Monthly Archives: July 2011

Personal Quotes

flowers

I have thought of a few personal quotes that summarize my values and opinions about life. I have gathered them from previous comments and from memory.  Here you go:

“If I claim I know God, I am only fooling myself. God is too great to comprehend with my limited mind”

“Suffering makes us remember our physical bodies’  limitations.  The real ME is not limited, it lives on.  But this life is all we have with the current physical body, so we must enjoy it as much as we can, not by indulging, but serving, loving, forgiving, learning, etc. to get ready for the next Life.”

“Today is all we have”

“Do you know who my worst enemy is?  Me.”

“Trying to look at the big picture of life helps us to lower anxiety, decreases our arrogance, and gives us a better sense of what this life is really about.  It is not about the little details that we obsess about, but about the ‘big picture'”

“We are all insecure in some way.  That insecurity comes from the fact that, deep down, we all want to belong, we all want to be part of something or someone, because by nature we are social beings. When we grow up and develop, especially during childhood, we tend to have experiences that threaten this desire to  belong, either through abandonment, abuse, neglect, so we start protecting ourselves from feeling rejected again by being too close to people or being too far from people ….  So I think that when we admire other people a lot more than the amount  of self-worth that we have, it is because we want to please others so much so that we are not ‘rejected’ again.”

‘I am ‘ is the greatest Truth.”

“Ownership is an illusion”

“Truth to me is when I sit down, stop what I am doing, and contemplate about my life, which some people might call prayer.  During this quiet time, I question, reflect, hope, talk, and accept….. I recognize I am not complete, I am not done with understanding or experiencing everything that there is to experience in this limited life.  There is more, and I am living it step by step.  I don’t know everything, but I trust God does which is whom I am relying on.”

” Be humble, mourn,  be meek, strive for righteousness (fairness), be merciful, harbor no hatred, and work for peace; these  are the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven. ”

“”Surrender, Simplify, and Serve”

Do you have some personal quotes as well?

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Do Theists Value Life Less?

stairstoheavenI take issue when others imply that I don’t value this life as much as atheists because I am hoping for a better life after this one.  I feel challenged to reflect on how much I truly value this life.  Do I care about what I experience in this life?  Do I value this life less than non-believers because I have hopes of a “better after life”?

As a Reflective Christian, I have found myself reflecting on the magnitude of my appreciation of this life.  In my early years of spiritual growth, I learned to wait for the second coming of Jesus or the Rapture.  I was taught so many things about how it would be lovely to walk in the streets made of gold in the New Jerusalem.  Now I have taken a different approach.  I have learned recently about heaven lived in this current life.

I read in the Bible that we are valuable beings because Jesus called us “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
Jesus taught us to love our neighbors, be peace makers, forgive, be humble, fight for righteousness, and feed the hungry, among other things, which are acts that we can only do in this life (Matthew 5).  I learned to serve others unconditionally as the purpose of this life (Matthew 22:36-40).  Not as a ticket to go to a better life, but because it is the reason for being, therefore it is Heaven itself (“on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10, “Kingdom is at hand” Mark 1:15″).  But it is not a heaven we create ourselves, but a heaven we can live on earth because something Higher than us has shown us through Jesus.  So this purpose is not someting we created or was evolved in our brains, but installed in our lives.  Whether there is a physical heaven elsewhere or the Rapture will take place and lift us up to heaven , I truly don’t know.  But whether we can start living heaven right now, I truly believe.  But it has to be in joy, because this life is truly chaotic, unjust, unfair, difficult (“you will have tribulation” John 16:33) and must not depend on being happy or comfortable.  We must rely on knowing that we are here to serve others in joy, in spite of the tribulation, because it is not about me, but about those who suffer and are considered “the least of these”, which Jesus identified as Himself.    He said in John 13: 14-15,  “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”

Do I value this life less because I have hopes of an after life?  Heaven itself can begin to be experienced in this current life, therefore, I think I value this life more than before because of this realization.  Although I am still in the flesh and suffer from fatigue, hunger, sickness, and other earthly circumstances, I rest assure that I can continue to serve God by serving those surrounding me in this current life. In spite of the tribulations, I can still choose to continue to be in joy believing that I am pleasing God.  This life is all I have right now to prepare me for the next life, therefore, this life is of great importance to me. Maybe we can learn from Atheists to value this life more, but most importantly, we can learn from Jesus to love our neighbor as ourselves which glorifies God (not man) and automatically brings value and joy in this wonderful gift called “Life”.

wash feet


I Love My Family

Remembering the past sometimes brings pain in the present. This post is a sequence to a post I wrote months ago titled “I Hate my Family”.  This previous post brought various responses.  I hope this one brings even more.  I recently visited my father who lives hundreds of miles away. I also was able to visit my brother and other old friends from my childhood.  And the more I look back and remember this recent visit, the more I realize how much I miss those people and that past life.  I miss playing on the streets during my childhood.  I miss spending time with all of my brothers and both parents, which I think will never happen again.  I have been sad and angry about this life.  I once thought so many things about life, but the more I live and the older I get, the more I realize how precious it is to share with those I care about, as long as they live.

My definition of love has evolved.  It used to mean to care for those who share my values.  Now love is the will and action of benefitting others without expecting a reward.  I want my father to be happy and try to benefit him by visiting  and calling him, therefore I love him.  If I don’t take advantage of the time I currently have to express this love, then some day it would be too late.  When I visited a neighbor friend who used to babysit me but now is bed bound requiring 24/7 care, I could not hold back my tears.  I feel sad seeing her deteriorate with age.  When I finally had to say goodbye to my brother on my last day of visiting, I embraced him tightly….I did not want to let go. It was almost like not wanting to let go of the past that I so much long to relive, but will not.  I guess I fear continuing to go forward, getting closer to the second half of my life.  A step closer to my mortality. I have seen so many family members getting old.  My children growing bigger and stronger. We are getting smaller and weaker.   This life really brings a lot of change.  Everything in life evolves, either closer or farther away from God.

Jesus taught about loving others, and “hating” those that would be a barrier to living the Kingdom of Heaven.  Sharing with my family and old friends has actually given me a more profound understanding of the love of God, living the Kingdom.  I hate the sadness, the regrets, and the loneliness I sometimes feel when thinking about my family.  But I love the joy, the good memories, and the present companionship of my family.  It is not a matter of only loving those who share my faith, but to love unconditionally in spite of differences.  I believe I have become a better Christian by simply spending quality time with those I care about, in spite of the distance.  Jesus commanded us to love each other as we love ourselves.  I also believe I have learned to have more mercy, patience, and to forgive.  I have learned to love my family.


Meeting Severe Mental Illness

schizophrenia

I have a new job, and it involves visiting people with severe mental illnesses, such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Borderline Personality , and Anxiety Disorders.  Meeting these people really broke my heart.  They appeared lost in their own minds.  Trapped in a world that they have fabricated themselves, but don’t know it.  Almost like children in adult bodies who have fears and anxieties they cannot control without medication.  Some avoided eye contact and remained guarded.  Others greeted warmly and shared something about their simple lives.  They all presented a desperate need to be comforted and supported.  As I entered the homes of these simple but troubled lives, I was reminded of Jesus’s words when he  said , “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick.”  I have wanted to serve the poor and the needy, and I think that God is giving me this opportunity now.  I have been asked if I like my job, and frankly I have to say that it is not about liking it, but about trying to fulfill what Jesus taught us to do, serve the poor.  I rather feel joy in knowing that I am serving Jesus by simply visiting and helping these “poor in heart” and “meek” people.   I was almost reminded of what Mother Theresa once said “Everyone is Jesus in disguise.”   Visiting these mentally ill people, who struggle daily with their fears, anxieties, and thinking disorders, are usually the ones who others despise and avoid.  They are considered “crazy”, “odd”, and “dangerous”.  Jesus would consider them “the least of these” and also as Himself.