Unconventional Lessons From the Story of the Three Wise Men

Supposedly, I had published this blog post last Monday, but all of the words I typed in my electronic tablet suddenly gone. I’ve been writing about this from Sunday evening that’s why I got frustrated. The funny thing is, it is all my fault, well, is there someone else?

I was so desperate in making my companion gadget to work faster. Being a geek-wannabe, I tried to fix it up. I accidentally delete all my Diaro app journal entries, so as my write-ups in this blog.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. ~Neil Gaiman

I learned this quote from my fellow Filipino blogger, Fel. I thought to myself, that should be the story of my 2015. Full of mistakes to remind myself that I am alive. Perfect people were not fun, it seems they hiding something. Especially those who belittle others just to show how big they are. Or how “perfect” they are. For me, perfect doesn’t exist. Don’t they?

Back to the story.

The good thing is, I have a backup file, at least for my digital journals. The lesson there? Be happy with your mistakes.  If you don’t make them, then that also counted as a mistake. Not taking risks is also a risk — the risk of regret. Yes, I got frustrated, which make me feel more human. But, it is also human to own that some flap in life and learn from them. There’s a vast space of room for that in the future by the way.

Compared to others, I got petty problems actually. After two months of waiting, I had my first day of work at Christmas day. I travel back that same day. After two days, my agency brings me back to work. This time, I’m carrying all my things. But, the same day, I travel back for more than an hour. Of course, I have to carry all of my things as well. The room of my apartment is on the third floor. No elevators.

Two days later. Again. My agency brings me back early in the morning to attend a safety orientation. I carry all my things. Again. My appointed time was five in the morning. I’m a slack that day I was late for an hour. The Indian that I have an appointment with was angry with me. Well, he had the reason to be. I apologized. I learned my lesson. Hope so. By the afternoon, that angry guy became cool with me. He told me I had to go back to my apartment. Again. I carry all my things again on my own to the third floor. Again. Wow! What an adventure!

Then here I am again, in the comfort of my apartment. Last Monday, I asked my agency through my mobile phone for some updates. I learned that I must first get my ID so can work for good.

Hopefully.

The back-and-forth of more than an hour travel. Working, then bumming. Repeat. That’s my story from almost two weeks past.

The good news is I have a lot of time to write. Again.

Now at day eighty-six, I’m still waiting for work. Instead of complaining, I studied more about my new company. This is now the time to change my not-so-good attitude from the past weeks.

If this is God’s way of making myself a more mature human being, so be it!

Photo Credit: Makia Minich via 500px  cc

Photo Credit: Makia Minich via 500px cc

What It’s Like to Celebrate New Year in Saudi Arabia?

This is not a long story. On New Year’s eve, I’m asleep. I’m still grateful that I did a blog post on the last day of 2014. I also Skyped (the same as Google, I think that “S” word was also now a verb) my family back in the Philippines. Another funny thing is, they can’t hear me, but I can hear them. So while my mother and my siblings were all talking, I’m a mute who just type words to respond.

As I can remember, I’m asleep at ten in the evening. I had no regrets. Besides, the only noise that I could hear are from car drivers who passionately blare their horns. This is my most quiet New Year celebration in my entire life. I enjoy it while it lasts with my blanket and pillows.

I would not deny though that I rather celebrate the New Year fully awake with my family.

The Three Wise Men’s Artful Lessons

Being a Catholic living in an Islamic country, I missed attending a Holy Mass. I heard there was some Islamic country who let Christians celebrate Catholic Mass. Saudi Arabia is quite too strict about that. That’s part of my life now here.

Thankfully, technology helped me to reflect on the Sunday Holy Gospel. Weekly, I’m watching Archbishop Chito Tagle of Manila from YouTube channel “Jesuit Communication.” Every bishop’s readings and reflections almost put me into tears. In my loneliness and uncertainties, the Word of God is my best companion. Last Sunday, the Gospel is about “The Three Kings/Magi/Wise Men.” In the Philippines, this is the last the day of the world’s longest Christmas season — started from the first day of September.

If you’re not a Catholic or not even a Christian, please continue reading. This blog post is not intended for someone with a specific brand of faith. You might still resonate. Despite how unqualified you think you are, you are able. You have nothing to prove. Nonetheless, need permission from someone.

The message of this good man of God is obviously for spiritual nourishment. I reflected on them. I think aside from the spiritual side, there’s also practical lessons of that beautiful story of the three wise men.

They were also wise men for these lessons:

1. They were outsiders, yet they are there.

These three men were from the far away land. They were outsiders. They have no expertise with the Scriptures except some little know-how. Yet, just by following a star they were able to see the infant Jesus.

When I first started to write, I felt like a complete outsider. I don’t have any past significant accomplishment as a writer. My prose in my own opinion is awful. My grammar has a lot of funny mistakes. English was not even my native language. In short, I had a little know-how.

Somehow I found my star to follow — writing at least 500 words a day and/or blog posting. That’s it for now. I believe even my relatives and most of my close friends didn’t know this blog even exist. My reason for not letting them know is I don’t want them to get worried. Maybe, I’ll just tell them casually when I got back home. Hopefully, sooner.

Do you feel like an outsider at the start? That’s completely normal. Find your star that you can follow.

2. They use their knowledge the right way.

The three wise men were ancient scientists. They studied the movements of stars. Their little knowledge of the prophecies of the coming of Christ combined with their scientific acumen is enough for them to be where they want to be.

I don’t believe there is a dumb person. There were just some who misuse, abuse and underused that knowledge they have. That also includes their skills and talents. They should examine their lives to be self-aware. To try out things to know which knowledge is worth knowing. Which skills are worth acquiring. And which talents are worth developing.

With today’s internet, anyone can be so knowledgeable in many different subjects. I’m guilty of this. I’m fond of knowing new things, but sometimes I was just driven by media gluttony. Digging deeply with my intentions, I found out I just want people to recognize me how knowledgeable I was.

So what if we know a lot? To impress people? For what? To increase our ego? No matter how much we know, our friend Google is still more knowledgeable than us.

Use your knowledge not just for the sake of knowing. Most of the time they were just distractions. Instead, use it to improve your art. To be a better father or mother. Better son or daughter. A better entrepreneur. A better employee. A better friend. Or, generally just to be a better you.

The Enemies In The Story

If the three wise men were the heroes of the story, so there were also the enemies — the antagonist.

1. The chief priests and scribes.

When King Herod learned about the birth of Christ, he called up the experts — the chief priests and scribes to verify the truth. He called the right group of people actually.

But, why it is that the three outsiders who got more passionate in looking for Christ than these so-called experts? They already know the coming of the Christ far more than anyone else, why don’t they go find the Christ themselves? That is because of their indifference.

Do you know any religious people who don’t seem to walk their talk?

Or, someone who reads cooking recipe without even trying to fry an egg?

In short, people with so much knowledge, but had no guts to apply them in their lives. To dirty their hands. To not just be content with the surface information, but also be in the action. I said it earlier, don’t seek knowledge just for the sake of knowing.

2. King Herod.

Herod was an envy-driven king. When he learned about the birth of Christ, he lied to the three wise men. He said he also wants to worship the newborn King. The truth is he wants to kill the true King. They didn’t come back to him. Filled with so much anger, he sends out men to kill all the little boys just to eliminate Christ.

There were Herods in our lives. In our pursuit of doing something, some people smelled you as a threat to them. They shun you for being different. Your mere presence is their discomfort.

Much worse, they want to kill you. Maybe not for your life, but your reputation. Through bad mouthing. Gossips. Discouragements. Spreading lies about you.

As a beginning writer, I can’t remember any Herod experience except my ego, self-doubts, and fear of rejection. If I encounter them, then I should be happy. That means I’m doing something worth criticizing. This is not being insensitive, but more of accepting the truth of life. Part of making a difference is to fish some haters and detractors.

I encounter many Herods in some aspects of my life besides my pursuance to write. Everyone has their own Herods.

If we will be honest with ourselves, we know that we also became Herods to others. If not, then maybe you’re either a liar or a living saint.

For the Summary

I know this my most preachy post yet. But, I’m still hoping that the message still sinks in with you. To continue your passion. To push yourself to be better in whatever your important work now. To use your knowledge the right way. To avoid toxic people.

If you’re barely starting like me, do something worthwhile for the audience of one — you. Don’t ask permission. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Then at maturity follows, learn to help others. I got a long learning curve and I don’t hurry a bit. I’m just enjoying the process. I admit, though, I’m just plain lazy sometimes. If you already had the burning desire that makes you wake-up with the clarity of purpose. If you’re pumped up to do something remarkable every single day, then I’m happy for you. I congratulate you.

Share with me your story so I could learn from you.

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