Depreciation

Google defines depreciation as “a reduction in the value of an asset over time, due in particular to wear and tear” (Google.com). I thought about this word when last week, I walked into the hospital cafeteria and realized–to my own amazement–that I no longer view this cafeteria as the stunning place that it once were when I first set foot in it, about two months before. The polished red chairs and marble-like tables no longer appeal to me; the papier-mâché decorations hanging from the ceiling have lost their glow (in my eyes at least). I felt that way and I hated it.

…but that is not the worst part…the worst part is that we sometimes treat people–especially those we love–like cars or houses that depreciate over time. It’s like when they [those people]  first come into our lives, we think that they are the best thing since HDTV. We love them, we admire them and in our eyes they can do no wrong. And as time passes by, we forget to keep on appreciating them day in and day out; and that we do not do consciously. We sometimes become so used, so attached, so comfortable with them that we start taking them for granted. We begin to believe that they are always going to be around, that we can always make up for lost time, we forget to keep on loving them, and this is where we are wrong. We don’t mean to stop appreciating them, we just forget to keep on doing it.

People are not like objects that come with a price tag and thus decrease in value over time. No. We are more than that…GOD THINKS SO! WE ARE WORTH A LIFE, THE LIFE OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON JESUS CHRIST.

We ought to treat the people that God has placed in our lives with care and diligence and love for as long as we live, much more than we do with the things that we purchase with money. I understand that some days it might be hard to love, but we can’t let those temporary feelings obstruct our deep love and appreciation for those people who are dear to our hearts.

And it starts with the little things, like saying, “Thank you! Please, I love you, I appreciate you, I’m praying for you…” And it ought to stay with the little things, for they are the building blocks of long-lasting relationships. These little things will keep us from looking at our loved ones like assets which lose their value over time…

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Saying Goodbye

No matter how many times we say goodbye, we seem to always bypass the ‘good’ thereof. We just can’t get used to it, can we? Each time it happens, it’s like a new phenomenon. Yet, saying goodbye is nothing new. It has been said so many times, by so many people, in so many different ways. And yet, we still find it shocking, distasteful even, to say goodbye.

The good old Internet tells us that goodbye is actually a “late 16th century contraction of ‘God be with you!’” (Google.com). So, I guess it’s not a bad thing after all.

Not all goodbyes are equal: some are pretty fitting for the time being, others just can’t quite mold into the situation. Whether we are saying goodbye temporarily or permanently, there is always this discomfort that sometimes you can’t even understand. But why do we find it so heavy on our conscience to say goodbye? Could it be because we are social creatures and we like to be near each other most of the times? Or is it this subconscious belief that the goodbye might be permanent, never to see that person again for the rest of our lives? Whatever the reason may be, saying goodbye will undoubtedly remain unsettling.

I have had my shares of goodbyes in my 23 years on this Earth. Some were painful, others joyful, and still there are those that remain untitled. I’m not done with saying goodbye, I have a couple more to go. Today I am saying goodbye temporarily, I hope. I am not saying goodbye to my blog which is my life in essence. I am saying goodbye to this particular chapter of life. It’s time to start a new one, to embark on a new journey halfway across the world. There are a lot of blank pages in my book that demand to be engaged to ink.

What can we say? Saying goodbye is a part of life. It is to be expected, never to be feared. And it’s true, we will never become good at it; there is no one out there who is an expert in saying goodbye. We are all amateurs, doing the absolute best that we can. So, don’t fear goodbye, embrace it rather because without it there exists no new beginnings. And remember it is ‘God be with you’, not goodbye. He is that ONE Person that will NEVER say goodbye to you. Embrace Him, and He will make all your byes good.

Down by the River

I went down by the river to listen to the sounds of life.

Down by the river I heard life calling my name,

begging me to drop what once was and now is not and to follow life.

I set my heart to the side and followed life.

Down by the river is where I want to be:

Where the river is free, and the rocks are fierce yet gentle;

Down by the river where the pelican seems

to walk on the water just like our Lord did;

Down by the river where lightnings dance in a clear blue sky so free.

Down by the river is where life calls,

Begging one to forget time and space

for a moment which seems like forever.

Down by the river I heard music of nature

Carried on by a wind so concrete it can be grasped by the hand.

Down by the river is where thunder roars faintly yet powerfully.

Down by the river is where I find peace:

Peace within myself, peace with nature.

Down by the river is where life wants me to be.

Being Single

Sometimes you just want to be touched by another human being. You just want to be held, to be told that you matter; not that you don’t know it already, but because you want to hear the echo.

Sometimes you wonder, “Where’s my happily ever after? Has God forgotten about me”?

We are social creatures, we were not meant to live isolated lives. It is totally normal and natural and acceptable to feel the need to be in the company of others, or with someone dear to our hearts. These sentiments must not be frown upon because they are innate.

In Genesis 2:18, we read, “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make an help meet for him’” (Genesis 2:18 KJV).

So there you have it, God puts it in our hearts to feel the need to be loved, to be longed for, to feel wanted…

So, what better person is there to ask for your ‘happily-ever-after’ than the One who implanted this desire in you, even before you were born?

And don’t think it’s just an adult thing to feel the need to be in relationships; it’s an every living creature thing; man and beast, even plants if you care to go that far.

So, next time you’re feeling down because of your single life, remember that you are not truly alone and that the person that God has for you will be for you no matter what life throws at you. It is okay to feel down some days, just don’t stay down there…Get up, show up, show out, and ask God for strength to wait for what you deserve.

Little Outbursts of Joy

If you’ve ever spent time with young children, you probably notice how they’re always happy, always laughing, and giggling, and playing. It’s like they have a storage of unending joy, never run out.

They don’t yet have the verbal skills to explain to you the secret to their permanent happiness, but if they did, they would probably divulge to you that they deduce their happiness from the little things in life.

It’s always the little things: a gesture–funny, kind, cute, goofy–a grimacing look; a simple laugh. Kids find little outbursts of joy in those little things.

Will you do the same? That’s the difference between children and adults; we take life too seriously; we laugh little, we worry too much. Why don’t we revert to the way we were always meant to be? Laugh about the little things, cry for what matters to us, pray for what we cannot change; the things we have no control over.

Happiness is an accumulation of little outbursts of joy. Laugh at yourself, laugh at a joke not just when it’s funny but because you can. Protect your joy, go to extreme measure to protect yourself because people will go to extreme measure to hurt you, life will go to extreme measure to steal your joy; but you mustn’t let it.

Happiness is the gift that you give to yourself, joy is a given. Cultivate happiness in your life. Be able to say, “I come from a very rich background: I am rich in happiness, rich in kindness, rich in knowledge and wisdom and understanding, rich in generosity, rich in love.”

Self-Abandonment

I do not claim to be an expert on DEPRESSION nor a victim of its tantalizing grip. But I have seen DEPRESSION; I met her four years ago, one night in the month of March. It was a few days after the dry Winter of Florida, and Spring was just around the corner. I had just returned from my afternoon class, and it was well after 8 pm.

I stopped by my next door neighbor to see how she was doing. Usually, she would sit outside on the porch and we would talk for a few minutes before I make my way to my own apartment. However, that night which was not quite Spring, she was already inside and invited me in when she heard my knocking.

That was when I came face to face with DEPRESSION: her eyes were red and puffy from weeping. She held her hands, finger to finger, and despite it not being too cold, she was trembling like leaves. She seemed so small and fragile and just downright frightened.

I couldn’t believe my eyes nor my ears as DEPRESSION  sat there and recounted to me how she has been living with this kind-hearted woman–my neighbor–for the past 26 years if not longer. She said that it started when she was still a teenage girl and her mother passed away after years of sickness and other mental illness. Then she lost her first husband after giving birth to their baby girl. Not long after that, her father passed away and subsequently her fiancé died. She said, “He [The fiancé] was the moon of my midnight sky. And when he suddenly died of a heart attack, my whole world plunged into complete darkness.”

I was all ears; I offered my sympathy, my prayers. She was so happy to see me because she said, “I was at my wit’s end. I didn’t know who to call…”

I want to emphasize once more that I am not claiming to know anything about DEPRESSION but it is my humble belief that DEPRESSION  stems from abandonment of the Self; yes, abandoning the Self in the past, at a place, and a time which exist no longer. The present Self either keeps visiting that same place over and over or it just abandons Itself there.

When this happens, the present Self cannot properly deal with the day-to-day of life. Something always seems to be lacking. DEPRESSION neglects the Self, thinking that this present Self is not deserving of life or of anything which brings joy and pleasure, sometimes even blaming the present Self for the things that took place in the past.

DEPRESSION  has a low-level of Self love; believing that everyone deserves to be loved, to be cherished, to be needed and wanted, except for her. DEPRESSION believes that any bad thing that happens to her is well deserved…

…but it is not so. You cannot abandon Yourself in the past while living in the present. It’s not even living if you’re stuck somewhere in the forgotten and distant past.

Living with DEPRESSION (as I came to find out from my neighbor that night) is no simple matter, and should not be taken lightly.

You have to be strict with DEPRESSION  and cast her out far from you. It is not an easy fight but it can be WON!

Reclaim Yourself from the past, come back to the present where a life full of joy and hope and love awaits YOU.

 

P.S. If you know someone living with depression, be a listening ear. Sometimes, that is all that is needed.

True NAKEDNESS

It is so easy to undress yourself before someone you have come to know intimately. So simple to just bare IT ALL, even before a stranger; I know because I did it in boot camp before lots of strange women. After having done that a couple more times, the process became easier and more natural.

How easy is that!

…but can you handle true NAKEDNESS? Do you have the stamina to confide in another soul? To let someone else witness all of your fears, all of your hurts, all of your dreams, all of your past, all of your faults and shortcomings and mistakes, all of the different combinations that make you you, UNIQUE…?

Do you have the courage to let them in and see all of your loves, all of your rage, all of your scars, all of you…?

It’s not so easy now, is it?

In life, you will undoubtedly be naked many times, before a few small numbers of people perhaps, but ONLY a selected few, if even that, will witness your being TRULY NAKED.

It is not easy to let someone see you in all of your elements, to let them in your heart, in your life after so many collateral damages have been done.

After that, it is much easier, I’ll admit, to just lock your heart in a prison cell and throw away the key in the Atlantic Ocean…

It is not easy to cover yourself and uncover yourself before someone else after your true NAKEDNESS has been exposed and violated and trampled upon, after a solemn promise has been broken, a trust has been shattered to pieces…

So no, it is NOT an easy matter at all to be truly naked one time too many.

I know and I understand that.

Yet, you will have to find the strength, the willpower to do it again: to be genuine, to be kind, to be right, to be true, to be YOU…to ONE MORE PERSON.

Don’t lock away your heart simply because it has been fragmented; use it and take your mind with you wherever you decide to take your heart…

Life on a Track Field

You have to go through life with the vision that it’s a TRACK FIELD: each one of us on a lane with a different starting point. You cannot look at what the person on your right is doing and thinking you ought to be doing the same thing. NO. Nor can you focus at the person behind you and thinking that you’re faster than him or her. NO. And you definitely cannot consider the person ahead of you as being faster than you. NO. You have to stay in your own lane and pay attention to your own speed. For if your eyes are wandering left and right, up and down, this will slow you down.

Think about the last time you were at a track meet or maybe you were watching it from home. Do you recall how focused the runners were? Did you notice that as they were running, their gaze were straight ahead?

Runners know that the only thing that matters at this moment in time is the goal that they set for themselves.

Think about the goals that you have for your life. You are on a TRACK FIELD along with many other runners with goals quite different from your own. If you focus your energy on anyone else’s goals, you’ll always come up short, you’ll always feel as if you are not working hard enough, or you’re not enough. NO. Focus on your goals and the speed at which you are running after them.

If you keep focusing on that coworker who got the promotion that you wanted, or that friend who get the job that you applied for you might lose speed. Keep on running in your OWN lane, and you will eventually get to your OWN FINISH LINE.

Did your best friend get married before you did? Stay in your lane. Did your neighbor just bought the new Lexus that you dreamed of? Focus on your speed. Did your sister buy the new house that you couldn’t get approved for? Stay in your OWN lane.

The moment that your eyes start wandering into other people’s lanes (lives), you start losing focus of the race that you are running.

The TRACK FIELD of life has multiple finish lines–unlike the track field that can be physically seen. That’s why you cannot afford to lose focus while running because you might just step foot on someone’s else’s lane and so miss your FINISH LINE.

Don’t worry about others reaching their finish lines before you; you have your OWN personal FINISH LINE and NO ONE will get in FIRST place other than YOU.

YOU ARE ALWAYS A WINNER!

So, run at your own pace, and stay in your lane.

Remember that just because someone is ahead of you does not necessarily mean that he or she is running faster than you– (This is something that I learn in driving–the car ahead of you is not always driving faster than you). We all have our OWN personal FINISH LINES on the TRACK FIELD called LIFE. Maybe yours is just a little bit further…