Friends

There is beauty in this

The past week has been very eventful – much needed to be done and has been accomplished. There were news about a couple of deaths as well and when they are all in the mix, I felt really overwhelmed. Somehow my mind keeps thinking about people that I know and what I will write for their eulogies. My mind shortlisted and concluded that principles and values will be the basis of these eulogies.

“Get behind me Satan!”

Today’s sermon by Fr. Paul was quiet interesting and reminded me of a series of events that has taken place in my life that I can relate. He shared the story of Aesop Fable’s The Bear and The Two Travelers emphasizing how we can all be influenced by a friend who may not have the best of our interest in mind.

The gospel reading today urged us to take up our crosses and take ownership and responsibility of all the struggles and hardships in our lives.

To me personally, it was a lot to do with the values and principles of life. I can totally relate in the interactions I had with two people – one not too recent and the other was quite recently.

28th May 2014

It was a serene and quiet evening by the seaside promenade of Pattaya, Thailand that I asked Francola a very difficult question over dinner. I asked him why he was still struggling to climb the ranks in the corporate world when many people his age are already up there where they belong and no offense, he rightly belongs up there too with all these “successful” people. The question was difficult because I didn’t want to sound like I was belittling or mean he was inferior compared to his peers but he was sharp enough to understand what I meant. You see, at almost 60, Francola is still working like the rest of us and do not get me wrong as he has gone through his fair share of challenges throughout his career rising through the ranks from the bottom. Started off as an operator in a factory, through to holding a CEO position at a startup, he is still going through the grind like every other employee.

His answer was simple and yet profound. He said, “because I wanted to do what is right by everyone”.

That is Francola for you. He never cut corners nor take short cuts to achieve what needs to be accomplished. He made the wisest of decisions and did the right things. He always ensured that his subordinates take up the challenges by first giving them the confidence that they are capable of the tasks as well as emphasizing the lessons that could be learned.

It is no wonder that Francola went on to design and build his own energy efficient house that is not only capable of powering itself through solar but uses less energy because of the direction in which the house is built. It is also capable of saving up enough rain water to used during the dry seasons.

The quote above was one of the many that he shared with us over dinner that evening emphasizing why it is important that we should take ownership and responsibility of all the challenges in our live.

Just like Jesus knowing the fate that is awaiting Him did not take the easy way out, we should also strive to embrace the difficulties and know that there will be joy after the sorrow.

On the other hand, the world has seen the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous. We have also seen con artists exploiting the system to work in their favor and in turn, made them wealthy. The family chat group was abuzz this evening with conversation around the book written about the biggest heist the world has seen in the 21st century. It reminded me of the values the world tries to impress upon us – the materialism and all the temptations that comes with it.

21 April 2018

After dinner, we adjourned to one of the many sky bars in Jakarta, Indonesia with one of our corporate leaders for a couple of drinks. While we chatted, he showed off pictures of his son and himself having a great time seated in the grand stand at every F1 race he attended. Boasted about how much he spent on the go-cart he bought for his son who loves to drive and race. Referred to the waitress as a “bitch” each time he needed her to fix the wi-fi connection on his phone. Made it clear to us how he hates a certain nationality and told us what he thought of our boss – a good for nothing low life farmer. We were all threatened that night to not mention anything about the conversations or else, we will be punched.

This guy did not impress me one bit and is the epitome of a person so influenced by the greed of the world. I do not think success was measured by his standards.

To conclude, while the world sells us a different kind of dream, there are also those that promotes what is right and just. There is a constant struggle between the good and bad – within us and around us.

If we need to choose a friend, like the lesson from The Bear and The Two Travelers, we really should choose the right friend to be with. One that will strengthen our values and principles as a person. One who will not ask us to take short cuts but rather journey with us through our difficulties.

Though I  do not wish to but should the need arise one day to write an eulogy for my dear boss Francola, this will be it because the world needs more people like him.

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