Happy New Year From A Stranger

“There was a moment there when his eyes were almost red and teary. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I felt there was a glimpse of sadness, and at the same time-  a glance of reassuring hope”.- sundaewrites

The best surprise you’re ever gonna get is just around the corner, waiting to land on your hands at the perfect time! Trust me, you’re gonna love it!

Mine came in a package I never expected, but deep down I knew it’s meant for me like Somebody really had me in mind when the gift was picked, wrapped, and finally shipped for delivery.

The working hours have been cut short today. Major roads are going to be closed before dusk. People are rushing to strategic places to witness fireworks, light shows, and water shows. Phones have been ringing nonstop for restaurant and cafe bookings.  Malls are crowded with locals and tourists, and groceries, oh yes, queues are longer, trolleys are stuffed more than ever, check out scanners are beeping faster than I could even blink!

The New Year!

Yes, the last day of the year has arrived, and everybody is looking forward to greeting the new year with a bang! You hear music, and noise everywhere and almost everyone is pumped up and induced to talk louder. But for one still moment, a kind gentle voice caught my ear.

“Happy new year”, he said.

“Happy new year to you too!”, I answered back, hurriedly.

Man: “I really don’t know how to cook, but I will try. My family is coming over”.

Me: “Oh, that’s great. So what do you have in mind”.

Man: “Some potatoes, salad, some meat. How about you?”

Me: “Just bread, cheese, and chips. No cooking required”. I smiled. “So you said your family’s visiting”?

Man: “Yes, for a few days, and then they’re going back. I’ll be left alone here. It’s always work, work, work for me. How about you”?

Me: “That sounds like me too. But I made up my mind to find sort of a balance, starting next year, or tomorrow, if you may”. I’m struggling with it, but I’ll do my best.”

Man: “Read books. That’s what I do. I don’t watch tv shows, and I don’t even have a smartphone but when I read even just a few pages, I feel happy. When you get closer to knowing, and learning, it really feels good. It makes me feel good. And I have God, you know. All these are going to go away anyhow, but I have God, I’m happy and I know I’ll be happy”.

Me: “I agree. I’m a believer too”!

Man: “I know. (smiling with approval). I wish you again a happy new year!

Me: “Same to you. Can I shake your hand”?

Man: “Yes”!

He had a huge grin and even placed my hand on his forehead. I bet if he wasn’t shy at all he could have given me a hug. I know I should have. But the encounter just caught me by surprise!

Did I tell you that during this conversation we were actually at the check out counter, and my card has been rejected maybe four times? The card machine showed an error message and I had to key in my PIN every single time. That gave me like a five-minute delay.  A delay that has been purposely used by the universe for this stranger and me to talk.

There was a moment there when his eyes were almost red and teary. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I felt there was a glimpse of sadness and at the same time a glance of reassuring hope.

God’s divine appointment. I guess that was one of mine. Sometimes these appointments are disguised in disruptions.  But when I heard that kind gentle voice, I felt the sincerity of the man’s heart.  I knew then God was at work in that ordinary but magical moment. The world stood still as he and I exchanged words about our cares and sentiments, but in that small window, of time and space, we’ve given each other a genuine sense of comfort, unadulterated love and the highest form of respect one soul can give to another.

It was unexpected. I was unprepared. And the best part is, I was blessed.

A chance encounter.

A meaningful experience.

An extraordinary way to end the year.

Warmth overload.

Merry Christmas

christmas gifts on brown parquet floor
Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

I was stuck at home for two weeks caused by a muscle spasm on my lower back. Standing up, sitting down, coughing and even laughing gave me so much pain. “Maybe this is how it feels to be 70, or it could be that my back needs rest”. I realized the ache to rest is more true, not only for me but for you.

This year had been a tug-of-war of sorts. As most of us eased to getting back to normal routines, we were pulled back again by another threat- another C-19 variant, and a new hurdle- the aftermath of Super Typhoon Rai (known as “Odette” in the Philippines).

Like the muscles on my back, majority of us are feeling the strain; our bodies are tired, our minds’ exhausted, our spirits’ down. Fears and worries are building up. “How can we get past this?”, some people from my hometown asked. “I don’t know. But maybe it’ll make a difference if we learn to shift our focus”.

girl sitting on grass smelling white petaled flower
Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on Pexels.com

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Yes we all have struggles, and they come in different forms-financially, spiritually, physically, mentally, or emotionally. But the struggles don’t have to steer our life.

At any time,

we can choose to be driven

by what we can do,

rather than be immobilized

by thoughts of what we can’t do.


If you think about it, life, as much as the world, is a garden too. There’s a time to cultivate, to plant something and to water it. Soon enough, we see blossoms and growth, certainly a gift we take in and enjoy. We do so not because we have to, but because it’s time.

A Time for Everything, Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

I got what I prayed for this Christmas day– healing. But more than that, God gave me what I needed, a time to slowdown and a nudge to shift my focus.

Today is all about His Son and what His birth brings to all mankind: hope and redemption. So for me, today is a time:

  • to celebrate
  • to be grateful
  • to honor life
  • to pray for all those who are suffering, in whatever form; and
  • to give

It is also a time,

  • to remind our loved ones they mean the world to us
  • to acknowledge how far we’ve come
  • to rebuild, start anew; and
  • to rekindle our faith in God, in humanity, and in ourselves.

“God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If He gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.”

Pope Francis

God speaks to you this Christmas and He brings you a gift. Set aside everything else for now, and let this day be about Him.

You Find What You’re Looking For

Many times we do find what we’re looking for. We find problems more than opportunities. We see the glass half empty rather than half full.
We find what we’re missing and lose sight of what we have.
We see lack instead of providence.

I had a teachable moment day.

I was preparing to visit the consulate office to obtain a document for my brother. All other forms have been completed and I know I’m all set to go. Just before signing off, I had a nudge to check the website again for office timings. That’s when I saw the glaring notice flashing like a news headline, “All transactions are by appointment. Only those who have booked an appointment on any given day can enter the premises”.

Man! I scrambled to check the calendar, surely there would be a spot for me the next day. Turns out, the only available slot is from two months away! How could have I missed it?

I back-tracked a little bit and tried to figure why didn’t I see this two weeks ago when I was looking up the requirements? I figured all things right but not this appointment. Sort of like a glitch in my processing system.

Reflecting on life, many times we do find what we’re looking for.

We find problems more than opportunities.

We see the glass half empty rather than half full.

We find what we’re missing and lose sight of what we have.

We see lack instead of providence.

Discontentment brews like a cup of coffee served in front of you any given morning.

Training our eyes to get a better perspective of things requires practice. That means we don’t get to master it overnight. It’s a daily choice, a daily act, a daily commitment.

What type of perspectives should we take?

Well, the ones that will help you.

There’s never an absolute response to this but in any situation, choose the perspective

  • that inspires you
  • that helps you move forward,
  • that guides you to find lessons of value
  • that leads you to interpret things in a positive light 
  • that enables you to see things in a bigger picture and how necessarily connected they actually are

Useful feedback that’s often neglected by most of us is our intuition. There’s an unexplainable power behind it that to my experience rewards our “leaning to it” with either opportunities or a sense of safety. Had I not “leaned into it” that one particular night, the missed notification would have soured my plans the next day! But the gap between the “discovery” and the time I had to go, afforded me some moments to explore and evaluate options with the help of friends.

A mentor of mine stressed the importance of leaning into our intuitions. He says that If we don’t, it will stop showing up. It will stop nudging us. Think about losing a strong ally.

The recent experience also highlighted to me the availability of friends and our friends’ friends.

 When you look for them, you’d find them. It’s like this web of connections only that, it’s real and it’s solid. See, we don’t have to go through this life alone. When you have friends like those who show up when needed the most, be grateful for them and treasure them. And when the opportunity comes, be that kind of friend too. You may not be able to pay it back to the same people but we can always pay it forward. That way kindness goes a long way.

My dear friend,

My wish for you is that you find what you’re looking for, but more than that, may you look for what your heart really wants to find.