Tag Archives: God

Hey it’s my birthday!

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So it’s my 19th birthday. Yahoo! I couldn’t believe that times have gone so fast! It seems to me that my childhood days were only just yesterday. But it’s not. I came past adolescence, have graduated from high school and now on my way to finish my MA, hopefully, in two years time. And it was the things that happened all throughout those years that kept me busy to reflect on life. What have I achieved? What did I miss? Where did I fail? And have I learned from my mistakes?

These questions are just plain boring and corny, even sentimental, during other days of the year. But it is during my birthday that those questions gain significance.It is because one’s birthday is supposed to be a moment of reflection.

For me, I have a lot to celebrate. I have loving parents, wonderful siblings, a bunch of equally wonderful uncles and aunts, funny and helpful cousins, ‘fantastic’ high school friends, my ‘awesome’ poleco blockmates, my UAP CAS mates and even strangers like my landlords and landladies who have shown goodness to me throughout the years. I thank God for good health and equally good education. Also for direction and never failing love. Whew, please permit me to be a ‘corn’ in capital letters since its my birthday! And its my blog!

But as much as I want to be thankful for all my blessings from God, I also want to focus on things that I have to improve. Of course I’m human and not perfect like everyone else. And there is something about imperfection that is interesting to think about, especially during birthdays. I remember Martha Stewart’s words on gardening. She said that it is the garden’s imperfection that allows the gardener to move and cultivate. It is because there are things to be worked on that movement and action are stimulated. The same with our character. It is because we are imperfect that makes us move and do good to change whatever there is in our thinking and actions to correct.

As for myself, there are five that I can think of. First is to control my temper. That kills me a lot especially when times are bad. I, most often than not, blow my top during tense situations. I also love to argue for the sake of arguing! (Isn’t that funny….and stupid?) I wish I have more patience and less enthusiasm for argument. But I hope I can work on that in God’s grace.

Second is honesty and integrity. I must admit that I’m a kind of know-it-all person, and that attitude is a flash point between me and many people, most particularly THOSE who have that same trait as mine! I also tend to paint an image of myself as being perfect and clean without acknowledging the fact that I TOO have mistakes to deal with before poking on others’ noses.

Third is laziness. I remember in Dante’s novel, Inferno and Purgatorio, that SLOTH can be the root of many evils. That includes tardiness and lack of respect or genuine concern for others’ time. And you don’t accomplish anything in your life with that which is more bad. And that is ringing a bell on me because I have several papers to write but I’m BLOGGING. Never mind!

Fourth is over-thinking. I am always pulling the HAMLET out of me when papers come or during exams. I always aim for the best, and because of that I could not even accomplish a single good.

Fifth is prodigality. I tend to spend money like there’s no tomorrow (this is a Filipino saying which I just translated because I think it also makes sense in English). That is why I should pull out the economics part of my Political Economy education to make me the ‘economic man’ I should be. I am not a SELF-MAXIMIZING individual (but thankfully because of that I am not one of those ungodly rationalist scumbags). So I guess I could now write in my paper for PET that Hume and the positivists are wrong to assume that all men are rational, as they defined it! I for one is not–again, thankfully I am not! Haha.

But let’s see if I can improve, in God’s grace, at least three of these come my 20th birthday.

Enough of this. I have to end blogging because I have school works to do. Better to write papers now than to cram (AGAIN?). I must say that I am thankful to those who sent their messages on Facebook and twitter, and those who found time to call and, even, greet me personally. That really made my day.

I am looking forward for my 20th and, even, 80th birthday (that’s how ADVANCED I am) in God’s grace.

What will I become in the Future?

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I have this tendency of going online just to google anything that interests me at the moment. This evening after doing school work, I chanced to think of searching a random professor’s bio. From reading the bio, I happened to open the website of the research center of UA&P. And for some reason my random internet searching took me to the alumni site of the university.

The particular article that I got into was the 2011 Bar exam passers who were alumni of the university. To my surprise many were not from my course, Political Economy, or Industrial Economics. As you can see, many of them either took Information Technology or Management before studying law.

It seems to me that those people from courses I would not expect to study law were the ones who actually did. You see, I’m coming from a pre-conception, like most people in the Philippines, that pre-law courses should have to do something with politics or economics. That explains my reaction to the article that I read in the alumni website.

But when I think of it, life is really that surprising. I don’t know if the guys or girls from other courses today who seem to lack much interest in current events or anything political under the sun would someday be in the field of law or politics.

That I think proves that we can’t speculate what people will be in the future based on what they are now. They might not like this or that today, but maybe in the future they would change their mind and do something else where they can find more interest and fulfillment.

And that should not create confusion or anxiety for the future in any way. As so long as we stand firm in our belief in the truth and we do good in whatever way we can, we can be assured that no matter where we go, we will be contended and happy.

With that thought, I also reflect on myself. What will I become in the future? Will I be the person I want to be?

We’ll that’s the question that I am yet to answer myself, and for each and every one of us if we ask the same question.

But I am not implying that we are not in control of the future. We are in certain ways. It is just that sometimes things happen a bit differently or there are better options that came about so we changed our mind, so as our plans. But if we are really determined to pursue our dreams or goals in life, our idea of the future must meet with our actions. That is, we should work hard to be the kind of person we want to be.

Of course, God has to be there in our life. For without the light of God, we are like walking in the darkest night without even the spark of light to guide us in an uncertain path ahead of us.

And now back to the question, what will I be in the future and what will be my brothers, friends and classmates be in the future? These questions are yet to be answered and I am looking forward in knowing those answers.

Someone took my umbrella at the convenience store

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This evening I went to a grocery shop just outside the village where I live. It was raining hard and the thunders were roaring like crazy. Thankfully I brought with me my big black umbrella which my mom bought in Baclaran last December. Upon arriving at the store, I put the umbrella in the rack. A lot of the other umbrellas were the smaller and fold-able types. It was only mine and another blue umbrella which were the big ones. And as I am confident that my umbrella was safe in the store’s rack as it always was in the past, I proceed buying groceries without hesitation or what.

After around half an hour of going to and fro the shop, I finally had my groceries: four bottles of 500 ml Coke along with some canned fruits and cereal drinks. As I am shopping in Pasig City, plastic bags were not allowed. So the guy at the counter had to put my groceries in a paper bag. I was a bit worried because it was raining hard that the paper bags might get wet and all my stuffs would spill out.

Thankfully, in my mind, I brought a big umbrella with me.

But when I went to the rack near the door, my umbrella was missing. A few seconds later, a guy put his black umbrella in the rack which I thought he must have mistook my umbrella and returned it. But it appeared that he didn’t because he gave a second look when I took his umbrella and upon closer inspection I realized that it was not mine.

When I realized that my uimbrella was indeed missing. I called the guard of the store. He was quite old. Around his forties or early fifties. But he too was clueless of its whereabouts. Clueless because he spent doing something in the grocery section and was not in his post, which should have been in the front door where the rack was.

The guard spent around five minutes mumbling where my umbrella was. Then there was another five minutes or so of saying this or that costumer might have took my umbrella.

In my head, ‘it was because you’re not in your post that is why you didn’t see who has taken it!’

I must admit that I was about to blow my top at the time. The typical me must have rant and rant for the mishap. But thankfully I didn’t. I was raging mad inside but kept cool on the outside. And thankfully because I refused to speak for a while that I was able to step back and see on top of the situation.

I thought, ‘what was the purpose of staying here if the umbrella could not be retrieved?’

‘Will it do me any good if I get mad at the guard?’

‘Is my 100 pesos umbrella worth the argument that I would put up with him?’

My immediate reaction to those questions was to buy an umbrella and leave. I did ask the guard where to buy an umbrella and he showed me politely what they have. But I didn’t like it cause the design were for girls! So he guided me to a fastfood outlet that was selling an umbrella with the company’s name on it.

He said ‘sir dito ho sa kabila may payong, mura lang ho’. I agreed to go out. But on the way I told him that what happened to me should be a lesson to them. They should have numbers or tags for each umbrella left in the rack as was usually done in many establishments.

So finally I bought the umbrella at the fastfood and left. I should have eaten at that fastfood as planned, but I’m still brewing hot at the time that I had to leave to cool down.

It was when I was already away that I realized that I did the right thing. But laughed at myself for keeping my temper cool more than what I used to.

The incident brought me to the realization that ‘peace’ can’t be done by looking at the injury incurred or the wrong that was done. Rather peace lies in finding a common ground where each and everyone involved can benefit. Where solutions are sought and improvements are thought of.

In the case of my lost umbrella, it was hopefully the improvement in the way umbrellas are left out in the rack that will become our common ground.

However, I also realized that when dealing with a misunderstanding or when we are wronged, it is always good to say things gently, which was exactly the message at the Church service I attended last Sunday. We must remember that we are dealing with people; not animals or machines that can’t be hurt by words.

In fact, if we are gentle and polite enough, we will realize that the people who have wronged us are seeking ways to repair the damage they’ve done. Something which is natural for human beings; for men are naturally inclined to do good.

This realization helped me actualized what I have learned from God’s words. Not that I wanted to boast it. But to just say that we can only made good of the lessons we’ve learned if we practice them in our lives.

It is because in doing not in thinking that good can be done.

So to the person who took my umbrella, I got irritated but I thank you.

I didn’t know that the loss of my umbrella was a blessing in disguise.

Urban Dead (n.d.). Umbrella accessory. Retrieved from http://wiki.urbandead.com/index.php/Umbrella_(Accessory)

God in History: Realizations from the Book Children of England

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I am currently reading the Children of England by Alison Weir. This is perhaps that last book I will read for pleasure before the semester starts. Surely by then, I have to deal with academic readings.

The book is about the relationships of Henry VIII’s successors – Edward VI, Jane Grey, Mary and Elizabeth I. Much has been written about the four heirs to the throne, but the author claims that few has been as thorough as his book in examining their relationships.

I have read the book for some time now, and tonight I stopped at the Chapter when Jane Grey-Dudley was executed. Jane was executed as she was accused of high treason for assuming the throne after Edward VI died, disregarding Henry VIII’s will of succession which put Mary as the next in line to the throne. I felt sorry for Jane. She did not want to usurp the throne in the first place. It was the Duke of Northumberland who forced her to accept the throne for his own advantage, not hers. Immediately prior to Edward’s death, Northumberland married Jane to his son. Having in mind that Jane would be enthroned by himself as the Queen if Edward died.

Mary who succeeded in overthrowing Northumberland and his cronies knew that Jane was nothing but an instrument of Northumberland. Although she refused repeatedly to behead Jane at the Tower of London, she was finally made to agree by Renard and his councilors following the massive rebellion that was opposed to her marriage to Philip II of Spain. Jane knew she was innocent but I was impressed with her calm and accepting disposition following the announcement of her death. It made a great impression on me when she said that her mortal life would end in return for an immortal one. Such words indicates her understanding and devotion to the Christian faith.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to accept that many of these people in 16th century England were truly devoted but unknowing of the Christian faith. For Christianity is a religion of love and love can not dwell in the hearts of those who kill innocent people. Edward VI was a devout Protestant but had persecuted Catholics. Mary was a devout Catholic but had persecuted Protestants, including Jane Grey.

In judging England’s monarchs at the time, I do not want to commit an error by putting judgement to people who did not have the benefit of a hindsight of the consequences of their actions and the understanding of human rights that our generation now have. But I don’t think that that makes the people during the reformation not culpable for their actions. The book shows that people had knowledge of the moral implications of their actions. But conscience had to be set aback for political and other ulterior motives.

In reading the book I realized that religion was not at play in much of the religious persecution and wars that took place in Europe, England most specifically, during the Reformation Era. It confirmed my belief that it was politics, not religion, that made people fight and kill each other. Queen Mary was merciful but when Renard, the Imperial Ambassador of the Hapsburg to London, persuaded her to agree with harsh laws, she turned into a truly bloody Mary. The conflict in itself was caused by the rivalry of the Emperor and Henry II of France. Each of which used their respective ambassadors to perpetuate rumors, encourage rebellions and cause disunity in the government to ensure that England would be at their side. The Protestant and Catholic English bishops were powerless. They were nothing but instrumentalities to be used for political purposes. I could not speak though authoritatively for the pope. But the way I understood it, religion was used as nothing more than a prefix or a mark that would distinguish which supported whom.

It therefore pains me to see how religion is slandered and hated across the Western World, and increasingly in Asia. For such hate is based on the misunderstanding of religion’s role in history. It is the same as a person whose name is used by an impostor, and that person is tried and punished for a sin he has not committed.

The Christian Faith preaches justice. Justice means giving a person his due. And Jane Grey-Dudley was an innocent who did not deserve punishment. But why did God let her suffer. I can not know exactly but I believe there was a greater purpose for it.

But the lack of clear answers must not make us blame God for letting bad things happen. All of what happened was done by men and women who by their own free will chose the path of evil. God can not choose for themselves because he created men free. And God has one word. He will not take away what He’s given until its allotted time.

This explanation cannot be accepted by many modern historians. For they removed God out of history. Believing that it was the belief in the Almighty that brought peril to humanity. They are wrong. And our approach to history which is increasingly becoming mechanical is wrong. And the reason why we fall to the same mistakes as that of our ancestors is because we choose to look at history and not learn from it.

And I think reading the book inspired me the more to learn from history and not learn history.