Lessons by Francisco "Butch" Bautista
“As a long-time collector of sunsets, cool breezes, and walks on the beach, I readily identified with what my friend was saying.”
– Butch Bautista
Sometimes when we look at the dysfunctions of society, we see a lot that could have been addressed earlier if we were just fathered better. And since not everyone of us is born with fathering fathers, we should seek spiritual fathers and mentors. I’m glad my own father has pointed me to different people to learn what he could never teach me.
Tito Butch Bautista emailed this to me December of last year. I am very very very grateful to God for Tito Butch because of all the things I’ve received because of this friendship. I remember one time when he bluntly told me to focus and to stop chasing every opportunity that comes my way.
I’ve improved a little in that area – though I am getting better. I need a lot of improving in a lot of areas.
This next lesson though I took to heart, and I’ve made it my goal to live simply.
Lessons by Francisco “Butch” Bautista
“Some of the best things are blindingly simple, and they’re usually based on truths.”
Advertising man Dave Droga’s statement summarizes how I have lived my life, and how I try to live the rest of it.
No-frills living starts with basic belief. A priest accidentally led me to God. It was my first confession: I was six, braving a mandatory Catholic rite of passage. I had barely memorized the ritual prayers, so I mumbled in nervous supplication at the confession booth. Suddenly the huge priest stormed out of his sacred cubicle and bellowed in my face. “Go home,” he was red, “and come back when you have memorized the prayers.” My heart stopped.
I remember thinking why I had to memorize words to talk to God. I asked myself how the same prayers said over and over again could erase my sins. And I was so scared to go back to the man in the box. I decided to talk to God directly. I prayed at bedtime. I talked to God in church during mass which I continued to attend with the family, or anytime I wanted to ask for something.
I asked for few things. Some were as childish as a gold medal in a high school contest, some were big things like healing and long life for my parents, protection from accidents for the whole family. But I remember all of them were heard, and granted. As my batting average grew, my tolerance for the superfluous shrunk. I was getting results talking to God directly, so why memorize names of saints, their birthdays, their specialties, and similar stuff? Why even go to mass?
Growing up I found that if I focused on one or two things I really enjoyed, I could be good at it. School work was a breeze because I loved to read and write papers anyway, and I didn’t care about grades. I tried the violin, guitar, drawing, basketball and tennis, even boxing gloves and a speedball my father gave me but gave up because I was lousy at them. So I kept things simple. My car, of course, was a VW Beetle, then a Toyota Corolla. I had only one girl friend and married her after a year; she’s still my wife after 42 years. Sure, problems mushroomed along the way, but I stuck to the main point: Keep it simple.
People who can facebook, paint toenails, listen to rock, and do homework while texting amaze me. I am essentially a one-at-a-time person. Multitasking confounds me. Can we really do everything? Some people can, though, and I admire them.
I have long ago given up on pleasing everyone. Is it even possible, or worth it? Can we be
everything to every one? Any one?
“Believe,” we are told many times, “and you will have eternal life.” Can it be that easy? Some of us still doubt.
I also learned something about accumulating stuff.
When a good friend decided to consolidate his homes in Manila, Hong Kong, and San Francisco into one residence, the clutter he collected through years of living in three houses could have filled a small Home Depot. He had beds, tv sets, refrigerators, stoves, appliances, pans and cutlery, furniture, tons of clothing and shoes for four seasons, golf and fishing gear, hundreds of books, many of them same titles purchased from airports throughout the world, thousands of tools, gadgets, artifacts and other remnants of profuse spending. He had retired in his mid-forties and was planning to build the rest of his life around golf and fishing in Malaysia, New Zealand, or the Caribbean.
Amid this wealth of confusion, he told me, “You know one thing I discovered? Only a few things really matter to me: a couple of shirts, two pairs of jeans and my Swiss army knife.” This from someone who had everything.
As a long-time collector of sunsets, cool breezes, and walks on the beach, I readily identified with what my friend was saying.
“I know. I’ve always lived like that,” I said. “I have nothing, so I simplify.”
It is blindingly simple. All we need is an audience of One. Jesus distilled a dam of 613 rules into two drops of living water.When you get down to the basics, nothing could be more basic.