Only The Best

“Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that is cast in the sea and brings in a haul of all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fishermen bring it ashore; then, sitting down, they collect the good ones in baskets and throw away those that are no use.” ~ Matthew 13:44-52

I cannot help but to feel that today’s gospel reading seemed to be asking us to be “wasteful”. That is exactly how it is in our world today. We have no qualms discarding everything and anything – we do not fix things anymore. In relation to that, nothing seemed to be built to last anymore because there will no longer be “recurring revenue” if things cannot be broken or spoiled.

From a different perspective, it also tells us how we are expected to be “perfect” while knowing the fact that we are mere humans with unique weaknesses. The only take away I can think of is that we should all try to be good. I do not really subscribe to the fact that God punishes His children and thus, I am not taking the reading literally.

The way I like to see it is that, we should not be complacent but instead strive for the best in life be it spiritual or otherwise. We should also share our talents with others so that they will be inspired.

A few years ago, I came across a photographer named Willian Wegman. Mr. Wegman captured the hearts of many with his creative and beautiful photographs of his Weimaraner dogs, namely Man Ray and Fay Ray.

The picture of Weimaraners on the packaging of the dog food I bought today reminded me of Mr. Wegman’s photography work with his beautiful dogs.

The following photos are inspired by Mr. Wegman.

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Staying Married In A Secular World Part II: The End Game

My wife and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last week. Nothing to shout about because it is not a silver or golden jubilee but nonetheless, we are still working on it – our marriage.

In the fast paced world we live in today, we often ask ourselves “what is the end game”? For a sustainable business, the end game would be to have referable customers to give good testimonials about our services to new prospects in hopes that they will end up being our customers.

What about marriage?

There are two possible “end game” to a marriage and they are:

a. Divorce

b. Until Death Do Us Part

For this post, I would like to write about one of the clear indications that a marriage is heading towards divorce even before it begins.

When we attended the marriage preparation course, the initial question the presenting couple asked us was whether we have signed any prenuptial agreement and if we did, they would not allow us to continue attending the course.

But of course we were young and so in love that we did not even understand what a prenuptial agreement was and let alone signed one. In hindsight, I am glad that was the case.

TRUST

I have come to understand that a prenuptial agreement is a contract with the “end game” in mind. There really is no point in getting married when either one of the two people agree to having a prenuptial agreement. This is a clear indication of one’s non-committal behavior towards the union. There is enough distrust in the relationship to afford an “what if” situation. Perhaps it is a lack of faith but whatever the reason, I am opined that it is best not to get married to a spouse who demands or even considers a prenuptial agreement.

A marriage is the commitment of two people who have made and will always make a conscious decision to love each other every single day of their lives until death to them part.

In marriage, we give ourselves fully to our spouse – a 100%. But a prenuptial agreement is 2% less. There really should not be Plan B or C in a marriage. We stick to our vows no matter what happens.

As we celebrated our 11th year together as husband and wife, I was reminded of that one question that helped me make the decision that she is the one.

“Can I TRUST her with my life?”

And like our wedding vows, the answer is YES!

If you are considering marriage at the moment, I hope your end game is Till Death Do Us Part. I wish you all the blessings and graces for an everlasting marriage!

You can read Part I by clicking here.

Quietly Growing

I’ve had these cactus pads for more than a year now and in fact, most from the initial plant has rotten away before I decided to salvage what seemed to be healthy. In some cultures, it is a taboo to keep cactus plants in living spaces because of their sharp thorns or spines that are believed to cause more “harm” than good. After replanting them in a bigger pot, I also re-positioned them to where they will be able to get more sunlight.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” ~ Matthew 13:8

The gospel reading last week talked about getting a good rest and this week the gospel seemed to be about growth.

I cannot help but to relate the readings to the situation I had with these cactus pads. Not only have I not planted them on good and suitable soil, they have been deprived of the nourishment they needed to thrive.

Just like how newborns need their sleep as part of growth, adults too need to rest so that our bodies will be able to rejuvenate and “repair” what is damaged. Spiritually speaking, we need to be still and in the quietness, reflect to find the inspiration we need to grow as a person.

I chance upon an article on my favorite self-help blog Pick The Brain and through it, found a TED talk by Susan Cain about The Power Of Introverts.

It is interesting how all the experiences in the past two weeks coupled with the discoveries of the article and video seemed to be intertwined and run in parallel.

We are so distracted in this instant gratified world that we have often forgotten to pause and invest some quiet time for growth.

I hope you will have a good week learning something new and worthwhile in your journey towards growth.

Friend

Here I am trying to recall and recollect what has taken place the entire past week. Nothing inspiring worth sharing because I am still coping with losing two people due to relocation. I still hope that one of them would resume his presence online as soon as he is settled at the new base.

Whatever it is, we are often lonely in different ways.

Last weekend, there was a huge Pride Parade at downtown Toronto and the topic of LGBTQ+ became a discussion (once again). One of the many things that is very difficult to define with precise certainty.

I think like most things in life, people in general are seeking acceptance and a sense of belonging. We are trying to fill the void in certain aspects of our lives.

Most of all, we are seeking for companionship and love.

We want to be heard, affirmed of our self-worth, and be valued by someone else.

We are now living a highly pressurized and challenging world where people are easily provoked. The more connected we are through the internet, the more disconnected we are in the real world. It is now quite difficult for us to hold a lengthy conversation because it has been reduced to “what’s in it for me?”, “what do you have that I need?”, or “how can you be of benefit to me?”. We seemed to have grown into this “selling oneself” culture whereby we are either selling a product, a service, or even prostituting ourselves just to get by in life.

In the end, we yearn for what is left of our dignity and self-worth. We become jaded as to what are our talents, values, morality, principles, ethics, and purposes.

If only we can all love a little more by being compassionate to one another. By understanding the fact that each one of us is seeking our spot in this huge planet – to be counted and valued. To also understand that often times, the level of wisdom and intellect of a person can be confined by the circumstances that are totally out of their control. We must love enough to know that for each person to come to his or her own, he or she needs time, the right opportunities, and guidance.

Therefore, if you come across a person not up to your standards or expectations, perhaps it is your opportunity to learn new ways of leadership and be the change he or she needs so desperately to turn life around.

As we begin a new day, let’s ask ourselves – Have you found LOVE today?