Category Archives: causes

Thoughts to ponder when you are #blessed

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I started the day in a foul mood.

Drivers around me blocked intersections, changed lanes without signaling, cut from every side and came right at me, on my lane. I was fuming in the car, wanting to yell at everyone, and then…

Perspective.

I had an air-conditioned car all to myself.

At that very hour, while I was driving, multitudes were running after jeepneys, squeezing into trains, crossing rice fields and mountains on foot, riding rickety boats along rivers — just to get to school or work.

The thoughts were like a glass of cold water poured on my head. How entitled and ungrateful!

My disposition shifted for the rest of the drive as I prodded myself to continue reflecting:

Last night I slept soundly, with a roof over my head and with no thoughts of any threat to my family’s safety.

I have enough food to eat today, and the possibility of going hungry tomorrow does not cross my mind.

Any piece of news related to the war in Marawi, the administration’s drug war and the overall peace and order in my country causes no apparent disruption in my day to day life. These days, I’m hardly exposed to places or situations in which I can be the victim of a heinous crime (either by a drug addict or by other criminal elements), a target of gunmen in motorcycles, or a fatality of “tokhang” operations.

#Blessed indeed?

The thought was disconcerting.

There is a scene in the 90’s movie, “With Honors,” in which a Harvard student (played by Brendan Fraser), looks out the window of his apartment to the street where his new acquaintance, a homeless, middle-aged man (played by Joe Pesci) is getting ready to sleep. The student asks, “Why am I here, and why is he there?”

I never did forget that scene. The student’s question cannot be answered by a dismissive and condescending, “Thank you, Lord, that I am so blessed (and far better off than he)!”

Why indeed? Let’s face the mirror and ask ourselves:

Why do I have _______________? (wealth? power? success?) 

Why am I _______________? (smart? talented? strong? comfortable? privileged? free?)

And here’s where it gets even more cringe-inducing:

Why is it that I have so indignified the marginalized and the suffering, those who have less than what I have, who are in circumstances less desirable than mine, whom I deem weaker than I am…such that I have turned them into my personal therapy?

“Going to the slums made me more thankful for the blessings I have”

“Okay, I’m gonna stop whining. At least I am not paralyzed like that man.”

“Listening to her story made me realize how small my problems are.”

“Helping the poor gives me such a good feeling.”

Truly God deserves all praise and thanksgiving for all He has given us — for His saving love, His daily mercies, His faithfulness, His provision of our physical and spiritual needs. But beyond thankfulness is accountability, and compassion, which is why the more I grasp God’s blessings to me, the more discomfort I have —

For I know I have been falling short in following the precept that the LORD has given since the time of Abraham:

I will bless you…and you will be a blessing. (Genesis 12:2)

My blessings are not just for my enjoyment, but are meant to benefit others.

They are for sharing (not on Instagram or Facebook!) — compelled by no less than the love of Christ who has Himself given His all to me.

They are for giving, not to fulfill a desire to feel good (and oh-so-subtly pride-ful!) about myself, but to be faithful to the call to no longer live for myself but for him who died for me and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:15).

I have so much more growing to do in this area. I pray that God will continue to urge me to do more, to be braver, to love myself less, and to have a deeper commitment to give of myself to others.

In the end, that’s what true blessing must be all about.

Love At First Meeting

I published this story here weeks ago, but I lost the post by accident while I was reformatting my blog. What a wonderful surprise to discover today that iVolunteer.ph picked it up and posted it, too on their site!

iVolunteer Philippines

By: Pia Jingco

A child nhcm_logo.pngamed Dado captured my heart recently.

Last week I signed up for a volunteer opportunity that would involve tutoring kids, through the iVolunteerwebsite. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive on my way to the venue as I had not done this for quite a long time.

The ministry I selected, called He Cares Mission, runs a shelter in Quezon City and undertakes education, health, livelihood and spiritual initiatives among street children and their families. Upon arriving there I was greeted by a perky, smiling worker named Cathy, who handles (and by “handles,” as most fellow workers in nonprofit organizations would understand, I mean literally running the whole thing by herself) the “Back to School” program. I am yet to understand fully the mechanics and components of this program but among the efforts is providing tutorial support and motivation to out-of-school children in hopes of re-enrolling them as soon as…

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Solace in the King of Kings

Yesterday was a dark day for the Philippines. The remains of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos were buried at the National Heroes’ Cemetery in an underhanded, furtive maneuver that caught the nation off-guard.

Within the first hour of hearing the news I literally had no words. Many our my countrymen, however, were able to articulate their outrage. Hundreds took to the streets.

The most I could do was wear black. I was not even doing it as a conscious act of protest or show of grief; I simply, truly, just could not make myself wear any other color.

I was still wearing black when I went to church this morning for a pastoral area gathering. It began with the music team leading us into worship.

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

I sang with my eyes shut tightly. I really wanted to see Him. I wanted to see His light shining in this darkness that my country and its people were in.

Then the second worship song played.

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

There He was, talking straight into my heart, reminding me of who He is, drawing me back to the reality of His sovereignty and faithfulness.

As for His light that I wanted to see? The reminder I was given:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

I am still grieving. Yet I am also finding solace in Him and the perspective of eternity that He gives me. I am also convicted by the task that He has set upon His disciples — to be the concrete channels of His light.

So I’ll keep saying yes to praying for our leaders and for the people of this land (1 Timothy 2:1-2). I’ll keep doing my part within my circle of influence, “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with my God” (Micah 6:8). And I’ll keep my hope in my King, the King above all kings.