Blueprints for Red’s Life

Day 26: For three days, we’ll work from AoM’s “Craft the Life You Want” series. While many things in life are out of our control, there are more things than we often realize that are in our control. Most often, we simply don’t realize that we have the power to change things in our life when we aren’t happy. Today, work on crafting a life plan. It can be a long process, so if you’re short on time, start by defining your various roles as a man, and your ultimate purpose and goals within those roles, including specific action steps.

Since I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, I’ll do the condensed prompt…

Red’s Roles as a Man:

  • Student – I’m currently doing nothing towards this role, save for the random curiosity search, but my Ultimate purpose is to be someone who’s always learning new things, sometimes because I want to, other times because I’ll need to. Being a doctor, I’ll be forced to learn about new diseases as well as new medications or procedures, I need to maintain the drive to constantly learn new things. The plans for these will be to review notes, and actively learn, or re-learn things until they’re stuck in my mind.
  • Son – Still living at home, I’m trying to remain a good son I offer my time when I can, trying to remain respectful and compassionate. My Ultimate purpose with this is to simply remain as good a son as possible until, I become the Parent. For now, it’s staying the course, and making sure I don’t lose my temper or become aggravated.
  • Brother – Being the Youngest, I have little expected of me, but I want to prove myself as an adult as well as a friend, and this to me, defines a brother, at this point in my life. My Ultimate purpose is to extend this to those who aren’t my kin, but to be a brother to everyone who comes to me. Specific actions of these, require me to have a LOT of patience, and to earn the respect of others, by being respectful. So maybe learning how to stay calm, or how to become friendly with all persons of all backgrounds.
  • Uncle – Being a parent when I’m not the parent, that’s what being an Uncle is to me. My Ultimate purpose with this is to try to be someone the girls (and whoever else calls me ‘Uncle’) can trust and love. Specific actions are to pretty much be there when the girls need me, and to give them what they need without spoiling them… too much.
  • Friend – I’m an introvert, but I do have people I like to talk to and hang out with. My Ultimate purpose is to become a trusted individual to all those who call me ‘friend’. Specific actions required of me are to actively hang out with other people and have a good time.
  • Disciple – Catholic, learning the ways of God and Christ. My Ultimate purpose is to have religion as the center of my moral compass and reflected in who I am, and what I do. Specific actions required of me are to be more present in church, volunteering, and actively learning more about my religion, reading the bible and whatnot.
  • Athlete – What good is it to tell others to be healthy when I’m not healthy myself? My Ultimate Purpose is to learn a martial art, or two, and become proficient in self-defense as well as being strong enough to help other people should a disaster strike.

These other roles aren’t important to my life as the previous ones, so I don’t have an ultimate purpose for them, they’re simply roles that I take on throughout my days.

  • Tutor –
  • Mentor
  • Writer
  • Volunteer
  • Nerd
  • Handyman
  • Babysitter
  • Driver

A Punishment to Some; To Others, a Gift; To Many, a Favor

Day 11Memento mori. “Remember that you will die.” Admittedly, this isn’t the most pleasant topic. There is, however, great benefit in meditating on the reality that at some point, you will in fact die. It motivates you to live the life right now that you want to be living. Meditate on this, and write out your thoughts. Does death scare you? Does it motivate you? It’s okay to be honest.

This quote was from Seneca, talking about Death. Heh, Death, my old friend. It seems like when I was young, Death was always around me, in such close encounters, that it can’t be anything more than a miracle that I’m still here in this life. But now that I’m older, Death has taken on a different role in my life. My Father’s own death was just… so sudden and unexpected, we never really got to prepare for it fully, save for the weeks when he had to stay at his job to save on gas, and didn’t come home. Here, Death feels like a cruel thief, stealing someone so important to me, but my Faith reminds me that Death has but only one Master, and that is God, Himself. Yet, my Father lived a life how he thought was the right way to live, despite the things that would’ve liked to have seen, he had all he ever needed within us.

So now to think that I will die, this is a rather interesting thing to ponder over, because some part of me thinks that I’m still young, so I’ve got that idiotic idea that I’ll never die,  but it’s mostly because I’m genually familiar with Death, I can remember that day when all I wanted to do was sleep, not knowing that I’d be sleeping for eternity, and how my family tried to hide their fears under their determination to keep me awake. In the years following, I’ve lived life with a flavor that was unique, and yet, as time has passed, that flavor is all, but gone.

Now, I don’t fear Death, I fear the unknown. Death to me, is like I said before, an old friend. I know my life isn’t even CLOSE to being finished, and yet, I don’t fear the idea that Death can come for me at any time. But I do use the death of others as a motivator, at least in the sense of trying to become stronger/faster/tougher: “What if something fell on the girls? Will I be strong enough to help?” etc. But my own Death? Nah, I’m fine. I even sometimes think about my funeral, who would show, what would happen afterwards, and so on. Heh, it’s kinda fun thinking about Death, but that could also be coming from the mixture of my Mexican side, who respects Death; my Youthfulness, who doesn’t think will die at all; and my Catholic faith, which tells me not to fear Death for it will be bringing me closer to God. I guess in the end, I feel like I owe this Life a lot of things before I meet Death, but then again, it’s up to God to determine that.

That face in the mirror

For a majority of my college life, I’ve always kept my hair short, spiked, not very long nor excessive, it would borderline between crew cut and porcupine.

Irrelevant? No, only leading up to my point.

With a change in growth, the change in identity is simply bound to follow, and what few people realize, a change in appearance.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that one’s beliefs, ideas, and resolves are shown in one’s mannerisms, speech, and even stance. Everyday quirks that one displays everyday speak volumes to those who are trained to see them. So when one grows and solidifies one’s beliefs, this is subconsciously displayed to everyone, which is also why “Like attracts like” or why a certain mindset brings about a specific result.

Yet, now this is where my hair comes into light. My hair is growing longer, mainly due to a lack of resources to cut it, but I’ve realized that mentally, subconsciously, and physically, I’m accepting that change, I’ve found my changes being discovered as time progresses, my ideas are formed with a different set of thought-process, the passion in my voice is not scattered but more focused, and yes, I’m starting to actually look different.

Going in the reverse order, I looked in the mirror and found that my face is starting to look… different, subtle, but enough to be noticed. With a change in physical appearance, after any significant massive physical growth spurts, can only mean that something within me has changed, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, something.

I was reading AoM’s mini-series about the minds of 20-somethings, and how at the end, at the age of 25, the mind has finally and officially matured into it’s adult-hood form. So, I guess that means that my change in physical appearance might be caused by another source.

Mentally, I was slapped with the harsh hand of reality, that I was not participating in the role of an adult that I had requested from my family after my father’s death. An adult would have taken greater responsibility than what I have done, in his family, in his life, and in his future. I was still acting like a child, by refusing to see and to act when I should have, by allowing the ideas and mental state of others, however unstable, to sway me to change my position or to silence me when I needed to speak up. This was some time ago, and since then, I have tried to open my eyes and my mind as wide as possible to try to pick up the slack I was leaving. I’m actively trying to make good with my time and to take a more active role in the family, I’m aiming to become one of the main protagonists, rather than a side-character in the story of my family. I’m not there yet, but as my mind is maturing, I’m pursuing it more and more, through conversation and explanation of my actions.

Spiritually, I have seen that my life is now starting to resemble a time when I was spiritually satisfied; the time of my Catholic Youth Group. Now, I am a member of the Knights of Columbus (KofC), a Catholic men’s organization for charity and spiritual growth in God and in Brotherhood. This is a bit of a stretch, because when I was in my Youth Group, we literally focused on spiritual growth in the forms of teachings about the Catholic faith, prayer, and activities that helped us focus on growing in the faith. The KofC are full of grown men, who seem to have already reached their spiritual growth and are now expressing it through prayer and action. When I was in the Youth Group, I was among peers who are growing in the Faith like I was; when I am in the KofC meeting, I’m among men of various ages, albeit older than myself, who have reached individualized peaks of growth in the Catholic faith. The spiritual energy is rather sporadic because there’s really no one who is close to my level to help me focus my energy on. Yet, I find myself smiling, and full of both energy and peace, as I stand among men old enough to be my father. I feel glad to be there, I feel as though, this will be my new ‘Youth Group’, that these men, these Knights, can help me grow spiritually and help me reach a peak in my own path to God that will surpass my own expectations.

In terms of Emotional change, I was informed by my sister, during our conversation on the phone, that I will come across patients who will be expressing powerful emotions, so much that they will sway a lot of people. Yet in order to be a good doctor, I must remain calm and focused on the task at hand, I will be facing these passionate people and if I do not have a firm grasp on my own emotions, I will find myself making a mistake simply because I was emotionally persuaded to. Granted, I should always act on my feelings of what is right and what is wrong, but I must strong in the sense that I will have to try to calm others who will react spontaneously, if I do not cannot try to calm them down, then my abilities to help them will be greatly hindered, and then what good will I be? I need to be both gentle and strong, passionate and focused, calm and firm, ready to act at a moment’s notice to any sort of disaster or change, all the while maintaining my own composure. When I will be faced with people who are panicking, scared, worried, pissed off, depressed, even emotional-less, I will have to find ways to make sure my own emotions don’t become blended, or effected by theirs, otherwise, I’ll walk away from the experience panicked, scared, worried, pissed off, depressed or even emotional-less. If I do not have a strong heart to hold on to, I will lose it in a sea where I will wind up heartless, and then how will I be able to help people?

So far, these are the only changes that I can use to answer my question of “why doesn’t my face look familiar?” That being said, there will always be an unknown factor, something unexpected or unforeseen that can cause my change. Perhaps it’s more subtle than I can detect, other than the physical manifestation of it, and even then, I cannot accurately address what it is that’s actually different in my face, only that it seems different. For all I know, it could be nothing at all, simply a figment of my imagination, or that my now-longer hair can cause that much of a change in my appearance. Well, all things come to Light in the end, whether or not I’m aware of what it is that has, or will have, change the objective now will be to try to maintain my course, of trying to get into medical school, by whatever means necessary. I’m now waiting for my results, which won’t come until the end of February, so until then, I have much work to do, or rather, I should find ways to improve my current situation and that of my family and friends… Well, I can always go back to volunteering at the hospital…

The Fourth Rosary

After my Father had passed, my Mother’s friends came by one day and handed us a brown paper bag. In it, were containers of rosary-necklaces, there was many and all of them were one of 3 different styles and sizes. My mother showed me the contents of the bag and spread out the Rosaries allowing me to see each of them in detail.

“Take whatever you want.” She says to me. and I reached down and grabbed a single container, and added to my collection of Rosaries. This is what I’ve chosen:

Rosary for my Father

To this day, in my possession, I have a total of four Rosaries that I pray with:

  1. The large dark colored Rosary, my first Rosary ever, given to me by a friend when I was in my Youth Group, I pray with this Rosary, everyday.
  2. The Wooden Rosary, given to me by another friend some time after the first, while I was still in my Youth Group. I was told it was made by Nuns in Jerusalem, I pray with it every Sunday.
  3. The small Mini-Rosary, with clear blue-green beads, given to me by my Hermanita. I pray with it, whenever I’m away from home, yet I carry it with me everywhere I go.
  4. And finally, I have the White and Silver Rosary Necklace, as seen above, I only pray with this on September 3rd and November 10th, the days of my Father’s Death and Birth, respectively.

Faith. My Father was always certain about faith, He always made sure we went to the Mass every week, and usually we go on Saturdays (which make people scratch their heads, oddly enough) yet if we were preoccupied on Saturday, then he’d make sure we go on Sundays, and in extreme cases, we’d watch the Mass on TV. We always prayed before eating as well as whenever we go on the Freeway or on long journeys, we’d pray for everyone in a small prayer.

And we’d always do the little Catholic rituals that was tied with our heritage, Christmas time would have us carrying the Baby Jesus around the house, while singing him to sleep, obviously saying grace before the Holiday dinners.

And from him, I’ve learned to maintain a solid foundation of Faith. Although my Faith is mainly credited to my Mother, I saw my Father live his life in doing what he thinks is right under the eyes of God. Although I never saw him pray without the family present, I saw traces of what religious activities he’s done when alone. During the times when he had to spend 2-3 days at work, He had a CD player, and the only CD’s he had in the van was the audio Bible, there was a magnetic lil crucifix on his dashboard, and he always wore a Scapular underneath his shirt. In his wallet there was various religious objects such as saints medals and crucifixes.

I never had a religious conversation with my father, yet from him, I saw that one’s religion was a personal path. Although the Gospel should be preached wherever one goes in life, the bond between one and God was always private, and only for the parties involved, never a show to be seen by others. I remember there’s a passage that says, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” – Matthew 6:6.

I realize now that my Father embodied that passage. And it’s really true, to the extent when it was only on rare occasions that I ever saw him say a prayer either before going to work, or before leaving to go somewhere. Granted one can share one’s faith with others, yet, it’s your faith, your ties with God, that will always remain. Everyone has to stand before God and be judged on the life they have lived, there will be no one else standing beside them, no space between Judge and the Judged.

I suppose I developed that from him, however that’s a bit hard to argue since I’ve been praying in solitude sometime before I saw him pray in solitude. Then again, as his son, ideals and mannerisms can be passed down genetically.

In either case, I’m glad to say that my Father was a good Catholic man, and as such, it gives me great relief to know where we all go whenever we’re good on this mortal coil. I will pray for him.

Be without Fear in the Face of your Enemies…

Sometime ago, there was a Irish-American Priest named Father Michael J. McGivney, who gather a group of men together to create an organization, to provide assistance to families who have no means to take care of themselves, the main idea was to provide a mutual benefit for society, to help those who could not help themselves. Catholics were forbidden against the Free Masons and any other organization that young men can join to spend their free time. So then Father McGivney decided to create the ‘Sons of Columbus’ in honor of Christopher Columbus. However his friend, James T. Mullen, decided that the organization’s name would better capture the ritualistic nature of the organization, and therefore named it, ‘Knights of Columbus’. The Organization grew exponentially, as Catholic Men, joined and became closer to God by doing for others, charities, volunteering and over all providing assistance to those who are in need.

Sounds good to me!

As of Yesterday, I have signed up to become a Knight of Columbus. I wasn’t sure why I didn’t do it before, because I have always wanted to be a Knight, a Catholic knight, for that matter. I mean it’s a ‘Class’ that I have planned to take on in the future, so why not now? It’ll just mean, I can say I’m a Knight on more than one level! A Catholic Knight and a Final Fantasy Knight.

Although I don’t think they’ll place me on missions to fight evil demons or rescue Damsels in distress, it’ll be nice to know that I’m part of an organization that is doing what it can to help save the world. Heh, just like me.

Now all that’s left is to do what I can to be able to provide the greatest amount of assistance, to my family, my friends, and soon, the World. Now I have friends who can help me do it.

This ought to be interesting… Very interesting…

It’s a start…

For Greater Glory…

For Greater Glory, starring Andy Garcia, with an interesting blend of Hispanic actors and actresses. It’s covers the War over the freedom of Religion in Mexico, when Catholicism was outlawed by the Government and many catholic priests were killed and shot outside of the Churches (and sometimes in them!). The people have decided to revolt against the government and Andy Garcia plays a former general who won many victories in the past, and was hired by the Cristas, to lead them and help them win the war against the Government, despite his lack of Faith.

It wrenches your hearts when the Priests, just before they were killed, would tell the soldiers and their captain that they forgive them. There was also a boy who ran away to help fight, no more than 15, and Andy Garcia’s Character takes him under his wing due to him having only daughters. He treats the boy like his son, and the Boy gets caught, tortured and is executed for not renouncing Christ. Andy Garcia arrives just in time to see the execution but was too late to stop it. It was only then, that he has decided to truly accept the Catholic Faith.

For me, as a Catholic as well as a Mexican, I felt like I had received a slap to the face. I never knew the bloody history of Mexico as well as how devoted the people were to their faith. Quite honestly, tears were swelling in my eyes, and not because of what was displayed through subtle and advanced movie techniques and tricks, but because what I was watching was true: a boy under extreme torture and facing Death, smiles and says, “Long live Christ”; a Country divided over Religion; and the Faith people were willing to die for.

My eyes swelled because I was questioning whether or not I will have such faith were I in that situation. Will I praise Christ when someone points a gun to my face? or will I give in to their demands and renounce my Faith? Although I’m certain that I’ll never wind up in that situation, only God knows what the future holds. And it is only under conditions of trials and tribulations that we show ourselves, as well as the world, who we truly are. And until I’m faced with that scenario, the questions will constantly be burning in my mind, “Will I give up?” “Is my Faith strong enough?” “Will I run or stand my ground?” These questions and so many more, will echo in the back of my mind. I suppose, the answers to them will be revealed when my life is over, and I am cold in the ground.

Heh, I guess I should say, “and I am in Heaven.” But the truth is, I’ve always found it arrogant when people assume such things. Then again, it’s the age-old debate of, “Are we forever saved or do we have to earn it?” And the arguments go back and forth. But for me, I will wait until my end to be revealed where I go, mostly due to a desire to do good for the sake of Heaven’s Glory. If I let myself think that there’s nothing I can do to prevent me from going into Heaven, then will I start sinning and lose my entry? If I don’t think that my place in Heaven has already been secured, then am I truly saved?

… Heh heh heh, I guess these questions don’t matter in the end. All that matters whether or not I am a Good man, and prove to myself, and hopefully the world, that I am a good man each and every day. Heh, it seems like this gets harder and harder as time passes and I find myself with less and less patience when it comes to certain people.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? To decide at the moment to give in to anger or patience? To hate or to love? To sink to their level or take the higher path? I guess for each of us, we have to decide for ourselves what we are and where we stand, and hopefully in the eyes of God, we will be good people, the Chosen people.