It’s hard to always be loving when we end up hurting. At some point, we have to learn our lesson. And that’s what I did when I was younger. Coming from a broken family, growing up with my grandparents and being passed on from one relative to another, I was misled to believe that being emotionally attached to people in my life will hurt me. At any given time, there’s a possibility that they’ll eventually leave me (based from my own early experiences). As a result, unconsciously, I did not noticed that in the process (as a defensive mechanism and in order to protect my feelings), I turned out to be the kind of person who is causing pain to those around me. Either by ending a relationship before getting hurt or by not even investing any emotion in it.
I was made to believe that I was emotionally stronger because of it. Of course I was wrong. It took me almost 3 decades (roughly around 28 years), in order for me to unlearn this misled belief. And it happened during my first ever trip outside of the country. More than a decade ago, as part of work, I was deployed in the East Coast (part of United States) to promote property investments to Filipino communities in the tri-state (Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC) area. As a prerequisite for that particular assignment, a candidate must have a relative or friend in the area, in order for a candidate to minimize his or her cost on lodging (as much as possible), and to also have an available local help to direct him or her to the Filipino communities in the area. Having met the said requirements, I was blessed to have an opportunity to visit my cousins in Virginia (as a bonus), while trying to bring back home Filipinos to their motherland, hopefully through an investment in the Philippines.
As my first ever out of the country trip and overseas assignment, I was excited. But that excitement dwindled, once the reality of what was happening in the US dawned on me. It was year 2008, US was experiencing a housing bubble in relation to the 2008 financial crisis. What used to be a harvest market, is going through a drought. Just to give you a better idea, most of the investors (normally Filipinos) from the US back then, would take a loan against their property (in the US, during the price boom) and invest it in a property in the Philippines. However, during the housing bubble, that option was no longer available, since property prices are in decline, and like most property owners in the US, the Filipino communities were also affected. Despite the situation, I didn’t went home empty-handed. I still made a sale, but I also end up paying a six-figure amount (deductible from my receivable commissions) for that quite expensive experience.
Even though it wasn’t a successful business trip, it was very instrumental in remolding me as a person. It was an opportune time for me to be exposed to another reality, a life lesson about love. At that time, I was also struggling with my relationships and haven’t figured out, what matters most in life yet. I never imagined that I need to be in a different country, away from those people that are dear to my heart, for me to relearn to always be loving. My short stay in the US was just the perfect time and place for me to discover this lifelong lesson. And it was made possible because I was first invited to be a part of a community, in the form of my uncle’s men’s ministry. They were all older than me, but we are all equally married. The group meets once a week, after work, and every week one member will be tasked to facilitate a certain chapter in the book or module that they’re currently studying, at that time it was a popular book entitled “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.
I heard about the book before, but not until I was forced or was pushed to study it (because I was assigned a day or chapter to discuss it with the group) that I proceeded in picking it up and reading it. For the few weeks that I was a new (and a temporary) member of my uncle’s men’s ministry, I felt genuinely welcomed and witnessed their authentic care and love for each member of the group. A fitting illustration to the lesson that was assigned to me to discuss, which is Day 16: What Matters Most (you may click on the link to know more in detail). That particular evening will be one of my most memorable, as I’ll leave that night changed and armed with the wisdom to always be loving. For the very reason that,
“No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
1 Corinthians 13:3
Guided by the above principle, it makes more sense to align ourselves in our Father’s command to,
“The entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: Love Your Neighbor as yourself.”
The above expensive experience was all worth it, as it allowed me to unlearn my misled belief. Getting hurt should not teach us to stop loving. Rather we should be reminded that,
“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”
Together, let’s encourage one another to ALWAYS BE LOVING. I appreciate you for dropping by and thank you for your time. Feel free to reach out. 🙂