The Greatest Joy in our Sufferings

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An old man is silently dying to his hospital bed, but the weird thing about him is he smiles whenever he feels the pain. his attending nurse noticed it and asked him; “why are you so silent in your suffering? Are you not afraid of dying?” The old man answered with a smile on his face; “when I was a child, whenever I fall down and my knees get wounded, I groan and cry a lot. When I was a teenager, whenever I experienced failures in exams, broken-relationships, being reprimanded, bullying, and unfair decisions for my life, I complain. When I reached adulthood, whenever I feel like a loser, inferior and worthless I rebel, grumble, and hid grudges. Now I am old and dying does I still need to complain? Absolutely not! From all those experiences I realized the value of suffering in silence. It is in silence that I feel the presence of God, and that’s the greatest joy that I found in my sufferings. Thus, God is with me and through this pain I feel his love for me despite the many shortcomings and failures that I have in my life. So, I am prepared to die because God is with me and I am happy about it. Hence, suffering is inevitable, but the love of God in the midst of our agony will always be the same forever and ever.”

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 Spooky kind of Love

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Are you afraid of the dark? Have you encountered some horrific experience that made you not sleep well and even eat well? Actually, only a few of us experience some unexplained thrillers that really give us goosebumps. In order to feel the intensity of the Halloween, some chose to celebrate it with a ‘horrific’ atmosphere or wear creepy costumes for ‘Trick or Treat’. Others just chose to be contended at home with popcorns on their side for a horror-movie marathon like The Walking Dead downloaded in some Torrent sites after a tiring and perspiring visit on their love one’s eternal resting place. Sounds unusual isn’t it? But this is what some people want in order to unwind their selves after endless demands at work and in academic battlefields (Whoa strange! How could you really unwind yourself if you’re having a goosebumps?).

We cannot deny the fact that when we speak about October 31, November 1, or November 2 it’s all about Halloween, horror movies, and visiting the cemeteries. We must also not forget that from these dates that I mentioned (especially November 1) we honor the heroic virtues and examples of the Saints in heaven. Actually, honoring them is more sensible than the undead who are the co-creators and co-initiators of the Halloween mentality. Too much horror kills. Anyway, what I would like to emphasize is not all about the question of what must be really celebrated with dignity, All Saints Day or Halloween; but the spookiest thing that Halloween cannot be overruled, i.e. the ‘horror of love’. What does this thing means?

Have you experienced being ‘friend zoned’ and ‘seen zoned’ by the one you love the most? Have you experienced unexpected break-ups after long years of relationship with someone that you really love and care? After all the sacrifices and efforts that you exerted, have you experienced being rejected by the person you love? These questions are all about the ‘horror of love’ or in a simpler understanding, a spooky kind of love. This is the most terrible and horrendous experience in life which its impact is greater than watching Insidious chapters 1, 2, 3, Japanese horror films, zombie movies like The Walking Dead or The Evil Dead. Experiencing this spooky kind of love is like letting your heart and brain be eaten by the zombies in Plants versus Zombies, is really appalling, bone-shaking, and embarrassing. Just like seeing a ghost or a monster; it will not let you sleep at night, it will make your day the worst day of your life, it will destroy your focus and attention, and it will lose your appetite. Sounds creepy isn’t it, but that’s the reality of experiencing the setbacks of love-relationships. This is one of the ‘dreadful’ mysteries in love-relationship that really creates jitters in our mind and goosebumps in our heart. Pathetic, awful, and discouraging; but there’s wisdom behind it that will really give us the key to a sound love-relationship. Just have a little patience and faith, and it will follow.

‘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.

Why I am weak?

weaknessWhy I am weak?

A question that continuously boggles our minds whenever we struggle on our weakness. A question that bothers us and sometimes discourages us to move on in life. Self-introspection leads us to ask this question about ourselves which we find it something pessimistic or awkward. I myself fall in this tendency whenever I am struggling with my own weakness and whenever I am in the moment of loneliness. When weaknesses persist in our lives, we feel ashamed, abashed, and mortified. We hate to see our flaws and feebleness. We hate to be labeled as frail because we see ourselves as gifted, proficient, skilled, talented, and unique. But, we are born weak. We deteriorate through old age and death. Our giftedness, skills, talents, and uniqueness do not last. We experience pains, sorrows, anguishes, anxieties, and even failures. So, weakness is an inescapable reality. The more we escape ourselves in the reality of our weaknesses, the more we become uneasy and worried in life.

Why am I born weak? This is one of the many questions that continuously popping-up on my mind whenever I reflect upon the many events and experiences I faced in my life. Sometimes, I blame myself on having some weaknesses that are really so shameful and appalling. Sometimes, I am a little bit embarrassed and uncomfortable when my weaknesses strike and affect my way of dealing with every circumstances that I encounter in life. It’s so pathetic to understand why God allows our weaknesses to distract, disturb, and discourage us. As I reflect on the phenomenon of my weaknesses which affect my life, I realized God allows my weaknesses to domineered sometimes in order to value one of the most important and necessary things in life, i.e. love.

We cannot love if we don’t recognize and accept the fact that we are weak. It is in weakness that we may be able to love sincerely, truly, and honestly. Even God chose to be like us for the sake of loving us unconditionally. It is in our brokenness and fragility that we may be able to recognize love not as a feeling but a fruit of our struggle to accept and appreciate who we are so that we may also accept and appreciate the brokenness and fragilities of others through love. At first glance, we consider our weaknesses as a hindrance for growing in love. But, in my realization, it is in our weaknesses that we grow in love. St. Paul is right in saying that in weakness there’s strength because it is in our weaknesses we may be able to recognize the sufficiency of God’s grace into our lives. Indeed, I should not be afraid of struggling with my own weaknesses in life. Instead, I should be aware of it as an opportunity to love. Love is not all about sugarcoated words and #iwillloveyouforever, but it is all about recognizing in our lives that we are weak, yet capable of loving.

Why I am weak? Why God allows it? It’s because of love. A person who recognizes his/her weakness knows very well that the journey of love begins with a single step with a leap of faith.

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“Aloneliness”

alone_lifeAloneliness”-I don’t even know if this word exists. As I type this word in MS Word, a red line appeared on this word. Although this word may sound erroneous and disgusting for Mr. Webster, for me, it reveals the gist and the fruit of my reflection for today which I would like to share. I believe that as we advance in age and wisdom through the influx of several significant experiences that we encounter in life, we cannot but create our own insights or words just to express it as part of our learning and growth. This is now what I am doing as I encounter today one of the most weighty yet crucial expressions in the realm of love and relationships. Hence, “Aloneliness”. This out-of-this world terminology implies to a decision of choosing to be alone and to move on all by ourselves and our efforts after the tremendous pain, loneliness, and aches of unsuccessful relationships in the past. Encountering that kind of experience and coining it with the word “Aloneliness” made me ponder and questions boggles my mind; how could you face and recompense your past pains, loneliness, and aches if you will handle it all by yourself? How could you even move on and start all over again in life with joy and happiness if you want to do it and face it alone? Henceforth, choosing “Aloneliness” as a principle in life makes me affirm the fact that past pains, loneliness, and aches repeats itself. Actually, we cannot find any answer, solution, and clarification in choosing to encounter our past pains, loneliness, and aches all by ourselves. It’s like we are choosing our own bereavements rather than better joy, life, and love.

We cannot control our past. It happened because it happened. Acceptance is the key for mending the brokenness that we experienced in our own past. Relating it on my own experiences, it was really hard for me to accept all the embarrassments I experienced from the past. I clamor for an instant solution, so I chose to face it all by myself, but it hindered me to move on. Little by little my value system was distorted. My friends and acquaintances suddenly left me alone and did not trust me anymore because of my self-centeredness and narcissistic tendencies. I became pessimistic about relationships and interactions. I thought, my past will be healed and redeemed if I will face it all by myself without relying to any help and support. But, it was a mistake. It was a great breakdown and collapse into my life when I chose to handle my own past pains, loneliness, and aches all by myself.

On that instance when I reached my life’s rock-bottom that opening my heart for support and for possibility to consider another new chapter in my life is very essential and fulfilling. I realized, choosing to encounter your own past nightmares alone is like closing the door of possibility for support system and for love. Loving our past nightmares does not depend on our own opinion, desires, and wants in order to determine it, it depends on how we value the things and the people that became part of our lives and soon will serve as our great help to accept our past nightmares with love. Loving our past nightmares can hurt sometimes, but loving it all by ourselves is not the only thing that perhaps will be able to conquer its pains, loneliness, and aches. Our friends are always there to listen to our deep longings. Our families are always ready to support us through thick and thin. New loves and opportunities are always waiting for us and willing to mend our broken hearts. Thence, No man is an island. This maxim will only be realized, recognized, and appreciated if and only if we open the doors and the windows of our weary hearts. These were the things that I’ve learned as I opened my heart and became sincere on my deep longings to accept and heal my past nightmares. Indeed, loving my own past nightmares made me affirm this insight that popped-up unto my mind; problems and heartbreaks will never be solve all by ourselves. It is better to share it and to say it with all honesty and sincerity and for sure it will mend greater than what we long and expect.

Lo, Roses do blossom on Winter!

roses-in-winterLo, roses do blossom on winter! Sounds funny and crazy, isn’t it? Perhaps you will consider me a fool in saying and affirming this kind of statement which in reality is impossible to happen. But, even though you may label me or brand me as a dupe in asserting this kind of irrational statement, I still believe that roses do blossom on winter. What do I mean with this statement? Why do I keep on insisting this which kind of a pain in the head? Actually, no one ever saw, even I, that roses do blossom on winter. Roses, or even other plants, cannot endure the freezing atmosphere of winter, so they easily croak and don’t survive. Another reason is here in the Philippines we don’t have winter season, so I don’t know whether roses do blossom on winter. But, what do I mean in affirming this foolish declaration?

The statement roses do blossom on winter is really a foolish stuff in the first glance because it distorts the reality of the fact that it is impossible for the roses to blossom on winter. On the contrary, the statement does not want to distort what is more agreeable, factual, and real. It is only a metaphor as I reflect upon the most significant activity in our lives which also serves as our life principle, i.e. to love. We cannot deny the fact that we falter as we do our best to love the unlovable in life. Difficulties, limitations, shortcomings, and challenges sometimes hinder us to give our hearts sincerely and courageously for the sake of finding the real meaning of our existence. We all agree with this maxim that we cannot live without love; but, we don’t accept the fact that it takes pain and more pain to love. If I will be asked about this thing, my possible answer will be “it’s better not to love anymore if the consequence is pain not gain; to be hurt, but not to be consoled”.

To be honest, whenever I always encounter some descriptions, reflections, or explanations about love I cannot but remember all the pains and rejections that I received in loving sincerely and courageously. My life is really unfortunate about love. I envy those people who really excelled in life and in their relationships because of love, but me I don’t know or maybe I am just unlucky or it’s just a bad luck for me to love. Suddenly, I realized that if loving is demanding this should not be my attitude. Lo, roses do blossom on winter. For me, it means to say, love blossoms even though there’s a winter of oppositions, rejections, and pains in life. Even my past experiences were all about my unsuccessful love story, it should not sojourn me to move on and to go on loving. Although I never still reach the top as I love, it is precisely this that it keeps me going. Roses do blossom on winter-what made me say and affirm this? I remember Antoine De Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince and I would like to quote his insight which is one of my favorite inspirational quotes about love; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. My past may give me some setbacks and regrets about love, but it is not a cause for me not to love. I am so thankful with it because it helps my heart to see what is essential and invisible to the eye in loving.

Lo, Roses do blossom on winter. Sounds funny, crazy, and stupid right! But, for me, it is only through and by love that this statement is something affirmable and confirmable. By the way, it may sounds unrealistic, but for me is real because I experienced it.