The Wisdom of Slowing Down

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I get irritated easily when the internet connection is too slow and does not satisfy my expectation. I get annoyed when things are not done quickly. It’s really difficult to slow down nowadays because things tend to test our patience. Being caught in a massive and heavy traffic in the city every day, for instance, is a ‘patience-cracking’ scenario. It puts pressure on your endurance to face this kind of reality even though you don’t deserve it. I assure you, It takes a liter of sweat to bear and withstand the traffic which really distressing and irritating. Although some technological initiatives are already done to lessen the traffic, it’s still stays like a never-ending dilemma.

Why am I saying this? Because I thought life will be more simple and convenient when things are done instantaneously and promptly. Thanks to the influx of technological advancement in this generation because to live life to the fullest is possible which what advancement would like to offer us. But, as time goes by, as everything changes so rapidly, it seems that life is not so simple and convenient anymore contradicting the promises of the advance technology. Everything is becoming fast and it complicates everything about life. Impatience affects our values and we don’t know how to slow down. For us Slowing down kills advancement, innovation, and progress. But, isn’t in slowing down that we built our dreams and aspirations in life? Isn’t in slowing down that we foresee the wonders and the awe-inspiring ideals in our lives? Now, why labeling ‘slowing down’ as a 3000 year-old maxim about life? Hence, we really never learn about the beauty of the ordinary, the less-valued, and the less-appreciated things on and about life. We really complicates what is simple. We choose to ignore the things we think are not relevant, but in reality, are things that truly matter, manageable and handy to teach us the wisdom of life.

It’s all about US (The Value of Sacrifice)

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In a classroom filled with 30 students a teacher asked them to make a big circle for an activity. Afterwards, the teacher put 30 items on the table; some were attractively good, some were seemingly good, and others were not so good. Then the teacher gave them an instruction, “okay class our activity is just simple. Each of you will get one item that you like here on this table. After you get the item of your choice, wait for my instruction, enjoy it, and hold it well. So let’s begin and we will start counter-clockwise”. Some students took the attractively good and seemingly good items. Unfortunately, others who were last ones to get the items acquire the poor ones. Those who were the last ones really hoped that they may be given a chance to acquire those attractively good or just those seemingly good items like with their classmates. When all of the items had been took, the teacher gave another instructions, “okay class, here’s the best part of our activity. Please sacrifice and share the items that you have to your classmate who wants it.” Everybody jeered, chortled, and hesitant. No one dared to let go and share their items.

Does this story make sense to you? Maybe you asked yourself while reading story, what is this story all about?  Actually,  It’s all about sacrifice which we are afraid or hesitant to talk about today. Apparently, the value of sacrifice is now diminishing its sense and significance to our day to day living. Facing our world today with the influx of “instants” occurring to our settings and lifestyles degrades our understanding and appreciation about the value of sacrifice which the very foundation of our lives. Why are we afraid of sacrifice? Because it’s painful, it tests our patience, it loses our own wants, and it challenges our desires. Forget about these! I would like to assure something that will make you recognize the value of sacrifice; there will be no true relationship without sacrifice. Every good and true relationship that is deeply rooted in love demands sacrifice. Hence, the most important thing in life is not all about your wants and desires, but it’s all about how you relate or involve yourself to the people that we tend to neglect and ignore but more valuable and precious than who we think. All these will be possible unless you value sacrifice because it’s not all about you, but it’s all about US.

Give In

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We easily give in to what we desire and crave for. To give in, shall I say is somehow the fragile aspect of our existence as human with intellect and will. To give in is an uncontrollable phenomenon. When we want something new and trending we give in to our self. When it’s attracting and tempting, we cannot but give in despite the patience and self-control. Sad to say, we no longer understand and appreciate the virtue of waiting, endurance and delayed gratification. We tend to get things abrupt and instant. This realization opened up my awareness that our tendency to give in to our self is something for us to be evaluated and re-evaluated seriously. Just like in building a love-relationship, rushing too much and giving in to our own emotions doesn’t mean will lead us into a happy love-relationship. For me, a happy and firm relationship takes a deeper sense of faith and sacrifices. When we love, we must be always ready and prepared to face the reality of life, hence waiting for the right timing and patience are one of the most important thing to avoid unnecessary failures and unhappy relationships.

On Patience…Patience… and Patience

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picture taken from http://www.thepoortraveler.net

Heavy traffic in EDSA, long queue in the MRT or LRT waiting for someone for almost an hour, processing important documents and papers in some gov’t offices, choleric co-workers, uncooperative colleagues, demanding husband or wife, stubborn, rebellious children, waiting for the one true love, and so on. These are some of the many examples that irritates us and test our patience. It’s really difficult to be patient nowadays, looking upon our situation that we are living; a complex world full of impulse, stress, and anxiety. However, why is it so important to be patient amidst these realities? Why patience is still consider as one of the significant Christian virtues despite the undeniable fact that we are living in a compulsive-kind of world?

In a world filled with discourteous and rude drivers in streets, selfishness, individual differences that cause conflicts with co- workers and the constant demands of children and family, we often need patience just to keep it together. But, how? Here are the three things that we should consider about patience as a Christian virtue; (1) Patience understands and trusts God’s perspective. How many times have we lost our patience in God because of the trials that we felt was so unfair? The tendency is, we put the blame on Him, we complain, and we walked away from Him when we can’t bear the struggle anymore. But, have you ever noticed that in bearing it and keeping control over the impulse of it, we recognize that He understands us and we put our trust in Him? Thus, when trials come, be patient and hold on to Him. He understands our needs far better than we do. As much as we know what we want, He knows what is truly best! It is good that we allow us to be guided by these words coming from the book of Lamentations; “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” (Lamentations 3:25-26). (2) Patience loves and respects others. One of our biggest challenges in life is trying to exercise patience in our relationships with others. We easily become annoyed when we encounter ill-mannered and difficult individuals. However, being fretful will not be a good means to treat them with love and respect. Remember; Jesus shows his patience with love and respect even to the die-hard sinners of His time. It’s hard to live life in the fullest when impatience overrules our lives. It’s also hard to gain trust from others when we let ourselves be controlled by being impatient. Many serious quarrel starts with or short temper over little annoyances or inconveniences. Hence, we must really exercise patience in order that we may love and respect others. Having this kind of patience that pertains to love and respect others truly treasures them and revered them in spite of their shortcomings. Let’s consider 1 Corinthians 13:4; In 1 Corinthians 13:4 we are told that love “suffers long,” or is patient. The passage goes on to describe how love is not selfish, prideful or rude, because it is after the welfare of someone else. Love is the basis, and patience is part of that process. (3) Patience encourages us to stand up with optimism amidst trials. This is another important reason why we really need to practice it in facing our trials and difficulties in life. In order that we may be able to consider patience as an encouragement, we must really cope with our daily annoyances and hardships without complaint and with optimism, knowing that God’s providence does not really permit any trial that will not be a source of good for us if endured unwearyingly. Hence, let us be inspired and fortified by the words of the Letter of James; “Brethren, you will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege; you understand that your faith is only put to the test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results so that you will become fully-developed, complete, with nothing wanting.” (James 1:2)

There is an old Dutch proverb that says, “A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.” We can’t deny the fact that in our experience it often shows that a patient person will always make better decisions and see more favorable and positive outcomes in life than a very intelligent person who doesn’t have the patience to wait for the right time and opportunity. However, how may we be able to attain better decisions and to be more positive in life despite the oppositions and hostilities that we encounter every day? Let’s always remember and consider three things why we really need to practice patience daily; (1) it understands and trusts God’s perspective, (2) it loves and respects others, and (3) it encourages us to stand up with optimism amidst trials. We ask the Lord who is very patience on us that He may grant us the grace to really practice patience as a very important Christian virtue for our lives wholeheartedly.

A Time to Move Forward

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“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…”

 It’s really tiring to wait.  It really challenges time and tests patience especially when waiting affected greatly my other urgencies and main concerns.  Actually, we cannot but affirm the fact that waiting is an essential part of our daily experiences.  Life is an unfinished business.  It demands always something more and something yet to come.  So, it really takes to wait in order to live life in the fullest.

The gospel for today’s first Sunday of Advent gives me an assurance that waiting is beneficial and at the same time providential, unless I may not get tired of waiting.  Waiting is a time for moving forward, and this is what it means to prepare myself daily.  Waiting, however, has to be vigilant, disciplined, and generous.  Vigilance, discipline, and generosity are the three things that I should really consider and the invitation of the gospel for me today.  Indeed, waiting entails an effort of change starting from my way of thinking and doing always in accordance with God’s perspective.  I realized, it is in waiting that I may be grow in love.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…” This statement really calls my attention.  It really summonses me to have a proper attitude in welcoming the Lord to work into my life.  But, how I may be able to do it?  By considering waiting not a tiring and tasking thing, but a means for receiving the Lord wholeheartedly, it assures that I may be able really to feel the presence of the Lord moving into my life.

Indeed, it’s really tiring to wait, but it’s really significant to wait because in waiting there’s hope.

May the Lord strengthen me, protect me from all anxiety, and make me holy as I wait in joyful hope for his coming every day and at the end of time.

On loving the person who doesn’t love us

To be in love is one of the most wondrous experiences in life.  When we fall in love everything has a new meaning to give and life is not anymore ordinary but exciting and filled with enriching possibilities.

Indeed, falling in love is a great feeling and it gives us the power to see something unique and affirmable in the other which that person perhaps may have never sense or known.  But, what if you fall in love to someone who doesn’t love you; is falling in love still the most wondrous experience in life?  Hence, just what I have posted in my Facebook status last July 15, loving the person who doesn’t love you is the most difficult subject that we are ever likely to learn.

I asked myself; why does falling in love sometimes unfair and depressing; you’re truly, madly, deeply in love with someone but he or she doesn’t love you?  Some people say, God allows it to happen simply because He wants us to be more persistent and persevering in loving.  Loving is not all about expecting something extraordinary.  Expecting something extraordinary in loving will soon end up into great anxiety and embarrassment.  But, why does God allow it in the first place?  We all agree that God has already planned something for us including our real beloved in life.  Actually, it’s up to our free will whether we give up in loving that someone who doesn’t love us or not.

Yes, God has already prepared for us the suitable beloved for our life, but we have also the responsibility to use the integration of our free will and intellect to love that someone who doesn’t love us persistently and determinedly.  Perhaps, he or she is the one who prepared or planned for us by God.

Loving the person who doesn’t love us is really the most difficult subject that we are ever likely to learn.  It takes time, effort, hope, sincerity, and even faith.  For me, it is better to love those who don’t love us than those who loved us but in the end will leave us in pain, desperation, and regrets. By the way, loving those who don’t love us is an exercise of one of the beautiful gifts that God gave us on our birth, i.e. eternal love.

To love someone who doesn’t love us may be really heart-breaking and depressing, but it’s a blessing because it is on that instance that we express eternal love which is something precious and noteworthy, yet only few people recognize and cherish it.

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.

#tidbitsforlife (God’s plan is the Best)

150f5c2e052665386fbf67331dfa8a09I would like to share a simple story which I think you already heard before.  One evening, a young boy asked God in his prayers; “Lord please give me a brand new bicycle because all of my friends are always bragging about their new bicycles.  Please Lord, Please Lord, Pleaaassssse!  Grant me a new bicycle…Goodnight!”  When morning came his prayer was not granted by the Lord, so he repeats the same prayer every evening before he goes to sleep.  Unfortunately, God doesn’t grant his prayers and He remained silent with the young boy.  The young boy felt embarrassed and was fed up.  When evening came, the young boy rushed to his room bringing the statue of the Sacred Heart tied with plastic yarns and packaging tapes, kneeling down in front of the crucifix, and prayed; “Lord, if you will not grant my prayer for a new bicycle I will not let your Son, Jesus to be freed from these packaging tapes and plastic yarns!”

From this, story there’s a lesson that we should not always forget as we deepen our relationship with the Lord, i.e. we cannot forced God in order to grant to us what we want in life.  Actually, I cannot but be honest with myself that I fall sometimes with this kind of temptation.  Whenever God is so silent in my personal prayers and encounters in Him I cannot but immediately complain.  Sometimes, I doubt and even putted into suspicions the way how God works in my life.  With this negative attitude, I realized that the more I complain, doubt, and distrust the providence of God, the more my sight is being hindered to see the big picture of His graciousness and mercy.  Hence, He is not the reason why I continuously complain about the damns of my life, but it is still because of my own selfish desires.  As I continue to reflect upon the story this is what I learned; I cannot really force God to grant me all that I want and expect, because God knows what is the best for me.  Indeed, it is greater than what I ask and more special than I expect.  The only thing that I should do is to believe and be patient because any miracle will happen when I will just believe and learn the art of patience into my life.

#tidbitsforlife (Discouragements)

discouragedWhen life seems too harsh, don’t be immediately get discouraged.  Be patient and continue to move on.  Patience is one of the significant virtues that most of us tend to forget especially when we are distressed and intimidated.  Based on my experience, it is really too hard to be patient in front of a certain dilemma or difficulty that is too tough to bear.  The tendency for me as I deal with it is to feel grouchy, restless, and agitated with problems and difficulties in life will not be a great help and a healthy option.  Being impatient with a certain dilemma in life would sometimes kill the body and soul.  We will not also be always happy when we let it to control our lives and actuations.  So, don’t let impatience rule over our lives.  Let us be calm, serene, and optimistic when we are being tossed by the storms and waves of our problems and difficulties of life.  Let patience teach us the proper attitude of welcoming and appreciating those things which could also serve as our stepping stone in fulfilling our aspirations in life.  So, we must not be panic.  We must learn from the endurance of the bamboo; once it is being tossed by the surge of the wind it bows down calmly until the wind stops.  From this example, let us not forget that doing our best in becoming patient in everything will help us to see a better perspective in life.  But, patience will not be an effective means for living unless we start to consider humility as our starting point to abide with the essence of patience in our lives.