“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
I have to warn you that this is not going to be as funny as the last blog. It’s actually not funny at all. I just need to do some housekeeping.
And the winner is…
First of all, I’d like to award the first winner of my “Best Question” contest to Marie Ayongao. Marie, send me your address (privately message me so that I can have it delivered to you) and choose whether you want a Molekine with lines (like I do) or with no lines (as the purists prefer).
Marie asked me whether I would sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form or how to deal with the issue of euthanasia or semi-euthanasia in our hospitals. And to be completely honest, I didn’t have a substantial answer, one because it was about 2am, but also because it’s not a topic I’m too familiar with or consider as a main advocacy. But it did make me realize that there are so many issues, some general, some specific, that are all valid and must be dealt with.
So here’s my answer in a nutshell:
I really don’t know. “I don’t know” by the way is a real answer know-it-alls should try sometimes. I’m pro-life, in the sense that I would be against the taking of a life simply because of pain, inconvenience, or handicap. But because I don’t know enough on this topic, such as the legalities or practices of institutions, I can’t really give suggestion on what to do except this: If this is a cause or a concern that is burning in your heart, maybe it’s because God is telling you to do something about it.
Some of you may have a similar stirring, a similar discontent, or a similar discomfort with the way things are – and when you feel this way, as soon as you feel this way, ask God, “What do you want me to do?” I believe great change for the better will come when each one finds his or her own passion, and does his or her part, in his or her sphere. So keep your eyes seeing, your ears listening, your heart feeling, and the rest of your body ready to serve.
Fans & the Opposite
I’d like to thank everyone for all the kind words and comments on my last post Brothers Bonifacio – Our Father’s Favor
. It was especially nice of those who made the extra effort to send me a personal message. From the words of encouragement, to spelling and grammatical corrections, as well bringing attention to my insensitivity to people’s sensibilities, and to suggestions on how I could improve things, I read and appreciate them all. I’ll reply to them as promptly as I can.
Next, I’d like to thank my brothers. If you guys didn’t do so many crazy things (getting married for one) I wouldn’t have anything to write about.
I’d also like to thank my critics, the regular ones and the new ones. (Of course I’m not counting those who prefer not to say anything. Could be more.) Thank you for being there for me.
“You make me want to be a better man.”
The process with me is simple. It’s like a pimple. You can ignore it, you can cover it up, or you can treat it. I prefer treatment. So if you see that I have a pimple, you point it out, and as soon as I can, I go to the dermatologist and have it treated. If, for whatever reason the treatment is delayed or needs follow-up sessions, I apologize, but you’ll have to live with the pimple on my face until it’s clear.
Son of a Preacher Man
Sometimes I get asked by people how I can be so arrogant, chauvinistic, crass, cynical, mean, self-effacing and at the same time talk about helping the poor, going to God, and having the right values. They ask, “Don’t you see the contradiction?” and this is usually followed by my favorite line, one I’ve been hearing quite regularly for most of my life, “You’re supposed to be a son of a pastor.”
Actually, I’m more like the son of a preacher man.
Some of you won’t get that.
Seriously, the answer is yes, I do see the contradiction. I think the fact that I’m actually not that good or nice a guy is the most obvious thing in the world. It’s this reality of my shortcomings mixed-in with a desire to make a positive contribution in people’s lives that produces this tension – this contradiction.
But it’s also an authentic representation of myself and of the stories I share.
And I think these contradictions can be found in most people if not everyone.
We’re a mix of aspirations and dreams, and we want to become better, to be significant, but also included, holding us back, are our fears and insecurities, lusts and passions, our lack of discipline and self-control, the baggage of our wrong decisions, the habits we have to unlearn, the offenses we harbor and defenses we’ve erected.
We’re a mix of contradictions.
I know I am.
That’s why I go to God. Not because He’s going to zap me with lightning (some of you are thinking: so that explains the hair) or give me an ugly girlfriend every time I do something wrong, (if that were the case I’d have a harem of medusas, and clearly that is not the case), but really because of two reasons:
1. I don’t stand a chance without Him – I don’t stand a relational chance, I don’t stand a moral chance, or a behavioral chance, I don’t stand a financial chance, I don’t stand an emotional chance, a righteous chance, or an intellectual chance, I simply don’t stand a chance. So I go to Him, each morning, every evening, sometimes in faith, sometimes in doubt, sometimes anxious, sometimes in joy and hope, many times in repentance, and I cast it all.
2. And I am grateful, because not only does He welcome me, but even more, He includes me in His plan, and gives me another chance to participate in the great life of making a difference in others.
The business of making a difference is not exclusive to the perfect – in fact, if you were to look closely at the people who have made some of the biggest contributions to humanity, you’d almost think it’s exclusive to the imperfect and to seriously flawed people – and you’d be right. Because these are the ones who took chances, made mistakes, suffered consequences, learned, made more mistakes, more consequences, learned more, and ended up with…
… discovery. I love that word. Partly because it starts with the letter “D” (which is absolutely my favorite letter), but because it means something was unveiled. That in the process of stepping out, falling, hurting, learning, rising, and on, something was revealed, a truth that gives you another chance, another better chance. And when that truth is spread it shares that better chance with others.
And that leads us to what I want to share with you in my next post: Overwhelming Compassion. It’s about taking all the chances God gives us to grow, to mature, and to remember to value every opportunity, every new chance, to make a difference in the lives of others.
Wait for it…