Archive for the ‘family’ Category

I usually like to ask students if they believe they have completely fulfill their moms’ expectations. The usual response is between 30 to 40 percent of the class. The humanity of mom is so basic to the core of who we are. My mom is no exception. I know she has done her best. I know that while she is proud of us, I’m not certain if there are disappointments as well. Actually I know she has disappointments at some level and wishes for us, from the goodness of her. So last Friday I took her to a new Chinese buffet and I listened to her concerns mostly about her life and her feelings. And one of the concerns is finance. I asked her, “It is not because you do not have enough as much as there is not enough for you to give to others right?”  My mom and I are so different in our theological and religious and cultural perspectives. And while sometime it is hard to sit and talk to her about these things, I found myself deeply moved by how much she cares for others and how willing she is to give up her possessions for others. She saves most of her monthly income for others.  And more than half her retirement is given to charity.  There is that moment in our lives where sacrifices stir the depth of our humanity.

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A very special person once introduced me to Sarah McLachlan’s Angel.  Some of the words I find very moving and so real to my personal life.

“So tired of the straight line.”  In so many different ways I was born into the world where people like to draw lines.  And every one thinks that there lines are straight.  Once they are convinced that their lines are straight, some how it has the power to manuver you in accord with its direction.  Be it the line by the church, or by the community, or by mass media, or by academia, and so on and so forth.  It gets very tired after a while.  Tired because it is so hard to get there and when we imagned that we are there, it is so hard to maintain ourselves at this place.  It is a fragile place to be.

“So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn
There’s vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting
You keep on building the lie
That you make up for all that you lack.”

And so how long can one lie to oneself and soon our soul screams for the self to find that place of authenticity and we are forced to have to negotiate this straight line and still find our soul.  It is not an easy path.

“Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that would make it okay
There’s always one reason
To feel not good enough
And it’s hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
Oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty
And weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight”

I can certainly understand the phrase “There’s always one reason to feel not good enough and it’s hard at the end of the day.”  And when that beautiful distraction takes place, it is beyond words can describe.  Some time in some strange way in some strange land God brings events or people into our lives that makes it ok for us to detour from the straight line, thatgives us a break and makes it ok.  I like to think, in Jung’s synchronicity paradigm, that this is one of the miracles of life that God brinngs to us.  The gift of the dotted circular line, the presence of an angel in our lives.

“In the arms of an angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You’re in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort there”

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Over the past many years I have been able to witness lives of many people who have been through the reality and the complexity of life whether it be life’s difficulties, strained relationship, mental illness, terminal diseases, and other forms of trauma.  The one constant variable is the newly acquired perspective in life, the realization of the reality that life’s is really not in one’s control.  Many of taught me the importance of learning to manage this reality and find a space to flow. 

It has also taught me that in the end even in the midst of all that we wish to have happened in our lives, there are too numerous that remain beyond our ability to make certain that they happen.  We are left with the ability to navigate through live as best we can. But in many different ways it has returned as a gift of life, a place that invite us to remain in the present, to be here. 

I learn that we can not change how people think or feel.  We can try.  But those changes belong only to them within the scope of their decision.  We cannot plan life for our children. We can try but in the end they have their own lives and their own calling.  We can envision how we wish our family to move toward but the dynamic within the family has a way of finding its own path as well.  We do not direct although we may so wish so very deeply.  We cannot even make people we wish to help be helped the way we really wish.  It is up to them to interact with the very help we offer and it is beyond us to determine. 

So ultimately I think all we have is this capacity for compassion.  It is truly all that we have within our own ability.  We have that possibility to act compassionately.  And in this act of compassion we are not able to determine how people will act, respond, or interprete what we do.  It is the only thing we know deep in our hearts.  And our hearts may be the only witness.  It is all that we have and when we come to this realization it may just be the most liberating thing we have gained for ourselves.  It is all that we  have within our control.

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It is strange how we often talk about grace in our spiritual life and growth.  We get into theological debate over its meaning.  We even fought about it trying to articulate what we think is its best definition and in all these attempts we miss the entire point because grace is not a construct that we can think our way through.  When it happens we know.  It does something to us. It transforms us.  In this moment we do not even have to try to defend God or our theological position.  In this moment we know the Sacred because it touches us.  In retrospect I notice how I have been obsessed with grace and in the pursuit of what it can offer.  But once we are touched there’s no debate over its meaning.  Once we are touched by grace, we know.  I know.

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I remember a friend telling me how he was so engrossed watching Beyonce’s “Listen” on Youtube that he did not hear what his wife was saying.  And she became mad at him for listening to Beyonce’s “Listen” without listening to her.  Life’s is funny.  I have made a career for myself out of listening.  Not that I’m all that great a listening but I try.  Perhaps there’s that possibility too that while we are intend on listening to others, we may have ignored our own feelings, we may have not paid attention to or listen to what is going on inside of us.  We may spend most of our times processing other’s feelings and remain clueless to our very own.  

I have to admit I do not quite know what it was like to be heard except of course when I visited my therapists.  People are good to me and they care and they do wonderful things.  But listening is a little different I think.  It does make a difference when people are curious about you, when they want to know you, when they pay attention to ‘things’ about you, when they ask questions about you.  It makes you pause and think that there might be something worthwhile about you enough…enough to evoke that curiosity.

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Humility is to come into the presence of love and find in it that vastness, complexity, and the irresistible – overwhelming power to affect.  It is feeling small and finite in the infinite ocean of Love.   And yet perhaps that is what it is all about, that in the face of Love we find our humanity, in its presence we regain a sense of appreciation of our finiteness.  And within the limit of this finiteness is where one has a glimpse of love.  Perhaps the beginning of love is not to know love but to be known by love.  And when we are known by it, we know. It is not knowing because the logic is right but because our hearts recognize its texture. A couple of years ago I asked my friend how does one know when one is loved.  Her response was, you just know.  I was a little skeptical, but I think she’s right.

There’s also the other very important dimension to Love.  In the profoundest sense its power is its very own irony.  In our human capacity, love is the noblest of our ability to act and it is here too that all acts come to an end.  Love ends at the very act itself.  It does not give less and does not ask for more.  It cannot ask for more.  In all our human capacities, it is what we can and have the power to do.  We act and then we let go of what we may wish as the outcome.  We love and love ends in its very act.  It does not seek to maneuver what the future may hold or what results we could gather.  It is the wisdom of Krishna advising Arjuna in Bhagavat Gita and the dharma goes, (my own interpretation) “Sometimes you have got to do what is right and be willing to face any consequence.”

Good advise, Krishna.  It sounds lofty and ideal. But in the very nature of our humanity, we are humanly weak at times and seeking, at others.  Our hearts are fragile and our spirits yearn for that touch, that affirmation, that look that offers courage, those words that heal so in our very own finite ways we will regain some strength to go on offering love that we do not fully understand, giving compassion in ways that our humanity can offer while striving to learn that the very act of love is its end.

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I noticed numerous inquiries through my search engine on the issue of hunger.  As I was browsing through various websites I came across some very helpful information from the UN World Food Program.  Here are some facts that you may find beneficial as you seek to understand the issue of hunger in the world.  

1. Malnutrition prevents children from reaching their full development and cognitive potential.

2. Almost one billion people regularly suffer from hunger; most are women and children.

3. One child dies every six seconds from hunger-related causes.

4. More people die of hunger every year than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. 

I gathered information from this website:  http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/liaison_offices/wfp185786.jpg

You can find more helpful information from WFP website.

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