Monday, December 29, 2008

Never drive alone

Why do I hate driving? The heavy traffic, undisciplined motorists, and roads-unworthy draw my ire. I must admit, I am not the most pleasant human being when I am behind the wheel. I would not even want to get into a road altercation with myself, if only to give you an idea of how obnoxious of a driver I could be.

The case has somewhat mellowed though, not that I have changed as a person nor did I give up driving altogether. Alone as I often am on the road, all of a sudden, I learned how to invite good company, something that I have carelessly forgotten for most of my life. Once again, I found serenity in the company of prayer.

I still do not enjoy taking the wheel, but I look forward to the quiet time alone. The once short commutes that felt like eternity are just about enough for me to say my prayer. If I felt alone before, not anymore. I only wish God enjoys my company as much as I enjoy His.

Southern family hideaway

For the last couple of years, my family would spend our December holidays with my in-laws. It was no different this year, except for some missing members of the entourage who had to fly out on business. How sad.

My in-laws' southern hideaway is a 30-minute drive on the freeway from our place, something I consider a long drive. Admittedly, I easily get bored behind the wheel. Moreover, speeding with my family onboard worries me. If not for the commute, every week could be a vacation.

The place is far for from regal, no mansion whatsoever. What makes it magnificent though is that it is home. It is where I feel like I am back to being a child again. I would not trade it for a million bucks. Oops, on second thought, let me reconsider. Seriously, there is no better place.

It will surely be the same next year: at home with family.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Unfit for employment

The security of a steady paycheck has never been my motivation. While I may have had a 16-month stint as an employee, I was self-employed all of my life. I did not have the luxury of a family business to dabble with; I just thought differently.

Being on the payroll helped me launch my career as a consultant and trying-to-be entrepreneur. Unlike some who would get the scare of their life on the idea of losing their jobs, I was fearless. Against the opinions of my mom and aunt, the two most important women in my life then, I took on self-employment and never turned back.

As an employee, I spoke my mind. Tact, diplomacy, or whatever you want to call it, was not my greatest virtue. I was the worst player to engage in corporate politics. Good thing I did not stay long; otherwise, I would have hurt more feelings.

Just a few years ago, in a consulting job, I was exposed again to the game that I did not want to play: office politics. If I was a total stranger to the client, I would have been branded as difficult. Fortunately, they knew me well as someone who stood firm on principles, and they bet on it successfully.

I am not an honorable man, but I want to keep whatever principles I have left intact. With such attitude known to me since the day I held a time card, I knew then that I was not fit to be an employee.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Marriage tripod

"Until death do us part" is a solemn vow; however, it is not good enough for me. As odd as I am, I included supplemental conditions that would lay the foundation of my marriage like a tripod. Long story short, my wife agreed; hence, the start of her agony. Just kidding.

Death will come like a thief in the night. While we can prepare for it by doing good, we do not have control over it. I just pray that God lets me go first; He knows very well that I will find it more painful than death to continue to exist without my wife.

I am not the greatest son in the world, but I promised to give up my marriage if my wife disrespects my parents. Fortunately, Shiela is a true daughter that my mom has gained. I can die tommorrow confident that my wife will look after my mom.

Lastly, cheating is something that I cannot tolerate, there will definitely be no second chances.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Looking back to school

I would describe my student life as irresponsible. My faculties were not limited; in fact, I was capable of excelling at will. Motivation was the missing link. I even remember logging 37.5 days of absence from class in my senior year, another half-day and I would have ended up missing my graduation rites.

As a kid often away from school, I missed a lot, from lectures to recitations to quizzes. Fortunately, when needed, I could rely on my untapped intellect to pull through. When my mind was into school, it was really there.

Looking back, I regret not having pushed the limits of my potential. Although education and success are not always synonymous, education certainly has its advantages.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Achilles Heel

I am the first to admit that my Achilles Heel is finding pleasure in the company of women. No, I am not a social creature. On the contrary, I am very private. Let us just say that I am what you would call as intimately hospitable.

The aforesaid was my life then. My fascination for women was not just contained between my ears, it had to be brought to fruition between my legs. If an opportunity presented itself, I was there to take hold of it. If there was none, I would create one. Back then, I was lucky to have made things happen.

What about my emotions? I was never into fooling around with emotions. I was there for the moment, for the carnage. What about their emotions? I would say, I was gone sooner than it all started. It was clear to them that I was not into it for the long haul.

Now, I have somehow straightened out my life. While I am struggling to keep my mischief in my head, so far, I have been successful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Missing Dad

If my memory serves me right, I grew up with mom alone from the time I was 2 years old. Hence, I cannot really tell the difference between living with and without a father. You may say that it is quite a sad story, but to be honest, I do not know. It is like doing an impossible mathematical equation: dividing zero by something.

Two years ago, my family (wife and daughter) and I met up with my biological father. It was the 3rd meeting, as far as I can recall, since he left home. If you were to ask me how it felt, frankly, it was like being introduced to a new friend. How I wish that it felt differently, but how can one miss something that was non-existent?

Anyway, now I am happy that at least I have gotten to know my roots. My feelings though are still in limbo, confused as to how paternal love should be received and reciprocated. I would say I miss having a dad, like most normal families.

My advice to kids who take their parents for granted is to seize the moment, cherish mom and dad's presence. You will never know what you will be missing.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dad enough

It takes a lot for me to shed a tear, not because I am a man, but due to circumstances in life that have numbed my emotions. However, when it comes to my kids, they just take my breath away. Make no mistake, I am not a good dad. I probably am more remiss than most fathers when it comes to responsibilities.

Seeing my eldest daughter for the first time was truly rewarding. I even recall not feeling any hunger at all in her presence. The experience though later turned into torment when I realized that we could not be together; she had to be with her mom in America. It was arguably one of my lowest and most depressing points.

With my youngest daughter, I saw myself crying again today. I had to discpline her for something that she did, but as it turned out, I ended up more hurt than her. Imagine sitting down with a sweet 3 year old, asking for forgiveness, and telling her how much you love her. She was in tears when she replied, "It's OK, dad. I still love you."

I really wish I could be a better dad. My babies, dad is working on it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Job in you

Are you familiar with the story of Job? Anyway, God referred to him as an honest and innocent man, honoring God and staying away from evil. The Lord even proudly mentioned that no one on earth was like him. For being righteous, Job was blessed both spiritually and materially. Until one day when God allowed Satan to have power over him to test his faith, to inflict pain, but not to take away his life.

The trial that Job had to go through was unfathomable. In one day he lost his children, flocks and herds, and servants. On another day, he developed painful sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. The misfortune has led his wife to suggest that he curse the Lord and die, but Job's faith remained resolute. "Should we take only good things from God and not trouble?" was his reply. For not compromising his faith, Job was later blessed with even more.

Hearing Job's story made me feel so unworthy of the Lord's blessings. Job accepted adversity as he would welcome good fortune, while I would complain of the slightest discomfort. My faith compared to Job's was like night and day, yet I have the audacity to demand a lot from God.

What I learned from the story: To live in righteousness means that you will have to endure suffering. The Lord often examines our faith to see if we are truly worthy of his love. Material wealth, although necessary for sustenance, is immaterial. Spiritual wealth is what will lead us to the comfort of God's embrace.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Infidelity to your partner

Infidelity can manifest itself through several mediums: thought, speech, and action. Admittedly, I have been guilty at some point in my life and regret having fallen into the trap. The mistake may feel good while it lasts, but guilt will find its way sooner than you thought.

Infidelity is wicked. The more you do it, the greater the satisfaction. The cycle can be really vicious. Is it really true that what your partner does not know would not hurt? Not quite. Unknowingly, the grand plan that you have been executing discreetly has been hurting the people you love.

Infidelity violates the 2nd most important commandment: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Do not be on the wrong side of the law.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A day to remember

May 22, 2008 was quite a special day. I got to befriend one of the simplest and nicest individuals on earth.

Ms. E, a mining magnate who lives in a posh village in the city, prefers to own only two pairs of earrings and a steel watch. While her friends would don the latest Hermes bags, she would go for US$10 leathers.

My point is, here is somebody who is minting money yet chooses not to flaunt it. Although when it comes to helping those who are in need, her charity works are nothing less than extravagant.

Ms. E, I have learned a lot from our interactions and have changed a lot because of them. More than anything, thank you for the spiritual uplifting. Hopefully, I remain to be a better person. By the way, I am still reading Max Lucado's devotional bible.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thank you

Thank you Lord for being patient with me. It took 35 years for me to come back home. I am very happy that you welcomed me with open arms. Sorry for having strayed from the narrow path.

Thank you mom for caring for me all these years. It has been a bumpy ride ever since, but you never gave up. I cannot thank you enough for being who you are to me. Sorry for all the heartaches that I may have caused.

Thank you Shiela for being by my side for eight agonizing years. Our marriage was never perfect because of me, but you proved to be perfect for me. Sorry for having been the man that I was.

Thank you Nicole and Stefanie for the inspiration. You give new life to our family. Sorry for not having been the father that you would have preferred.

Thank you Paolo for being a brother to me. You led the path towards righteousness. Sorry for having been a stranger.

To all my folks, thank you for giving me a chance to win your hearts again. After years of being totally estranged, we are back to sharing our laughter. Sorry for the arrogance.

Thank you for the 2nd chance!