Bloom Where You Are Re-planted

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them…” 1 Corinthians 7:17

I just celebrated my 48th birthday a few weeks back. As part of my annual sentimental “look-back” at what have been, I realized that there is one constant that dominates the story of my life- and that is MOVING.

Before I finished my studies, I lived at 5 different houses and went to 8 different schools. from the time i got married until now, I lived at 9 houses and worked in a commercial establishment, a government agency, a bank, 2 schools and a hospital. That does not include where I live and work now.

Sometimes I wonder what my life could have been if there wasn’t too much action. How stress-free it could have been if i work at the same office table until i retire. And how comforting to live in just one house until my last breath. But who really knows?

So S also wondered how it could have been if I was stuck in only one corner of the same office and worked consistently on the same assignment everyday. by now I would have probably mastered the grooves and accomplish all without batting my short lashes, but how bored to death I would be now.

1896876_10203120218670561_5793731977000281877_n

I also wondered how many places I would not have the privilege to visit if it was my destiny to normally age within the four corners of the same house i was born to. How I would have missed the rapid beating of my heart whenever i experience the rising of the sun and its setting from different perspectives, the changing of the seasons under a different view of the sky, the genuine tastes and sounds of various societies.

And yes, I wondered how many people I would not have met… and known… and loved, if I was just bounded by the walls of my immediate family. I would not have known people from other nations who are as diverse in our culture and tradition, yet so similar in our humanity.

Moving is actually a joyful adventure for me rather than a futile exercise; like a flowering plant that is constantly being pulled from where it has grown its roots and re-planted to a new and strange spot. It may be a new pot or a beautiful garden. It doesn’t matter where, only its purpose is to bloom.

1926629_10201810899978412_996760549414437470_n

I believe I am God’s little flower. And I am repeatedly being uprooted and re-planted to serve my purpose. I am in the here and now because God planned this from the beginning.

When it is time for that little flower in me to move again, I will no longer wonder. because all I need to do is bloom.

Transformers

Now about eight days after this had been said, he took with him Peter, John and James and went up the mountain to pray.

And it happened that, as he was praying, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became sparkling white. ” Luke 9:28-29

The least liked movie genre for me is sci-fi.  If the movie “Transformers” fall in that category, it was no wonder i never get to finish it.  But I get to see those scenes when the car turns into a robot, and I admit that as it happened,  that same time I transformed into that little kid again as I watch in awe and wonder.  But just for a few moments… then I get bored, and got back to my old and “dramatic” self.

So what transforms you? New car, new career, new hairstyle, new perfume, new smartphone, new movie? Notice that anything “new” somehow lifts us to a higher level of self-assurance seducing us into the fallacy that these things are what would make us happy.  And perhaps they do, but just for a while.  For a brief and fleeting time.  For when the new becomes old, the same things that once lifted us, soon pulls us back into the trap of familiarity, which of course, breeds contempt and dissatisfaction.  These are the outward transformers that only the eyes can see.

However, there are “transformers” that are just the exact opposite.  True love, family, friendship, death, tragedies, illness, these come in with extras, at times, super sized or bottomless. Like joy, warmth, empathy, pain, suffering, endurance, wisdom… These kind of transformers are all life-changing. Once we experience any of these, we can never go back to our old self, there is no turning back.  We will never be the same.

And the Word of God is the ultimate transformer…  No matter how we try to ignore it, deny it, forget it, dispute it…Once the seed is planted in our hearts, it’ll find its way to be heard, understood and accepted. His Word kindles a spark in our boring and dull old selves that makes us come alive.  And transforms our dead-like existence to a life that is not only full, but overwhelming that we cannot ask for more…  A life that makes us feel forever young, fresh and new.

love and bad hair days

“Remember the days of old; consider the years long past.  Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you.” Deuteronomy 32:7

megan had a bad hair day. literally and otherwise.  the other day, some newbie in the salon she went to, did quite a job on her crowning glory and caused her tears to fall.  not to mention strands of hair too.  it was such a mess that she can’t help but  write about it.  what disasters can do to ignite that passion to write!

what was remarkable was this particular line which i quote“I was one of fortunate people on earth who might run out of hair, but not of the people who would love me and care for me no matter what.”  OMG! her hair taught her a lesson 🙂

i had my share of falling hair too.  but just the right number of strands that are due to fall like leaves in autumn.  and i’m amazed that these too can motivate us to reflect past the hairstyles and hair color.

megan will always be our sweet baby with that pretty hair and perfect eyebrows (no need to have it shaved little lady).  but she’s eighteen now and in love with a guy.  and we are happy that she’s happy.  though there is concern over the sudden change in her behavior and taste.

like her delicate hair, love can make her shine.   some other time, “exposure to harsh elements” could break her. but as long as she remains rooted to what she learned at home, school and her Catholic teaching, she will always “grow back” to the same sweet human being that we always know.

now my hair is tri-color (black at the tips, white at the roots and gray in between).   my mommy, almost all white. my prayer is that when megan look our way again, she would  find the wisdom in each strand that age had rebonded…and eventually relaxed.

The Helper

“I will ask the Father , and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;  that is, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”  John 14:16-17, 26

once a year, OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) usually take a month off from work.  most choose to go back home to relax, and rekindle relationships with family and friends.  

during this period, it is a treat to have some household help around to do chores for us.  because while we spend eight hours a day saturdays to thursdays at work in the foreign land, we also spend after-office overtime in the kitchen to cook and do the dishes, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, vacuum the carpet, pick up groceries.  the list is almost equal to the number of hours in a day.

but back in our homeland, a helper is willing and happy to do all that and more, at a comparatively lower monthly fee than what the dry cleaners and the friendly neighborhood carwash boys charge on a per job basis. 

Fely is small and petite, but there is no question that she’s a lot stronger than anybody may perceive her to be.  she’s almost like a superwoman.  besides, she maintains that cheerful disposition no matter what she does and when ever her call time is.  you see, she is not a maid who stays in the house 24-7.

Fely is our on-call helper.  and she’s always available when ever we need her.  for that, we are especially grateful to her.  not only because she does things for us.  she enables us to spend precious thirty days with our family without the hassles of usual household chores.  she makes our holidays more worthwhile, stress-free and special.  so that when we go back to our workplace, we are recharged, rejuvenated and renewed.

our souls also get tired and weary.  especially when we live against the Lord’s teachings.  when temptations come our way and we give in, our spirits experience the artificial “high” which eventually does not last long.  when troubles come our way, our souls get quite a beating that leave them bruised and battered.  and so like our physical limitations, we realize sooner that our souls need help too.  

before Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised to give us a Helper to quench the thirst of our weary souls.  a Helper to guide us through the highways and byways of life to never lose sight of God’s mansion where rooms are reserved especially for us, His children.  a Helper to teach us all things, when our foolishness gets the better of us. that Helper is the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. 

today is Pentecost Sunday, fifty days after the Passover, and seventh Sunday after Easter. this was the time when the Holy Spirit came down to the men in the upper room after Jesus’ ascension to heaven.  as had been promised, a strong wind filled the house and tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and they all were filled with the Holy Spirit.

since then the Holy Spirit dwells in our midst, always within reach, within us. with utmost humility, let us all acknowledge His presence and seek His guidance in every aspect of our life.  especially in times of distress and tribulations.  we can always depend on the Holy Spirit, our Helper,  to strengthen our faint and sagging spirits with His seven gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel (right judgement), fortitude (courage), knowledge, piety (reverence) and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).

——————————————————————————————

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Pray: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your love.

V. Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created,

R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray.

O God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of Your faithful, grant that by that same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

things are not always what they seem

“When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat.  They were frightened but he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’

Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.”  John 6:19-21

things are not always what they seem. 

when a husband prefers fishing on weekends, he hates to be with his family.  truth is, he just needs quiet time and a stress-reducing activity after a week of rush assignments and impossible deadlines.

when the house is in turmoil, used dishes are in the sink and the baskets are overflowing with laundry, the wife is just plain lazy.   truth is, she is too ill to get out of bed.

when a daughter forgets to text or call back, she doesn’t love her dad and mom anymore.  truth is, she is practically in a rush to get the subjects she needs to enrol for summer classes.

when a son spends more time with the computer than with people, he is anti-social.  truth is, he is just plain bored or just wanted to reach out to family and friends and stay in touch.

when we get old, it is the end.  truth is, it is the time when wisdom comes of age and the fullness of life blossoms.

when your dream house is almost within your reach and still lose it, you are such a LOSER.  truth is, you don’t really need it.

when there’s no cash in the bank, then all else is lost.  truth is, God provides us with what we need. 

when all plans don’t push through, you’re such a failure.  truth is, God has better ideas.

when you are all alone, no one really cares. truth is, God is always with us.

truth is, things are not always what they seem.

i don’t know if it was a serious case of pre-menopausal syndrome, but i’d been through a hell of a week.  i thought this, i thought that.  i feared this, i feared that. i worried about this, i worried about that.  what a waste of precious time!

the past week really started great.  we were able to watch the Divine Mercy Sunday celebration live on tv.  the message was TRUST and PEACE. and bhoy and i felt so blessed to be able to take part in spirit with this special mass commemorating the golden jubilee of the National Shrine for the Divine Mercy* and the life of  St. Maria Faustina of Kowalska. 

but as the week progressed, and the real world sucked me right back in,  i ran round and round again to look  for my happy old self from other people, places and things.  i looked for me in me.  but neither did i find me there.  i kept telling bhoy that i feel sad, and i didn’t even know why or where it all came from.  by midweek, i gave up and just let everything be. 

there was one constant though, that i failed to see because i was extremely obsessed with my self-inflicted ordeal.  and that constant is GOD.  and i failed to absorb the message of the Divine Mercy.  TO TRUST IN JESUS, THE KING OF MERCY.

like the apostles, i was frightened too.  but when i see Jesus and let him into my boat, i am sure i will find what i was looking for.  and realize that what i was looking for was always there afterall. 

to borrow the words of St. Teresa of Avila “Let nothing trouble you. Let nothing frighten you. Everything passes. God never changes. Patience obtains all. Whoever has God, wants for nothing. God alone is enough.”

as another week begins, my simple life goes on as it did before.  there’s really nothing to look for afterall.  everything that i need, God provides.  people to love, things to do and blessings to share.  even trials to make me strong.  what more can i ask for?   GOD ALONE IS ENOUGH.

* for more details about the devotion to the Divine Mercy, please go to http://thedivinemercy.org

Solomon’s wisdom

“Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong…”1 Kings 3:9

bedtime is always an issue when we deal with teen aged kids. every night, i sound like a recording saying to my boy that it’s already 10 pm and it’s already time to bed.  and the same story goes that we debate first for about 10 to 15 minutes.  he argues that even if he’d lay down at 10, he usually gets to sleep between 1 to 2am.  naturally for me, it’s not acceptable because he has to wake up early for school and i insist that the later he lays in bed, the harder it will be for him to fall asleep.  we already tried various strategies besides nagging.  like if he’d shut down later than 10, he would be penalized the next day.  no computers.  no tv.  if you have your own teen aged kid too, you would probably know more or less the ending of our story.  the kid complies, but not after seeing you turning into incredible hulk!  with that smirk as if he’s having a ball seeing me all green. grrrrr!

but every morning when i wake him up, the hulk in me is gone with the night.  instead, i turn into my old self again while i prepare his breakfast, and the uniform he would be wearing.  and i focus on him until i see him ride the school bus, and finally out of my sight.  aaahh! mothers. 

what keeps me sane through all this, is the realization that discipline is a relative term and one can not really measure how much a kid needs.  some kids are by nature subdued, rational and responsible.  so they need less.  some are bratty, careless, apathetic, wild.  sometimes these kids need OD.  ooops! and it will take a genius of a mother to know the exact dosage of discipline to give their children.  and when. 

you see, i am not a genius.  so i do the trial and error method.  and with this method, i learn from my children too.  the usual dosage i give is discipline with a dash of firmness and a pinch of consistency taken with a glass of understanding.  and like king solomon, understanding of what is right and what is wrong, is what i always pray for in dealing with difficult issues.  especially with raising my kids.  because on my own, with my human nature, i can never fully comprehend the complexities of it all.  only solomon can do that.  but i am ready to learn, if only to raise my children well.  because i love them.  and i want them to grow up pleasing before the eyes of the Lord.   maybe that’s what king solomon and i have in common, not wisdom.  but love.  (you see, even this hulk has a heart!)