January 12, 2013

Failures are inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable


Article first published  as Never give up  on May 6, 2012.

My friend Jun Borres, an alumnus of the Department of Social Work, Central Philippine University, inspires me no end. He was the one I referred to in my Never lose hope post. Since then, his text messages are timely and relevant. At times, witty anecdotes that made me laugh. I have expounded some of his messages on my blog. There are three other friends, both pastors, who .like Jun have the gift to inspire people thru their text ministry. Text messages coming from Pastors Russel Ban, Edgardo Daitol and Bebing Tupas always contain inspirational thoughts.

Few days after I pushed myself beyond limits and suffered the consequences, I received this text message from Jun:
                  There is no perfect life. All of us human   beings have failures.  
                  Failures are inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable. 
                  That is why we never should give up. 
                  Rise and shine and do not let yesterday’s failures discourage you.    
                 They are temporary lessons we go through to become better.

Certainly, Jun did not know my condition at the time of his text. In fact, what happened to me was a sort of irony. I was about to draft the sequel to my post Pushing Beyond Limits on another blog which I  interluded with  Earth Day blog. However, my wife’s suggestion during our son’s birthday shifted my focus.  When she saw the need for a larger room  for two boys as they have outgrown their original room, the carpenter’s instinct in me was awakened.

Carpentry and gardening during week-ends had been my outlet for stressful life in the past. They kept me going despite the previous multiple tasks. It was only when I used my week-ends for voluntary extension classes for pastors in the provinces  that the hobbies had been suppressed. A mistake that took a toll on my health resulting to  serious illness in the last quarter of 2009 when still at the peak of service and leadership.

This carpenter’s instinct always challenges me to do the project by myself instead of contracting a skilled worker. Not necessarily for economical reason, though. It is more on the self fulfillment to complete a project outside my skill or expertise. I even remembered last year’s experience while still on a very vulnerable state of health. With my son’s assistance, I managed to construct a recycled make shift hut under the acacia tree beside our house. It served as refuge during day time against the scorching heat of summer aggravated by my unusual nerve disorder.  We also succeeded in making bamboo fences, as he did the digging of holes holing and moving of heavy woods and bamboo stalks. The experience was therapeutic against depression.

Taking cue from my wife’s suggestion, I started to plan out how to convert a space for a larger room for the boys. Working favorably was the long week-end on April 28 for the celebration of the Labor Day on May 1.Hence, I excitedly  worked out  the project forgetting my vulnerability. Too late to realize that the symptoms for the recurrence of my sickness were manifesting as I tried to push myself beyond limits.

Though disappointed, I humbly accepted my failure, giving more  value on my health than the accomplishment . I was forced to slow down and minimize exerting more effort as our female work student assisted me in completing the project longer than expected. Having been with us for quite a long time, she seemed to master my health condition and always at my rescue. My son was not able to assist me this time because of their Vacation Church School.

While we finished the project, my sense of success  was halfhearted. In the process, I was about to give up and leave the work to a professional carpenter. An ambivalent feeling enveloped me. There was more inclination  to blame myself  than feel  happy about the success.  I know it will take some time again to gradually recover from the present  state based on past experiences. It was in this context when the text message of Jun came in. It was timely. I have to rise up from the fall and learn lessons from the mistakes. But  I will never give up the struggle towards full recovery.

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