By Elaine Cercado
How have you been blessed and how have you blessed others in 2018? How do you want to be blessed and to bless others this 2019? These were the questions asked by the presiding priest in the Mass we attended last 1st of January 2019. As we sat for our yearly sharing of family reflections of the past year and plans for the new year, we reflected on these questions that resonated to us earlier in the day.
When we started 2018, our family lived in a home we’ve owned for 12 years, our only child was about to start his second year in bachelor of science in architectural design overseas, and our house-helper of 14 years was with us. Professionally, I was focused on our family’s small but steady consultancy in Singapore and a promising start-up consultancy with partners in the Philippines. As a couple, we were active volunteers in our community for almost 20 years.
By the start of 2019, we have sold our home, earned good returns and moved to a smaller place. Our son has completed his second-year subjects with high distinctions and has started to make plans for his future overseas. We’ve let go of our house-helper, who was like a family member, due to the new family situation. On the business side, our little consultancies both in Singapore and the Philippines have grown that led my husband to actively participate in it. Through it all, we’ve remained active in our community volunteer service, and have nurtured loving friendships and relationships.
While these sounded all great, and maybe typical of the “empty nesting” phase of life, the road we travelled was not easy. Truth be told – when we grow older, our ingrained mindsets, preferences, habits and comfort zones become harder to change. At this stage, we may have unfulfilled dreams and bucket list we would rather do.
Being open and willing, and to actually do what it takes to change, learn, un-learn, re-learn and grow are easier said than done. Yet they can and must be done to truly experience joy and meaning in our life journey.
As we travel ahead to 2019, allow me to share reflection points with the hope that I can inspire some thoughts and actions.
Bold decisions and actions bring bold blessings. Letting go of our only child, long-time house-help and owned home were not easy. Being away from my son was difficult emotionally. The process of moving and setting up a new home was draining in all aspects. Yet we arrived at these family decisions and executed with discernment, discussion and prayer. We were emboldened by our love and faith, and were rewarded greatly. The greatest reward was seeing how my son was thriving – rooted in our family values while excelling with his talents and potentials.
Trust that life’s surprises lead to wonderful joys. Last May 2018, we were blessed to celebrate our 25th year wedding anniversary milestone with a private mass and meeting with Pope Francis. This almost didn’t happen due to the new family situation but thankfully, we allowed life’s unplanned moments to delight us.Another surprise was my husband’s participation in our consultancy, which has stretched his skills and experiences in new ways. And after 25 years, we just discovered that we had different ways of going about our domestic chores. Delightful discoveries and surprises go on whatever our phase or age in life is!
All the material success in the world mean nothing if there’s no higher purpose. When Ireflected on the two big questions Monsignor Heng asked in his homily, the challenges we faced and blessings we received were not about the house, money and school awards. They were about the loving family memories and values we’ve built and are continually building; or the joy from our good relationships and friendship with others; or the fulfilment derived from seeing a person excel and realize his potentials.
Have we become better than yesterday? Let’s review our life in terms of: How have we been blessed and how have we blessed others in 2018? As we plan for 2019, let’s answer: How do we want to be blessed and to bless others this 2019?
I wish everyone a bolder, joyful and purposeful 2019!
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