Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Moving Forward

Time moves so fast. Three days from now, I will glance at my desk no more. I will sit in my chair no more. I will see my work station no more.

Three days from now, my contract with the Finance and Administration Office of The Philippine Foundation for C.E.D. will end. No, I was not fired. I tendered my resignation last February 13 but my superior requested me to extend my stay until March 30 and I agreed. I admit that since February 13, I have waited for March 30 to come. I was anxious and excited and talked about my bright future to my friends. I know my colleagues in the foundation understand why I am leaving. Being a CPA, they know that I still have many things to discover and to learn and to apply that I cannot do in the foundation. They are happy for me, yet, it was inevitable that some of them were saddened. Somehow, I developed a camaraderie among them and a some kind of an attachment was formed.

I was saddened too. I worked for the foundation for more than two years. It was my first job. I grew a lot during my stay there and I learned many things. But perhaps nothing is really permanent and we have to be open for change. I am moving forward to an Art Outsourcing I.T. Company where I hope to grow with too.

I don't know what is in store for me in my new job. But it's the risk I want to take and the challenge that I accept.

As a child, I have always been a dreamer. I have imagined many good things that can happen to me. I was very confident. I believed that I can achieve everything that I can ever think of.

Somewhere in between my childhood and now, I experienced a drop in confidence. I have counted the years. For eight years, I had low self esteem. For eight years, I forgot the dreams I had as a child. For eight years, I looked at myself as a good for nothing. I thought I everyone else was better than me.

I was wrong. Little by little, I have gained back my confidence with the help of some friends that I know the Almighty has sent me. Slowly, I have realized my self worth with what is called the "Divine Filiation", the confidence that comes from the fact that you are a child of God. The dreams and the confidence that I had as a child came back.

Now that I look at the eight years of my life that has been  "wasted" in low self worth, I want to make up for it. I still have my fears of failure and rejection but I do not want to grow old or to die doing nothing about my dreams.

Yeah, that illustration is creepy. I myself got chills when I was drawing that. But that is not meant to scare us. It is just an invitation for us to move towards our dreams. Let us not bring our dreams with us to the grave.

What are you willing to take in order to achieve your dreams?

Live Fully,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Give Me a Sign

As I was browsing in Facebook one afternoon, I saw a status update of one of my friends. She said “Give me a sign”. And below that status, another friend commented “beware, the devil hears you too.” It took a moment for that statement to sink in to me. How do we really know if the sign we just asked for came from God or from the devil?

As I reflected, my thoughts went to the wise King Solomon in the bible. He was a young king. To the standards of their time, “young” means na├»ve – inexperienced. As a young king though, he did not ask for a sign on how to rule his kingdom. He asked instead for wisdom. To this day, he is known as the wisest king who lived. (I’m not of course comparing him to Christ the King.)

My thoughts wandered through time. I remembered the times when I asked for signs. An example of a sign I asked was “Kapag dumaan yung truck sa harap ko, ito ang gagawin ko…” (When the truck passes in front of me, this is what I will do…) I know it might sound silly but I did ask for that sign when I was younger.

How do we know, really, if the signs are devil-planted or God-planted? My thought on this one is this: God embedded in the universe natural signs.

These natural signs are like symptoms
Four days ago, my brother and I experienced food poisoning. After eating our food, we suddenly felt sick. We had headaches, fever, and rashes all over our body. The headaches, fever and rashes are signs that we have taken something that our bodies did not want.

Signs can be as simple as that.

You might be telling me now, “that’s common sense. Of course, everybody knows that. Buti sana kung ganyan din kadali sa totoong buhay” (That would be good if it’s as easy as that in real life [literal translation])

My friend, I don’t know what you are going through right now. You might be going through an intense pain, confusion, and you do not know what to do.

But here’s what I learned from my life. We have to listen to those natural signs. For example, if you are being abused by someone, physically or emotionally, it might be a sign that your relationship might not be working. (Yes, I’m talking from experience). If you are unchallenged with your job, then it might be a sign that you need to explore other opportunities. If you are still broke despite your many economic activities, it might be a sign that your strategy is not working.

On the other hand, if you are doing well in your relationship, if you are enjoying your job and if you are seeing good fruits of your economic activities, then congratulations, you have just found your winning formula. It’s a sign that you have to continue what you are doing.

It’s a case to case basis of course. But what I’m trying to point out here is this. Do we really need to ask for signs like “hit me baby one more time”? My answer is no. Signs are already present. Look around. Look deep within. Reflect. And ask for wisdom instead of signs. And as a priest once said, "Look for the signs in the secular events with the eyes of faith."

P.S. Did you notice the Facebook "Like" Plug-in in my sidebar? Please like my page. Thanks.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Lesson From the Dead Sea

There are three main bodies of water in Israel – the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, and the Dead Sea.

Are these bodies of water familiar to you?

Of course. The River of Jordan was where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. It was in the Sea of Galilee that He preached. And the Dead Sea is often referred to in the bible.

The River Jordan is so full of life. There are a lot of fish and living things there. It’s the same with the Sea of Galilee. Peter was able to draw a lot of fish from it. But as the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee is so full of life, the Dead Sea is so dead. It is so salty that people become buoyant in the Dead Sea. Because of the saltiness, no animals can flourish in it. Even amoeba and bacteria can hardly live in it. That’s why Dead Sea soap or Dead Sea salt are popular. They can kill the bacteria that cause your pimples.

Why is that so?

Here’s how the three bodies of water are stationed geographically. The Sea of Galilee provides water to the Jordan River, the Jordan River provides water to the Dead Sea and the Dead Sea provides water to none. Because of that, the Dead Sea is so salty, all the chemicals gather in it, thus, the saltiness.

If the three bodies of water are characters of a story, we can say that the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee are generous but the Dead Sea is selfish and stingy.

What happens when you are not generous? Bo Sanchez puts it this way. “If you don’t give, you die.”

This could mean a physical death. For example, if you just inhale and never exhale or if you just eat and eat without going to the toilet for the next seven days.

This could also mean Spiritual death. If you do not give, you will miss the joy of giving. This can be as simple as giving your time to someone you love, spending time with the less fortunate, giving little but frequent contributions to your spiritual family or practicing the acts of mercy – clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, sheltering the needy.

Give out of love, not out of obligation. In that way, you will reap the full rewards of giving.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Tap on the Shoulder

I jumped out of the bed this morning looking for my cellphone to check the time.

Am I already late?

It was 6:27 in the morning. I let out a sigh of relief. Having only four to five hours of sleep in the past days, I was worried that I might oversleep and not hear the sound of the alarm. I was fortunate because I was able to wake up 3 minutes before alarm sounds.  We were going to visit the poor children in Delpan, Manila so I didn't want to be late. The outreach is a program of L.I.V.E. (Life Improvements through Volunteer Experience).

As I was sipping my coffee, I wondered.

What will happen today?

Looking back to our past visits to the poor children at Delpan, I remembered the time when I didn't know what to do because one girl was crying. She was punched by one of her classmates. Then the girl wanted revenge so she pulled her classmate's hair. Then they started fighting.

Really, they gave me headaches.

Many times I asked myself. What is the purpose of all of this? Why am I still joining the visits to those children?

There were times when I would get disappointed because even if we have planned the activities "perfectly", at least I thought the plans were perfect, there seemed to be something wrong. We couldn't organize the children!

But I was a little child once too. Like them, I was adventurous. I also asked many questions, sometimes too many questions. I bet, I was annoying as a child. I bet I was a headache to my parents like those children were to me. So I just smiled. I gave up on trying to fix them. It was a moment of surrender to me.

I finished my coffee then prepared myself to go to the outreach.

While travelling to the outreach site, I expected it already. I envisioned the children pulling each other's hair, pushing each other, crying, shouting, and, you know, makulit (What's the English of Makulit?).

When we were at the site, we proceeded with the plan. Our topic was on the "Creation". We taught them how the Almighty created all things, and aside from that, how we can also be co-creators of God by taking care of the environment and all creatures. And so we let them unleash their creativity by doing creative things.

To my surprise, the children were more orderly. They sat down in circles while the volunteers taught them and made friends with them. When it was time to distribute gifts to them, they lined up orderly. When it wasn't their turn yet, they waited patiently. (By the way, the gifts we distributed to them were given by donors, not from the volunteer's pockets.)

I was surprised by the improvement. I was happy for them. I still am.

It proved that if we have perseverance and patience, and if we have charity in our hearts, miracles happen. Change can happen even if some of those children were once rugby boys or girls, even if we might have thought that it is impossible for some of them to learn because they never went school ever since the day they were born.

Just when I surrendered, the thing I so longed for to happen happened.

So today, I want to give myself and the volunteers of the outreach a tap on the shoulder. And I want to give a double tap on the shoulders, left and right, the volunteers of VIDES Philippines because it was them who visited the children every Saturday.
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