Thursday, February 9, 2012

When Jesus Takes the Wheel


     Life is pretty much like driving a car and cruising along roads, going from one point to another. For the lucky few, I envy them for having an early distinction of where they ought to go: a clear foresight of their aspirations, their goals, and their desired-achievements. But for the rest (and that includes me), going from point A to point B is not as easy as drawing one straight line, since we have no clear idea of what and where point A or point B should be.  I think you can agree with me if I say that living one's life clueless can predispose the person in taking wrong turns along the way, meeting dead ends, getting caught up in roadblocks, ending up stuck in traffic or just basically LOST
     The unfortunate events on the road of our lives are the perfect images of our mistakes, the wrong decisions made, the momentary episodes of stupidity, the lapses of rational thinking and the period of being tactless. These are obviously events that deserve no bragging rights and if we could bury them, we'd bury them further than six feet under!
     Well, it happens! I'd expect you'd be banging your head on either the steering wheel or dashboard for getting yourself in some pit stop of absurdity but in such desperate and helpless times, we end up taking a pause, stare and wonder: "What next?"

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Calming the Storm in Me

 

     For us Filipinos, we are all too familiar with the circumstances and scenarios unfolding in the occurrence of a storm. 
     Strong winds. Battering rains. Flash floods. Broken homes. Uprooted trees. Displaced families. People either missing or dead. Prevalence of diseases. Scarcity of basic needs. 
     It is every bit of a tragedy that forces us to become vulnerable. We are, without a choice, stripped away from the safe and stable conditions of a normal life. For those who have suffered the extent of its wrath, it is a nightmare they wished it never came to life.
     And yet the unfortunate events that arise from such a calamity is anything but different from a kind of "storm" that dwells in the depths of our being.
     It is the kind of "storm" that rattles the core of our self-esteem and beliefs, making us feel the same sense of vulnerability. It is the kind of "storm" that engulfs us into this abysmal shadow, taunting us, harassing us, and haunting us with ideas claiming that everything we hold true and good about ourselves will be crippled down. 
     It is the kind of "storm" that bears the towering waves of FEAR, the dark clouds of DOUBT, the heavy rains of "I CAN'Ts" and "WHAT IF's", the startling lightning of LIES and DECEIT, and the terrifying thunder of ANGER, and all other negative emotions. 
     Having to carry all that inside bears so much weight and it pushes our understanding, our beliefs, our grasp of reality, and our treasured goodness out of its place. We become EVACUEES of our inner turmoils; displaced and out of touch from our true selves.
     And in this moment of weakness.
     In this moment of helplessness.
     To whom do we turn to?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Let Go of "Bad Gas"


         Everyone knows the awful case of "bad gas."
    The cramps, the spasms, the desperate toilet  runs and the horrendous (but oh-too-satisfying) release of stench. Toxins and whatever nastiness there is moving around our guts can be so discomforting, and whatever bad that comes in, out is should go if you would want a share of some peace of mind (and body).
     Sorry for the analogy but pent-up negative emotions arising from stress, disappointments, resentments, frustrations and all else within that line can pretty much cause a similar (or if not, even worse) discomfort of that of "bad gas."
     And as the "toxins" of the heart and soul continue to build up inside, we are at risk of being volatile: always at the verge of bursting up.The slightest trigger can set us off in a furious frenzy, the smallest ridicule can stumble  us down, the faintest hint of doubt can overshadow our self-worth... and if don't let go, if we don't release ourselves from these pains, we might dangerously end up burning ourselves up and making ourselves feel and look sorry with every bit of good in us spent into a smoldering heap of ashen mess.
     It's a matter of choice. Do you take in the harmful stuffs inside?
     Do you brood over the hurts and let it build up?
   Do you swallow up poisonous thoughts, lies and presumptions to the point of seeing everyone and everything else at their worst?
     Do you harbor dangerous feelings such as animosity, anger and hatred and allow these toxins to bring corrupt every fiber of your being?
     Again, it's a matter of choice and if we be wise, considerate and loving to ourselves and to other people, we should be careful to willingly accept those that bring good to us. It is after all a far cry from being a despicable methane factory, to being a garden of abundance - in life and love - where seeds of God's plans will find suitable ground for growth. 
     Let us therefore be cured. Let us therefore learn not only to take in what the Lord wants us to accept, but to learn as well to let go of those that can do us harm. In doing so, we give way for ourselves to be washed clean from impurities so as to create in the depths of our being a place... a vessel... a home fit for a KING
     

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Shying Away Shyness


     Consider it ridiculous or absurd, but one of the common barriers most people have in establishing a relationship or an acquaintance is SHYNESS. We've been through this very difficult struggle, especially when we are in the midst of something new in our lives - a new work environment, a new group of people to deal with, a new task to figure out, etc. - and faced with such uncertainties, we automatically shirk away! Because in dealing with something new or something foreign or strange, we are caught putting a spotlight over our sense of inferiority.
     Will I be able to understand this new lesson being taught?
     Will I be able to get along with this people?
     Will I be receiving a bad remark from this stranger?
     Will I be looking stupid or funny or queer or weird as I introduce myself? And so on and so forth...
     I too share the same problem, being an introvert, and the simplest attempt of extending a greeting, may it be a "Good Morning" or a "Hello", can be a bit of a challenge. Sadly, because of this, I am often times being mistaken for being rude or a prude, when my problem is as simple as just being shy. 
     But SHYNESS isn't that simple of a problem. Actually, SHYNESS should be given a necessary overhaul or makeover, because allowing ourselves to be hidden under the covers restricts us, bars us, pulls us away from the chance and the opportunity to meet an acquaintance, and hopefully, a true friend. 
     It makes a big difference, which I am slowly discovering in my attempts to overcome my shyness, how a mere "Hello" or "Good Morning" or "How are you?" can turn the key and open up a passageway, a connection, for two strangers to be known to each other. And from there, that's where the miracle happens... how the so-called FRIENDSHIP and COMPANIONSHIP blossoms and bears fruit. 
     No man, after all, is an island and no man was created by our God to be alone, or in solitude. Because God, being all LOVE, created us in His image and from there, we take part and we are called to live in accordance to that. And LOVE is something that is attributed with COMMUNION, the SHARING and IMPARTING of whatever good we have in us. How could we deprive ourselves of that exercise, of that chance to bring into a concrete reality of God's MIRACLE, of God's BLESSING. And it all begins by shying away our shyness, reveal ourselves from our hiding places, and show to the world how BEAUTIFUL God is... through YOU, through ME, through EVERYBODY. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Worry

"Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow." - Swedish Proverb"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Worry Hoarders

I have seen TV shows about lives and homes of Compulsive Hoarders. I can't help but feel shocked, confused, appalled and amazed seeing the cramped, unsanitary, and hazardous living conditions that has deprived these people from having a normal life. And we can't help but ask:"Why? Why hold on to so many things?"

By definition, Hoarders display characteristics or aspects of an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, where there is a presence of a strong impulse to acquire, keep and refuse to discard material possessions that are, in a Hoarder's view, "valuable" but in reality are of no use or benefit whatsoever. Some sources or studies claim that the disorder arises from several factors, one of which describes the behavior as an attempt to fill in an "inner void" from a loss, say a death of a loved one, which then triggers a defense mechanism by accumulating relevant objects in place of that loss or void.


And thinking about it, if these people have allowed their physical conditions and state of living to be complicated by these unnecessary baggages or junk, what about our minds and our hearts? How complicated, how cramped and how suffocating it might be if we allow ourselves to hoard unnecessary thoughts, ideas, anxieties and fear? 


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Key to Change begins with Listening

(This Old Lady reminds me of the one I met at Church)
     While waiting for a friend at a local Parish Church, I noticed an old beggar walking along the church's path walk, going about from one stranger to another. She walked around, crookedly bent and leaning forward as she carried her sack-full of garbage wares and street finds. But what strikes me as, should I say, "peculiar" about her was here beaming smile and cheerful greeting to every person she approached, which somehow overshadowed (or better yet, over-shined) her typical filthy garb. Well yes, I find it peculiar and curiously surprising because typically, our less-privileged brothers and sisters we encounter plead to us with that common  aura of misery, seeking our pity to look into their plight and destitution. And this old lady I just witnessed was quite a contradiction from how we stereotypically perceive in the poor.

    It came to that moment when I was the one she approached, and I noticed that aside from asking for my share of a few money's worth (which I gave more than she asked for), there was something more that she needed (which was implied by her actions): it was someone's time to listen to her. And I listened.

     I found out that she was living in the shanties with her older sister who happens to be bedridden. Without any job whatsoever, she still felt compelled to help her sister in the little way she can by asking for alms and buying basic necessities such as food. And with all the difficulties she is going through, I was brought to a startling realization when she confessed that in her everyday trips to the streets, she never forgets to stop by at the church to say "THANK YOU." Even with the little that she has, she still finds it a reason to be thankful to God because for her, these are her BLESSINGS... these are her TREASURES.

        And I got myself to think: "What if I shunned her away?"

     How many of us have turned our backs on others because they were poor, or dirty, or stinking, or shameful, or in a miserable state of physical, mental and emotional condition?

     How many of us have allowed our human ways of judging and stereotyping others, especially our less fortunate brethren, to err our treatment and approach towards them?

     How many of us have judged others unfairly that we closed our eyes, our ears and our hearts from listening and understanding other people's stories?

     How many of us have actually and sincerely listened to the stories of those who are in need of someone to confide to?

  
     I realized that in changing one's heart in being attuned to the plight of others and to be compelled in doing what is right, we have to let go of our barriers: PRIDE, JUDGEMENT, HATE, SCRUTINY, and SELFISHNESS. And pretty much like shedding off a wet and muddy coat, letting go of these barriers unloads ourselves of such burdens that we are left naked with the simplest of virtues: HUMILTY. And being humble can be a big turner, where in we are called to willingly surrender to selflessness. We begin (and eventually learn) to see ourselves in the lives of other people.

    And from there, we start to put aside our wants and desires so we can offer up our time and effort for those who need it. They are the people who are deprived of a voice or a sense of meaning in their existence. They are those who are, out of their desperation, in need of a reminder: THAT THEY MATTER... THAT THEY ARE A PART OF THIS WORLD... THAT THEY DESERVE TO BE LOVED.

     And all it takes for us to do and to start the chain reaction of change... all it takes for us to make an action... is to LISTEN. Listen with an openness that allows us to understand, to see beyond what our eyes can perceive, to ponder, and to take into heart the story told, until we are moved to MOVE... to take action that will spark a lasting change for the good, if not, for the BETTER.

     Listening is an INSTRUMENT... an instrument of LOVE that serves as a KEY that opens doors that have been locked by hurts and pains. And we, upon succumbing to this simplest act of Love, open these doors and unravel the many possibilities and blessing that were thought to be unreachable and unattainable. 

    LISTEN, AND BE THE KEY TO WHAT OTHERS HAVE HOPED FOR.