BE PROUD OF ME
By Vic Lorenzo
This article is inspired from a chapter in ‘Rediscover Catholicism’ by Matthew Kelly. Every Catholic should read this book. Every catholic community and its leaders should go through this chapter by chapter. It is a spiritual guide to living with passion & purpose. The other inspiration is the video I watched, “The upside of anger” starring Kevin Costner.
Our vision in our Learning Centres: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” Jn10:10
Matthew’s view is that dieting is symptomatic of what is happening to our life. In the USA, spending on diet drinks, pills, and related services came close to $30 billion. Far more than spending on books and close to the OFW remittance to the Philippines. He says our culture today is that of ‘Consumption’. In my opinion, a culture of ‘Convenience’. We want things fast at the least convenience. We have liposuction, and the vibration that I saw on TFC that breaks away the fat from your skin or tissue but still remains inside your body. The lady lost some inches but her weight stood the same. Certainly, because she did not diet. There was no change in eating lifestyle.
Today’s technology brings us this speed of convenience. There is an app that is called ‘Flipboard’. Essentially you can flip through the news, fortune, Oprah, fashion and travel magazines. You just keep on flipping to get a feel of the various news then focus on a couple of articles that interest you. The speed of convenience.
There is no quick-fix to life and culture change. Life is not to be flipped.
Be proud of me, mom
In the movie, ‘The upside of anger’, the mom was going through a turmoil because her husband left her and moved to Europe. Angered with this event in her life, she turned to drinking. The three daughters took care of cooking the meals and most of the chores previously done by her mom. One day, one daughter was doing her ballet exercises when her mom came in and reminded her of so many things. The daughter strongly replied, “Mom why can’t you be proud of me, of what I am doing (her ballet).”
All of us have this longing to be recognized, to belong. But we turn to quick-fixes like liposuction. We want to go on a diet that will allow us to eat whatever we want, whenever we want, yet still allow us to look great, and feel great. We want a miracle product and remove from us any need for discipline that requires a change in lifestyle.
What touched me in the chapter of the book by Matthew Kelly is the statement: “Our lives change when our habits change.” Do we change our behavior because of convenience or shame? A recently-landed immigrant observed that Filipinos in Vancouver are more disciplined but when they go back to Manila they change back to old ways.
My theory here is that Filipinos think that no one follows the law so why behave differently. There is no environment that encourages change. How can our lives change when our habits do not change. How can our habits change when we assume that no one will follow the law. Or if caught, we can get away without much fuss. In effect, we pay our way.
Change in Lifestyle
Recently, I emailed a summary of my thoughts to some friends who were exchanging email regarding corruption. One was from Singapore. I then said:
“It is a lifestyle change. Singaporeans did it. I had to change mine when I moved to Canada. It is a slow process. A simple example was when I was walking in the park, I saw a mom teaching his 3 year-old son that ” Son, it is illegal to write on the public benches.” My immediate reaction was sobra naman mom yan. Okay lang bata yan. But then later on I realized the rule: do not destroy nor deface public property. Everybody respects them, young or adult. Everybody.
Also, calling a spade, a spade. If it is illegal, then it is illegal. No buts about it. Walang pwede na yan. Okay lang nobody is looking. It requires knowing what the rules are and following it. While driving, I would often ask my daughter what the rule is to remind me. I remember while I was driving, a younger Fil-Canadian was beside me. He said, Tito, it is illegal to hold the stick shift. I was shocked when he used the term illegal. Sobra naman. We call it ‘bawal’ but it doesn’t sound as strong as ‘illegal’. Hmm I told myself this is how people here think.
A change in lifestyle. It will take decades. Everybody must do it. No exception. All institutions -parents, teachers, older siblings, religious, ceos, janitors, and government officials. Walang palakasan. That’s my small experience to this issue. Thanks.”
Before a change, one usually does an audit to assess where we are and what needs to be changed. I wonder what God would find in our culture today. A culture of greed, arrogance, corruption, unsolved crimes. What would have been His dream for us?
Matthew wrote something that inspired me to dream God’s dream of our world. “Imagine a culture in which music and the arts celebrated the beauty of the human person and inspired people to explore all of their God-given potential. Imagine a culture in which law-makers were less concerned with special interests and more concerned with creating society that encouraged and actively helped people to become the-best-version-of-themselves. Imaging a culture in which all men, women, and children were educated not simply to perpetuate commerce, but in such a way as they came to understand who and what they are, who and what they are becoming, and how they could use their talents and abilities to make a unique contribution. It may seem far from where we are, but such a culture is possible.”
It is a world where the centre of life is people, not things or a few people who are rich, powerful and influential. It is a world where each and every person contributes to a culture or lifestyle that is based on Gospel values and geared towards bringing out the best in people. We can then ask Jesus this question: are you proud of me? Yes, I am so proud of you because you have lived the best-version of your life. Oprah repeatedly says, “Life is becoming who you really are.”
Even top fortune corporations have moved towards being people and values-based corporations. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, once said, “Starbucks is the quintessential people-based business, where everything we do is about humanity. The culture and values of the company are it’s signature and it’s competitive difference. We have created a worldwide appeal for our customers because people are hungry for human connection and authenticity. Whether you’re Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, or Greek, coffee is just the catalyst for that connection. I don’t know if I was drawn to this business because of my background, or whether it gave me the opportunity to connect the dots, but it has come full circle for me”.
“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Mt 4:4
We become a people who are detached from worldly attachments- from power, arrogance, material possessions, a life and an image that is dictated by others, etc. We live a life that is fully dependent on God, a life of respect, honesty and integrity.
We need ‘Courage’ to stand by our values and principles. My wife, Lylette, who is an avid fan of the American Idol show, just sent me this interesting and related news. I quote this news, “’American Idol’ producers recently warned contestant Colton Dixon that faith talk could hurt his chances. Colton Dixon would rather lose ”American Idol” than try to conceal his spirituality. Colton, a devout Christian from Murfreesboro, Tenn., plans to continue using the show and social media to spread his message of faith — despite warnings from producers that it could alienate him… We love Dixon who’s a talented, proud Christian! Recently he revealed that producers at Idol asked him to curb his public message about his devotion to Christ. “Have you ever been asked to put faith aside?” Colton continues on, “But I think that (the producers) also have a mutual respect that that is a part of who I am,” he explained. “I am not going to hide it, and I am not going to stray away from it just because I am on a TV show.”
“I am not of this world,” he posted in a message on Facebook Saturday. “We were created to spend eternity with the Lord. We all have purpose. No one is less important than the other. He died for YOU.” Colton told TODAY.com that he prays before and after every live performance. “I wake up and I do devotional every morning,” he added. “It reminds me why I am here, which is to share the love of God. I know there are several other contestants who can say the exact same thing. But it is a part of me and I want to share it — no matter what, good or bad outcome. It is me.”
It is me! It is who God called us to be! No matter what good or bad outcome. It is me! Colton we are proud of you! Jessica, at 16 years old, we are also so proud of you. A spade is a spade. The law is the law and we make a habit of following the law even without anyone looking or whether it is a Senator intimidating us. It takes discipline and courage to be the best-version of ourselves. But it makes us proud. God is proud of us. And we are proud of our God who loves us unconditionally. Like Howard, life comes full circle for us.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”Isa 49:15
Lord, we pray that we become who you intended us to be. The best-version of ourselves that reflect an image and likeness of you. We pray for courage that we may have the discipline of starting and ending each day with a prayer and to live the day witnessing to your Gospel values. Father, we ask this in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
March 23, 2012, 4th week of Lent