December 25, 2016

.:A Simple One Would Do:.

In my family, we have this simple tradition every time we reach end of the year.

  It's Big-Cleaning time of the year.
We'd spend several days to clean most part of The House, wash curtains, and the list goes on. In a way, it has always been a big part of our way to welcome Christmas and  to end the year. Philosophically speaking, it is our way to say that we don't want to bring the Bads of the passing year into the new year with us. Let's leave it behind and start fresh. It is kind of a symbol we'd like to keep.

Inside that long list, dealing with the curtains is one of the demanding ones. We need to take the curtains down, remove the hooks (the part that helps the curtains hang) one by one, wash the curtains, dry them, put the hooks on again, and hang it back. Washing them is not a big problem since there's  machine that can help us. Taking them down and hang it back again are.

These curtains hang pretty high from our floor we need ladder to reach the upper part. When I take it off one-by-one from the hanger, I need to constantly look up while my arms reaching the hooks piece by piece. It requires some time of just looking up. Sometimes I just can't unhook parts of the curtain because I can't see it and it slows my work, meaning I have to keep looking up a bit longer. The similar thing goes when I have to hang it back. It sounds like an easy job, but actually positioning your head like that, looking up for quite some time will tire your neck and shoulders eventually makes you dizzy. Especially when you have to do that for a long period of time. Try it.

It reminds me of sermons that say 'Always Look up. Look to God'
It sounds very religious, and it is how we should be if we had any belief or faith. But, that experience with the curtains made me thinking further about this word 'always'. How would 'always' mean in another way of perceiving it? I can only think the most logical explanation would be that we are not to tire ourselves out by just solely looking up. 
Look around! Look at people around us, look at your family, look at your neighbors, look at your friends, look at your classmates, or even look at the people who just passed you. Maybe care for them? Love others, He said.

My Filipino roommates once brought a complete stranger, a guy of our age, Japanese tourist, to our apartment to spend the night because he said he was about to spend the night waiting inside fastfood restaurant (that actually not 24-hour open). My friends bumped into him, had a quick chat, and offered him a bed for the night. This is a very simple deed but a very kind one. He told us a little bit of his story, and kept saying how grateful he was. I would definitely feel the same if I were him.

When I lost my father, my morale just went south all the time even after I got back from my hometown and back to school. The first day in class, my professor put his arm around my shoulder, tap my shoulder, and said 'I am sorry for your loss.' It was a very simple act probably a very spontaneous deed but turned out really comforting, made me feeling better afterwards.

Well, caring for others might not be a difficult and complex thing after all.
Sometimes a very simple act could make anyone feel better. Best of luck, it might rejoice other people heart. Isn't it wonderful to live by peace.

I believe looking up to The Creator is a very important thing, and definitely a spiritual obligation. Moreover, we are also taught to pay attention to people around us, to care. Ultimately, to love. 
Let's wish we could be more of a loving person from this day forward. The agent of peace. Any simple act of kindness would do.

Merry Christmas, everyone who celebrates.
He was born in a simple manner but for a majestic purpose.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. -Isaiah 9:6-

August 15, 2016

Where Does Your Motivation Come From?

Back when I was a graduate student a couple years ago, one of my seniors from another department shared her condition and the problem she was having particularly with her study at that moment. Numerous problems occurred, and possibly more to follow. It had contributed a great amount of stress to what she had already. Keep in mind that it is normal for a graduate student to experience these kinds of situations, and to be honest, coping with that is the only way out. And most of the times, the presence of family, friends, colleagues, (and religious leaders) are the best place to nestle in. 

I knew I was not the wisest person she could find at that moment to ask for consult, but she shared her problems anyway. So I consider this has to be a matter of trust. I began thinking how to elaborate my point. 

Before I entered graduate school, I had never thought that I would ever encounter such situation so I was a little bit hesitant about what to share. Then a thought came across my mind. My senior was a lecturer back in her country, so I went on with this statement:
"Eventually, it will pass for sure. You take it easy, and amble along the process. Think of this as an opportunity to go through a hard time in school, and learn from it so that next time you meet your students who might have a similar problem, you have all it needs to help them solve theirs." 

I am still wondering how I suddenly came up with that. 

In the statement, I used 'amble', not 'dawdle'. The latter refers to idleness, rather than relax pace for pleasure. I mean, we need to enjoy the process we are striving in while learning every bit of sense of it. 

After some time, I began to realize the meaning, and learn from what I said that day. What I had in mind that time was: Perseverance comes from motivation, and motivation comes from the value we are holding to. I know what lecturers do. They teach. However, I am also familiar that they are also inclined to help their students to become better persons. This is the value I tried to share with this senior. If we think less about ourselves now, but rather hope farther to the future, then good chance we would have a good quality motivation or even a great one. In her case, if she could think more of how great the favor she could offer to students in the future after passing through this problematic state, then the problem itself wouldn't be such a drag. We all know bad days will pass eventually, the important thing is how we utilize those days into our own advantage.

Our experience tells us that we could always find motivation but most of the time it does not last very long. Motivation seems diminished and gone each time challenges come about, and then consequently we replace it with a new one. Why does that happen? Because no value exists behind that motivation, or at least not a good one. In other terms, value is One's principle. When we hold on to our principle firmly, our motivation will not be budged, and we shall persevere. To have a value kept inside our mind is of the essence.

footnote: I was so grateful that I came across that conversation with my senior because the next year I went through a devastating period as a student, lost my value, disoriented. Professors, colleagues, and friends were all worried about what seemed to be my lowest point at that time. Gratefully, I found my value back and I gained and built my motivation brick by brick. And yes bad days eventually pass.

March 30, 2016

I Guess I Could Call That a Satisfying Happy Meal

Recently, there has been an obnoxious spectacle on the news related to app-based transportation modes in Jakarta. Local taxi drivers were enraged by the existence of their tech-shifting competitors. They were concerned it would jeopardize their livelihood. It makes me thought of one day in Jakarta when I was taking a cab on my way home. I had a little chit-chat with the driver. I was anxious to know whether he felt threatened with his new competitors plus the upcoming subway and sky train system, or not. His answer was relieving. 

The driver said it had actually been more difficult for him but he never took competitors as a threat, and he was even excited by the upcoming public transport system. He felt just grateful for his job, and believed each one of us has just enough Providence. There's no need to be worried. We could actually work harder. I can see his keywords were Grateful, Providence, and Worry. He is grateful because he knows he will always have enough because of the constant Providence (God's Providence), and thus he will not have to be worried. Really, Grateful? That solved your problem? One might ask.

A couple days ago, the Academy Awards winning movie 'Bridge of Spies' showed me another angle on how to see the word 'Worry'. Abel was a convict charged for espionage, approached by James Donovan who offered to represent Abel in court. There were two moments where James was confused by the way Abel accepting things. (picture below) 

"Would it help?" Abel replied. 

I am not sure if this kind of question is rhetorical, but I certainly think the answer should only be 'No'. No, it won't help. You would share my view. I suppose. Yet, we always worry consistently in the face of trouble.

Let me share you this, might be relevant. Several weeks ago, I had this craving in the middle of the night. You know, that feeling when you just want to eat something specific in your mind. My mouth just kept wanting to eat this burger image in my head. It just seemed so enticing. Nonetheless, I was so lazy to go out since the nearest fast food place was too far. So, I decided to get a delivery order. However, before then I was a little bit reluctant since it would cost more than a simple meal at home. You know, economy is a sensitive subject these days. No kidding, right!? At least for me it is. All of a sudden, someone knocked on the door and it was the neighbor holding a box of happy meal with an M, a C and a D written on it. The neighbor's son had a birthday party. Well, it was a meal of kids portion but it was BURGER anyways. What a timing! Eventually, I got what I yearned and it surely taught me something about Providence. 

Pondering about this, here I am, I have been mostly wasted my time thinking, worrying about things in life. I forgot to just be thankful for the good things, especially the small things. That happy meal rebuked me, without a doubt a slap in the face. One might say yeah, yeah, yeah, it's just a happy meal, not a big deal. Yes, it's a tiny thing yet it proves something really big, which is God's providence. When it came to the door, it felt like someone hit my head and asked me. "What did you say?" "Have you been saying something?" "Did you say you want something?" 

If God even showed care of small things like a happy meal for my silly stomach, then why would I even doubt him in life for bigger things?

I guess there are plenty, mostly the smallest, things in life that remind us to be thankful and not to worry much. I just failed to look at them. We could all learn to be grateful for all the small good things around us, and try to live a life worry-free.

NO, it does not mean that there will always be a 'happy meal' when we WANT it. But, it is certain that He will PROVIDE what we NEED when we NEED it.

God bless you!