[COLUMN] Let’s live in peace, not wait till we ‘rest in peace’

This year which  will soon bid us farewell  has given me great lessons and priceless experiences both physically, emotionally and  spiritually at this time of my life. It is filled with  many occurrences , either imagined or planned,   as well as events beyond one’s control, like death.  Before thanksgiving my only living sister, Sor. Leticia Delfin, OP, (a Dominican nun for almost 50 years)   passed away  after a lingering deadly Parkinson’s  disease!  As a practicing Catholic, I have accepted  the inevitability of death, as part of parcel of living  on earth. No one can escape death, the greatest equalizer in life, which  even the  richest or most powerful person cannot negotiate and win.

I believe I have undergone a profound intrinsic metamorphosis in my life, as I  traverse  my unique  personal journey on this planet. As I do my  regular  walk of faith,  I  experience a wide  gamut of  human emotions along the way that often compels me to ponder and reflect deeply the  purpose of my life  With the expected  passing away of  my last living   Sister Leticia ( I had 3 other sisters who have passed much earlier)     before thanksgiving  and buried on her 70th birthday last month,  it  hit me like a brick that any day it  will also be my last day, considering that I am their eldest brother among my siblings.

On Thanksgiving Day and now the Season of Advent, I am quite aware and have made another resolution that  indeed,   I have to live the VERY  best I can DAILY  because one of these days, it really will be my  last day too!    Every waking  hour,  as I  hike on this Earth,  creating  and adding substantial or meaningful “contents”  placed  inside  that  little inconspicuous   hyphen that  will separate  the year of my birth and the year of death  on my tombstone.  What a sobering thought causing a  very powerful earthquake in my bones shaking  my whole being!   Spiritually,  I think I am ready to die,   but as a human being, I am also  scared to undergo  that certain  phase my  life that I have never experienced before!

As my desire for material possessions has significant declined during the last couple of  decades,   my craving for inner peace and spiritual health  has increased, following the example of my favorite Saint John the Baptist  who unflinchingly declared that “HE must increase and I must decrease.”  That bold statement that bewildered many of his followers  must  be shouted louder and with more frequency these days when most of  pubic  servants and civil or  political  leaders  appear too callous and  arrogant to  recognize and work towards the  common good!   Many have become S. S.  (self serving) leaders  instead of true Servant Leaders like the likes of Mahatma Gandhi or George Washington.  Sad documentary  of our times,  but quite true as we are bombarded by  depressing TV news  and the daily newspapers.  There seems to be a dearth of good news,  often  hidden behind  BAD  news caused by evil men upon his fellowmen. News  from Ukraine to Israel,  from the U.S.  malls  where emboldened  daylight robberies occur,  from school campuses to places of worship where random shootings take place, are now too common. Devil appears anywhere  working hard to win and destroy our  peace on earth.  It seems that there is no more public place that is sacred and immune from violence  and crimes.

To be happy and at peace is getting harder and becoming very challenging.  I am glad that   I am now “retired” from the rat race in pursuit of material things  that sometimes causes other bad things,  like stress,  depressions or ulcers. By no means, I am not a rich man, but I think I have a rich life.  As an active volunteer  of our  Peace & Justice Ministry of our church  and a prison Minister in our Diocese of Orange,   I have learned  much despite that I have now lesser cash or income the last couple of decades during my retirement.  Ironically, however, there are upsides as I feel much happier and more fulfilled now that when I worked  50-60 hours a week chasing the Almighty Dollar.  I  now  live a much  simpler life  and  happier with more joy doing by doing “nothing”  but just reading and writing (I have published by first book, “Finding Life’s  Meaning & Leaving a Legacy” that was diligently done  during the COVID-19 years)  For physical activities,  I  still bike and also do and  enjoy my organic  gardening and doing my  “APOStolic”  by being an uber driver to my two young granddaughters from school.  If you are do what I do, you will know the JOY these activities can bring you as priceless rewards.

The biblical saying that “that where your treasures are, is where your heart will be” is indeed true.  With  that  backdrop, please allow me to end  my last 2023 column by sharing  some  random activities  that you too can do that may contribute to your own  life’s  happiness, fulfillment and joy, while helping our world to become a better place  and a more peaceful society for  our children, their children and their children:

  • Minimize or moderate your greed for more material things. Most likely you too have more than enough to last you until you die.     There is a study that after  a certain  amount of money you in your bank account, any more addition can no longer significantly augment  towards your happiness and comfort.
  • We all have two  hands. Use one hand to help yourself,  and the other hand,  to help others.
  • Like Mother Teresa has shown the world,   we have to do our activities, not only  with our H ead and H ands but also engage our Heart (to love others)  This is the her Three  H’s  to be Happy and JOY-FULL
  • Volunteer to any ministry  in your church or any community benefits organizations (CBOs) in your city  doing good works for those who have less in life, the young and old and  vulnerable. Work  for  the common good,  especially  at risk children, the poor , the weak and those in need. Many non-profit organizations like the Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions , YMCA,  RobynesNest,  and many others that can use  your time,. skills and experience.
  • Tutor young children to  read, teach them to become productive citizens while their minds are moldable.  Idle  children often times lead to destructive behaviors, and often the big factors why young people land in jails.
  • Rather than cursing the darkness around you,  light your own candle.  Or become like the water lily plant that is over  polluted waters  but still thrives and cleanses the dirty water beneath  it.
  • For Christians,  there are many corporal acts of mercy that  you can do.  Matthew 35 writes:  feeding the hungry,  giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked or visiting those in prison are important corporal
  • Meet a new friend, by being a friend to someone.
  • Live simply, so others can simply live.  SHARE  MORE!

Many of us can easily do any of the above without much cost or hundreds of hours investment  if you really wanted to.  Time and  talent even without much treasure  can help significantly to better this  world we all share.  Thank you for reading this Christmas/NY column.

Perchance,   if  you want more information what to do or how  to volunteer, and make your boring life more exciting, and worth living,  feel free to call me  and I can share my factual experiences in volunteer work with anyone who calls me.  You may also visit any of these websites:  Prison ministry (www.rcbo.com/restore) or Rotary (www.rotary5320.org) or the CBO for at risk kids at:  (www.robynesnets.org)

Or simply  contact me at 714 746 3088 or send an email to: [email protected].

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!  May the coming year bring you prosperity, happiness and PEACE!

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Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice.  The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information.  This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed.  The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you.  This article does create any attorney client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, APLC.  This article is not a solicitation.

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[email protected].

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