In the closing of the year, one cannot help but feel a tad reflective. It’s been quite a year for me – starting in Kuching and ending in Rome. The transition has not been easy and I still feel that I’m in the process of adjusting to life here. Slowly or as the Italians like to say, ‘piano, piano’ or ‘gently does it’ seems to be the way to go. What follows is part of what should have been a letter to all the students I met and worked with during my time of regency at SJPS but especially to the first graduating batch. I offer my congratulations to the graduands and my prayers and best wishes to everyone. This one’s for all of you.
What follows are three points that I’d like to offer, points that I hope will help those who are to begin transition and for those who might need a little push to be better in some way. They won’t make one smarter, faster or stronger but I hope they will go some way in making us all better human beings. And here they are.
I remember writing this on some cards after ‘Us and Them’, our drama club production this year and this is what it means to me. To look for and hopefully find activities, interests or even mentors who can help open our vision to things hitherto unseen or not yet experienced. To be inspired (by someone or something) is to feel more alive, more open to the world and ultimately yourself. Being inspired does two things. First, it pushes us outwards as we learn new things and are made more aware of our relationship with others and the world. It makes us more keenly in tune with God who is all around us. Secondly, it brings us inwards as we see ourselves grow, recognise our innate gifts, and become more able to use these gifts. We become more comfortable with ourselves and in tune with God.
To have a strong belief in things not (yet) experienced is to have faith. Hope comes with faith, a hope that reminds us that things will get better and all we need is a bit of patience. This is a hope that’s not blind but one that’s confident in our abilities and the grace of god. To have faith is to know that things aren’t going to be easy but that there will be help, relief and comfort from others and from God. It’s know that we’re not alone in this journey, that some suffering can indeed build character and that hope lights up the deepest darkness.
To love is simply to be and to live beyond ourselves. when we realise that we’re loved, we want to share that always. Love brings inspiration and faith together. Our inward inspiration allows us to see the love that we’ve received and the hope that it brings. To live not for ourselves alone but for others as well. To want to spread the joy of inspiration and the hope that faith brings. That’s just a small facet of this thing, this gift called love. And that makes our lives, no matter how tough, boring or ordinary, truly amazing ones. Why? Because they’re ours, unique gifts from God.