A new hope

January 1, 2020

It’s the first day of the new year, and it has been some time since I last wrote something here. I’ve never felt the need to pen my thoughts or feelings over the last few years because I have been so busy. These things have a way of catching up with you, and the freight train of life has finally halted with such force that sparked a lot of soul searching within me in the past couple of days. As I reach mid-life, it’s the perfect time to take stock and ask myself some important questions.

Where have the last 3 years gone? Perhaps I should even beg the question, “what was my life like for the past 10 years?”. Life has been and is pretty good when measured against the yardstick of the society and culture that I live in. I have been thoroughly enjoying my work as an engineer, not really giving much thought to anything else around me. Promotions, salary increments and skills development seemed to bring fulfillment and security, but at the end it has proven to be empty, dehumanizing and soul crushing. The constant competition, striving and need to be the best at what I do has taken its toll on me, and I feel that I have lost my soul in many ways, for I have pushed down years of emotions and perhaps suppressed my true calling in life. I have been so busy chasing after what I now see as foolish things. These things that I speak of are not bad things, but they leave me with the feeling of a life that is spiritually poor.

Perhaps the way I have lived is a defense mechanism that shielded me from the pain of life, because it is easier to put aside emotions, to live pragmatically, and to enjoy the “good life”. Nobody would fault me for it in this society. There are, after all, bills and mortgages to pay in this increasingly expensive city. And while I’m at it, I medicate myself from the stresses of a high-paying job with things, an expensive holiday or a hobby, or fine-dining. I spend the extra time I have with family and friends, mostly people that I like. I’ll also allocate some time for spirituality, a small tip of the hat to acknowledge the brevity of life, to pay lip service to the fact that there’s more to life than these things. I have lived my life halfheartedly, but this is something people rarely admit. Maybe it helps me to forget that I am mortal, that my time on earth is limited, and that I have less and less time to make my life count. Yet at the back of my mind I hear the words of a wise man who once said

“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that”

and

“life does not consist in an abundance of possessions”

What has led me down this path of thinking? Well, a couple of things happened in 2019. Health scares – personal and loved ones’ – steered me to give thought to the matter of what the essence of life is.

Family events also reminded me to prioritize relationships over my own self-centered goals.

In a recent conversation with a friend we talked about what we hope to become more of in the future. We talked about being more idealistic, about how “man shall not live by bread alone”, and that “without vision, people perish”.

I also had a conversation with my father-in-law recently, and he mentioned how he when he was my age he used to think that he still had a lot of years left in life, but in the blink of an eye he is now an old man. I asked him for advice, and he told me “Live life to the fullest, treasure every day”.

What does it mean to live fully – I mean to really live?

I don’t have all the answers right now, though I can expect imminent changes in the way I live.

I have spent the better 10+ years of my life shutting my ears to the cries of a world in pain, but now I will be stoic no more. I will be attuned to my own pain and theirs. I heard Dr. Brene Brown say once that “we will never be able to free ourselves from suffering till we’re all free from suffering”.

I was recently re-watching “Band of Brothers”. In the episode “Bastogne”, the medic Eugene “Doc” Roe is seen reciting the prayer of saint Francis, in between battles, before he tends to one battered soldier after another.

That’s who I want to be, in the trenches of this battlefield of life, to bring aid to people who have been fighting hard and got badly hurt. And that is also my prayer.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
Amen

It is with this new hope – of a wholehearted life of love and compassion for others – that I start the year.

Protected: IMT Day 15

June 15, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 14

June 14, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 13

June 13, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 12

June 12, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 11

June 11, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 10

June 11, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 9

June 9, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 8

June 8, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: IMT Day 7

June 7, 2016

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: