Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Entering my Jerusalem

     When it was the right time for Jesus to accomplish His ultimate mission, He finally set off to Jerusalem, capital of Israel and the seat of government, during Passover--an occasion whereby many people flocked the city to join the festivities. By doing so, Jesus moved out of His private life, in which He had silently worked to teach the Gospel amongst the poor and the sinners, to a public life marked by many dramatic events leading to His destiny--His passion, death and resurrection.

     This particular stage in the life of Jesus inspired me to follow suit (in a figurative sense). In one way or another, I have pondered for so long about my ultimate destiny in life and these bugging thoughts have almost left me wide awake at night--but not entirely since I have lately been experiencing sleeping disorder. In the wee hours of early morning, I have gone through rediscovering what I really want to achieve in my life and how I envision myself. I have thought about my future plans based on self-fulfilment and appraised my capabilities in achieving my goals.

     I have always wanted to be independent and take a hundred percent responsibililty of my life. I want to understand basic truths and reasons that I experienced myself and not because other people, or stories I have read from books and seen from movies, told me so. I want to know how every victory or misery tastes in every sense of the word. By that, I would have no regrets and what-ifs later on.

     Entering my Jerusalem means facing reality, accepting challenges and realizing my passions. For me, life would be futile without any purpose. You can stay in your comfort zone, you can watch a breathtaking scenery outside the window sitting in a couch, but you can never run wild and say "I was there."

     Despite the unfortunate incident that happened to me a couple of days ago, I am glad because I had a confrontation with my boss and finally expressed my desire to seek a different opportunity. I am happier because I did it in a way that would not break my good relationship with my employer. Somehow, he understood my aspiration to pursue another education and even gave me a compliment for being courageous.

     I am excited about starting a life anew. I know it would be difficult at first but I have faith in God and confidence in myself. I totally agree with Paulo Coelho when he twitted, "Life is the train, not the station." We will actually never know where we are going but we can always enjoy the ride wherever life would take us. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Children's Tales

Who would forget the familiar lines “Once upon a time” and “They live happily ever after”? These were the immortalized words that lulled me to sleep when I was a child and made me dream of an enchanted, mysterious and strangely wonderful place, in which I can never grow old, be the handsomest prince of all, ride on a flying carpet, or embark on an important mission to tussle with giants, pirates and dragons.

We had once journeyed to a magical kingdom through a wardrobe as its portal, with borders as wide as our limitless imagination, created in our young and innocent minds from bedtime stories told by elders or from booklets and audio cassette tapes that came with milk cartons. It was a world where we can define who we want to become and where there is always a happy ending.

A long time ago, we had lived as a child, who had simple yet resolute desires, whose views about the world were not as complicated as it is today, whose ultimate goal in life was to wait in a well and be kissed by a beautiful princess in order to transform back into a human. It feels good to reminisce the moment when we did not only choose to place ourselves in the shoes of a royalty but also empathized with humble, lowly characters who found real treasure and genuine happiness by being true to their type. It is noteworthy to recall the valuable lessons we have learned from these universal tales of love, life, family and friendship--tales that go on and on through the end of time.

What made these stories truly amazing are the morals they have taught us. We have heard these stories several times already and they have made a lasting impression in our minds. Pondering on some of these stories and their morals, I wonder what would have happened if there was a twist in the plot, say, Cinderella was not able to leave behind her glass slipper by accident, the prince did not arrive to kiss the sleeping beauty (would she rot?), or the hare did not sleep halfway through the race. Would there be lessons learned from altering the story? Probably not and this goes to show that the general truths in this world remain constant.

It is nice to bring back to life these stories and reflect upon their teachings. The almost tragic end of Little Red Riding Hood taught us to be wary of strangers; The Three Little Pigs showed us that you can build security by being diligent, smart, and persistent; We have learned from Pinocchio that it is bad to tell lies, fabricate and exaggerate stories; Cinderella was an exemplar of kindness to her family even though they did not treat her well; Snow White radiated pure kindness and inner beauty; The Hare and The Tortoise spoke about humility, consistency and determination in order to win in life; The Ant and the Grasshopper was about saving and preparing for the future; The Ugly Duckling stressed the importance of loving yourself and the appreciation of the inner self more than the physical appearance; Hansel and Gretel reminded us to always listen to our parents’ warnings, lest we fall into danger.

You may probably find a resemblance of these stories in your real life. Can you relate to any one of these characters or stories? As you already knew, the simple truths about life can be found in children’s tales if you just take the chance to reawaken the sleeping child within you—a child a long time ago who had an open heart and mind and believed in the positivity of a happy-ever-after.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

   September is the ninth month of the year, the prelude of the "Ber" months, the time when most of us in the Philippines set our clocks ticking for a 100-day countdown. At this too early stage, we start putting up vibrant decors with hues of red and green in our homes--not to forget, among others, the traditional Christmas trees of varying sizes, twinkling lights, mistletoes and Santa's socks. A Christmas tree, for some of us, doesn't have to be grandeur as it will cost thousands of pesos believing we can always come up with an innovative idea. When I was young, my mother created a Christmas tree from drinking straws and taught us how to fold one to create a flower and join several cut-outs to form a branch. She combined the pieces altogether and embellished the resulting tree with blinking lights. It was incredible! As a child, I imagined the bells and chimes in my head as I frantically waited for exact midnight to scamper towards the Christmas tree to open my presents. I eventually found out that the boxes were just made of air, nothing but a symbolism.

   The notion that September is the beginning of the Christmas season is blatantly untrue. As a matter of fact, the official celebration based on the Catholic calendar starts on the 25th of December and ends on a Sunday between January 2 and January 8 during the Epiphany or the Feast of the Three Kings (Wise Men, more aptly). But why does the Filipino celebration of Christmas commence three months away? I don't have an exact answer for it; nonetheless, I don't have a problem accepting this, do you?

   For me, Christmas is timeless. December 25 is but a date set by the Catholic church to formally kick off the celebration and it could be any time of the year. Perhaps, the Filipinos' perky and festive attitude is the reason why we are quite eager in anticipating the Christmas season. We always want to celebrate and be happy all the time. We are family-oriented and Christmas is the only time of the year when we can mostly reunite with our family and loved ones. One should never forget that the message of Christmas is all about sharing our blessings, not only with special people but most especially with those who are poor and despairing--even with those who are unlovable. It is also about forgiving those who have done you wrong and showing sincerity and appreciation to those who have done you a favor but whom you have not reciprocated. Most of all, may we always remember the main reason why we have this celebration and it is the birth of Jesus Christ, the best gift we have ever received long before we were born.