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The Irony of Love in Absence and Tolerance

July 16, 2018 Leave a comment

It’s ironic that in this day and age, sometimes you show you love someone by getting out of their way, or better, getting out of their life. It’s a strange thing to show how deeply you care about people by being absent to them. But sometimes that’s what’s best, if your presence only serves as an obstacle to their happiness.

The intention seems altruistic if you think about it. You stop disappointing someone by removing yourself from their world. You disappear from someone’s life if you know you can’t give her the love she deserves.

Many years ago I heard an opinion from a friend that love should also be quantifiable – measurable. The quality of love should have metrics. And extending that idea further, making decisions on how to love better can be data-driven.

Are we so into the digitized age that even the affairs of the heart are measured by the length of time you chat, the number of text or email messages sent, or the frequency by which you talk to each other? Do your feelings lose its value as these time, length, and frequency drop? This sounds so mathematical that it makes my spleen shoot out of my nostrils. – J.A.B.

If you can’t be absent in a person’s life, which anecdotally seems to be the case a lot of times, then also ironically the only other option to show that love is by tolerating him / her. The depth of your love is thus seen by how much you’re able to tolerate another. I find this heartbreaking. But there is some truth in that – fortunately, it’s not the whole or only truth in the matter.

True love isn’t merely being absent or tolerant. St. Paul gives us a reminder of what love really means:

Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7)

The test of your love is still choosing to be kind and patient to someone who is at a point that doesn’t deserve it. You can call that “tolerance,” if you want, and in a way it’s true. But you don’t run away from that person. You’re not perfect, but that’s fine because you don’t have to be perfect to love as much as you can. You just need to be there – you choose to be there, in the way the other person needs you to be there for him / her.

What’s ironic is that sometimes you best show your love for someone by being intolerant to them – specifically, by being intolerant to their faults, in the spirit of being charitable. You show that you care for someone if you want the best for him / her. And sometimes, this is seen by correcting their errors, as painful and awkward as that might be. After all, one easy way to see someone fail is to remain silent when they’re doing something that will get them in trouble later on; real friends are the ones who aren’t afraid to constructively criticize you for your crap.

If you assess that the best way to love someone is to be absent or tolerant, then fine – do that. Accept the reality of the situation for what it is. But do that as a last resort, only if you believe that it really can’t be more than just that.

Be present to the people in your world, and give them the compassion, empathy, and if necessary also the correction, that they need. This is more difficult to do, but at the end of the day, this is what’s truly meaningful, because this is what it means to love. This is how you love others the way God loves you.

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Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

The Call to Action

July 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Here is the ever-relevant, always urgent call to act: Exercise discipline in executing actions.

There’s an expression I’ve been hearing a lot lately: let’s put “irons in the fire.” As I understood it, it was meant to get tasks started – and immediately.

I looked up the expression: It’s to be involved in many ongoing activities at the same time, or to make certain that there are several possibilities available [source]. Such can also have two connotations: On a positive note, having many things ongoing means other options are available just in case one of them fails. However on a negative note, because one is involved in a number of things, he would just be overwhelmed [source]. Apparently the expression seems to mean something else than how I heard it being used.

That being said, I think the concept of getting things moving along rather than have such stagnate conceptually still sounds like a good idea.

No Time Like Right NOW

You might have all the time in the world. However, unless you make a plan and exert effort to follow through on it, nothing will happen.

Between two evils, one on taking too much time to get things moving along, and the other on always rushing things to the point of madness, the latter is the lesser evil. At least the latter gets something done. The former keeps you stagnant and, really, nothing is happening at all.

Having more time to do something won’t guarantee that you’ll get anything done. There will always be some new reason that will distract and use up any extra time you get. It’s just better to work with the time you have. Sometimes a strong time pressure to complete something is what’s needed to force the cadence required to complete something. Besides, any further delays would also mean denying yourself from enjoying whatever benefit is due to you when it’s due to you.

Inaction will only create unnecessary worry; there’s no time to do the important things that need to be done like right NOW.

Follow-Through Execution

Making plans is the relatively easy part. Seeing these plans through via daily execution is another thing altogether.

Once you’ve made a decision on how you want something to happen, you need to execute on that plan to make it happen. Your plans won’t happen by themselves; it’s up to you to carry it out and see it through to the end. It could be difficult to do, but anything and everything worth doing usually is.

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. – Chinese Proverb

Ultimately you are responsible for the solution to all the challenges that you face. If logic or God’s will aren’t sufficient enough to motivate you, then how you feel about the situation should drive you to action. Thus, show up to be where you need to be, and do what you need to do.

Worrying about some important thing not happening is one of the most uncomfortable feelings you can ever experience. However, in my opinion, such is sometimes the necessary evil needed to spur one into action. This is especially true: It matters a lot more if and when the matter is personal – a personal matter will be treated urgently, for such things can’t and won’t wait.

If it needs to be done, then God-willing JUST DO IT!!!

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

I Did Something Right

July 8, 2018 2 comments

I thought it would be a good idea to look back and reflect upon my time as a leader in my particular organization. I know there are better leaders than me out there, and I know this for a fact because I served under them. I made it to where I’m now thanks to people like them. I’d like to think that since the time I eventually became a leader myself, I was able to pay forward the good I received over the years, to the people who worked for me.

I would like to think that I was able to help people move on and move forward with the next chapter in their lives by helping them get a new job after they left the company.

For one, she tagged me as a referral, and the short story is I was able to recommend her application to the company she was applying for. She got in, and has been doing well in that company for several years. Another example was for another former staff that I was able to recommend for the job that a recruiter was interviewing me for. I don’t remember any more if she got the job; what I remember is the sheer coincidence of the situation because the recruiter had her next in line for interview. The short story here is she eventually got something that worked well for her; now she and her family are also doing well. And just recently, because of some personal plans I have, someone now has a job; I think this was just by chance, but still something of note. These are examples where I had an opportunity to help, and I was able to do so; God most definitely had a large part in all the examples I could think of, not just for these cases, since there are no coincidences when it comes to His will.

I would like to think that I was able to make a reality the career aspirations of some of the people under me over the years.

They wanted a promotion to the next level, and they worked hard for it; I worked to try and make it happen. I’m happy for the times when I have been successful getting my team promoted; they got the recognition they deserved. I sorely regret the times when I haven’t been successful for some of them, through circumstances out of my control; the only good thing I could say here is at least for the stages in the process that I could control, I did do all that I could.

I would like to think that I was able to improve the work-life balance of all my teams, to the extent that I could actually do something about it. After all, there’s no point in having a job that’s fulfilling at a professional level if you no longer have a life to enjoy at a personal level. I hope I was able to fix bad situations where I could reasonably do so.

One from my team now has a practically guaranteed chance of finally having a child due to the medical accommodations she requested and I supported. Some from my team are not spending literally long hours of their life commuting to work every day because of logistical arrangements I made; one of them even commented that she will never forget how I made an effort for her to be able to work very near to her home, since this helped her a lot. At the end of the day, I think it’s just a basic and critical requirement that we give people a chance to have a life, and I’d like to think that I’ve had some success in this matter.

One of my managers made this remark: “It’s true that people don’t leave companies, they leave their bosses. But what to do when your boss is the one to leave?! Thanks for being a great leader – one who understands not only the business’ priorities but those of his people as well, one who is truly human.” I’m honored someone even thought of me as being a “great leader.” Some people expressed an appreciation with working with me and even considered it fun to do so; this I attribute to my efforts in trying to be as approachable as I can, and should. One even joined my team because he knew he’d be working for me again. I consider the feedback and reactions of some of my team an honor, one I can’t help but feel I don’t deserve.

It’s not right to complain that you don’t feel valued when you don’t want to do the things of value. I look back at what I’ve done so far as a leader and the outcome, or at least the feedback that I got, from doing so. I think it’s safe to say that I did some things of value. It looks like I have been doing something right.

I don’t know if I’ll ever find myself in a position of leadership again. But should the occasion arise once more, I hope to be able to continue to do what’s right for those I serve, and for more of them.

I look back at the impact I had to the people I encountered in my career over the years. For all my faults as a human being in general, and as a leader in particular, I take some comfort in the thought that, at least for some, I did something right.

Thank You, oh Lord, for giving me the grace to do something right.

Categories: Personal

Coping with Impermanence

July 7, 2018 Leave a comment

I think God is trying to remind me of something.

I can’t rely on the things of this world. At some point these will still fail me in the end.

I can’t rely on my wealth for future, long-term financial security. No matter how much I try to secure it, at some point such is all going away. And at the moment I don’t want to imagine the many ways that could happen.

I can’t rely on the constant presence of the people I love. They will all have to go home to God one of these days, and out of love for them, such is only right.

Finally, I can’t even rely on myself. No matter how “complete” or “successful” I think I am, and I might actually be such, at the end of the day I’m still human and weak. I can try to work on my weaknesses, however, unintentionally or otherwise, I will still fail.

At the end of the day, I’m reminded that everything in and of this world is impermanent. Because of this impermanence, no one and no thing are ultimately reliable.

The only reliable truth is God. God’s constancy is a stark counter-point because it’s the only permanent thing in all of creation. I will lose everyone and everything in the end, for everything of this world is impermanent. But if I continue to want Him in my life, He will never go.

Ultimately, for as long as I have God in my life, I truly have EVERYTHING. This fact is where I find the solace and security I seek in this ever-changing world of turmoil, as persons or things disappear from my life and what-not, for one reason or another or sometimes for no logical reason at all.

I can cope with the impermanence of life because of the permanence of God.

Categories: Personal

Living For Days Like This

July 3, 2018 Leave a comment

The past weekend was as uneventful as it could get.

I felt like I had plenty of time. I still had the same 24 hours that everyone else had. But I relished the sensation of the hours moving as slowly as I perceived it did. I didn’t have any particular plans to do, and that’s why. It certainly felt like a very long day – long enough to do something, and nothing, and both, which was what happened.

This is a picture of what my life will be like, on a regular basis, one of these days. To some extent I can say that I was actually bored, and I’m comfortable with that – for now. The sense of ennui with the long time I had is certainly a stark contrast to the mental and emotional grind of a long workday (but to be fair, such is often also productive).

Dealing with boredom is a welcome change from dealing with the business of a busy life. I’m sure at some point the “stress of boredom” will be a real matter to address, especially from an existential perspective and what-not, but for now I’m not worried about it. I think I’ll even appreciate this change.

Anecdotally, we all strive to live at the pace of life that’s comfortable for us. On one extreme, the daily hustle is what makes some people happy. On another extreme, the laidback lifestyle is what’s best for others. I think most people are somewhere in the middle, doing their best to strike a healthy balance between these two. I’m part of that group that prefers the slower pace, for I don’t want to rush through life.

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy so that you live the life you want to live.

I live for long and lazy days like this. I look forward to more of the same in the days ahead.

Dearest Lord – thank You, as always.

Categories: Personal

God Is The Reality of Creation

July 3, 2018 Leave a comment

Stop for a moment and marvel at the reality that is the universe. It’s the most amazing, fantastic and wonderful thing we know – and we’re all a part of it. If something like this can actually “be,” not as a mere abstract concept of a possibility, but something that’s literally real, then all the more is it possible for other great things to exist.

If the universe is as real as it is, as great and wonderful as it is, then at the minimum it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch in the imagination that there is someone, a Creator, which made all of this possible in the first place. God’s existence isn’t merely an abstract concept of a possibility. He isn’t just part of the reality that is creation – God is the reality of creation.

If something like creation is possible, existing in all its grandeur, magnificence, and wonder, then all the more is it possible for a God to exist, be one of us, and love us infinitely more in magnitude than all the grandeur, magnificence, and wonder that all of creation can ever muster.

The fact that creation even exists is unthinkable. If something as magnificent as the universe – as us being here in the first place – can actually exist, then in my opinion I think it’s just absurd to think that the existence of a God – and all the implications that come with it – would not be possible.

The knowledge that God is real changes the dynamics of living – His existence changes everything.

Speaking for myself, how wonderful it is for God to decide that He needed someone like me to exist in His creation, and for someone like me to have a chance to experience His infinite love and mercy.

Thank You, my Lord, for literally everyone and everything. Thank You for the fact that I’m actually here to experience and enjoy the love You have for me. Please help me to love You back in the way You deserve to be loved, too.

Categories: Religion

Time Can Be Your Friend

June 16, 2018 Leave a comment

Anecdotally, sometimes time can feel like it’s your enemy.

Time is seemingly an enemy because it doesn’t stop for anyone. Waste and burn it as much as you want. Fill your days with hopefully the important things, or simply do nothing and miss out on life, or something. The world will go on, pushed forward by time, and you can get left behind to rot where you are in your misery if such is your current state.

Time is seemingly an enemy because by its very nature it will always be a constraint. No matter how much you try to create more time for whatever purpose, so that you can rush to go here, there, and everywhere, sometimes it feels like there’s still no time. And whatever time you’re able to free up, such isn’t a guarantee that it’s ever enough.

Time is seemingly an enemy because there’s even no guarantee that you’ll have any more of it tomorrow.

Anecdotally, sometimes time can feel like it’s your friend.

Time can be your friend because, for the same reason that it won’t stop for you, it moves you forward whether you like it or not. Such can actually be a good thing. One day you realize that, after a lifetime of hard work, you’ve finally made it. You’ve lived the life you wanted to live, and now you can reap the benefits, and even relive and relish the experience by introspection of the past. It’ll literally feel like only yesterday when you were struggling, but now you’re in a much better place. And although what didn’t kill you might have kept on trying, nevertheless you’ve made it to where you are now – you’ve become wiser, better, and stronger.

Time can be your friend if you give it the respect it deserves. You give time the respect it deserves by making the most of the moments you have. You make the most of the moments you have by using such to do what you need to do. Hopefully what you need to do is also what you want to do, and it helps you to be who you want to be, to be where you want to be, to get what you want to get in life, and to live the life you want to live – but recognize that such won’t always be the case. However things turn out, hopefully using time wisely will ultimately make you happy, whether as part of the journey or upon reaching the destination, preferably both, of course.

Riker: I’m going to miss this ship; she went before her time.
Picard: Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe than time is a companion who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important how we lived. After all, Number One, we’re only mortal.
Riker: [smiling] Speak for yourself, sir. I plan to live forever. – Star Trek Generations

At the end of the day, time is a gift. The value you get from it depends if you treat it as your enemy or as your friend. Make and live the life you want to have by making the most of the time that you have to do so. Time can be your friend, so treat it like one.

 

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy