October 20, 2013

Thank you, Lord for everything

Dear God,

Thank you for this new day you have added  to my life. Thank you for  the extended years and the corresponding blessings, changes and development within me and through me. You know how everyday I savor the beauty of life- one thing I had neglected in the past.
Image credit: indulgy.com

For,  before, I spent most of the day on  thinking what to do rather than appreciating  what  life brings with each passing moments. I failed to appreciate the beauty of rest and even sleep as I wished I could live without  them so that our work would remain unhampered. ‘Twas the peak of my leadership and service in pastoral ministry that we were gearing,  without delay, redeeming the time by taking advantage of favorable circumstances.  How many times, I  tried to defy the laws of nature, yes, my  human vulnerability and even impending death in vain attempt to do more for your glory and honor, believing  I had the immunity to face consequences  in the name of service.

It is only now that I learn to enjoy the natural gift you have given us – fresh air, sunlight, exercises, nature's beauty, new spirituality  as I cannot  start each  day without them. It is only now that I learn to appreciate and value all of my body parts for having sustained my well being despite my negligence and  abuse due to unhealthy lifestyle and mindset.  There was even a time when  I seemed to spite them for being weak to  protect myself and resist illness and sickness.  But after  undergoing the painful and  harrowing health related experience, I realized their strength and made at peace with them as I apologized for my shortcomings as steward of my body.    

It is only now that I value my parenthoood as my health condition  constrains my mobility, forcing me to stay at home after office work to supervise  household chores and our kids. It is in this experience that I become closer to my kids and  learn the harsh lessons that most of the things I don’t like in them are mere  product of my own doing.  One time, I had to  slap my head  when  confronting  them  on the late night’s sleep, they replied:” Haven’t  you remembered, father, when we were still children that we could not go to bed until we bid you goodnight? Oftentimes, you went home late and we had to  wait for you. Since then, we have been conditioned to sleep late.”
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For long, I had neglected this endeavor,  considering my work including voluntary ones, especially those related to ministry, as an excuse for  not getting involved in such "menial task." Worse, I even reinforced the challenges to my wife to join me in a worthwhile calling, depriving our kids of family togetherness during weekends. I cannot forget  the night when we were informed about the narrow escape of our kids from the flashflood brought by Typhoon Frank in 2008. My wife and I were in another province doing voluntary work and we had to finish our speaking engagement the following day before going home to process the traumatized kids.  But now, I enjoy trading wits, reasons and arguments with our teenage  daughter and two  sons to convince them of my agenda as they now have minds of  their own which I  cannot dictate. Every day is an interesting struggle as I try to catch up with whatever left within my influence towards their growth and development. 

I can cite more changes and realizations in my life and the corresponding blessings- all because of the near death experience I had four years ago. That was when I faced all the consequences of my negligence and abuse to my body. Still, I attempted to  defy them by invoking faith and the imperative of service, until  literary  I became unable to walk for even a couple  of  meters or talk for  half a dozen minutes. It was then when I started  blaming even you, dear Lord, for my fate, as if You didn’t care with the unfinished tasks all for your kingdom and glory. 

But you  seemed to keep your distance. And in your deafening silence, I realized  my frailties  and started to value each step that I take both physical and steps of faith.  I continue to experience the gradual and painful process of recovery up to now. Yet, inside me the healing is almost  complete which matters most.  For I know the healing inside will soon be reflected  in my whole being. For this, I thank you, Lord for all the trials that come my way and for the victory that growing brings as I continue with my faith journey.

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