Stories from the Heart (You don’t have to work for LOVE)

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A young man asked his grandfather; grand Pa why is it so hard to love? I already experienced a lot of broken relationships in life. I also experienced rejections for many times. I did my best, but my best wasn’t good enough in loving. I also did my very best to be creative in loving but nothing happened. Perhaps, love is not for me. Maybe, I was not born for love. Suddenly, the grandfather respond; son, don’t say that love is not meant for you. We were born out of love and you will not be who you are now without love. Yes my dear, it is really difficult to love because love is not cheap. It takes more time, more effort, and more faith to love. I am now 85 years old but still I am learning and beginning to love because to live in love is always to start all over again. Love is simple. It embraces what is ordinary and it does not complicate things. Love is an emotion, and I really agree on that. But it is also a “response” to an emotion and an active expression of what is felt. Love is not learned by osmosis, flowering insights, and compulsions; it is always acted out and acted upon. For 85 years of my existence, this is what I have realized about my life; I was born out of love and called to love. However son, always remember this; you don’t have to work for love; love requires no teacher; you just fall into love if you follow the right rules and play the right “game” correctly. Love is learned best in wonder, in joy, in peace, in living. For 85 years living here in this world, this is what I’ve learned on persevering and persisting in loving despite the pains and demands it brings.

Indeed, it’s really challenging to love. But let’s not lose our enthusiasm and motivation to love sincerely and wholeheartedly. Let’s continue to be persevering (or determined) and persistent in loving. What matters most in loving sincerely and wholeheartedly is not the result, but the learning which we will felt unless we let ourselves be indulge in love in spite of its demands, challenges, and pains it brings.  What matters most in loving sincerely and wholeheartedly is not the result, but the learning which we will FEEL unless we let ourselves be indulge in love in spite of its demands, challenges, and pains it brings.

A Love Letter for Baby Jesus

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Dearest Baby Jesus,

One day to go before your birth. I cannot but feel more excited and cheerful for your coming.  I could say that I do my very best to prepare myself for your coming, but it’s not enough.  Anyway, I truly believe that it’s not on the grandiosity of my preparation what you would like to count on in me, but it’s my heart.  No matter how big or small my preparation for your coming, what matters most for you is the willingness of my heart to be open with the possibility for renewal and conversion.

Within this month I really do my very best to embrace renewal and conversion in my life.  Sometimes I gain and improve, at times I fall short.  To embrace renewal and conversion in life is really a win-or-lose experience.  It takes a lot of enthusiasm, determination, and faith.  It’s challenging, yet gratifying.  Dear Child Jesus, I’m sorry for failing you and also for not doing the good things that I ought to do.  I’m sorry also for my stubbornness and for doubting your graces and blessings.  I’m really so ashamed to welcome you, but you proved to me that I should not be ashamed in welcoming you despite the many failures and shortcomings that I have.  You still love me.  It’s a humbling experience to realize that your love helps me to move on and comforts me whenever I am anxious and preoccupied with so many negative things in my life.  I am so blessed whenever I fall.  You always say to me “Be still…Do not be afraid for I am always with you”.  As you always saying this to me I am always assured of your presence in my life. And, knowing you is one of the greatest gifts that I in my life.

As your coming is almost near, Lord, teach me to love just like the way you show your love on me.  Make me a channel of your love even though I am being rejected because of love.  It’s your love that make me realize who really am I; broken and unworthy, yet consoled and redeemed.  Clothe me with the mantle of your love that I may be strengthen and motivated by it to face life’s challenges with a positive outlook in life.  Although uncontrollable sadness sometimes distresses me as I wait for your nearing natal day, make me happy and have an eager and a joyful trust in you.  May I also learn to lean and to count on you as I really struggle for peace and serenity of my mind and heart.

Lovingly yours,

Alex.

‘Hopeless Romantic Syndrome’

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I don’t know if it’s proper for me to give my reflection regarding this phenomenon called ‘Hopeless Romantic Syndrome’.

Every time I check my Facebook account, I cannot but ask myself why millennial lovers of today are fond of posting bitter thoughts or insights and #hugots about love. Actually, I myself also have this kind of tendency whenever I experience the disease of love. It’s so funny and nosy to think about that myself, who is questioning this phenomenon, also being carried away by the current of this trend sometimes.

Why is there an inescapable tendency to experience to be ‘Hopeless Romantic’? This is the main question that boggles my mind now as I ponder the mystery of it. An irresistible reality that we tend to avoid, but we experience unexpectedly-this is what’s meant to be ‘Hopeless Romantic’ which we have to accept that we had a first-hand experience of it.

Is it wrong to expect or hope for a love that is not meant for you? Is not everyone destined to find love? Is it bad to love someone who’s not destined to you? These are some of the questions I encountered whenever I am talking or chatting with a Hopeless Romantic person. I cannot also deny the fact that I also ask these questions within the bottom of my head and heart when love seems so absurd sometimes. So, I know what it feels to be Hopeless Romantic.

I know what it means to be rejected despite all the efforts, sacrifices, creativities, honesties, and sincerities that you manifest for the person whom you loved most.

It’s really painful and embarrassing to be labeled as Hopeless Romantic. Sometimes we asked, why there’s an experience of pain in loving. Actually, for me, we cannot love without pain. Pain helps us to realize that love is not cheap. It gives motivations for us to be still and to move on despite all the flaws and hurts in loving truly, madly, deeply.

And so, to be Hopeless Romantic is not something to be avoid, but it’s an opportunity that need to accept with conviction. To be Hopeless Romantic is not the end of everything about love. Today, I know you’re Hopeless Romantic. Don’t be afraid. You’re not lacking of something about loving genuinely. What matters most in true love is you love. It’s unavoidable that sometimes you fail. It’s okay at least you loved.

You know, I am very proud of you and I appreciate you as being a hopeless romantic person because you’re true lover. You’re unique and be proud of it. Even though the person that you loved most doesn’t recognize the authenticity and the candor of your love that beats within your heart, it doesn’t matter. What matters most is you’re not lacking in loving truthfully and faithfully.

On Love and Work

quote-do-not-hire-a-man-who-does-your-work-for-money-but-him-who-does-it-for-love-of-it-henry-david-thoreau-184760“Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” -Vincent Van Gogh

It’s right to say that we cannot perform a certain task and accomplish it well unless we put love on it.  Everything that we do and we encounter in life is tantamount to loving many things.  Everything that we also achieve in life is not just only a product of our efforts and perseverance; it’s also a product of love that which could be realized by dedication and sacrifice.  Hence, we need love not just as an inspiration, but a motivation to do things well.

Today, what is the dilemma that we encounter in terms of fulfilling and achieving something is not the intensity and the quantity of work, but the capacity to put love on the work that we engaged ourselves with.  We easily get tired, anxious, stressed, distressed, and bored when we feel the monotony of work.  And once we experienced this so-called “dryness” in work, we become grouchy, irritated, and a grumbler towards it.  Actually, the nature of work is not about beating the deadline; it is one of the exercises on how we regard love as an important factor for a better life.  Work does not define who we are.  It is just a means for us to evaluate how we consider ourselves as persons capable of loving what we do and what we persevered.  Indeed, Vincent Van Gogh is right in saying; “…what is done in love is done well.”  We cannot work better unless we love our work.  Work not just for fulfillment but for productivity and growth.

It’s nice to be always motivated when we start to love our work.  After the exhausting work at the end of the day, you will really feel the relief and the satisfaction when love rules over the demands of work.  We are not machines, but persons capable of loving the things that we do and work on.  When things are done well it is not because of our skills, but because of our dedication, diligence, and perseverance which we add also love as flavor for our efforts.  Hence, let us not think ourselves as persons who rely the meaning of our existence on work itself, but rather let us consider ourselves as persons who are capable of loving our work and doing it well all because of love.

The Wisdom of Epiphany

EpiphanyThey were overjoyed at seeing the Star…When they saw the Child with Mary his mother, they prostrated themselves and did him homage.

As I reflected upon the gospel for today, I asked myself; what’s in the Child that made the three Magi prostrated themselves and did homage to him?  Today is the Solemnity of the Lord’s Epiphany.  “Epiphany” means manifestations.  The manifestation of Jesus’ birth is intended not only for the people of Israel, but also for all nations represented by the Magi.  It means to say, the manifestation of the Child Jesus to the three Magi is very relevant for all of us.  The Lord’s Epiphany shows to us that there are no great leaders, principalities, righteous persons, wise people, royalties, and influential celebrities that could surpass His greatness and revelation that shines forth on everyone and shares salvation for all.  But, there’s one thing that makes the Lord’s Epiphany inspiring, stirring, stimulating, and motivating, i.e. though He was in the form of God, He was born in the manger.  I consider this phenomenon in Jesus’ birth as one of the climactic and impressive scene that made the three Magi moved into joy and contentment.  This is what makes the Child Jesus as the Star for the three Magi.  Definitely, He is really a wonder-child not because of His cuteness and cuddliness, but because of the Truth that He revealed to the learned and wise.

Today, we are like King Herod who always asks this question; “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?”  We are fond of asking where He is, but we don’t risk and seek in order to find Him.  We tend to say into our lips the willingness for letting God to rule our lives, but we don’t put into action the willingness inside our hearts and lips because we are afraid to let go of our comfort zones for the sake of God’s mercy and compassion.  So, we remained indifferent and ignorant about the immensity of God’s love into our lives until now. Instead to be acceded by the Truth, we let our hearts to be misled and enticed by the shallowness of this world; and worst, we consider them as lords.  Who is the real Lord?  The one who gains the more likes in Facebook?  The one who have a lot of followers in Twitter?  The one who sits in the throne of the government who controls everything even the media?  The one who proclaims himself/herself as the richest? The one who declares himself as royal?   Or the One who is born in the manger, humbled Himself though He was the Son of God and in the form of God?  May the Lord’s manifestation be our inspiration and motivation as we do our best to let Him overtake our hearts.

#tidbitsforChristmas (Home)

christmas-house-Wallpaper2It’s so nice to celebrate Christmas with our families, friends, acquaintances, and even our loved ones.  They serve as the reason of what it means to have a complete Christmas because it is really different to celebrate Christmas together with those whom you loved most.  It is already rooted in our nerves to see to it that our presence is connecting with them by way of sharing our smiles, laughters, and cheers.  Our Christmas will never be happy and complete without them even though there’s no giving of gifts and the food is simple.

It’s a sad reality on my part that I am not with my family this coming Christmas.  I miss them so much especially as Christmas is fast-approaching.  It’s a different joy when I am with them celebrating the birth of Jesus.  Now, I am too far to them.  I cannot but be nostalgic about my previous experiences of celebrating Christmas with them.  Henceforth, it’s really a delightful experience to celebrate Christmas with our families, and in this pleasing scenario it adds a good reputation for Christmas as the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s really an unacceptable reality that I am not with them this coming yuletide season.  It’s really a different story when you’re with them in person than greeting them Merry Christmas and saying your best wishes to them with a smile in Facebook, Skype, in chat, SMS, or call.  Although it is a sad reality, I need to be strong and steadfast with my nostalgic tendencies especially now Christmas is near.  In this experience I realize that there’s a time into our lives that to be with our families, friends, acquaintances, and even our loved ones is not permanent and forever.  There’s really a moment for our lives that we need to stand on our own for the sake of a greater good not just for ourselves but also for others.  Yes, it’s natural that we miss them.  I too cannot disregard the fact that I miss them and I long for them.  But, I really need to accept the fact that in life I should learned the art of standing at my own feet.  Although it’s hard to accept this, I should never let my emotions be moved by it because life sooner or later will  not be anymore always between Me and My family, friends, relatives, and acquaintances, but between Me and God.  Again, as I prepare myself with the coming of Jesus, I learned new lesson today, i.e. eventhough Life will never be the same as before, memories will continue to help us to discover that there are things in life which we need to cherish and give importance before it loses.  Eventhough I am not with my family this Christmas, I could still say that my Christmas is complete because they taught the real essence of Christmas, i.e. LOVE, CONCERN, and GRATITUDE.  I am very thankful to them that they taught me these three magical words into my life.

Prepare Ye Way

Isaiah403-4-e1368778709947“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.”

The last Sunday’s gospel, we once more heard the cry of John the Baptist who prepares the Lord’s way.  We are always hear this invitation coming from the Baptist every Advent, but the question that we must ponder upon as we reflect upon the last Sunday gospel is this; as our ears are already numb in hearing the invitation of John the Baptist, did we already take it seriously?  Do we really prepare the way of the Lord and making straight His paths?  Are we 100% convince about this invitation coming from the Baptist?

What is the way that we should prepare for the coming of the Lord and what are the paths that we should make straight?  This is the question that popped-up into my mind as I reflect upon the Baptist’s invitation for all of us believers of Christ.  Actually, the Baptist does not refer to merely physical order or preparation nor Christmas decorations as our means to anticipate the coming of the Lord; rather it refers about our proper disposition and our capacity to reform our lives for His coming.  Conversion is the theme of the Baptist’s cry for all of us who are longing for the coming of the Messiah.  In life, we are really aware that we are unworthy to face the Messiah who is to come.  There are really lots of shortcomings and failures that we have which hinders us to recognize the face of God.  As I reflect upon the Baptist’s invitation, being in guilt with our loopholes is not a proper attitude and a proper anticipation for expecting the Messiah; it’s all about conversion.  Conversion is not only all about transformation or change itself, but it is all about letting our hearts to be makeover and maneuvered by perseverance, persistence, and optimism.  The question is how to start converting ourselves for the Messiah who is to come?  Conversion is possible into our lives if and only if we forgive ourselves.  Forgiving ourselves testifies what it means to be indulging with the beauty of conversation.  It is also marks the significance of loving ourselves despite the fact that we are nothing and worthless.  Forgiving ourselves is the best preparation for all of us as we ponder in our lives the value of self-conversion for the Messiah who is to come.

It’s really like a long journey as we wait for the Lord’s coming.  The Baptist’s cry reminds us that as we move on in preparing ourselves for the coming of the Messiah let us not forget that Conversion is the key for us to recognize His value and significance into our lives.  We should never be afraid in letting conversion penetrate our hearts.  That’s the only way for us to realize that we cannot seek God unless we forgive ourselves.

Love and Truth

Wise-Quotes-41773-statusmind.comLove embraces Truth.  It’s really hard to love when you are living in lies and falsehoods.  Love does not tell lies and at the same time it does not hide the Truth.  Without Truth, love will never be something significant in our lives.  When love is true, it encompasses everything that is good, pleasing, and unique despite the fact that there’s something into our lives that hinders us to embrace it.  Only love could testify what it means to be loved in truth if and only if we regard truth as the mirror of our identity which serves as our reminder and guide.

When love is not in Truth we are like blind guides that guide a blind person.  In life, you really feel that you’re not loved if you’re not living in Truth.  It’s better to be hurt because of being sincere in loving, than to be loved under the cloak of emptiness and lies.

Though sometimes truth hurts, we cannot but indulge ourselves by it because if love is not in truth, it is not love but falsehood.  Why love must be true?  It’s really impossible for us to love when it is not fully founded in Truth.  It casts out prejudices and doubts.  It walks what it talks.  It does not discriminate nor rejects.  It listens and shows compassion or mercy for those who are rejected or unloved.

Love cannot prevail without Truth.  It’s so sad that at the end of the day, all the opportunities are wasted for us to love with a sincere heart.  How could we love when life is filled with lies and falsehoods?  The only thing that we could do in order to love in Truth is just be true and sincere to ourselves; then loving in Truth will follow

LOVE > FEAR

Love-Greater-Than-Fear-mailer-frontLove casts out all fear.  Whenever we are afraid to continue our journey because of the different circumstances that pull us down and shaken our faith let us not panic.  Put on the armor of love into our lives.  We are loved by the One who is above us, merciful, and compassionate, so do not let our hearts be tremble.  These are the words of encouragement that I always entertain into my mind whenever I am being overcast by fear.  Fear really hinders me to see love as a protection and a consolation for my shortcomings and brokenness in life.  It’s really hard to move on in life when there’s fear.  To be true in your self is something burdensome when fear overwhelms you.  From this so called “horrifying conquerors” of life, I realized the significant value of love.  Love may be demanding for some, but it is always the best remedy for a fearful heart.  Love recognizes the beauty of courage and uplifts the brokenness inside of our hearts.  When love seems too hard to find and reach, I cannot but not to give up finding and reaching it because I believe love saves.  When there’s love, there’s nothing to be feared of.  Everything will be alright when we consider love as the sole reason of our daily struggles in life.  Why let our hearts be troubled when love is greater than fear?  Hence, life is full of goodness and glad tidings when love is the cause of our perseverance and courage here on earth.

The Reality called Pain and Rejection

quotes-about-loving-someone-awesome-love-quotes-19191Why is it so hard to love?  As I based it to my experiences, there are times that when you express your love to somebody in a form of concern, appreciation, recognition, and sincerity some will just ignore it and others will criticize you or put you down.  Upon reflecting this something popped-up into my mind; when you do your best to be sincere in loving it’s true that you cannot really please everybody.  It’s really a great pain on our part that as we exert our effort in loving what we will receive is not peace but piss.  So, we become tired and not enthusiastic anymore in loving our neighbors as the same as we love ourselves.

It’s a great ache into our hearts that people do not recognize the love that we bring to them.  We cannot but burst into tears when we realize that loving does not grant us merits.  Why isn’t so easy to love somebody?  Why loving so demanding?  Why do we need to sacrifice our expectation for the sake of true love?      These are the questions that continuously bothering me whenever I do my very best to love others sincerely.

As I reflect upon this phenomenon called “the severe side of loving”, I cannot but accept the fact that loving is not a dilly-dally occurrence, but a great commitment and responsibility for each and every one of us.  The rule of loving states that it doesn’t matter when you feel rejected or in pain in loving, what matter most is before we were being formed in the womb of our mothers God already loved us tenderly and compassionately.  But, why rejection and pain is a more dominant feeling than the feeling of being loved by God?  Human as we are, we cannot but be affected by the reality called pain and rejection.  Sometimes, when pain and rejection strikes our fragility and brokenness inside our hearts it’s really hard to recognize that we are being loved by God.

It’s so pathetic and so sophisticated that God’s love seems too invisible into our lives when we cannot bear the immensity of pain and rejection into our lives anymore.  Despite the fact that pain and rejection are something inevitable in loving, is there still consolation beside these two realities?  Yes Indeed.  In spite of the pangs of pain and rejection, I do still believe that there’s still hope in loving.  Without these two realities we cannot recognize and be aware of the significance of loving our neighbors by giving our whole selves to them.  Indeed, loving takes a lot of endurance and perseverance.  This confirms the fact that engaging ourselves in the realm called loving is not a one-day affair.  It’s a lifetime process and struggle that we need really to consider as we journey towards true happiness.  From this I realized that I should not stop loving for it is a means to receive the consolation to see the face of God despite the fact that we cannot really love totally and sincerely without pain and rejection.

Just like us, Christ too experienced what it means to love truly amidst pain and rejection.  So, we cannot but love…love…love, and this is the only ticket for us to recognize Him as LOVE.