Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Madali ka ma-disappoint (You're easily disappointed)

That's what my friend told me today when I was venting about how another friend's prospective job might not pull through. I took offence for a while, kept to myself, pondered about what she said. I felt a bit slighted but my friend and I have been through a lot so I chose to act “normal”. This is what Bo Sanchez recommended when there has been a misunderstanding and you just want things to be as normal as possible. Act normal and feel later and sooner or later your feelings will follow your actions.

I was simply venting and I just wanted to be heard. I didn't really expect a chastisement or scolding as such. But she did have a point. After she said that line, she added: Trust in God and you will not be disappointed. Know that He has better plans.

Yes, I know that in my head and in my heart. It was just in that moment in time, I doubted. I doubted like Peter. I doubted like Thomas. When has God ever let me or my loved ones down? I don't recall any real let-down. The answer has always been clear: Yes, No, Not now. Sometimes, I choose to see between the lines. Well, so much for looking between the lines. What is in between is the fact that God is so good, He or She (International Women's Day is soon here :)), knows what we already need before opening our mouths and He or She will give it if it is what is best for us. Nothing less and sometimes surprisingly more.

As I reflected today with the help of OPM (Original Pilipino Music) and the concentration to work like my life depended on it got me smiling. I became very happy and my feelings of hurt turned into love. Love for my friend whom I know said that because she wanted me to be appeased that God will never let me down. Love for the people that dare to show love. Love for the people that appreciate the little things I do. Love, love, love. The love of God that is all around to feel and to share.

So, my not so disappointed self started smiling – at everything. I might have looked a bit crazy to some people. But I appreciated as I always do the little things – a smile, a plant, two friends talking, people helping and showing random acts of kindness. I smiled at the collection of photos of the people at work in our organization. I smiled as I walked home. I smiled at the air that was going through my body.

Thank you Lord for giving me my friend who reminded me that I should never be disappointed with you or what life has laid down before me. You have better plans – plans for a future full of hope. The verse of Jeremiah 29:11 is forever etched into my heart.

I leave it at the foot of the Cross. We will soon be welcoming you into Jerusalem with palms only to crucify you a few days later.

Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church – that's what we say at Sunday mass. Yes, Lord, look not at our inability to fathom your plans and the errors we make. Look at our faithfulness and the hope that we put in You because only You know the plans for our lives.

This Lent, may we never be disappointed by the experiences and challenges that come our way. May we welcome them as a sign of your unfailing love and your trust in us.

Jesus I trust in You.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who am I? (Qui suis-je?)

That was a question that Jean Valjean asked himself when he faced the dilemma of becoming a criminal yet again or living out the life that he was destined to have. It was the question that Javert asked himself before throwing himself in the river Seine.

It is the question we ask ourselves everyday if we do not yet know what life holds for us.

These past weeks a recurrent theme in my life is the question: Who am I? From French class who asked to recount my heritage, my grandparents, my family and my village to the recent showing of Les Miserables here in Geneva.

In Les Mis, Fantine sings in “I dream a dream” that she imagined her life to be different and not exactly where she was at that time in the margins selling herself so that she may buy the life of her daughter Cosette. How many times have we found ourselves in the margin, thinking is this the life I was meant to lead? Or is there a greater sacrifice?

It is also reminiscent of the message of Christ. Lent started just a few days ago with Ash Wednesday and the ashes being crossed on each of the faithful's forehead. “Who do the people say I am?” Jesus asked. It didn't matter what the people said because He knew who He was and no one could change that. And Peter's “You're the Messiah” was evidence that he chose to see with his heart and not with the eyes of his human form.

As Father Richard said in his sermon, Lent is not about giving up things but becoming the person that God wanted us to be. God did not want sacrifices or holocaust, he wanted us, the us that He created.

But who am I? That is the question in some our minds. I often ask myself that. Who am I really? My mom calls me by many names in the hopes that I will become one of those things: writer, professor, horticulturist, entrepreneur, etc. And yet, I am not really any of those things.

Is it in my head that I dream that I would like to be a published writer some day? Is it a dream that I would like to tend to an organic farm some day? Is it far from reality that I could be a businesswomen who can support herself? And the list goes on.

The question remains, who am I? Am I really those things? Or is the calling from God more basic? Fantine sings: To love another person is to see the face of God ... Yes, the challenge is there in defining who I am and who you are. In the times that God challenged us, did we show love? Did we show compassion? Did we see His face in others? Did we see His love for us? Do we know that we are His creation and therefore also Love.

Who am I? I am yours, the song goes:

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours

And so the answer is: Not because of who I am But because of what You've done. I am Yours.

I am Yours. That's who I am.

Jean Valjean, Javert, you, me, we are His and He has redeemed us. And no matter who we think we are, we will always be the love He has put in this world to be a light to others just as He was. We may be imperfect, we may be broken but He has claimed our soul and called us brother and sister. For him, we are a beautiful soul.