Friday, September 27, 2013

A "Life" Sentence


Imagine a courtroom scene but you cannot see. You hear the gavel and the sentence but do not understand. The courtroom is filled with outbursts and chaos. Frightened, you seek a motherly comfort but it does not exist.

Wake up to the hell called prison. Paint the cruel picture and every nasty stereotype associated with prisons and make them worse. The fellow prisoners scorn and laugh at you. Guards spit and beat you for no reason but hatred, delighting in every blow.

Now step back. Let you mind see the victim of this circumstance. Reveal one of the most adorable babies in the world. Hear the voice of someone magnificent (like Morgan Freeman) say, "Abortion is a Life Sentence (focus on the paradox) for that child who has done nothing wrong and not even has had the chance to breathe like everyone who condemned him or her. Is that a just ruling?"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Light of the World

               I heard someone speaking to a congregation say, “You are the Light of the World.” It’s somewhat a common phrase, mostly in Christian communities, but what does it mean? Perhaps the answer lies in examining what it means to be in the dark. 

I can say I’m in the dark when I don’t understand something. This phrase is in contrast to when I say, “I see” while finally understanding a concept or joke. When we don’t know something, we are like blind men, relying on others’ words for guidance and having to accept them on faith.

Another thing to consider is the idea of the world being “dark”. This can also mean different things but they are related. They are the world being full of crime and evil, fear, hate, and despair. Here, it can be argued that one follows the other. Crime can lead to fear which can turn to hatred and a lack of love can lead to despair. Despair is also the result of another path, the loss of hope in general. Without hope, the day is not bright but instead gloomy. There is nothing to look forward to. 

Being the Light of the World counters all of these. It grants wisdom to the ignorant. It fights crime with good, allowing us to be not afraid. It teaches us to love others. Most of all, it gives us hope! With hope, we hold optimism. We have something to look forward and work towards. The light of hope removes the blindfold of despair and permits us to see the good in things. 

Everyone has the power to hope and to spread it across the world. Those who shine are called Good Men and Women. The ones who shine the brightest have another name. They are called Heroes with a higher class being Saints. They teach us various things. They turn their back on evil while using their hands to help others. They love others at their own expense. We can see the darkness of evil in contrast to their light. They inspire in us hope. That is what it means to be the “Light of the World”.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Does Facebook Make Long Distance Relationships Harder?

Here was a thought I had a while ago. Modern tools and social media has made it easier to interact with friends and acquaintances over long distances, but has this made relationships better or worse? I think it’s more the latter, at least for some cases. If it’s used properly, then it can improve them.
With social media, there’s an idea that it’s “easy” to talk to someone whenever. There’s also that idea that you should be able to expect a reply to a message within a day or few hours. I guess when people check their accounts 5-20 times a day, it sounds reasonable. However, people also feel like the responses should be faster, because we can see when they are “online”. It’s not always true, but there’s that idea there.
I remember when I first got facebook many years ago, I was excited to be able to talk with old acquaintances. However, that excitement would get me too carried away as every time I saw certain people online, I would initiate a chat session and get mad if the responses took too long. The problem is that when you “chat” with someone every day, you run out of things to talk about. Then it’s just an annoyance rather than a pleasant experience.
Now, I’ve limited my facebook usage and chat sessions. I may have a long chat session once in a while, but once in a while is okay. In that case, it’s like catching up. A year or two ago, I began to place a stronger limit in which I was only on for 20 minutes a day. That worked for a while, until I realized that I used facebook as a means to obtaining quick answers that could use some detail. However, I would admit that I felt better. When I was on all the time, I felt lonely and depressed.
So how does this affect long distance relationships? I’ve read various things online and listened to different people and their experiences. Basing off those, and what I have said above, I think the problem is space. When a relationship starts, we naturally want to talk with that significant other a lot and get to know them. However, there needs to be room to breathe and time to digest the information. We require space to partake in the other aspects of our lives.
I’ve mentioned before that long distance relationships appeared to have been more successful when we did not have instant communication. When it was based of letters and occasional conversation, the love blossomed. Perhaps the reason was the time delay and it was accepted. This granted time and space for us to fulfill our obligations and also to pull material from. We could linger on our experiences and longings.
Of course, maybe there’s just something about receiving a letter. I still get excited when I find one. A good letter can take away the annoyance of a whole box full of junk mail and bills. So maybe it’s just personal. But when I talk to others, I find a common consensus that receiving letters are enjoyable. So I think there is something in there. Whether it’s what I have concluded is another question.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Work is Fun, Together

                Here’s an interesting phenomenon: when we were little toddlers, work was fun until we realized it was work. Today, mowing the lawn or cleaning the house is a chore, but if you have a little baby or toddler, they’ll come up smiling and imitate us by “helping”. It’s cute and adorable and should give us a hint about how to perceive work.
                So what happens when we grow up? Why is it those little things are no longer fun and exciting? I think part of the problem is unknowingly on the parents’ side. The reason being is that the parents don’t do the chores. Could it be argued that the parents are lazy? Perhaps, but unlikely since they do plenty of work. However, because the parents leave the children to do a chore by themselves, work is not so fun. As much as a toddler may have enjoyed pretending to do chores, part of the fun came with doing it with “daddy” or “mommy” as they smiled in return and complimented us. If you go on Facebook or Youtube, you can generally find videos of new mothers videotaping their children laughing and saying, “Are you helping daddy? Good boy.”
                This doesn’t stop with work. What helped me realize this was how I perceived puzzles. When I was a little kid, I loved Sudoku puzzles because I could work them with my dad and actually help solve them. However, if I was given a Sudoku book to work on by myself, I would barely touch it. It just is not much fun to work on it alone. I enjoy working with others and having a good time doing it. The only “puzzle” I frequently do by myself is FreeCell on the computer. Even then, I enjoy it more if I see my dad playing it and I can help.
                Likewise, I can’t do crossword puzzles, but if someone else is working on them, I like to look at them. I can only answer a few clues per puzzle so it’s nice to see someone else fill in the rest. It still gives me a feeling of accomplishment and it’s more fun than doing it alone. It was certainly enjoyable as a little kid to go sit by grandpa at the kitchen table and solve 2 clues.
                Unfortunately, there’s this perception that because we are older, we can do it by ourselves. It ruins the whole work thing on multiple aspects. First, if someone is doing something they know they can do alone, they generally don’t want “help”. Second, on the flip side, no one helps us. Yes we are capable of doing work alone, but doing it with someone else is much better most of the time. The job gets done quicker and it allows you to chat with a friend or relative.
                However, the second part still requires a bit more to make the job enjoyable. First, the people need to have the right attitude. A happy mood can make hard work light. Painting a house is not as much of a chore if you are allowed to joke with somebody. Yes, jokes are not for every job. The workplace generally requires more seriousness, but that doesn’t mean people can’t be happy. While jokes are not appropriate, pleasantries should still be. Part time jobs in cafes and coffee shops, etc. are so much better when employees are allowed to have fun while working instead of “searching for work”. I can remember when I worked in a school cafĂ©. I was begging for friends to come and visit to chat because it was so boring. I also enjoyed the night shifts more because the managers weren’t around, meaning the student workers could chill a little more (and have bubble wars). Yes, it’s necessary to make sure all duties are done, but so is making the environment enjoyable for employees, which could lead to happier customers.
                Now it’s important to recognize that not all work is better with multiple people. For outdoors jobs, it certainly is, but for some mental tasks, not so much. For example, in order to write this essay, I had to leave and find quiet so I could concentrate. However, there are so many jobs or chores that we do alone that wouldn’t be a problem if there was another set of hands with a good attitude.