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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Te Desidero

My heart smiles with every thought of you
But it also breaks a little each time.
If I could have one more time with you,
I'd set you free
To walk another decade or two.
And when you're through,
Find your way home to me and you.

 --Elle

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,
Elle

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 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,
Elle

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Wounded...

but fully alive and whole. Thank you Papa God for your love.

--with faith and gratitude,
Elle

Monday, June 12, 2017

Saving Grace

God's amazing grace comes in many forms
It is the sunrise that greets our days
The stars we wish upon in the night time sky
They are the flowers in which fields are dressed
A cure
A miracle
A hummingbird
A ladybug or a butterfly
It is an epiphany
Cleansing tears that purge our hearts of sadness
Our families and friends
Our pets
They are trials that test our faith
It's gratitude
A smile
An unexpected hello
It is the breeze that gently caresses your face
A warm embrace
It's the rainfall
It is a song that speaks to you
A stranger's act of human kindness
A flat tire
A delay
Ocean waves that kiss your feet and the sand you dig your toes in
Afternoon naps
Forgiveness
Other times it's goodbye
A misstep
Solitude
Peace and acceptance
An unending love

--elle

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Unfinished


I am ...
A broken glass that tumbled through waves
and driftwood rounded by the sea
Weathered and weary
Edges refined by time
Washed safely ashore
A life story anew.

--elle

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Deeper Understanding Of Love

As I write this post, I struggle for words. I don't know where to begin or how to convey my thoughts. I don't know where this reflection will take me or how it will end. I'm sort of just typing whatever comes to mind. I tried to avoid this topic but something inside told me to pursue it. I know there's a lesson in it for me that I have yet to discover. I pondered over these words when Fr. Leo said them in his prayer and I asked myself "How do I achieve a deeper understanding of love? Have I ever had a deep understanding of love that I somehow forgot about and now I'm being reminded to rediscover how it feels and what it means?" I thought maybe the right person/people and the right circumstances will lead one to a deeper understanding of love. Would you know it as soon as it happens to you, or will it take some time to realize it? I resolved to keep an open mind and let this reflection take its own course.

And just like that, my reverie took me to the first time I became a mother. The time when I held my newborn son and I was filled with an overwhelming rush of emotions. The time I gave birth to my second son was no different. All of a sudden, the labor pains I felt hours before no longer mattered as I marveled at the beauty of the tiny human being I held in my arms. My eyes welled up with tears, realizing just then how precious life is and God entrusted me with two others beside my own. All I wanted is to give my babies everything I could possibly give; to love and protect for as long as I live. Right at the same moment, episodes from my life flashed in my mind: I saw my parents' concern when I stressed over school, work, or life in general; the worries I put them through on nights I came home late from a party or on nights I didn't come home at all. They must have prayed incessantly for my safety, trusting me to make the right choices. I didn't know all these when I was young and reckless. Now as a parent, I know that I can only build a foundation for my children out of love and trust and pray that the foundation is solid enough for them to build upon as they discover the world on their own.

To love is to let go. It's one of the ultimate sacrifices for parents to let our children spread their wings after having nurtured them but we do so because we love them and because we know their independence affords them the opportunity to be part of something bigger. It is also setting a loved one free so they can pursue their dreams.

To love is to sacrifice. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."-- John 3:16. One of my favorite scriptures and undoubtedly the most remembered. This reminds us that Jesus laid out His life for us so we can be redeemed. This also calls to mind John 15:13 which states: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Think of the veterans who fought and risked their lives and those who are currently fighting for our freedom, and those who gave up their lives to save their fellow soldiers. Additionally, not to forget the ordinary people we hear about who heroically save others from danger. Is there a love deeper than this?

It is in loving that we become courageous. It is in loving that we unselfishly give of ourselves. It is also in loving that we show our appreciation to those who devote their time, resources and talents. It is in loving we learn to be patient, kind and generous. It is in loving that we remain steadfast when relationships are on rocky ground. It is in loving that we don't give up on friends. It is in loving that we reach out our hand to someone in need. It is out of love to see the good in others and the best of intentions. It is out of love that we speak the truth and become accountable for our actions. When we love, we become transparent and trusting. We become vulnerable and feel safe at the same time. It is in loving that we forgive and seek to be forgiven, to understand and be understood, to hear and be heard.

Sometimes it is also out of love when we choose to love from a distance. "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." -- 1 Peter 4:8

When I started, I didn't know how this will end, but as I opened my heart to possibilities, and my mind to only the truth, I have begun to embrace a deeper understanding of love.

--with faith and gratitude,
Elle