Saturday, January 28, 2012

Where's the Good Samaritan Online?

The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) teaches Christians on authentic charity, love and kindness for others. This teaching challenges our faith to be demonstrated in good deeds, right at the moment when it is needed. As faithfuls, we are commanded to love one another, and love others as we love our self.

It is not surprising for me to know, that a good Samaritan is a rare find. In the parable, the goodness in that Samaritan who helped a person in need is something inherent, and it was contrasted to that of the Jewish faithful. But, Jesus commended the act of the Samaritan who helped the robbed man in extraordinary ways. For Jesus that response was something that Christians should take as a model.

Today, while I was browsing my Facebook wall, a picture of a skinny 15-year old girl with a rare skin disease caught my attention. The one who posted the picture had the interest to have it shared that it may stumble upon a good Samaritan's heart. That is his way to help the girl. His note reads that he had initiated a conversation with her and personally took her picture.

There have been many pictures posted and shared in Facebook of people needing help: cancer patients, missing person, victims of abuse and maltreatment and many others. In some causes, it was acceptable to see those posts in the social network, as they were necessary. The network was of use to get the attention of those concerned.

However, I am disheartened to know that the chance of being a good Samaritan is just passed on to someone else who would like to take the role. I feel this way, because I am aware of how that person could help the girl, more than just posting and sharing her picture online. I know because he could boast with me of how rich he is, and he would also post several pictures of his expensive cars.

The note that goes with the picture reads: "I wanna ask your help guys if we could share this photo and I wish that this will catch the attention of any Public affairs program in the country like Kapuso foundation or Wish Ko Lang to assist this poor, little girl for her treatment as well as for her Lola." This implies that the heroic attempt to help the girl is hopefully passed on to other organizations.

True, that effort may help the little girl, when the image becomes viral to catch the interest of those media programs mentioned. Media networks will profit in it anyway. But, what does that girl really need? Is it the media exposure? Is it sympathy? Is it online publicity?

I wonder how much of the sampaguita which the girl was selling was bought that time, when the picture was taken. I believe it would not be enough for her to bring food for herself and her grandmother. I do not want to discount the intent to help the girl by posting her picture online. It might work. I am discontented though about the intent to help being passed on.

There are good things that come in posting such pictures. One is that it creates an awareness to online users about people's situation and even the illness. Another is it encourages open and continuous conversation. Although, the process of having such picture shared is far from genuinely helping her, when the very people who were aware of the situation could barely help even when they can.

The Good Samaritan in Jesus' parable, is the person who in his own way helped someone in need in ways that are felt, relieving the man's pain and even sustaining him in his way to getting back in life. There, the Samaritan has touched a life, without anyone's help, because he can. There, the Samaritan did not call others and did not announce his intent to help. My prayers go, that the stranger who met this girl realizes that he is the Samaritan who can help her. Everyone who have seen this picture and shared it in his wall is a stranger challenged to be like the Good Samaritan.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Personal Eulogy

Today, I assigned my public speaking students to prepare for a two-minute read speech. They have to deliver next week a personal eulogy. Morbid, [ikr] I know right. That was the same reaction I had I when went through writing my personal eulogy, more than five years ago.

The term eulogy is derived from the Greek word "eulogia" which means good words. This type of writing or speech is delivered to honor a person or any thing. Traditions put eulogy as an important speech to honor the recently deceased. Thus, it is often heard during necrological services or funerals. Perhaps, its appropriateness in honoring the dead is to lighten the feelings of the bereived.

So, the eulogy gives a review of hallmarks in the lived life of the deceased. It is not a biography but strings a heartening narrative of how well the person lived his life.

It was an excruciating, yet a transforming experience for me to write me personal eulogy. I was afraid of death, it was one of my greatest fear, but not to the point that thanatophobia would impair my dispositions in life. It just happened that I lived a life afraid of what's going to happen next in my after life and to my loved one's when I was gone.

It would have not been possible for me to write my personal eulogy, had I now overcome my fear of death. That's another story though. But, I was motivated to write my own, when I began to understand that individuals have the power over their life affairs and choices in life, if they could write their own life script. All lifescipts have endings.

The self-help guru, Stephen Covey, was right when he said that to be highly effective, one needs to begin with the end in mind. So, I had to think of how I would desire my life to an end. Of course, that was a fulfilled and completed. I had project how I would like people to think of me as person when my time comes to an end. It took me several days before I lifted my pen and draw out from within me, desires of how I wante my life to be.

That was one of the steps I took so I could manage and take in charge of life. In my silence, I visulalized my body lying on a coffin and went through imagining what I would like people to hear about me as to how I would have lived my life. It was transformative for me, because the process helped me to identify milestones and hallmarks of the various aspects of my life - my career, my financial state, my emotional state, my values, my relationships, and my faith.

Likewise, the process brought me to a realization of the life continuum and the power of self will and self-discipline that God would also like His children to acquire. It empowered me in a great sort to establish my self and my dispositions in relation to the things that I do now. It also allowed me to see my frailties in the past, which I need to deal with to fulfill how I wanted myself to live my life.

It was also mushy for me, I did shed some tears after knowing that I can actually create my life script. I was mushy then because, my life was really topsy-turvy at that time. I succeeded though. Fact, many of the things that I wrote in personal eulogy had transpired, and I began to appreciate life at its best as lived with personal control.

It made me happier somehow and it gave me a positive perspective about death and its connection to life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Moving Forward

Time is an element that we consider to have influence on many of our affairs. So 2012 is here and it must be time to be moving forward and that means letting go of some memories that made us anxious in the past. This is not easy though, but it is really necessary.

In retrospect, the faults and follies we've experienced are products of our very own choices and people of course are involved in these. Should we then forget the people who caused those actions that hurt us? That perhaps is the only means that we can free our selves from its haunting anxiety.

We may have met people whom we thought were best for us, but consequently we realized that they are not what we thought they were capable of. That they had motives we were not able to understand in the times we felt we're happy with them. Then suddenly, right in our very eyes we get to know that all is but a lie.

People like these should be left behind in order for us to move forward. Yet, it is not easy, because a simple of thought of them pools a ripple of memories, sweet and incessant alike. How then do we erase such bad memories of our past? How is casting off our worries to the waters possible?

Detachment is the primary thing we have to do. That is to objectify the past we had with those people and the memories that go with them. Detachment is extrarational, that we had to treat the experiences we had with those people without our emotional attachment, from this moment on. We can do this by considering the past as something we had to go through so that we learn in the events that unfolded. More importantly, we can not let the past determine our future if we are to move forward.

The past year may have brought us both good and bad memories. Whichever we hold unto could affect our present way of thinking. We need to fill our mrind with good thoughts if we want to act positively. That means we have to find the right anchors to ponder about in retrospect and in our introspections of how we did in the past. That also means letting go of fond memories of people who hurt us. In such way we are allowing ourselves to have the right dispositions to move forward.

Past is past, now is the time to be moving forward.