Go, Grow and Glow

In grade school, we were taught of the three basic food groups: GO for foods that provide energy (carbohydrates), GROW for foods that enhances growth development (protein) and GLOW for foods that enhances the quality of our skin (vitamins). We need to take the right balance and the right amount of food from these three groups in order to attain a healthy body. That’s what my grade school teachers taught me.

Today, I am reminded of these 3 food groups for I hardly eaten the entire day. I had one piece of croissant for breakfast, half cookie for snacks, a small serving of fruits for lunch, a bottle of water for the whole day and a glass of lemon frappuccino for dinner.

From time to time, it is useful to take an account of the day that went by and see how we looked after ourselves. Did we eat enough? Did we love enough? Did we share enough? Did we laugh enough? Did we pause enough? Did we listen enough?

In life, it is not just food that makes us go, grow and glow. Experiences, family, friends, job, hobbies, dreams, pains and joy – these and many others feed our being.

What / Who keeps you GOing? GROWing? GLOWing?

The Fine Line

Several months ago, one quiet Saturday afternoon, I was walking along the pavements of Canary Wharf and I came across this pub called The Fine Line. I stopped, took a photo, continued with my aimless walk and have forgotten about it until today.

Two Fridays ago, I had a wonderful lunch with two American friends who were visiting London.  During meal, they were asking for suggestions on the best places to see and things to do in the city.  I am ready to recommend an array of things but it is best to narrow it down based on the tourist’s available time and interest.  Probably overwhelmed by the many choices I presented, I was then asked to name my Top 2 favourite places to visit. I only named one because there is only one. The Greenwich observatory where you can find the Prime Meridian Line. The line that separates the East and the West, the line at which the longitude is defined at 0 degree. Economy, culture, traditions, colour, religion and many other things separate the East and the West, but being at the observatory allows me, just for brief moment, simply by standing at the line, to physically embrace these two parts of the world around my arms.

Today, I had lunch with a Japanese (MYY) and a Filipino (PCG) friends. We talked about so many things and at one point PCG mentioned about ‘extremes’ and how too much of anything is not good for our well-being.  While it can be a simple reminder as not taking too much alcohol or what not, PCG mentioned something more insightful. He said, ‘in medio virtus stat’ – Latin words for ‘virtue stays in the middle’. I then remember another friend who said that too much patience may lead to complacency. True.  Virtue stays in the middle. Between loving and loving until it hurts which paralyzes you from loving more, virtue stays in the middle. Between being generous and being abused, virtue stays in the middle.

These three significant experiences may not be related at all to one another but reflecting on it today, it did give me the chance to remind myself to always be conscious of the many fine lines in my life and in my relationships.

Dear God, when challenges, temptations and pain come my way, grant me the fortitude and wisdom to find the fine line where I give no prejudice to anyone, not even to myself and to never lose sight of the fine line where virtue stays. Amen.

The Imperfect Lens

Earlier this week, someone I know was complaining about a throbbing pain in her eyes. She then decided to have her eyes checked and less than 24 hours after her check-up, she started wearing eyeglasses for the first time. She was saying that she didn’t realise how bad her eyes were until the optometrist had her read letters using a ‘phoropter’. While changing and trying different lenses, she was surprised that images can still get clearer than how she currently sees it without eyeglasses.

That conversation stayed with me for few days.  It reminded me of how most of the time we thought things are just OK. Only when relationships start to bring a disturbing and throbbing pain, that’s when we start to take notice.  We probably need a ‘phoropter’ and try different lenses called love, understanding, patience, humility and many other virtues we have within us in order to see what the relationship is all about and what does it truly mean to us.

Our relationship with God, with members of our family, friends, co-workers and even strangers are constantly exposed to our own imperfect lenses that are sometimes too quick to judge, to accuse, to blame and sometimes even to take advantage of someone’s weakness.

Our life is a collection of experiences. At times, we capture snippets of these experiences through our imperfect lenses. We capture and keep the things that hurt us, the things that through lack or absence of humility compromised our ability to show compassion.  These images and feelings about people who come across our way somehow influence the way we live our life, the way we express love and the way we allow others to love us.

What benefit will it bring if we only keep images of pain, rejection, abandonment and hate? But how joyful and peaceful will it be if we capture and remember the goodness of each person?

Each day, we are pilgrims holding a camera that allow us to capture moments in our lives that we can keep and look back to.  Be mindful that sometimes our own lenses are blurred by jealousy, pride and many other distractions. Clear it out before it gives us a throbbing pain.

U Turn’s

I had the chance to attend a recollection recently. The reflection question was a very good invitation to look at one’s life and hopefully realise where it is heading.

“Look at your road.  How has been the journey? How do you feel about your road? Is it like the road of the prodigal son, too tired and hungry to do anything except return to the one place where he had always felt love, or road to Jerusalem, pain-filled, agonizing with its many moments of loneliness and rejection? Is it the road to Bethany where the comfort of friendship eased the demands of a tough journey, maybe road to Emmaus, traveled by 2 sad disciples who were transformed by a blaze of love, retracted steps to share the Good News. Is it the road to the empty tomb where the surprise of God filled the morning with light or is it a desert road where Jesus met his own struggles and came back with the power of the Spirit in him?”

During the recollection, there’s only one image that immediately came into my mind. I was reminded of Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. I told my friend that life is like driving in Commonwealth Avenue. Feels like there is always a race, you feel insecure with the buses and multi-wheeler trucks which act like bulldozers on the road. It is not an expressway but the fast vehicles running on a 6-lane thoroughfare make you fear for your life. But the thing that really caught my attention with Commonwealth Avenue as it is today are the number of U-Turn slots. I was not able to count but next time I will.

Not sure if U Turn’s can be applied to life’s journey. Can we make a U Turn when we missed our destination by not paying attention? Can we make a U Turn and go back to a time and place and start all over again? Can we make a U Turn as an escape when we simply do not want to continue with the current journey?

When I told my friend that U Turn’s are too inviting sometimes, she made the most simple yet profound question – ‘Saan at ano ang babalikan mo?’.

Sa buhay, wala nga sigurong U Turn’s. Hindi kung saan at ano ang babalikan, kung hindi ano ang babaguhin at ano ang maaaring gawin para maging masaya at payapa ang paglalakbay.

God keep blessing you.

Mabuting Pilipino

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