Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beautiful Blessings

As soon as I woke up that morning, I immediately went to the mirror and checked on my eyebags. I slept early the night before so I could avoid having deep circles under my eyes. But the orbital horror remains. They looked even bigger. No matter how early I sleep or what cream I apply, the bags sag. But just as I was about to sink deep into frustration, a thought perked me up: You still have eyes that make you see, read, and gaze at God’s creation. Shouldn’t you be thankful?

I realized it was a reminder from God. Sometimes I focus on the ugly and the negative that I fail to see the beautiful and the positive. So that morning, instead of dwelling on the sagging bags, I thanked God for my useful eyes. It’s often difficult, but I realize it’s possible to choose to thank God for His beautiful blessings and for the positive things that come along our way.

What do we thank God for? I made here a simple list. Try to fill in the details for every item on the list. Hopefully, by the time we finish our list, we all end up realizing how blessed we are and how good God is.

Thank God for:

1. People and things you already have and enjoy.

2. Things you don’t have, like a disease or a debt (if you don’t have any debt, you have much to be thankful for!).

3. Past events in your life, especially those that brought good memories. But thank God also for the lessons learned even from mistakes and unpleasant trials.

4. His good plans for your life. This may take a while for most of us to accept. It’s easier for us to fear the future or to doubt God’s good intentions. But a loving God promised this: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) God promised to carry these good plans to those who would dare trust and wait on Him.

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"

-William A. Ward

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

God Calls Teachers

My son is a senior in high school. It had not occurred to me to check the schedule of the college entrance examination in my son’s university because I thought it would still be early next year.

But by God’s providence, this morning I paid my son’s tuition fee for the second quarter even when it’s still weeks before the deadline. Before leaving the campus, I “accidentally” saw an acquaintance who teaches in the same university. He inquired why I was at the campus. “I paid my son’s tuition,” I answered. Knowing my son is a senior, he then inquired what course he plans to take up in college.

“He wants to take up music, but we told him to consider taking another one,” I said. There is no music course being offered in the universities near our place, so my son is setting his eyes on taking it in the state university in the country’s capital.

Eventually, I learned from my instructor-friend that my son’s university is already accepting application for college entrance exams. Grateful for this information, I inquired from the admissions office. As I scanned the list of college offerings, I could think of two possible courses for my son—engineering--and the closest to music, secondary education major in MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health).

Why education and why major in MAPEH? Because my son wants to take up music; he is also passionate about chess, and well, judging from his school projects, he seems to have a good sense of color coordination. I also recognize that we are a family of teachers.

But honestly, I hesitate at the thought of my son taking up education. Not too many male students are keen about taking up education. In fact, my son’s male cousins are taking up engineering. And it’s no secret, teaching is not a lucrative job.

These thoughts were still lingering in my mind when I opened my Facebook. As usual, I get to read my friends’ status. One of my FB friends, Daniel, posted this status: “I would like to give a shout out to my parents Dionisio and Luz, who spent a good part of their years as teachers and mentors to many high school students in the Philippines. What is important? Investing your lives in others.”

Scrolling down, I read that a few other friends praised and greeted their teachers as well. Then it dawned on me that today, October 5, is World Teachers’ Day! Today, the world honors the teachers who unselfishly and patiently teach their students. These mentors not only pass on information, but more importantly, they influence our lives and encourage us to dream (oh yes, a few do terrorize fearful students, or at least we think they do). I guess the exceptional ones impress us so much we secretly want to be like them. Can you remember a teacher who has impressed you so much? Teachers invest their lives into ours so that what we are today is partly, maybe even largely, because of their influence.

I will not insist that my son take up education in college but probably, I will suggest education as an option. Most importantly, I will pray that God would give him the desire and impress upon him His direction regarding his college course and future career. For after all, it is God who calls us to a line of work, or vocation—be it in teaching, engineering or writing.

Happy Teachers Day to all the wonderful teachers!