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Posts Tagged ‘reflections’


experiment5

When life seems a little hard to bear

Surrender to the quiet

And listen to the hush of the wind.

There -

You’ll find peace.

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The Catholic church celebrates Ash Wednesday today, 18 February and it is the official start of Lent, the beginning of our Lenten journey. I attended the 6am mass at St. Jude Parish,  a beautiful celebration of reminding us what the season of Lent means, what the  ashes symbolize.We are encouraged to attend mass in order to begin the Lenten season with proper reflection, conversion and repentance. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means restricting the food we eat and the number of meals and the size of it while Abstinence is abstaining from eating meat.The imposition of ashes is a reminder of our sinfulness and unworthiness, it is a renewal of our commitment to follow Jesus and acknowledging the sacrifice He had made for our salvation.  I think next to the Christmas blogs that I write every year, my Lent posts come close. I would like to share a post that I wrote four years ago because I think the message is never too old to appreciate and remember. I particularly like the beautiful Lenten reflection I found on EWTN entitled What To Give Up.

Give up complaining – focus on gratitude

Give up pessimism – become an optimist

Give up harsh judgments – think kindly thoughts

Give up worry – trust Divine Providence

Give up discouragement – be full of hope

Give up bitterness – turn to forgiveness

Give up hatred  – return good for evil

Give up negativism – be positive

Give up anger – be more patient

Give up pettiness – become mature

Give up jealousy – pray for trust

Give up gossiping – control your tongue

Give up sin – turn to virtue

Give up giving up – hang in there.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And you might say, it is easier said than done, after all we are just human, capable of making repetitious mistakes, capable of abandoning good deeds  and choosing the easy way out, more focused on material things that make life easier, or so we think. But everyday of our lives we are given the chance to do something good for others if not for our selves.  I remember the time when I was in the hospital almost six years ago, it was my first time to undergo chemotherapy. I was expecting that just like the rest of the patients at the Ambulatory Care Unit at the hospital, I would lose my hair but the chemotherapy nurse assured me that I won’t . I was apprehensive at first, who wouldn’t be, but  I gave up the thought of going bald and I was elated and grateful that chemo drugs for colon cancer treatments do not result to that grim scenario. That’s a small miracle  for me. God must be thinking , I don’t trust Him enough.

We are sometimes too quick to judge other people. The thing is, we must look at our own inadequacies first. Unless we know what makes them the way they are, we are not in any position to pass  harsh judgment.  Think kindly thoughts and think positively.  Trust in Divine Providence, give up worry. How often do we feel anxious  about everything in our lives?   We are endlessly worrying because we want everything to be perfect but this is not a perfect world. If it is, we won’t need friends or our neighbors or our families even,  to make us smile.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. keep in the sunlight.”

Give up discouragement, be full of hope. I’d like to think that’s something I got lots of. Giving up hope is like giving up life.  When you  are  confronted by  a life changing situation, hope is a precious commodity that you cling to.  No matter how painful your situation might be, you can and you will survive it as long as you don’t lose that thin thread of hope. Sometimes, trials are really just blessings in disguise. They are God’s way of telling us to trust Him, always.

It is not easy to forgive when you are full of  hatred and bitterness. Let  us not plant hatred in our hearts because in the first place, we are the ones greatly affected. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

What better life this would be if only we can follow these simple steps. Happiness is the simple thought of trying not to give up, just hang in there.

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shadows1

You wonder why

the shadows are longer

in the early morning sun.

Then it gets shorter as the day moves on.

Have you also wondered

why life knocks you down?

Then you get that burst of inspiration

That makes you believe, dream

and lifts you up.

There are moments when you don’t need

to seek  all the answers.

There are moments when you just have to trust

in yourself.

There are moments when all you have to do

is to let go and move on.

One day you’ll find

That the long shadow is gone.

And you’ll see the sun shining through

in your life again.

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Woke up at 3am. Son left for work at 5am. I  watered the plants and  swept the yard a few minutes ago. It seems the clock’s hands are moving too slow, it’s not even 6am.  I wanted to go back to bed but I love the feel of the cold February morning on my face. Maybe it is another perfect time to write a few words here.

I’m cleaning my document files of unwanted downloads and pictures that I have already saved to my hard drive, then I saw this, a shot I took of our place the last time I went home more than four years ago.  A nostalgic longing, a trip down memory lane. It’s actually a narrow  road leading to our place in the province, a single lane for cars.

canvasI miss this place.  Several years ago, this was just a dirt road which was not  accessible to cars but it is now cemented. We live in a higher place than the town proper. It is actually overlooking the whole town but what I love most about it is the vast expanse of  green, bamboos gently swaying on the roadside and when you reach the top, the green rice fields are a feast for the eyes. I grew up here and it was my home until I graduated from grade school. The house is old and small but the garden is vast.

The countryside brings you back to old but not forgotten days of childhood. You smile at the thought of visiting it again, once more to commune with nature, to see old folks at home  and to renew acquaintance with the place where the sun rises early and bright and the night holds a certain magic because back there, the stars are brighter. If only for the quiet and peaceful feel of the place, I would love to go back.

I am having   a second cup of coffee while watching our three dogs frolicking in the garden. It’s a simple life but happiness abounds.

 

 

 

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Crossandra1

It takes time

for you to see the light,

when you have been too long

walking in the dark.

It takes time

to appreciate

what is in front of you

when your eyes are riveted

to the farthest view.

It takes time to appreciate

what love really is

when you ignore the whispers

of your heart.

Take a moment to see -

the feel of a cold morning

on your face,

the beauty of the dawn,

the wonder of a sunrise

breaking on the horizon.

Take a moment to feel -

the innocent kiss of a child

the warm embrace

the tight hugs.

For they speak to you

of love.

 

 

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“When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. Dear young boys and girls, today’s world doesn’t know how to cry. The emarginated people, those left to one side, are crying. Those who are discarded are crying. But we don’t understand much about these people in need. Certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears. I invite each one here to ask yourself: have I learned how to weep? Have I learned how to weep for the emarginated or for a street child who has a drug problem or for an abused child? 

If you don’t learn how to cry, you cannot be a good Christian. This is a challenge. When they posed this question to us, why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry.”

Through the entire week that I was indisposed nursing a cold and occasional cough before we said goodbye to Pope Francis, I read all his speeches from the time he visited Malacanang up to his interviews with the Papal delegation (mostly accredited media people) on his way back to the Vatican. Although I saw him deliver his speeches in English, in his native language which is Spanish and some in Latin and clearly translated by his official translator, Msgr. Mark Gerard Miles, I can’t help but go back and reread them again. There is something so heartwarming listening to him.  His speech during the Encounter with the Youth  at the University of Santo Tomas opened my eyes to a lot of things.

Sometimes what you can’t say in words is more understood through tears.  Crying is not a show of weakness, it is rather more on how we are attuned with our feelings and our emotions. Crying sometimes gives us that perspective we don’t open see  when  our hearts are hardened by circumstances and events  that we’d rather not face. Pope Francis was right in saying that “certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears.” When you are touched by these simple words, crying becomes a necessity and a natural outcome, it becomes your catharsis. You cry when you’re happy, you cry when you’re sad. I haven’t cried as much as when I saw Pope Francis on one of the windows of the Sri Lanka plane and the following days watching him touch the poor, kiss the little children,  sway with the youth while they were singing the 1995 theme song during the World Youth day, wave to thousands of people lining up the streets,  and smile at the millions of pilgrims who were in Luneta during his last mass.

Just to let you know, I am quite teary-eyed while writing this post because I remember those times that I cried buckets. I remember those times I felt so alone. I remember the times that I can’t seem to understand everything that was happening in my life.  Sometimes, the cross is so hard to bear but you have to carry it with grace and a strong  hope and faith that you  can. One thing I am proud though, I never gave up.

Yes, it’s okay to cry!

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Things are as they were six days ago -

the unopened book,

muddled thoughts that keep intruding,

lovely words that need to be said.

My mind is full of lessons

I have yet to digest

I have yet to write about

I am inspired

and the euphoria hasn’t waned yet.

his words touched my soul.

And I am thankful.

The memories

make me smile

and they make me laugh.

They feed my mind

with unspoken words.

that will remain

forever in my heart.

 

 

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