Corinthians 2:7-9 states, "We declare God's wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began."
Destiny is the decisions we make for ourselves in the process of creating our future. It's the manifestation and end result of our ability to exercise free will in a social construct created by others. Fate is the opposite side of the same coin and is what happens when we are unable to make any decisions.
Richard E. James Ed. D, Ph. D
This is a story about one individual's ability to embrace his destiny, God’s manifested authority binding the power of fate derived from the world's cultural and social constructs, and how an individual's perceptions allowed him to retrace his steps and choose a better path in which to follow. In ancient times, the Greeks believed that fate was the embodiment of three goddesses who presided over the birth, life, and death of all humans. Every person’s fate was thought of as a thread spun, measured, and cut by them: Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Although the three goddesses are no longer believed to control fate, the general concept of it being something outside our control has continued. Many still think of fate as a supernatural power that determines our life’s course within the social construct.
However, the social construct (like fate itself) is a concept that exists not in reality, but as a result of humanities collective interpretations, interpersonal agreements and social interactions. It exists only because we collectively agree to it, we create the social phenomena and those who do the most creating generally have the most influence and power. The social construct is the agreement of a social or cultural majority that have been conditioned to agree that it actually exists. It can just as easily cease to exist if one person is willing to challenge their interpersonal belief structure and replace it with an intrapersonal one consisting of the attributes of self-discipline, delay of gratification, the ability to deal with and overcome distractions, and being able to adjust one's strategies to the changing world dynamics. Individuals living according to their intrapersonal attributes no longer agree to the limitations of cultural, societal, racial or economic class structures that we are told are reality. They believe that we are all individuals in God’s divine plan, everyone has a voice, they have a purpose, and can make a difference in this world. There are very few individuals that are able to overcome their interpersonal belief systems but those who do are able to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Steve Jobs once said of such individuals, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Most of what unfolded here I have come to believe to be the power of Divine intervention, the wisdom and will of a God and how he weaved destiny that was kept hidden from the participants. Everything started in a chance meeting between two people from opposite sides of the world sometime in 2001. By 2002, the man returned to the Philippines to marry the Filipina during the month of September. He had been to the Philippines many times before even lived there in the early to mid 1980s but could have never imagined the events as they unfolded. During that time, Davao’s population was about 500,000 to 600,000, there were no supermalls or amenities, and the streets at night were filled with communist insurgents trying to overthrow an elected government they believed to be corrupt.
However, now two decades later there were far fewer insurgents, the government had complete control, and was trying hard to make the country a better place to live for Filipinos. This would be a difficult task for the national government let alone a city government because the physical demands were strikingly obvious. There was the ever-expanding population to a new high of over 1,900,000, constant traffic congestion, traffic flow problems because no one wanted to follow the laws, and supermalls that had been built every 2 or 3 kilometers where none previously existed. Not to mention, flooding problems, a shortage of housing, a struggling economy and an overall infrastructure that made it extremely difficult to keep up with the growing demands.
The division of the social classes was still a huge problem, poverty and lack of opportunities continued to produce a culture of desperation. This was often reflected in the attitudes of the Filipino people, their rebelliousness and sometimes distrust of authority, and their belief that things never get better. The general population was sometimes bitter, envious, jealous, and cruel although always maintaining an eerie smile on their faces. A smile that was pleasant but all too often hid anger, rage and disapproval toward those they viewed as causing the problems or in a different social or cultural position. The sad thing was these beliefs were intrinsic and seldom ever directed toward the perpetrators of their plight, those robbing or stealing their natural resources (only to sell the finished products back to them at higher prices) but all too often towards each other.
Rondyl grew up in this emotionally turbulent environment, a societal underdog abandoned by his parents and had limited extended family to support his emotional needs. His new nuclear family consisted of his grandmother, his uncle, his aunt and a sister called Geraldine who was actually his first cousin. However, sometimes in limitation also comes strength and this family through necessity became bonded together in support of each other in a way that was likely stronger than what he would have experienced with his real parents. During his early education, Rondyl was often the target of relentless teasing, bullying, harassment, and degradation by the other students making it extremely difficult for him to survive in such an emotionally toxic environment. During this period his only escape was to ride his bicycle over to the old airport, watch the planes take off and land, think about his future and dream about places he thought he would never go or the things he could never accomplish. Of course, none of this was society's fault alone, a product of his own doing or something he could have ever controlled. Perceived economic and social dynamics can be challenges for most people, but his true obstacle was overcoming the result of winning some kind of a fucked up and degenerate lottery where he drew the worst bitch possible as a mother.
You see, Chanda lacked the attributes to identify herself as a human being. She was some kind of drug crazed, sleazy piece of street garbage and his father at the time was no better. Any society anywhere in the world would have labeled them as trash. Neither were prepared to have a child or be parents and Rondyl was simply dropped off to his aunt (the woman I married) to raise and care for even though she was still only twenty herself. However, not before Chanda tried to abort the baby first, late in the pregnancy with a hanger taking out his left eye. Except for the intervention of God and a divine destiny how could anyone overcome such odds? But maybe what Isaiah 41:10 tells us is true, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen, help and uphold you with my righteous right hand."
I myself have never quite committed to any one particular belief system but choose to accept one Universal Supreme Architect the creator of everything who manifests itself through all religions. What I can say some god somewhere had a plan, as a couple, I and his aunt committed to being there for all the children entrusted to us (raised as our own children), help them beat the odds stacked against them, and teach them to become more than any set of circumstances could otherwise dictate. Life is always a battle because fate and the social construct do not like to lose. Several heated conversations took place where he literally had to be forced to go to school because as a child (like all children) he lacked the capacity to understand what was happening. Things from his past were still an open wound and he had to hide from the trauma he experienced everyday.
Vedafe, looked at Rondyl in a mixture of deep sadness and sympathy would ask,"Rondyl why won't you attend school, you keep skipping classes, staying home, playing at the arcade and refusing to do your schoolwork. Why?”
Rondyl would often respond, "You don't know what it's like, it is so hard to be the constant target of abuses and being looked down on by others.”
Vedafe in thoughtful response would reply, “So you're willing to allow a bunch of useless street thugs ruin your life and future?”
At which point he would often walk away or give little or no response. However, as a testimony to his fortitude and rejection of his hurt and pain, there was never a time he held ill will toward his parents, those who would attempt to rob him of his humanity, or anyone else for that matter. He always regarded himself lucky and was appreciative of the support from his nuclear family. Just before he finished high school, we sat down to talk about his future and the next steps from here.
“Rondyl, you know we love you and want the best for your life. I know that the world hasn't always treated you the best, and there will always be a lot of belligerents, prideful, boastful and ill-mannered people in this world. Just like there will always be those who need to get their self-worth through degrading and looking down on others. It's sadly their only means of elevating themselves because of their own moral and social depravation. They deserve to be pitied no one can change these things, the family they are born into or the events that have taken place in their past. The only thing we can change is our perceptions of the world, and the steps we are willing to take to make the world a better place than that which we found it. This is the path I chose to follow, and I think you should too. It's always our perceptions that create our reality so make your perceptions positive, yours alone, and not someone else's.”
To which he responded for the very first time he said, "I will uncle.”
Then a few years later after completing his undergraduate degree, he approached me with the following declaration, “Tito Rick thank you for intervening in my life and helping me to become more than I ever thought possible. I would like to continue my studies and become a medical doctor so that I can help to improve the lives of other Filipinos.
What can you say to that, my response was quite simply, “I am proud of you, all you have attained, and you have truly become an inspiration to others. Of course, we stand behind your decision and will help you as much as possible to make it happen.” In this manner, he continued to move forward step by step, day to day, and course after course until he ultimately reached his goal and became a medical doctor. Since his graduation true to his word, he is helping those in need within the country that he loves, Philippines!
The key reason I am telling this story and the message I'd like all young men and women to understand is that through changing your internal perceptions of the world, believing in yourself, doing the right thing, and practicing forgiveness, anyone can make a difference in this world. We are not trapped by social or environmental circumstances but rather the limitations that we place upon ourselves. Through allowing positive cognitions to guide his actions, and practicing resolve and determination, Rondyl was able to overcome the barriers that society built up to stop him. So can you!
You see, all of life is about the blending of Yin-Yang or finding balance between the positive and negative forces in life. There is a need for equilibrium as well as the interconnectedness between all things in our life. The universe created itself out of the chaos of material energy and organizes itself into the cycles of opposing these forces. From such everything is made; it is a principal dichotomy seen in all things. In the patterns of change and difference, seasonal cycles, evolution of the environmental and social landscape, as well as the foundation of an individual's character and the grand arc of social cultural groups from disorder and order. Throughout this story, it's been explained how Rondyl overcame the darkness of the world, stepped into light and illuminated the darkness, setting aside all the hurt from his past and making a meaningful contribution to the world. This is why he is the most inspirational person I have ever met.
Unfortunately for many I don't hold the same traits, not so much forgiveness exists in my heart, and I never forget the wrongs perpetuated against my family. His drug-addicted mother Chanda was trash, and you can never walk away from that as was the family that did nothing for him. I have declared him as free from any hereditary or genetic obligations and will continually stand vigilant to ensure that there will never be a time that such fucking evil will ever benefit from any of his benevolence, economic or material success. Does that sound dark and hostile? If so please consider, there is always a light in the darkest night and the need for some darkness in the brightest day or circumstance. Everything is always about balance. Someone has to wait in the dark so that the light or good can be better appreciated.
“The good and the bad of this world have never existed independently as separate attributes. They have always been bound together in a cosmic game for eternity. The Supreme Architect that created this universe and brought forth the light out of the darkness, that being the case no one can ever be perfectly good.”
Richard E. James Ed. D, Ph. D
Merci pour la lecture!
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