The Gift of Inspiration

I have been told several times that I’ve been an inspiration to them or something to that effect. Truth be told it’s something I’ve never quite been comfortable with. I don’t think of myself as someone particularly inspiring. Ninoy Aquino, Jose Rizal, Mother Teresa, even a modern day hero Tony Meloto, now those people are inspiring. They’ve actually made a tremendous difference in people’s lives. I have not done that.

Yet, people do say that. I usually reply with a simple “thank you”. I don’t think much of it. It is nice though. Not because I think of myself as a hero or someone great. It’s nice because it’s a good feeling to know you actually inspired one person.

Today I got to thinking; the power to inspire people however few they may be is one of the greatest gifts I think I’ve received in this life. I don’t think a lot of people can do that. I am grateful I can even if it’s just inspiring one or two people.

I read somewhere today that we should use the gifts we’ve been given to be of service to others. Thinking back I guess that’s why I accept invitations to talk in front of people during events such as the Single’s for Christ’s Christian Life Program or other similar events.

I want to use my experience and how I deal with it as a way of being of service to other people. I have unique experiences, which has allowed me to learn valuable lessons that I otherwise would not have. It would be a shame if I kept those lessons to myself. That’s why I share it with other people through the talks I give.

My hope now is that I can share whatever it is I’ve learned to the most people I can in hopes that it can help change someone’s life for the better. If my struggles and hardships can help change someone’s view on how he/she sees his or her life and makes it better then I would have done a good thing. I would have made use of the gift I’ve been given.

Some people might see my situation as a curse or something bad. As the years go by I learn that I can look at it as such or I can also look at it as a gift. It’s a gift because I’ve learned so much from it. I’ve learned compassion, humility, kindness, etc. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from it.

Most of all I think I’m realizing now that my situation has given me a chance to inspire people instead of having them feel sorry for me. I think that’s one of the best things to come out of this. I hope that I get to do it for a long time and with as much people as I can.

Believing Without Seeing

One of the hardest things about religion is faith. Believing in something you can’t see, touch, hear or feel.

I’m the type of person who needs to see something before believing in it. Until you bring it in front of me it’s hard to believe it’s true or count on it as such. We live in a world filled with science and scientists trying to prove things exist and how they work, people trying to find explanations for everything. There’s nothing wrong with that.

However there are just things that are hard to explain. That’s where faith comes in.

My life has been filled with little miracles. So small that sometimes you hardly notice it but they’re miracles nonetheless. There are also miracles in my life that are hard to doubt as such.

The biggest miracle in my life is my family. Just the blessing to be born to my parents is a miracle in itself. That’s something science can’t explain. I chalk it up to God just wanting me to be at this particular situation.

There are just a lot of small things here and there that have contributed to how my life is today. Whether it’s a total stranger helping me out or being at the right place at the right time, things happen for a reason. I believe that it’s just God’s way of working to provide the small miracles.

Faith is believing in something absent of proof. I’d like to differ a little, faith is believing in something who’s proof is just not conventional. I have faith in God although I have not seen him personally but I try to examine my life and I see God in the details. He’s in my mom and dad who love me unconditionally. He’s in my brother who helped me when I was starting to come to terms with this disease. He’s in the doctors I see on a regular basis who sacrifice their time to help me as well as countless other patients who can’t afford to pay them. He’s in the honest cab driver who returned what is probably more money than he’ll see in a year to a stranger who left it there. God is in many more small instances that we just don’t notice.

This makes me believe and strengthens my faith that there is a God and he is working in our lives.

The Power of A Positive Outlook

Today’s reflection comes from a part of what I read from Streams in the Desert. It’s a daily devotional that my friend told me to read to accompany the prayer time habit I’m trying to get into.

Here’s the portion that struck me the most today.

It is very easy to fall into the habit of doubting, fretting, and wondering if God has forsaken us and if after all our hopes are to end in failure. Let us refuse to be discouraged. Let us refuse to be unhappy. Let us “count it all joy” when we cannot feel one emotion of happiness. Let us rejoice by faith, by resolution, by reckoning, and we shall surely find that God will make the reckoning real.

I’ve always believed in the power of a positive attitude and outlook. The world is what we perceive it to be. Do I always see the world in a positive light? Not always. Most of the time I do and for the rest I try.

Growing up, I’ve always been taught by my dad that having a positive attitude is important. It’s the way you see things that will determine how you react to it and in turn will be the outcome of whatever situation you’re in.

In my case, if I looked at myself as a person with disability capable of nothing then I probably would amount to nothing. Instead I chose to see myself as a person who can’t do certain things but can still do a lot of other things. There’s nothing wrong with my mind, I consider myself moderately intelligent. I’m witty and a bit charming. At least I think so. Things that I know I can build on and use later on in life.

The positive outlook I was taught helped make me who I am today. Once you get to know me and see past the disability you’ll see I’m just like you, someone who has hopes and dreams. I’m also just like any other person who wants to just live his life as best as he can and enjoy what the world has to offer.

In life we face many challenges. It’s easy to be depressed. I know that for a fact since the past few weeks I’ve been sad longer than I normally am. I’m at a stage of my life that I’m halfway done with my time on earth. I haven’t done as much as I should. It’s easy to feel sorry for myself and just be stuck in a rut.

However I’ve always took great pride that I don’t really like dwelling on negative things. I feel bad but I want to find my way out as quickly as I can from the negativity. This time the way out was in trying to build a better spiritual relationship with God.

I don’t intend to sound preachy. That’s not what I want. I’m just narrating what I’m going through. It can be different for other people. The point I’m trying to make is just finding that one thing that can help you get out of that rut.

Going back to the portion of text from Streams in the Desert. It aptly conveys what I’ve known all my life but sometimes forget. Happiness is a choice. It’s a constant decision everyday to refuse to be despondent or depressed, a choice to choose positivity over negativity. It doesn’t come automatically. As people we need to make a constant effort to be happy instead of waiting to be happy.

I’m hoping that there will be more days that I choose happiness over negativity. I’m wishing you do too.

Unlikely Reminder

Sometimes affirmation comes from the most unlikely places, somewhere totally unexpected. I guess that’s how you know that the message is clear.

Yesterday affirmation came from Justin Bieber. Whut?! How’d that happen?

I bought “Songs for Japan” months ago. It’s a compilation album sold on iTunes. Proceeds of which go to the tsunami relief effort in Japan. One of the songs included in the compilation was Justin’s song called “Pray”.

I had my music player on shuffle as I was on my way to the hospital for my infusion. Justin’s song found its way in the rotation.

I’m nowhere near a Justin Bieber fan. Somehow I like this particular song. It has a good message and a good beat to match. It’s uplifting.

I guess when God wants to talk to you he’ll do it in such a way that it’s clear. Making me listen to a Bieber song can’t be any clearer. He wants me to continue doing this.

On my third day of praying, I was starting to feel happy again. I don’t expect my fears to magically disappear or my life to suddenly fall into place. However I’m starting to feel that things will be ok. Here’s a portion of the lyrics that I found really nice.

bq. ‘Cause I know there’s sunshine behind that rain I know there’s good times behind that pain Can you tell me how I can make a change?
I close my eyes and I can see a brighter day I close my eyes and pray I close my eyes and I can see a better day

bq. I close my eyes and pray for the brokenhearted I pray for the life not started I pray for all the ones not breathing I pray for all the souls in need I pray, can you give ’em one today?

Yesterday my infusion went well. It took one needle prick to get the line in. I was able to sleep during the infusion, checking out of the hospital wasn’t much of a hassle. Oh and I followed one advice from an article I read on Facebook the other day. It said, life’s never too busy to have a cup of coffee with a friend. In this case several friends.

If you want to listen to the song I mentioned, I’m attaching the video below. There’s also a nice quote at the end of the video that says.

bq. God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.

Temporary Home

I’m writing this entry on both a sad and reflective note. I initially planned to write this earlier before I received the sad news that one of my friends passed away today.


Glenda, was one of my former group mates in Singles for Christ. Although we were not very close I’ve always regarded her as one of the nicest people I’ve met. Always a smile on her face, soft spoken, gets along with people well and just an all around great individual.

She was even planning to get our old group together for a reunion last month. It didn’t materialize because of busy schedules. In hindsight I feel so sad we didn’t get to see each other one last time. I can’t even remember the last time we saw each other except that it was last year.

I’m so sorry to hear about your passing Glenda. You were young and had a full life ahead of you. While you didn’t get to fulfill all your dreams, I know you’ve done enough.

I’m sure you’re in heaven. I’m sure you’re happy and at peace. One day we’ll meet again in heaven. Till then, please know that we, your Singles For Christ family will always remember you fondly. You will be missed.

While saying my prayers this morning and reflecting on the readings as well as what I wrote about yesterday, I thought about a song called “Temporary Home”. It’s from my current favorite artist now, Carrie Underwood. The last part of that song talks about our lives here on earth and how it’s just our temporary home. This is not the place we’ll spend eternity for.

Most of us are focused on making our lives here better. We want more things, we want to live the best life we can here. Sometimes we tend to focus on the here and now too much instead of investing in our future and much more permanent home. I’m guilty of that sometimes. I’m focused on trying to fulfill my dreams here and build my own home here on earth that I neglect building foundations for the next home in the next life. Hopefully I think more of that in the future.

A lot of my friends have been laughing at me coz I’ve been listening to country music a lot. Honestly, I like them because they share a story and in this case it’s a good story. I’m tired of hearing songs about drugs, violence or whatnot that it’s refreshing to hear songs with a good message and yet still be contemporary.

Glends, I’m dedicating this song to you. You’re no longer in your temporary home but in a much better and permanent home. Take care up there my friend.

The Journey Begins Anew

I had a visit from Nestle, one of my closest friends yesterday. He was in the area and dropped by the house. His visit was for a totally different reason. He wanted to look at something I had bought the previous day. We ended up talking about that thing for roughly 10 minutes.

His visit ended up having a different purpose. Something neither of us had any idea that it would end up to be the topic of our conversation.

I’ve always been a very positive and upbeat person. Lately though it’s been tough. I’ve been sad for quite sometime. It took a constant effort for me to be happy everyday. Some days I’d be successful and some days I’d be sad.

I’ve been thinking a lot. I’m turning 35 this year. I am truly grateful that I’ve lived this long. However a part of me is deeply saddened by the fact that I’m 35 and have little to show for it.

I’m not married, I don’t own my own house, I don’t have kids, I haven’t seen the world or stuff like that. Comparing myself to my friends and peers, most of them are married, have young children, a house, a good job, basically the makings of a good life. Those are the things I’ve dreamed for myself since I was a young adult.

Now don’t get me wrong, I realize that I am so blessed. That’s a big part why I’m not in a constant state of depression. I have a good home. I live with my parents. I have a job that gives me decent income for the standards here in the Philippines. I have a great family and good friends.

At the same time you can’t take away from me the yearning and desire for something more in life. You fault me for wanting the same things any other 35 year old would want.

I realize that my life has taken me on a different path, a hard path but amazing nonetheless. I’ve done some things that other people haven’t. Still, it pains me that the things I really want might not happen.

This brings me to my conversation with Nestle. I told him that I was feeling really sad and told him the reasons why. He listened to me and after shared his thoughts.

He said that he had an amazing past several years. In the span of 4 or 5 years, he found the girl of his dreams, got married, bought a house and just recently became a proud father to a baby boy named Mateo. It was a dream come true. He said that prior to that he didn’t even think he would have all of these in such a short time. He told me he didn’t even think he’d have a house. The most he was thinking of before was probably a small condo or apartment. Yet at the time he needed to build a house, things just fell into place.

All these amazing things came after he devoted much time to 3 things. Devoting time to daily prayer, being of service to others and trying not to live in sin, all very hard things to do. He did it though.

After a year from starting this, all his blessings came. All of which was what he asked for and more.

Nestle told me not to under estimate the power of prayer. I’ve always had faith in God but my prayer time is mediocre at best. I’m a good person or so I think. I try to help people when I can but sometimes still fail because I think of myself before others. I’m also not a saint. I do have my share of shortcomings.

He encouraged me to renew my prayer time. He showed me some web sites he visits that have the Gospel, daily devotional and other supplementary reading.

I told him I’d start today. I’m sure it will be hard but I will try. I’m doing this because I know that I’ve been lax with my prayers but also because I’m grasping for straws and trying to hang on to the faith I have. I believe in God and I know he loves me but when a person is sad sometimes it’s hard to see things clearly.

I don’t expect miracles to happen. I only expect to grow my faith and accept whatever happens as such. As the saying goes “Thy will be done”. I am hoping for miracles though. There’s a difference between hoping and expecting.

So I started my prayer time today. Lo’ and behold the first part of the daily devotional reading today from Streams in the Desert goes…

bq. In Everything

bq. “In nothing be anxious” (Phil. 4:6).

bq. No anxiety ought to be found in a believer. Great, many and varied may be our trials, our afflictions, our difficulties, and yet there should be no anxiety under any circumstances, because we have a Father in Heaven who is almighty, who loves His children as He loves His only-begotten Son, and whose very joy and delight it is to succor and help them at all times and under all circumstances. We should attend to the Word, “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

bq. “In everything,” that is not merely when the house is on fire, not merely when the beloved wife and children are on the brink of the grave, but in the smallest matters of life, bring everything before God, the little things, the very little things, what the world calls trifling things — everything — living in holy communion with our Heavenly Father, arid with our precious Lord Jesus all day long. And when we awake at night, by a kind of spiritual instinct again turning to Him, and speaking to Him, bringing our various little matters before Him in the sleepless night, the difficulties in connection with the family, our trade, our profession. Whatever tries us in any way, speak to the Lord about it.

Wow. In my first prayer session, God spoke to me clearly. I shouldn’t be anxious. Have faith in him and he will not let me down. Amazing.

I know that I really need to just keep the faith. Pray and trust God that all will fall into place. It may not be all the things that I want but it will be all the things he wants for me. I just need to surrender and accept his will.

These are the things I’m praying for. I’m not sure all will come true but there is always hope. If you happen to find the time to say a prayer for me I hope that you could pray for these things.

Lord, grant me better health so that I may reach a ripe old age with much wisdom and experience

Lord allow me to do something that I can be passionate about but support me as well

Lord grant that you give me enough resources so I can live a decent life and have enough not just for myself but also to help others

Lord grant that you send someone into my life who I can share my hopes and dreams with, grow old with and hopefully have a family with.

Lord grant me the chance to do something great with my life and hopefully make a difference in this world

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I will try to post my journal regularly. So I can share what I’ve learned but also so you can tell me what you think. Hopefully we can encourage each other on as we go through life. I hope that as I start this journey again of prayer and faith I see it through.

_I dedicate this entry to Nestle, a good friend whom I owe a lot. He constantly reminds me of what a true man should be._