Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When Things Don't Make Sense

I’ve been thinking about faith lately.

Sounds too profound and complicated? Yes it is. But I’ll try to simplify it as much as possible.

When I was younger and have not encountered crisis situations in my life, I believed then that life would always be happy and carefree. Having lived for more than 3 decades now and having had my share of pains and sorrows and difficulties, I am beginning to see life from a different perspective.

I admit that there were moments in my life before when I struggled with the most troubling question that every human has ever asked: “Why? Why did these things happen to me? If God was truly a caring God, why did he not do something about my situation?”

God did not answer my “why” questions right away then. But as days and years went by, the pieces of the puzzle began to fit together. I still don’t have answers to all of my questions (perhaps, I never will), but the message that I got translates to this very simple understanding:

“trials happen so I can exercise my faith"

The bible defines faith as believing that which has no absolute proof. It is holding on to what I believe even when the circumstances are in opposition to my belief. It is deciding to trust him even when things do not make sense.

The solution to my struggle was really simple. I must never forget that He is God. He wants me to believe and trust in him despite the things I don’t understand. I don’t have to comprehend what he is doing (much as I try, I could not because I am finite in my thoughts) but I just have to learn to TRUST him.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with trying to understand, but I discovered that it is much easier not to lean on my ability to comprehend. My intellect has posed questions after questions that I cannot answer. It dawned on me then that it would be wise to remember His words:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.

Only when I learned to trust did I find comfort in my approach to life. Finally, I was relieved of the responsibility of trying to figure things out. It is enough to acknowledge that God makes sense even when things around me don’t make sense.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Way to Go!

Moms out there will agree with me that our greatest legacy is to be able to raise responsible, godly children. Sure, we are proud of them when they excel in academics, sports, hobbies or whatever they set their hands into. But our greatest joy is to see them imbibing the values that we taught them, to see them blossom into the kind of persons we want them to be.

The other day, my daughters and I had our usual night bonding in bed - teasing and cajoling each other, playing wrestling and pillow fight - when Danee the youngest, suddenly blurted out:

"Mom, my schoolmate always teases me. She says embarrassing things about me, and tells me she's mad at me", was her opening statment.

"How did this start? What names does she call you with? Are you sure you didn't start it?", was my reply.

"I haven't done anything bad to her. She just says she doesn't want to see me. She makes me uncomfortable", she explained.

I could tell that Danee is worried about the matter as she was almost in the verge of tears. Suddenly, I felt the urge to protect my kid. I looked intently into her eyes and told her very emphatically that the kid wasn't just teasing, she was BULLYING her and that she doesn't have to put up with her.

"I don't want you to be abused by other people. Tell her that if she doesn't stop bullying you, you're going to tell the teacher about it", I ordered her.

"But she's not bullying me!", she retorted.

"Yes she is. If you don't do it, I'll go to your teacher myself". I angrily remarked, a bit frustrated that she can still find it in her heart to defend the girl.

That was the end of our conversation and I thought that settled it, but a little while later, Danee approached me.

"Mom, I'm not doing what you told me. I don't want to make a big deal out of it". She sounded so convinced of herself now.

"And why not?", was my curious remark.

With a smile on her face, she blurted out: "Because I'm different. Because I'm a CHRISTIAN!". And she proceeded on to remind me that in the first place, it was me who taught her to always behave that way.

Whoa! I felt myself melting before my daughter's eyes. What a way to learn from a 9-year old!

And yeah, she was right. I've been teaching her all along about the virtues of kindness, politeness or simply walking in love. These are the things that will make her a beautiful person, I would always say. And here was a situation that called for the application of the very same values that I teach her. Unfortunately, I failed. Fortunately, she passed.

I can always justify that it was a natural reaction for any mother who wants to protect her child. But no matter what I say, one thing is clear: at that moment, I was like a child learning from an adult.

But I am proud of my daughter. She is truly becoming a beautiful person.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


It was a hot hot Sunday afternoon when we went out for our usual house hunting. Conscious of the scorching heat, I put sunblock on my face and grabbed my favourite over-sized hat. I reminded the kids to bring their anti-heat paraphernalias as well but before I could even finish my sentence, they were already out rushing to the car, unmindful of my instructions.

When we were about to get off the car, I kept looking for my hat but couldn’t find it. Then I saw Danee who was already out of the car, wearing it on her head, with a big smile on her face.

“Hey, Danee, that’s my hat! I told you to bring yours, ” I said.

“But mommy, don’t you know the concept of sharing?” she replied.

“Don’t you know the concept of responsibility? How many times have I told you to always bring your hat when the sun is high? Give it to me” I countered.

“Very well, then, but mommies are supposed to be more patient, more of a giver than a taker to their kids”, she retorted.

“Danee, have you heard about mom abuse? If you haven’t, you’re seeing one right now”, I shot back.

“Sorry mommy, it’s not mom abuse. I just thought that you wouldn’t mind me using your hat”, was the answer.

This is just a snapshot of how I and my youngest deal with each other on a day to day basis. My husband is amused everytime he hears the two of us arguing, and would often tease me “Nakahanap ka ng katapat mo” (you’ve found your match). He says Danee is very much like me.

Lest I be misinterpreted, I’m not at all offended by Danee’s tirades. In fact, I love it when she goes like that, as it tells me that I’m dealing with an assertive, no nonsense kid here. My husband is probably right, this is just her own personality shining out.

But deep down, I’d like to believe she’s imbibed my teachings about sharing and loving and is actually figuring out how to apply them in real life.

If only for this, I’d like to give myself a pat in the back, for being a good teacher, and Danee a big hug, for being a good student.