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My two cents this season of Lent
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As the Lent season is approaching, Christians traditionally will practice self-denial or sacrifice, repentance from sins, alms-giving and fasting to commemorate our Lord Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. The spirit of Lent is to cleanse the soul from sin through confession and absolution and to seek for God's mercy and grace. Traditionally, Filipino Christians will go to church and re-enact the sufferings of Christ and for a few days we will refrain ourselves from indulging in our vices and be on our best behavior for several days until Lent is over. I have an unspoken question which always bothers me during Lent "Do we truly believe God will look favorably upon our insincere token of faith and worship, when most of our entire life leading to those few days of Lent stands in complete opposition of the true meaning of Lent?" What do you think?

Maybe because its Lent season, I came across lots of witty blogs about Lent and Christian practices as I browse the net, and while I was turning upside down the house of my employer in preparation for Pesach or Passover for the Jews, I got to thinking what is Lent to me.

Me, who attended Ash Wednesday services years ago confesses my own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what I have done and what I have left undone which is just mumbo jumbo to me before when I attend the mass. Now that I don’t attend the rituals of Ash Wednesday anymore because of my kind of work as a live–in caregiver here in Israel, these words mock me from my memories, because now I understand what is "fault in thought, word or deed; by what I have done and what I have left undone" especially when I am in the throes of anger and resentment that my current employer cause, an Alzheimer patient who do unbelievable things which always cause my blood pressure to hit the roof and makes me want to pinch her stubborn hide. By the time I will leave Israel, I might have a case of bad teeth and locked jaw as a result of gnashing it in my anger and frustration.

The past 2 years of my life was unbelievably a chaotic episode of my life that hopefully will not happen again. When I look back, all I can do is give big thanks of prayer to the Almighty. I am not a regular church attendee nor do I practice the traditional practices of Christianity but I do try to live the values of Christianity every day and not only during Lent. To observe Lent half-heartedly displays religious insincerity and personally, I think God would probably prefer it if we all do something positive for Lent and not only during Lent but every day of our life. I am not giving specific potshots to anybody but usually those who practice traditional Lent are those who are crossing the boundaries of decency.

As foreign caregivers here in Israel, we share in the spirit of sacrifice. We are sacrificing for the sake of our families by sending our precious salary back home so that our families will have a comfortable life. In exchange, we work very hard for our employers knowing that they are our source of income. But in many cases, these sacrifices are wasted when our expectations falls short like for instances, the husband acquired wife #2, the son, daughter or sibling did not finish school, your earnings is spent unwisely and nothing is left to show for the years of sacrifice spent abroad. In addition, you are now being hunted by the immigration because your employer died after 4 years and 3 months which is the minimum stay here in Israel. Wouldn't you ask God why are these things happening to you when you are a believer and those who are not going to church are always seemingly lucky? We cry out that it's unfair! Frequently we ask, "Why is my life full of difficulties, temptations and failures?" So easy to say to a suffering soul that "God has another plan for you" or other platitudes. I don’t know the answers also. I barely practice what I preach to myself either. But I’m trying, even knowing that I’m a hypocrite when I utter the consoling words to friends or acquaintances.

This Lent season, it came to my mind what matters to me as a person as I gain little grains of maturity from the hard knocks of life. It would be easy to spout rationalities and ideologies but honestly, I don't have any specific answer to myself. It might be that I am not yet ready to admit it or I am still in the discovery of what matters to me as an individual. For the time being as I try to discover what matters to me, I will try to swallow my pride and practice a little humbleness, take criticism as a positive wake –up call without hitting back, and live a good life base on the values found in the teachings of the Bible and to listen to my inner voice called conscience. Albert Camus once said, "Life is the sum of all your choices." Everyone has to make choices, and the choices make who we are. In my understanding, choice can play the important role in life because it's making a decision about what we want and where we picture ourselves in the future from the choices we made.

Life feels good when somebody’s THERE.
It feels better when somebody SHARES.
It feels best when somebody CARES.

God bless you always & have a blessed Holy Week!!

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