a time to be poor in spirit

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”
Matthew 5:1-12A
____________

“The Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity. They express the vocation of the faithful associated with the glory of his Passion and Resurrection; they shed light on the actions and attitudes characteristic of the Christian life; they are the paradoxical promises that sustain hope in the midst of tribulations; they proclaim the blessings and rewards already secured, however dimly, for Christ’s disciples; they have begun in the lives of the Virgin Mary and all the saints.” (CCC 1717)

I’ve always believed in perfect timing, or more so, His perfect timing. And today’s gospel could not have been more perfect.
Thank You, Lord, for reminding me of Your love and promise. May we always strive to fulfil the characteristics of the Christian life through these beatitudes.

Striving and surviving – M.

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a time to fail

It was ten years ago when I first laid eyes on him. He was everything I ever wanted at the time. I was 20 years young, in my final year of my undergraduate degree, and I still had my whole life ahead of me.

But as the years went by, I began to prioritise other things and neglected him to the point where his value started to waste away. Fast forward ten years later, to this very week, when the time came to say my goodbyes. I was quite emotional, not really knowing exactly why. We’ve been through a lot together, he literally journeyed with me for ten growing years.

And I thought it was all those years we spent together that made the thought of separation unbearable. But it wasn’t. It was because I had failed. My first adult responsibility was entrusted to me and I failed so hard. It was a massive slap to the face, and my pride. And it hurt like diving into a pool, belly first.

You might have already gathered that I’m not talking about a person. The subject of this blog is none other than Theodore Cameron Silverstone, otherwise known as Teddy – my first beloved car.

You see, I’m going on a holiday in ten days and I’m a little (a lot) short on cash, so I had this grand (well, I thought it was good at the time) idea of selling my car. Teddy was literally wasting away, sitting in the driveway, because I barely used it. So I finally gathered the courage to ask for my parents’ blessing to sell it. They bought me the car as birthday/graduation present so I thought it would only be polite to. And when they finally said “Do whatever you want with it, it was a gift to you.”, I was in high hopes and set up an appointment with a car buyer company to evaluate it.

Those high hopes didn’t last long. I quickly (which was odd, because my phlegmatic temperament says I’m slow to react) started coming to terms with selling Teddy and I instantly became sad, almost to the point where I tried to come up with valid reasons to not go to the appointment. And then trying to convince myself that those reasons were better than going on a holiday completely broke. It was an internal battle. I have a lot of those.

Anyway, with a lot of apprehension, I still went to the appointment. I remember the day like it was yesterday (it was about four days ago, lol). It was gloomy and the dark clouds reflected my emotions. I like to say that I like change. My resume can attest to that. But I still have trouble letting go of things, especially things with sentimental value.

But what happened next was more dreadful than I can ever imagine. As the buyer looked at Teddy for an evaluation, even before he stepped into the car, he already started listing all the things that was wrong with it. And each flaw, each malfunction, was like a splintered piece of wood piercing through my heart.

And then, a glass-shattering moment came over me. I finally realised why I was dreading this appointment so much. It was because I knew deep down that I had failed Teddy. And I wasn’t ready to hear it from a professional. It was kinda like receiving a report card full of F’s from a teacher but knowing full well that you deserved it.

I failed. And it was so heartbreaking.

But you know, like with every mistake and failure in life, I had to accept it. And of course, I promised myself that if I ever gather enough money to buy my second car, I’d take care of it. I owe it to Teddy.

Anyway, because the car was in such a bad condition, the buyer was only willing to buy it for metal scrap and I knew my dad, despite his blessing, would be furious with that decision so I drove Teddy back home and now he’s back where he was, wasting away in the driveway. But my goodbyes weren’t wasted. I learnt a valuable lesson from it. Own up to your mistakes and failures and, as the late wise Aaliyah used to say/sing..

“If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again..”

All humour aside though..

..a legitimate, unwanted goodbye had to be said that very same day. Something tragic occurred to someone I knew and now her family and friends have had to say goodbye to her young, driven life. She had so much potential and her passing has shaken everyone that knew her, even me, who had only known her for a few months. Please lift up a prayer for her soul and her family.
Rest in paradise, Jessica Mudie.

Until next time – M.

a time to be sick

This one will be a short one. Mainly because, as the title suggests, I’ve been sick this week and I haven’t put much introverted thought into this blog.

Today a friend of mine wanted to finish off my drink, to which I quickly responded with a warning saying “Oh no! I’m sick!”. She just shrugged it off and then said something about accepting the consequences of suffering, if it happens. And although she said with a whimsical tone in her voice, I knew she half meant it. This wasn’t a surprise to me, she’s one of the strongest people I know.

But ain’t that just the truth. There’s something humbling about being sick. And when it happens to us, our body doesn’t really give us much of a choice but to just give up (our pride) and let things take its course. We try so hard to control it with medication, but sometimes it takes us right off track in life.

Plus, if that didn’t hurt our pride enough, this will – asking for help. I become at my most neediest when I’m sick. Thank goodness this bout of sickness wasn’t too intense, so I wasn’t too needy (says my pride). But I still couldn’t do the things I wanted to do for myself, which sucked.

Nevertheless, I learn the same lesson, again and again. The suffering and the struggle, it humbles me. And because of that, I need Him more. So when our body gives up and we get sick, it’s a timely reminder that we are human, and ultimately, He’s in control.

Just let go and let God.

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love’s sake. Amen
– Saint Augustine

Take care, friends – M.

a time to finish

Lately I’ve been finding myself frantically looking for my lip balm which, and I must say this is something I’m really proud of, is almost finished. And then I get overly worried about losing it, more so than I would if it was a freshly new lip balm that I had just bought. I know it sounds a little silly but I’m sure some people might understand this predicament. This is because it’s a well known (first world) achievement, that is, being able to successfully finish a tube (or tub) of lip balm without losing it. 

And it’s crazy because, this is just a silly tube of lip balm. Imagine if we cared that much about finishing other things that are more, even just a fraction more, important in life. Like, that mundane task at work, or that puzzle on your table, the drawing on your sketch pad, that painting on your easel, that essay in your laptop, that application form in your job search profile, that song in your draft box, that tv show in your Netflix account etc.

I wonder what it is that drives us to finish things. Is it because we’re always chasing that sense of achievement that promises us happiness? Or is it because we need something to show for to our family, friends and even strangers when we get asked that dreaded “So, what are you doing with your life?” question. 

And what is it that discourages us? Is it because we live in a world that permits us to discard in that bottomless “too hard” basket as much as we can? Or a world that encourages us to replace things that are broken instead of trying to fix it? Or is it because we just don’t want things to end with the fear of losing the sentiment that it comes with? (I’m personally guilty of this – when I know a tv series is over, I sometimes purposely don’t watch the last episode because I just don’t want it to end, lol)

I guess this has been on my mind lately not only because I keep losing that tube of lip balm (which I found again btw! yey!). But also because I’m very much guilty of discarding in that “too hard” basket, all. the. time. I have a few unfinished tasks that I’ve been meaning to get to (“Oh yeah, I’ll get to it!”). And finishing that tube of lip balm is something I’m holding on to because it’s so easy. But you know what they say.. “nothing in this life worth having comes easy.” I honestly believe that there are some things in life, whether easy or difficult, that needs to be finished. In order to move on to the next chapter, stage, season, painting, drawing, puzzle, task or new lip tube of lip balm, one door must close.

Two friends of mine, who I hold very close to my heart, are in their final days of finishing a chapter in their lives and sometimes I can’t help but feel the anxiety, excitement and overwhelming feeling that they’re feeling. They’ve also been on my mind lately and with a lot of regret, I haven’t been able to tell them that or been there for them to help them prepare for their next chapter as much as I want to. Maybe I’m not meant to? Who knows.. God knows.

Aaahhh life, right? It can be so overwhelming and hard. But at least there’s one thing that never fails to comfort me. As I look at this image below, taken by a very talented friend of mine, my eyes are quickly drawn to the horizon.

vsco-photo-1

At this captured moment, during the first sunrise of this year, I stared into that horizon and felt comforted. Although I couldn’t help but wonder what was beyond it, I knew without a doubt that if I got on a boat and started paddling towards it, it would never end. Much like this horizon, God’s love for us is infinite. It never finishes. And that is enough. It should be enough.

Please pray for my two friends as they embark on their own separate journeys, together. May they continue to allow God to use them according to His will and desires, as they courageously step out of their comfort zones and into that horizon.

 

Pax et bonum, M.

a time to reset

New year, new me – it’s one of the most common phrases and hashtags you’ll see when a new year comes. But what defines a “new me”?  What happens to the “old me”?

These questions provoke me to ponder on the things, traditions for example, that people do do (lol, doodoo) before they ring in the new year, and thus, get rid of their “old me”, or at least parts of it. Clean their house/room, buy round fruit (a Filipino tradition), get a new haircut, buy an outfit, wash their car, make a resolutions list, cut ties with friends that no longer give them life, quit a bad habit, go to confession, forgive, forget, and let go.

And then there’re those people who will challenge you and say –

“why do you need a new year to improve yourself? you can do this any day.”

Which is true. But there’s something symbolic about a new year that motivates people to change their ways, and hopefully for the better. Anyway and anyhow, whatever works, I think pressing the reset button, whenever necessary, is always good.

2016 was an amazing year for me, to say the very, very least. It was challenging and it really shaped me to be the 30 yr old that I am today. As much as I want to hold on to the sentiment of the year that was, I’m happy to let it all go if it means also letting go of all the difficulties and hurts I faced that year. It certainly wasn’t all pretty. If anything, it was probably 50/50. But don’t get me wrong, I feel incredibly blessed. God provided for me, in the smallest and biggest ways, and everything in between, last year. And I will share these stories here in the near future.

But here I am, new year, new me. Kind of. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I’m totally jumping on that reset bandwagon. I wish I could say that I did most of those things/traditions that I listed above earlier, to be rid of some parts of the “old me”, but I didn’t. And that’s ok, because God is patient and ever faithful. He promises us the best which doesn’t come easy and takes a lot of hard work.

Now 2017 and the future awaits, where His promise lies ahead. And I am so ready.

Are you?

image
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.

May you all have a blessed and prosperous new year.

Love and blessings, M.