass I thought of an idea - why don't we just go on a picnic and eat lunch together by the sunken garden or lagoon. Wouldn't that be more enjoyable? When I checked my stock of groceries, I realized I had several canned goods which we can eat for lunch. These dishes would be easier to bring than the tinola. So, I opened two cans of tuna, a can of corned beef and my favorite pork and beans, heat it in the microwave, and cooked pancit canton. Voila! It was an instant feast.

When I informed my siblings that we would be having a picnic, the look on their faces were priceless. I even brought my poi set for some entertainment. Of course, I later informed them that it was part of our austerity measures. ;) I will forever treasure that moment and I'm sure they'll do too. Even if we were just partaking of canned goods and instant noodles, it seemed like a feast fit for a king. Not even a million peso dinner at Le Cirque can beat that ;)

Lesson learned: Happiness is always a choice. No matter how dire the circumstances, as long as you stay optimistic that everything will turn out right in the end, then there's no need to fret. Do not let your faith waver! Find joy in the simplest of things and always be grateful for each blessing.