In deep slumber I was,
Lying at ease,
Carried by the humdrum
But life was such
an enigmatic beauty.
At first, it was a spark,
Followed by bursts of fire,
‘Til it became a flame—
A flame I could not extinguish.
On and on it burned.
Burned my peace,
And ignited a longing.
The rope of monotony snapped.
Okay, I said finally.
Write I must,
But with a prayer I pleaded,
“Just please guide me God,
or else, the flame
would just die to naught.”
I was taken off-guard the moment they entered one by one. I knew I was not supposed to stare at people while inside. I should have my full focus on the purpose of my coming here. But by their looks, inside the place of worship, seemed not to coincide at all.
They were a group of young people, four to be exact, probably eighteen years old and above. They wore shorts and shirts appropriate only for the beach. Slowly they entered the church while the choir sang the Gloria. They settled at the pew in the front row right behind the choir.
By their looks one could say they are not local Parishioners. I was just a kind of shock why they have to make such a dramatic entrance with how they look. My friend who sat in front of me whispered to his wife asking who they were. His wife just shrugged her shoulders and signaled at him to be quiet.
Okay. We were inside of the church attending the holy mass. We were not supposed to judge nor criticize anyone. But here is my take:
The church is a place of worship, therefore, a place of respect too. The church does not stand for its Parishioners. It stands for God. We could talk to God or pray to God anywhere, anytime. But when we CHOOSE to WORSHIP God inside the church attending a HOLY MASS, we must be aware of our every act and make ourselves presentable before God. It is our responsibility to not make the little ones stumble because of our actions. We could not simply say, “It’s the problem of the people why they judge or criticize me, when in fact I just go there to attend the mass. I have clear intentions.” If you have clear intentions, why not make yourself ‘presentable‘? If you have clear intentions, you could have chosen to sit at the rear end pews where people hardly notices you. There, you could pray and worship without being conscious of how oddly you look inside this place.
Other churches have signage at their entrance directing people to attend mass or enter the church in proper attire. This signage specifically states as to what attire are acceptable and what are not. Our local church does not have it. I suppose, it is only on the prerogative of the Parish priest.
After the mass, I waited for my husband outside. He is a choir member, and it is their job to keep the instruments in their proper place after being used. When he joined me, he said those young people were the students of the choir’s music teacher. This teacher came from the other island adjacent to ours. He said they were there because they visited one local beach the day before.
For me, it was still not an excuse why they have to show up with their beach attire. They could have covered themselves with scarf or whatever that would not show any disrespect for the holy mass and the people in there.
Whoever we are, wherever we go, we carry our faith with us. In these days of restless travels, we must always be aware if we have imprinted a pleasant impression on the place we are about to leave. We must not leave it to people to understand us, we must also understand the people in the places we visit. And it is much, much better to leave a GOOD example to strangers who would soon forget our face, but would never forget how we made them feel.
My plea to the Millennials out there: Please do NOT stretch the rules of the church to fit in with your lifestyle.
Gone are the days of flattery. Gone are the days when someone says, “What a nice cap you got there, John.” Or, “What a great dress Mary!” When we were a child, we think and reason like a child. Now that we are grown, we think and reason like a grown up. Unlike a child who takes delight in flattery or little appreciation, we value now on a deeper level what has been given to us. We value life. We value our self. And we put much value in it, when we do our best to improve our current self into the best self that we can be. How? Here are the ways:
- Will to change. The first and most important step is the determination to change. It goes beyond the desire. It is taking the necessary steps to get the desired results.
- Stop making excuses. Do what you need to do. Taking accountability for your own mistakes is extremely important.
- Always keep your temper in check. There are a lot of emotional triggers around. When you feel something is making you uncomfortable, get out of the situation if you can. Go to the comfort room or just simply go outside to relax your mind. Take deep breaths. When you feel you are in control of your emotions, you are able to face the situation in a calmer manner. Controlling anger is an extremely difficult skill to master, but it is very beneficial for you in the long term.
- Forgive. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. It may not be that easy to do, but it helps when you let go. It takes time to do this. Do it anyway.
- Listen. Listen to what others have to say. You may be seeing things in the wrong way or with the wrong perspective. This way, you may also be able to express your side, why you act or think in a certain way. You must also listen to yourself. Sometimes you may do things that are contrary to what you truly feel.
- Be honest. Be honest with yourself and with everybody. Others may not see whether you speak and live in truth, but your action does.
- Cultivate an open mind. Accept the fact that you are different and that others are different too. You may not agree with everybody, but it does not mean you are right and they are wrong; or the other way around. Be open also to what you can do. Try new things.
- Keep a journal. Journal is the best medium to express everything you feel. It helps you process your emotions. It helps you clear your mind of any clutter.
- Be positive. When you are really in a bad day, keeping positivity is impossible. You may never find it inside. The best way, is to seek it outside. Read good books. Be with nature. Look up at the sky, or stars, or moon. Listen to inspiring music. Talk to children. Talk to your pet. Watch funny movies. Or just simply do any activity that you love to do. Doing any of these everyday, helps you to implant positivity in you.
- Accept criticism in a positive way. Criticisms may hurt, but you need it most for your growth. It is a challenge that speaks to you, “Hey, you’re not better now. Could you get any better next time?” When you do get better next time, your critics would be surprised.
- Move. Do any exercise that could energize you. From working at the gym, to jogging, walking, yoga or just stretching. Your body would thank you for it.
- Meditate. It calms the mind. It connects you to your deeper self. It relaxes your body.
- Smile. When you look at the mirror first thing in the morning, smile. Smile keeps you younger and relaxes your facial muscles. Smiling at your reflection makes you aware that you got a friend in there. As one beatiful soul says, ‘Smiling is the best accessory you could adorn yourself with.’
- Stay peaceful. Be at peace with everybody and with yourself.
- Pray. Exercise your faith. Tap to the Source of everything. It is here where impossible becomes possible. It is here where you become what God wants you to be.
These suggestions may sound simple. Yet it may take years to master it. When done daily, it becomes a habit, a habit that would become a natural part of you sooner. Do not lose heart though, when at times you may fall back, it is just normal. Just start again and again and again. Your self is with you along the way. So is God.
There is one beautiful school I know which has the following regulations:
- There is no required passing grade. For there is no grading system.
- It is you who have to grade yourself according to how aware you are of your performance.
- There are four main subjects: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.
- You have to select your specialization from those four main subjects.
- The teacher is everybody.
- No matter what course you take, you always end up a TEACHER.
- The School Master is invisible, but is present everywhere and very accessible.
- The exams and tests are varied depending on the student’s needs. If you pass you are given another difficult test. If you fail, you have to take the same exam in another form. There is no limited number of exams, as long as you keep trying, until you pass the test. There is a hint though, in order to pass the test – you need to PRAY.
- There is no one who is ahead of the class; for there is no competition. For when you’re ahead, you are required to look back and help others in their struggles.
- If you want to become a master, you are given one case study – YOURSELF. If you can conquer that self, you’ve reached the level of a master.
- There should be no cheating or copying. You are required to be just yourself.
- You do not need to follow others’ path. You are required to create your own.
- You are not required to take yourself so seriously. It is okay to have fun, as long as it is right.
- You need to only self-study. Group study also works.
- The graduation is unpredictable and may look dreadful. But if you are able to be aware of the twists and turns of the course of study, it would only be a transition to you from one phase to another, and NOT an end.
- The attendance is to be always PRESENT in mind, body and spirit.
- The lessons are full of irony. You must always be AWARE. For what is, does not seems to be; what seems to be is not what is.
- Your classmates are everybody.
- The classroom is everywhere: in the streets, in your bedroom, or in your mind.
- There is only one reference book – the BIBLE.
- The School Master is accessible anytime and anywhere. He placed His room in your heart.
- Bullies are scattered everywhere. But when you do not do to them what they do to you, you will befriend them, if not conquer them.
- Kind-hearted souls are everywhere too. They are quick to inspire and help you.
- There is no need to enroll. Your NAME is already written on the day of your birth.
Yeah, it is the School Of Life.
If there are some points I missed, kindly add them in the comments below. Thank you.
Have a blessed day!