Lent

Yesterday during the morning mass, a couple of lines from the communion song stirred my consciousness. I told myself I will use it as my Lenten Mantra. It says, ‘slow to anger, rich in kindness…’
Last night, as I took an examination of the day that was just about to end, I was shaking my head in disgust as the events of the day played back.
At 10 am, I told someone, ‘I wanted to shake you. You know the resto ‘Shrimp o’ Bucket’? They put the shrimps inside a plastic bag, put spices and shake it. That’s what I want to do with you. Put you inside a bag and shake you so all your senses would wake up.’
At 1:30 pm, just after lunch, I called someone and the first thing I said was, ‘I will kll you.’
At 6 pm, I called someone else and said, ‘You are trekking deep into the woods/forest. Climb up the tree! Do you understand what I am saying?’
At 10 pm, on WhatsApp, I had a conversation with the person I threatened to k
ll at 1:30 pm, crossing the boundaries of trash-talking and bantering. I was throwing my wrath to my willing victim.
Whatever happened to ‘slow to anger, rich in kindness’?
I may have fallen short in few occasions, but I still feel blessed and loved for in between those wraths, there were people who have shown me kindness, gentleness, generosity and love. I feel humbled by the love received despite of. And I think that’s what Lent is all about — it is all about the love we receive from Christ and others… inspite and despite of…

Refill

12522976_10153816902252660_3466282763354977098_nI was stuck in traffic and noticed an almost Empty Tank. Oh no! This does not happen. I don’t let this kind of thing to happen. Add the fact that for the last couple of weeks, I was frantic that the car I was driving is at its filthiest. These are signs – that I have been remiss with some basic stuff that are otherwise always ‘in order’.

How I wish life also has all sorts of gauge right in front of our face every day, reminding us which ones need refilling, which ones need calibration, which ones need adjustments.

An audiometer to measure how much we listen to our body as it screams that we slow down and rest.

A chronometer to tell us how much time we waste doing things that are superficial.

A disdrometer to count the raindrops of blessings we receive everyday.

A heliometer to indicate the angular separation between ourselves and the people who matter most in our life.

A profilometer to indicate the sometimes roughness of our words and actions.

A spectrometer to see if we are emitting the right amount of brightness as bearer of hope and positivity to people.

As I stopped at the gas station and have the fuel refilled, I had a quick check which parts of my life need refilling. I thought of few.

To continue the journey – Stop. Refill. Move on.

Finding ‘Self’

12540744_10153788139447660_34922329875451977_nI stare at this beautiful gift given by a bunch of four kids who hold a special place in my heart and remembered one of the most famous quotes of Nobel Prize and Oscar-winning playwright, George Bernard Shaw.

He said, ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.’

Sometimes, we spend so much time finding ourselves in the midst of the crowd, in the midst of many options and choices, in the midst of crossroads, in the midst of endless search of what seemed to be the one that will give more and deeper meaning to our existence. Only to find, in the end, that we are still lost.

Today, this cute little gift has reminded me that I have already been found. A long time ago, forty years ago, from the first heartbeat inside my Mama’s womb. All I need to do is to continue creating myself, continue growing, continue doing what I am destined to do.

Another of Shaw’s word of wisdom says, ‘A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.’

We may have loved and lost, we may have tried and failed, we may have jumped and got broken, we may have said hello but later walked away, it is all part of creating ourselves. Our beautiful and genuine ‘self’.

May God, the Potter, continue to mold and hold us in His most loving hands, as we create ourselves, as our lives continue to turn on the Potter’s wheel, Amen.

What’s on the other side?

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Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Hobbiton movie set, used in the Lord of the Rings film series.

At the start of the tour, the guide repeatedly said that whilst we will see more than a dozen of hobbit holes, we will not be able to enter the doors.
She said that one of the most famous hobbit holes, Bag-end, where Bilbo Baggins live will be slightly opened, will show some interiors but, again, we will not be able to see what is inside.

The tour guide was able to set and manage the expectations of the tourists. She was able to tame down a possible breakdown, a sigh, a disappointment from die-hard fans of the film.

What she did was to transport us back to the scenes in the movie and allowed our imaginations to complete the whole Hobbiton experience.

As I took photos on the door of the different hobbit holes, I always wondered, ‘What’s on the other side?’

As the New Year starts, there are lots of new beginnings, new chapters, new doors right in front of us. Some are still totally closed, some are already slightly open. We often wonder and ask ourselves, ‘What’s on the other side?’.

If I make this choice, if I take this option, if I walk away from this relationship, if I say Yes to this, ‘What’s on the other side?’

May this New Year allow us not only to wonder what’s on the other side, but to give us the wisdom and courage to walk closely to the door and start the joyful journey.
And as we journey, may God hold us in His most caring hands, Amen.

Happy New Year

I was in the middle of doing my last 5K run for this year when I was stopped by this glorious sight. I will borrow my brother’s very long hashtag, #the-first-sunset-of-the-last-day-of-the-year. You see, New Zealand will be one of the first countries in the world to bid 2015 goodbye and the first to welcome 2016.

I stared at this sunset, and remembered what someone told me few months ago, ‘Continue to love the people whom your Papa and Mama love.’ With the two towering trees on the hill, I prayed, ‘Papa, Mama – I am where I am right now because I continue to love and be with the people whom you love the most.’

I stared at this sunset, and remembered what a friend told me several months ago, ‘My prayer is for God to remove blinders from your eyes.’ With the whole panoramic sunset view, I prayed, ‘Thank you, God, for the countless of times that you removed not only blinders from my eyes but also stubbornness of my heart.’

I stared at this sunset, and felt the deep connection between my soul and the cool wind. I remembered all the wonderful people who came my way this year and those who remained part of my life all through these years. In silence, I prayed, ‘Thank you, God, for blessing me with friends. They are my joy, my inspiration, my anchor.’

I stared at this sunset, and remembered the thousands of miles I traveled this year, including the many heartaches and headaches which caused me to age a decade. With deep gratitude, I prayed, ‘Thank you, God, for all the opportunities, for keeping me safe and for healing my brokenness and sinfulness.’

I stared at this sunset, and all I felt was calmness, forgiveness and gratefulness.

I guess, New Year or not, we look at every sunset as an opportunity to feel loved, to give thanks, and to allow ourselves to be embraced by stillness and peacefulness.

May our gracious God bless all of us a blissful 2016, Amen.968773_10153769153982660_8401545549918903_n