Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Loneliness What to do? - Don't Rush

            Life passes very fast, yet all of us try to rush into things and make it pass even faster. Even if you are one of those people who think they take their time, enjoying the different stages of their lives, I guarantee you that you, too, are in some way trying to rush through life. We always desire what is ahead, convincing ourselves that if we were just there, or at that age, or with such-and-such a person, or in such-and-such a job, then we would be happy.

            But every moment we live is a blessing. Every person we meet is fascinating. Every place we visit is an adventure. Every activity we engage in is a delight. Every stage of our lives is a wonder. We must become more aware of the beauty in everything we experience. If we are single, we should revel in the joy of being free. If we have a commitment, we should savor the glory and security of being committed to something or someone.

            When we rush through things, we tend to miss the beauty of our surroundings, and we tend not to learn whatever it is we were intended to learn in that specific time or situation of our lives. We also forget things much more easily; we do not savor the little blessings in our lives. And it is much easier to make mistakes. When we rush through a recipe, we are more likely to end up with something unsavory or inedible. When we rush through cleaning our house, it is much easier to leave some corners dirty. It is no different with the larger issues of our lives. When we rush into making decisions, chances are we will overlook some important detail, some key factor and make a huge mistake. When we rush into getting a job or when we rush into relationships, we might be setting ourselves up for big disappointments.

Some things are too important to rush into. Good things come to us with the passing of time. A good friendship, a good wine, a good romantic relationship they all have one thing in common, and that is that time makes them better and richer. Especially when it comes to relationships, our heart needs to be ready, and the heart of the other person needs to be ready. If not, we may go through a very painful experience. For good things to come, we need to have patience. And we need to trust that God is the one who moves and changes hearts and we cannot and should not rush Him!

Wisdom to contemplate:

“There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them;
a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.”

 (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)


Friday, September 11, 2015

Words With Friends: Beyond Frontiers!

Even if we do not get a chance to live abroad, it is important that we make an effort to learn about other countries and cultures. The more well rounded we are, the more understanding we will be with people who might seem different to us. When we make an effort to learn a different language and use it with a native speaker of that language, then we will realize how hard it is for others to communicate with us, and we will become more appreciative of their efforts. Even if we only learn a little bit and even if we feel like a fool when we are trying to speak, people will appreciate our efforts. We must not be afraid to learn other languages; it will open many frontiers for us. It will break the ice between us and the people from that special country we visit. We will win over their hearts. I guarantee you they will be more candid with us and more willing to help.

             When we make an effort to look beyond our frontiers and really pay attention, we become more sensitive to the rest of the world. And we become more aware that we are not just what we know; we are part of a much greater thing. This allows us to become more compassionate and more involved with the world in general. It allows us to become more sensitive and more grateful. It allows us to understand that we are part of a greater plan. As a result, we will experience interior growth, and our minds will expand. We will be fairer in our opinions about a certain country or about a foreigner who is struggling to succeed and survive in our country. We might also decide to become missionaries and go to serve the Lord in a faraway land. Missionaries serve God while learning firsthand what a beautiful world God has made.

            The fact that we don’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist; it also doesn’t mean that it is not important, and can not be significant to us. It is up to us to take an interest and to learn about what is out there for us. It is our choice to open our minds and hearts, not only to the beauty of our country or our continent but to the beauty of the whole world God has created for us.

Wisdom to contemplate:

“ It happens that there are many different languages in the world, and none is meaningless; but if I do not know the meaning of a language, I shall be a foreigner to one who speaks it, and one who speaks it a foreigner to me.”
 (1 Corinthians 14:10-11)

“He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.’” (Mark 16:15)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Going to College Requires Endurance: Date, Dating and Friends!

As the song says: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Learning to be on our own and becoming independent is not an easy thing to do. It is up to us to overcome the obstacles we encounter throughout life. The key is to know that no one ever said it would be easy. In life, there are happy moments, and there are sad ones; tough times and enjoyable times; easygoing people and mean, difficult people; moments when we are surrounded by people who love us and lonely moments when all we have to count on is ourselves.

            We cannot foresee what is coming our way, but we can plan our reactions and be determined not to be tossed around by our problems. We can make it our goal to overcome every situation with resolution and perseverance. We can try our best to find solutions instead of freezing and feeling sorry for ourselves. We need determination in our heads and strength in our hearts, so we can keep moving forward.

            When we encounter a difficult situation or a challenge, we can be sure of one thing: it can be overcome if we stop, think and then act. Every step in life is an opportunity to learn and to grow. If we fall down, then we must stand up, dust ourselves off and keep on going. We can advance toward our future with confidence, knowing that obstacles can be overcome. Little by little, we can keep moving forward, progressing step by step through all sorts of situations and the different stages of our lives.

            If athletes get overwhelmed by the obstacles ahead, they will never win gold. If they settle for easy limits, they will never set new world records. If they give up too easily, they will never find out how far they can go, and they will never fulfill their potential. Anyone who wants to be a world champion must look ahead, determined to endure all hardships and to meet the toughest opponents.

            Anyone who wants to be the best in mathematics will seek harder and harder problems to solve. Anyone who wants to get better at scuba diving will go to greater depths and dive in more dangerous conditions and in the greater depths find different and more beautiful surroundings. There is a hunger for challenge within us because after every obstacle that is overcome lies a reward.

Yet, often in our everyday life, we are easily discouraged. Why? Most of us accept that life is full of changes it is full of opportunities and challenges. None of these things should cause us to give up or be so overcome by fear or discouragement that we forget that we are warriors.

            Yes, we are warriors. We are here to fight the good fight. We fight against evil and against all fears, hate and depression. We fight against our own weaknesses and defects and our own shortcomings. We fight against disappointments, against humiliations and against injustice, enduring every trial and looking forward to tomorrow.

When the water has reached our neck and we find it hard to keep our feet on stable ground, we know we can always turn for strength to God our Father. He will give us the courage and strength to continue, the faith and the will to keep on trying. We must fight this fight with joy in our hearts, knowing that in all these things we have already conquered in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 8:37)

             Every challenge, every obstacle can be overcome with God’s help, and we can be sure that we will win the gold medal. Do you know what “gold medal” I am talking about? The satisfaction, joy and peace we feel in the moment we successfully overcome whatever hard situation or trial we have faced. There is a tremendous satisfaction in knowing that we did not look for excuses or for someone to blame and we did not play the “poor me” card. Instead, we looked for God’s help, and from Him we drew our strength. When we do that, God bestows on us all kinds of good gifts gifts such as endurance and wisdom at the very moment we need them. Next time we face a tough situation, we need to know we already have learned, struggled and conquered that situation. We have already won! Why? Because, like Holy Scripture says, “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Wisdom to contemplate:

 “My strength, for you I watch; you, God, are my fortress, my loving God.” (Psalm 59:10-11)

“The LORD is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trusted and found help. So my heart rejoices; with my song I praise my God.” (Psalm 28:7)

“He gives strength to the fainting; for the weak he makes vigor abound. Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall,
 they that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

“You are my hope, Lord; my trust, GOD, from my youth. On you I depend since birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength; my hope in you never wavers.” (Psalm 71:5-6)


“Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.”(Luke 10:19)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Difficult Teenager? : The Advice is Kindness on Both Sides

            Many rewards are in store for us when we act from genuine kindness, without a hidden agenda and expecting nothing in return. All it takes is for us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

Many times we are so focused on ourselves, on how miserable we are and how we don’t have the things we need to make us happy, that we fail to realize that it is in forgetting ourselves that we find true joy. If we stop concentrating on ourselves, if we stop being selfish, doors of infinite possibilities will open. Famous motivator Anthony Robbins said, “The fastest way to create a better life is to focus on becoming a better you” and “The actions we take determine us as much as we determine our actions.” If he is right, then in order to become better people, we need to take actions that will benefit other people.

             Many people are living through distressing times and feel they don’t have the strength to go on. We complain that the world has become a very hostile place, with wars and conflicts spreading over all the continents. We want peace and love to reign, but we feel powerless before the magnitude and onslaught of evil events. Are we just going to sit down and complain?

I read somewhere that the most selfish state to be in is deep sadness, because when we are depressed, we are only focusing on ourselves. We feel so sorry for ourselves that we dwell on everything that is wrong in our lives and we miss out on what is good. Mother Teresa used to say that when we are too busy feeling sorry for ourselves, we run the risk of becoming ungrateful. We forget about all the good things in our lives and forget how much help and love other people need.

I deeply believe that through our everyday actions we can start changing our family, our city, our country and the world. By practicing kindness, we can make a difference not only in our own lives but also in the lives of everyone who comes into contact with us. We can improve the world by spreading love, one person at a time. As we begin to be kinder, a domino effect starts taking place that travels through borders, bringing more gentleness, more smiles and more love to the world

            There is a wise saying that says: “Give light, and darkness will disappear.” So  let’s forget ourselves for a minute. By being ready to help others, we can learn to feel happy and blessed rather than depressed. Let’s not focus so much on the grand plans of life; instead, let’s focus on the tiny frequent moments of love and happiness we can share with each other. Let’s allow the invisible force of God’s love to direct us and contagiously move from individual to individual. Let’s start a domino effect by shining our light on others, so that darkness may give in to light! By spreading kindness, we will be contributing to a more beautiful life for all, including ourselves. When we give to others, we give ourselves a great gift, because, as another wise saying says,” Little kindnesses will broaden your heart, and slowly you will forget yourself!”

            The moment we put ourselves into someone else’s shoes, we see things from a different perspective and from a less selfish point of view. When we manage to do this, we will realize how much other people may be hurting in a particular moment, and it will be easier for us to help them. Every time we overcome our egos and think about others, we grow inside. And, although we must do things in an uninterested manner, doing things out of compassion and not seeking anything in return, most of the time when we put others first, there is a reward in store for us.

            God has designed everything in such a way that as we go through various experiences, we learn valuable lessons and discover how much improvement we need in a particular area. He also rewards us, showering us with blessings when we unselfishly engage in an act of compassion or when we successfully learn a lesson that we were meant to learn. It is beautiful to be alive and to have the chance to grow through situations that are compassionately designed to teach us loving lessons. We have the free will to do as we please, but when we choose to do good, we will surely reap the rewards. In every situation, we must look for what lessons can be learned. We do not want to waste our precious time on this beautiful earth our Creator has so lovingly made for us.

So let’s open our eyes and not waste a minute. Every time we are sure we have mastered an area such as love, compassion, kindness or forgiveness, we need to pause and reflect; surely God will show us there is still much room for improvement. It is in our everyday experiences that we are able to realize, no matter how good we thought we were in a particular area of our lives, there is much we can still improve. We must not get discouraged or lose heart. And we should not be too tough on ourselves, but always remember that God is patient with us and so we should be patient too. There will always be another chance to put into practice what we have learned and to improve whatever area is still a challenge for us.

The more effort we make to spread kindness, the more contagious it will become. Let’s sow the seed of kindness everywhere we go because, as the book of Ecclesiastes says, “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not let your hand be idle; for you do not know which of the two will be successful, or whether both alike will turn out well.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6) We must be kind to all we come in contact with: friends and strangers, the rich and the poor, the happy and the sad, the powerful and the humble. Kindness is something we must practice even towards animals and plants, because all living things deserve it and all living things will benefit from it and, most importantly, because we ourselves will become better because of it. Where, when and to whom should we be kind? There is an easy answer. Seneca said: “Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness!”

            Mother Teresa used to say that kindness enriches our lives; with kindness, unnoticed things become clear, difficult things become easy, and dull things become cheerful. The best way to start a new day is by doing  something good and by being grateful that we had the chance to do it. The kinder and the more thoughtful a person is, the more kindness he or she can find in other people. Put it to the test!

Offer kindness to anyone who might be around you by giving your attention, your time, your company, your advice, your gratefulness, your love. Mother Teresa advised us to not be satisfied with just giving money: “Money is not enough, money can be got, but people need our hearts to love them.” What is an act of kindness? An act of kindness says: “I want you to be happy.”

            To sum up: God told us the greatest commandment is to love Him, and the second one is just as important, and that is to love our neighbor. One of the best ways we can love is by being kind. We must not let anything stop us. How often have we held ourselves back from trying something new because we were afraid? Afraid of what people will think of us. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of looking stupid. Afraid of being judged or criticized. Afraid of disappointment. Let’s not be so self-conscious, because when we are, we waste many precious opportunities. We must make a commitment not to limit ourselves. When we feel fear about doing something good, we should determine to do it anyway! When we overcome the fear of reaching out to someone, people will feel our love and be healed. Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

Wisdom to contemplate:

“Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.”
 (Philippians 4:5)

“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but (also) everyone for those of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)