Friday, March 24, 2006

A Measure of Faith

Recently, I had the pleasure of watching a rerun of Simon Birch. For anyone who hasn't seen this movie, I truly recommend this flick. It's about a little boy who was born so small that all his mother had to do to deliver him during labour was to sneeze! Although this movie was not based on a true story, I was inspired and moved all the same.

This story magnified the sins of a society that judged a book by it's cover. Simon was sadly misjudged and unappreciated by his community and those who were suppose to be significant to him - his parents. They didn't care for him because of his deformities. But God's love for him reached him anyway through his best friend Joe and Joe's mother. Wanna know why? Because the same society was also judging Joe and his mother. Joe was born out of wedlock and no one knew who his father was. Except for Joe's mother, of course, who took that knowledge to her grave. Simon helped Joe discover who Joe's father was, in the end.

But what was intriguing to me was the amount of faith Simon had in his Creator. He believed that his deformities were for a reason. He believed in the Divine Design. He believed that everything and everyone was created for a special reason. Simon blatantly pointed out, even to those who were not willing to listen to him, that God has nothing to do with bake sales or a priest sharing coffee and doughnuts with his parish. He also pointed out that faith is not about where you pray but it's about whether you believe that God is actually listening to you when you are praying. When he was told to go pray in a corner as a punishment for speaking out his mind, he said that faith had nothing to do with the floor plan! I laughed out loud at the courage of this little mite and quietly wished that I had half the guts he had to speak his mind.

It is easy for people to believe that someone has faith when they dress the part. But the devil can dress the part too! However, there is something that the devil had sworn he can't do, and that is to sway a heart that is filled with faith and sincerity. So, when you have faith and sincerity in your heart, half the battle against the devil is won. The other half, is left up to you. When you decide that you believe, then you will and you become a believer. Now, what you choose to do with that faith is the thing that determines how close or far you are from your true self and God.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Speaking of Integrity

"It's important that people know what you stand for. It's equally important that they know what you won't stand for". These are words of Mary Waldrop and I agree with her.

A few weeks ago, I decided to open a profile on myspace.com to promote better behavioral health among youths and matured adults alike. The experience that was waiting for me didn't meet my expectations. I began to receive all kinds of emails and friends requests from a myriad of types of people. I have to admit that some of these personalities scared me stiff! I mean, some of them had some porn pictures attached to their profiles. Obviously they were swingers on the look out for a romp in the hay with someone who might be on the look out too! But the thing is, I AM NOT! I received one particular email from a young man who wanted to befriend me. I replied saying that I don't mind for as long as he doesn't mind being friends with a 41 yr old married women with two teenage daughters. His reply was, "Does'nt your husband mind?"

I went on to explain the reasons for me setting up a profile at that site and that my husband totally supports my career and my intention of promoting behavioral health. I also told him that if it wasn't enough for him to consider me like a kakak to him, then maybe he needs to look else where. I also chided him lightly that maybe next time he shoud read the profiles of all the people he wants to befriend and make sure that they are single and available before taking the next step. I don't know. Maybe there are many married people who are still on the look out for better mates, but I ain't one of 'em.

Most of my counseling clients are couples with marital problems. There was even one husband who came to me to ask for my approval to divorce his wife because he has another woman on the side. I told him that he was acting irresponsibly and that if he wants to pull the trigger to ruin his marriage, he wasn't gonna get my approval for it. He stopped coming for counseling because I was honest enough to point out his lack of responsibility and he wasn't ready to face the reality of himself. I have no regrets as to how I handled that particular client. His wife is doing very well without him. And that in itself is the best reward I got out of that experience.

Many are afraid to stand their ground and stick to their principles of right and wrong when the so called perpetrator is someone close to them. But this is how integrity is measured. Because, at the day of Judgement, we will not be asked what we have read, but what we have done. There is no right way to do something wrong. No matter how you think about it, you will agree, too.