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Monday, June 26, 2017

Too Close For Comfort

I was painting a frame for a friend's baby shower when I noticed I missed some spots so I went over it a few more times to make sure all surfaces were fully covered. The frame has a rough surface and if you look closely, you can see the coarseness of the wood gain and some fibers actually came off as I painted it. I didn't mind this at all since the blemishes just adds to the character of the piece I was working on. However, some people may have a different opinion of it and if anybody scrutinizes it, I would certainly come to its defense. It's perfect! Just don't look too closely.

How many times have we squirmed uncomfortably when people looked too closely and we feared that they'll discover something we've been hiding? Perhaps we want to give the impression that we have voluminous hair when in fact we're wearing hair extensions or maybe the sutures from the latest face lift are still intact so we try to keep others at arms length away. What about when you're taking someone's picture and they say "Not too close!", conscious that their face will take up the whole frame. Maybe we keep our distance because in a rush to get out the door, we barely had time to wipe away the rheum in our eyes, let alone step in the shower. We've all been in situations where others got too close for comfort.

We keep others at bay not just to save us from embarrassment brought on by our lack of proper hygiene or vanity (it's ironic how we feel ashamed of our attempt to look good). Sometimes we push people away because we simply can't handle being emotionally close to people. We put up a wall because we're afraid others will see us for who we really are or how we truly feel. There are times when we let our guards down just enough to feel human but as soon as one person starts to make bigger deposits into the emotional bank account, one pulls away. We're afraid that our vulnerability will lead us astray.

There are a number of reasons why people pull away from friendships or romantic relationships. One reason could be that some are afraid of commitments. Others may have social anxiety; others may have had a traumatic experience of losing someone and they don't want to experience the same pain so they avoid having close relationships; for others still, culture and upbringing influence the way they handle relationships; then there are others who simply don't want to take a chance. Whatever the case may be, my prayer is for all of us to banish all fears and allow ourselves to feel the comfort of deep and meaningful connections.

--with faith and gratitude,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Growth Opportunities

As I was drifting off to sleep and I was halfway between wakefulness and dream state, my mind filled with thoughts for my next post. I tried to will myself to get up to jot everything but while my mind wanted to get up, my body seemed weighed down so I succumbed to the call of sleep but only after promising myself that I will remember everything the following day. Well, I don't. I have a fairly good recollection of the topic but the exact words escaped me. I recall saying to myself, "That's a good one. You'll definitely need to remember that." Yeah, right!

Before I fell asleep, I remember thinking about the roles and purpose the people that are close to us play in our lives. People come and go yet I truly believe that even those who stay in our lives for only a short while were sent to us for a reason. People either become a permanent or temporary addition to our lives. Their purpose could be to love, counsel, instruct, grow, enrich, heal, or simply teach us a lesson and vice versa. They could be our parents, children, siblings, friends, spouse, significant other, teacher, student, co-worker, boss, etc. Whatever role they play, it's guaranteed to create an impact in our lives whether it's for good or bad and there is certainly always a lesson to be learned.  I like to look at the bright side so I choose to believe that I'm a better, wiser individual as a result of their presence in my life. Other times, even strangers we encounter for a few minutes could impart lessons significant enough to bring about change in us. We just need to open our hearts to these growth opportunities.

Someone in particular came to mind and I was thanking the Lord for having brought this person in my life. This person has taught me to become more conscious of the will to be patient (for someone who thrives on spontaneity and always fights the urge to act on impulse, being patient is a constant struggle for me). This person reminded me to accept the things I cannot change. This person spoke with poignant truthfulness that took me by surprise because this person said things I didn't want to hear but needed to, to ground me and bring me back to the realization that the world does not revolve around me. Through this person, God taught me that there is kindness and love in silence, especially when the silence is meant to diffuse a tensed moment or to preserve peace. At first I took this silence as lack of care, betrayal and disrespect and it made me feel not valued, which further intensified the pain I felt. With time, I came to appreciate the value of silence as it allows us to pause and reflect and it serves as a good reminder that everyone communicates differently. I am learning the path to proper discernment and I'm slowly learning to detach myself from unnecessary baggage, material and immaterial. I have learned to practice loving kindness for myself in order to generate the same loving kindness for others. I have come to accept my flaws and just be myself. Because of this person, I am beginning to understand what it means to fully surrender my will to God and to be in total obedience-to relinquish all control and let God pave the way. For all these, I am thankful.

We encounter people everyday. Some choose to stay, some move on, other times it's us that make the choice. Time and circumstances change us and these encounters play a big part in who we become. It is my hope that we all make an effort to see the positive outcomes from these encounters and choose to remain at peace even when a painful and difficult decision to move on needs to be made.

The people in our lives are there by design--they're all part of a master plan. -- elle

--with faith and gratitude,