Just In Case

I am quite sure most people think about death. Not the suicidal kind but the what if I die prematurely kind. The following will be what I need my young daughters to know if death comes too early for me. I do not know if my family or friends know of the existence of this blog but I sure hope they will find it and pass it on to them when they need it most.

Dear B&B,

Please know that daddy had tried my best to be with you as long as I am able to. I wanted nothing else in this world other than being there with and for you throughout your life. I wanted to be there until you no longer want me to. I know all this is too sudden and unexpected. Because it caught you off guard and unprepared, the more I need you to read this very carefully and understand the best you can.

You Must Love Yourself First

None of this is your fault. It is no one’s fault. Do not take it too hard on yourself. Do not spend too much time overthinking and over analyzing the reason as to why this is happening. My time here on earth was up, that much I can tell you. The least I want you to do for me is to love yourself first. Not the selfish kind of love. I do not want you to hurt yourself or do things that will get you hurt. Protect yourself and all those you hold dear to your heart. Go travel and see the world. Learn something new everyday and invest in your own wellbeing.

You Must Start Fighting

I am not asking you to hurt someone else. What I mean is that you must start fighting for your own life. You must fight to be a better person. Fight for your dreams and do not quit fighting until you achieve your goals in life. Stand up for what is right. Keep doing well in your studies and career. You might not understand why now but you will thank me one day. Do not be afraid to work hard, your hard work will pay off.

Love Your Mom

Take good care of her for me. If she is lonely, make sure she finds a man who loves her and you unconditionally. If he is ever mean to any of you, make sure you whoop his ass real bad and get your mom out of the lousy relationship.

Find The Right Man

I hope that I have in some way planted the seed through example how an ideal man should be and one that you will hold as a standard when the special person come into your life. Make sure he treats you better than I did while I was with you.

I Love You More

Know that your love for me will never surpass the amount of love I have for you. Never. And because my love for you is infinite, I will still be loving you wherever my soul is right now. I am just watching silently.

Turn To God

You must always reach out to God. In despair, look for His counsel and in joy, praise Him. When all else fails, God triumphs!

Save For Rainy Days

As much as you enjoy life, make sure you set aside resources for difficult times. Like good times, bad times do not last forever but you need resources to pull you through.

Scatter My Ashes In The Sea

That way, as you immerse yourself in the beautiful ocean, know that I am with you.

Luv,

Dad Dad

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When God Speaks

In what seemed to be an outburst of my disappointed soul, I ranted out loud on Saturday and explained to my wife how I was feeling regarding my faith. The following was what I told her.

I finally am able to articulate how my faith is at the moment. Let’s use a phone app as an anology. Going to church every Sunday is like receiving a weekly software update. Just like facebook updates with some new features and bug fixes, it nourishes the soul spiritually speaking.

I used to receive very good weekly updates and patches. Now, my brain no longer get good updates and it crashes.

And because I am human, I can choose not to depend on these updates anymore because why should there be a need for something that causes you to crash?

Besides, no one owes me anything and I owe no one anything when it comes to the spiritual realm. Nothing to expect and to be expected, really…

Perhaps, I need to seek for a better server somewhere else or find another app?

I do understand that no app is perfect but at least, I need an app that works…

I also sense that someone is praying hard for me to choose either.

And to that effect, I started thinking about the broader picture and because I was also in the midst of working on a solution for my work assignment, my thoughts were leaning towards how the computer world is.

The Operating System That Is Us.

Are you a Windows or a Linux?
We are all operating systems seeking to achieve interoperability in this world. We need to talk to each other and work together.

Unfortunate, we are all “flashed” differently through the many experiences, indoctrination, and introduction to different interpretation of religious beliefs.

Once a certain operating system has been imprinted, it is difficult to be reprogrammed. The damage has been done. We carry with us the flaws.

The other challenge is how we program the Operating Systems of our future generation today to operate better now and in the future.

So please forgive me for the way my operating system works as I too seek to understand how yours work in order for us to interoperate in this huge web of connected operating systems call the NETWORK…

After having all these thoughts, I finally decided to put the topic to rest and thought nothing of it for the rest of the Saturday. I was having all these thoughts because of how frustrated I was not being able to draw inspiration from the church I was attending and it was getting really mundane and meaningless.

Come Sunday morning, something just prompted me to get ready for church and the idea of visiting church further away came to mind.

As I started driving, a prompt came on my phone for an OS update. I thought nothing of it and proceeded to agree with installing the update. I allowed my phone to be updated while I drove myself to church.

“Why did you come to church this morning?”

I didn’t realize until mid way through mass that I thought about how my faith needed an “application update” and how we are all flawed operating systems. Turned out, God did not just wanted to update an app which can be piecemeal, He wanted to update my Operating System like my phone this morning.

The message cannot be any louder and it cannot be a coincidence. It is deafening throughout the mass.

The priest made the mass so beautiful and amazing as he took time explaining every part of the mass. I learned something new and I only wished my daughters and wife were here.

He started off his homily asking “Why did you come to church this morning? Is it obligation, guilt, or just to seek God?”

It was like God knocking on my heart.

Glad to receive this OS update.

For the few who knew about my struggle in the faith, I don’t know what you all did but I know for sure it was your prayers. I know you are all praying very hard for me and for that, thank you.

It was the best mass I’ve attended in my entire life so far.

In conclusion, I felt blessed to be able to recognize when the divine is reaching out to me by observing mindfulness. Also, when God speaks, He say it loud and clear. Literally…

Symbiotic Relationships

I recently asked a new acquaintance if she considers every relationship in life genuine or symbiotic in nature. Her reply was quite interesting because she categorized her relationships based on timeline and phases. According to her, she considers her friends from a specific phase of her life as genuine and every relationship thereafter as symbiotic.

For one who dislikes short-term relationships and have issues with separation, it got me thinking if the economic model based on supply and demand has actually seep into our lives. It seemed to have influenced the way we interact with each other. I wonder if our relationships can go beyond mutual benefits and what will it take to have a sustainable long-term relationship.

Can I safely say that a young man only have one intention when he starts a conversation with a young lady – which is to show interest that eventually leads to marriage?

And if the eventuality actually happens, there will not be any reason for them to have friends from the opposite gender in fear of causing misunderstandings between their spouse?

In that sense, it can be quite a lonely world don’t you think?

Is long lasting genuine friendships/relationships a myth or something that is still relevant in this time and age?

Can we really have a relationship that is totally free from an exchange of needs and expectations?

I guess that is the reason why we are all getting lonelier as we advance through life. We tend to seek out people of the same interests and that in itself can be seen as satisfying one’s need to belong.

Ideally, I wish that we should not need to ask ourselves “what’s in it for me?” in all that we do and live life without expectations from others. Perhaps then, we can have a genuine relationship with each other regardless of gender, race, and creed.

By reflecting on this scenario, I come to a realization and recalled that very day I asked my wife to be my girlfriend and subsequently my wife nine years later. In order to achieve a long lasting relationship, we need one that endures through the ups and downs. We need someone who we can trust our lives with. When it comes to friendships and relationships, quality is always better than quantity.

When we find it, we often call it unconditional love.

The Meaning Of Life

I am not sure where this post will lead to so please be warned that this will sort of be a major “core dump” and the mother of all randomness.

Much have happened between the last quarter of 2017 and up to this point. I finally have the time to be alone to “release my mind”.

It was World Compliment Day two days ago on 1st March. The need for such a day deserves to be reflected upon. It makes me feel that the world is in so much need of love. That is because we no longer give credit where credit is due. We are very stingy with our compliments for others.

I am not sure about you but I feel that we are living in times when we are very quick to discard, judge, and “kill” while it takes much longer to heal.

We live with a lot of insecurities and distrust.

The world has never been noisier. It feels like there is so much distortions and interferences in the matrix. There is some sort of disquiet.

We have so much and yet we yearn for more.

Comfort entices us to be greedy and live above our means.

Often times, we slip and fall in our pursuits for short lived happiness.

The taste of luxury get us hooked and so we keep chasing after the “first high”.

But at the end, we realize that what we yearn for is not of material in nature. We need the connection with others – the relationships and friendships.

Then, there are those relationships that breaks down due to all sorts of reasons. We often forget that it takes two hands to clap and it is usually not fully the fault of one party.

Whatever situation that life puts us in, it really is up to ourselves to chart the course of our destinies. At the core of it all, we are to face life alone because everyone have their own demons, vices, and struggles to conquer.

To make things better, we are encouraged to dream BIG.

To take charge!

And to BELIEVE that nothing is impossible…

Perhaps life is just an illusion that we condition our minds to believe.

I guess the key to life is to stop depending on the need for external affirmations. We need not yearn for the compliments to tell ourselves of our self worth. We need to stop putting tangible measurements on ourselves because not everything is measurable and in numbers.

Can you really put a value to a life?

Paths

I have been thinking of life’s progress and especially the evolution of mass media throughout the 80s, 90s, and into the millennium (and beyond). In terms of movies, I realized that there has been many reboots, remakes, and the realization of the visions that was conceptualized in those eras. We are seeing a lot of cartoons from the 80s being made into movies. Some were made possible only because of the availability of current technologies and that in itself proves how ahead of time the ideas were back then. It is very difficult to find a movie that is made out of an original idea at the present time. In other words, we have not progressed much in terms of creativity and originality.

The only reason that I can think of is that we live in a highly digitized world with every information we need at our fingertips – accurate and inaccurate information alike. Our generation do not really THINK anymore.

Because of this convenience of having information at our fingertips, we no longer think about how we should live a unique and different life. There seemed to be a “playbook” for every aspect of life. We can almost raise a kid successfully by just searching for a “remedy” or a “guide” for every challenge expected from a child. We have a template or a mold so to speak.

Situations that we are facing are no longer unique because for every issue we face, there are already 10 or more solutions or workarounds available in this great big thing called the Internet.

Life is a Journey, not a destination ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is so instantaneous that we no longer care about “how well” we get something done but instead, we applaud the “it is already done”. Quality is no longer an emphasis but instead, speed of delivery is what matters and important.

But we really are dynamic beings and we are built for the unknown and for the surprises of life – they make living life interesting and unique.

“Fear Is Always In The Future – Not In Past or Present”

As part of his sermon this past weekend, the priest said something very true – “fear is always in the future”. And how enlightening that is!

We are always making our present decisions based on the failures of our past experiences as well as the fear of the unknown future.

As such, we must have faith that the future will take care of itself and always remember to live in the present moment. We must embrace the many surprises and unknown. Perhaps be a little more spontaneous and be comforted that it is alright to take a little time to first internalize a situation before deciding on the best solution moving forward. We do not need to be instantaneous all the time.

Our capabilities and talents will help us in carving our paths in life together with the people we meet will complement us wherever we fall short. But at the least, we must first live a life that is not defined by a blueprint. There simply is no blueprints or templates when it comes to life. We are here for very unique reasons and no two people are the same.

And perhaps by doing so, I hope that one day, this world will once again be teeming with creativity and visions. We have lost many generations of visionaries and creative minds to industrialization, globalization, and the many “tions” that cripples and suppresses creative thinking.

I am not writing this as a self-help solution for anyone facing problems or issues. No one is in the position of solving someone else’ life problems. I do not have a template for you to live your life. And I sure hope that you live a “google-less” life when and where it matters most – at times when integrity and honesty must win the day. There are innate intuitions and conscience that cannot be taught or found in search engines.

Just as every human have unique fingerprints, so must we leave a special imprint on this earth while we are still alive.

May you be led to the path less traveled and enjoy every mile of it!

Silver Lining

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-21)

How often do we find ourselves saying “everything happens for a reason” and “there is something to learn in this situation”?

Often times, forgiveness seemed to happen when we start looking at situations from different perspectives.

Throughout the past week, I was faced by a few difficult situations and most are totally out of my control. In the end, I found the reasons to be grateful in all these situations.

The first unfortunate event happened to a friend I have known for over 20 years. Out of a sudden, she seemed to have vanished totally from social media and attempts to reach her through the phone were unsuccessful. We drove to her home and found out that she had since changed her phone number and throughout the conversation, we could hear she seemed surprised that we had obtained her new number and sounded very fearful. Apparently her new boyfriend is unhappy with the message exchanges we had in the past. At first, I was offended and thought that was really convenient for him or her to put me in the spot and be blamed for all the insecurities. Her statement was malicious in nature and could plant a seed of distrust between by wife and I.

It then became clear to us that she had found herself a psycho for a boyfriend and we agreed to stay clear of it. Our worst fears was confirmed when we started ticking off more than one of the telling signs from this article we found regarding abusive relationship.

The question my wife and I asked ourselves were “What Can We Do?”.

The problem with such situation is that no one can do anything unless the person involved becomes aware of his or her situation and have the desire to get out of it.

But we did try to analyze why our dear friend has allowed herself to get into such a tight spot and we can truly understand because it is a no-brainer. After going through a divorce and being left with two young children can be an extremely overwhelming and daunting task for any single mother to cope. In those few years, we had seen her changed from a very determined young lady into one who has lost all hope. I am sure that at some point of her life, she has given up.

And in such vulnerable situation, I do not blame her if she have had many self-doubt moments – “beggars can’t be choosers”, “what do I have to bargain?”, “I am not getting any younger”, could be some of the statements that might have went through her mind.

I am not surprised that this guy became her “last hope” and she made the decision to give up the past totally just so that she could make the future with him work. Even if it means that he can be abusive and violent towards her – these can be taken as how much she meant to him and to justify his “possessive/aggressive” behavior.

It is easier said than done but if I could give a piece of advice to any single person out there thinking that their biological clock is ticking and desperately looking for a mate, it will be “DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS, THE BEST IS YET TO COME”.

The second situation that I have witnessed happened this morning in church. A group of children had raised some funds to help a fellow classmate’s struggling mother. She had lost her husband in an accident when the child was still a baby. The priest came to know about her situation when he helped present some gift vouchers on the children’s behalf.

In both situations, they got me thinking about how fortunate and blessed I am. How often I have taken so many things for granted and fret over the most trivial of things. I thought to myself that there is a reason why I am made aware of such situations and there is a silver lining in all of them.

There is something for me to learn here and that is GRATEFULNESS.

And through these lessons, I learned not to just take difficult situations at face value and I ought to be quick to forgive not only others but also myself for passing judgements and jumping to conclusions a little too quickly.

I thank God today for all the blessings and graces He has and continues to bestow upon me and my beautiful family.

And God bless you too!

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.