D R . E L R O I


Monday, March 6, 2017

The Surprise at Officially Forty

Two months ago, I have written whether if life does really
begin at forty. Today marks my third day as an official forty-year-old guy.

Honestly, I am not really fond of celebrating my birthdays. Especially when I became conscious of my fear of getting into geriatric age. So I just let them passed like any ordinary day. However, the Lord has His ways that any man could not stop, including the birthday celebrator himself.

My family and friends spent some time and effort in the past to remember and celebrate it in simple ways. Mostly, I planned to spend this time with family and just stay at home. This year, I chose to be in Bohol and have decided to lead the facilitation of a three-day “Channels of Hope” workshop. The day I thought would pass off like any workshop days I have done previously did not happen. Something I was not expecting took place to my surprise!

At the end of the workshop during the closing ceremony, my dear friend and co-facilitator surprised me with the very thing I exactly instructed her not to do. With the help of the event coordinators, she announced that it was a special day for it was my birthday! Together with the participants, they sang the Happy Birthday song and prayed for me with the chocolate cake on my hands. Truly and sincerely, I was surprised! My plan of lamenting over reaching the age of forty did not materialize. It was exactly the opposite. I was and still overjoyed! Well, it is not every birthday I turned forty and far away from home. Thus, I must say God has made it special somehow and I am grateful for that.

It was not the kind of celebration I have dreamt of a few years before on my fortieth. Only if I have enough finances, I would love to do a mini concert of my own. Accompanied by a full live band, with simple food and drinks, I have imagined myself performing in front of my friends and family in an intimate venue. Oh well, perhaps this could happen in the future. Nevertheless, my turning forty remains special. Like I said earlier, I have lived more than I have expected so praise the Lord for the gift of life!

Arriving on another decade is something to look forward to and get excited for the rest of what God has in stores for us. In fact, I am thrilled to see how this year would unfold with the prophetic prayers I received early this year. I would share it on my next post. Shalom!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Staying Single – A Choice or A Calling?

“People are always in a rush for everything that’s why perhaps we are called the human race. But when you finally realized that you are in the right place and at the right time, things get to slow down and you start living your life while enjoying each moment.” – From the movie, The Switch

The movie where the lines above I quoted from is not about singleness. In fact, it is about settling down with your best friend after an interestingly chaotic journey. However, the great lesson I got from the story is the reality of these lines as a single person.

Some, if not most people think that if a person is single, either they are not happy or incomplete. Women suffer this kind of stigma the most. For this reason, some women make desperate moves if not pathetic, just to avoid these labels. Well, I knew a few who actually did. Nonetheless, they are happy now and enjoying their married life. However, deep down inside, it is truly more than this stigma, but the curse of being “single and lonely.” For men, if you were still single in your late thirties or forties, people would assume that you are gay in the closet. That is usually the untenable judgment. Oh, and there is another thing that single people have to deal with. There is the endless question from one person to another of “why, how, and the epic, when.” Not to mention the idea or dream of having a family or children. All these realities in our culture and some I have not mentioned affect the single men and women differently. It could be positively or negatively but mostly the latter.

Whether we like it or not, our society largely conforms to the concept of getting married and creating your own family as the ultimate goal in life that would surely make one happy and satisfied in life. I guess not anymore. Failed marriages, suffering children out of divorced parents, and broken families somehow contradict that idea. And unfortunately, they are all over the place. Thus, we need to recalibrate this kind of perception about singleness. Not every man or woman, whether they have chosen to stay single or viewed it as a calling, are not happy or living a miserable life. There are a quite number of men and women out there who are single and yet able to live a life with enough amounts of joy and contentment. “Is that even possible?” if you may ask. The truth is, yes it is indeed possible.

When a person finally realized that he or she is in the right place and at the right time, he or she starts living a life while enjoying each moment. When I say “each moment”, it means finding joy not only in good times but also in tough times as well. How? “Pursuing Christ and the path He has placed before us today will not leave us wanting” (Johnson, 2016), but only wishing or requesting. And whether these wishes or prayer requests are granted or not, we remain hopeful and yet contented at the same time!

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6: 33, ESV).” At first, I thought these words of God were easy. However, when I finally realized and truly understood what it means, through nurturing my relationship with Him, that inner peace, joy, and contentment in life no matter what, is something I have never imagined I could possibly have! For a number of years now, I actually did. The Lord may or may not bless us with the things we’ve been asking for. But even if He does not, “what he has chosen to give us is His best for us, at least for today. If we are in Christ, nothing can compare to what He has already given and the grace He pours over us daily” (Johnson, 2016).

Staying single may or may not be a calling or even a choice for me and for every single men and women out there. Only God and His time will tell.  And “when we embrace this reality, choosing to trust He will give us everything He has ordained, we can receive the fullness of joy as we count all the ways He has given us His best today.” (Johnson, 2016)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Does Life Really Begin at Forty?

Past twenty-five years of age, there is always this dreadful feeling of hostility towards the season of Christmas and New Year since then. Worst traffic, heavy crowded malls and transport stations, and other unusual things that occur only during this period are all part of it. But on top of all these, I have another source of antagonism.

Christmas and New Year indicates that a year is coming to an end. As the following year enters, it also means another year has passed. And very soon, I would be a year older! One of my fears in life is getting old. Although I was able to resolve and still in the process of resolving this issue, I felt it again this time. Maybe it has something to do with reaching the age of forty. In two months, I would be. Believe me, I guess I have lived now longer than I have expected.

Inevitably, a few number of people have already told me that I should be excited this time because my life is about to begin. But come to think it, does life really begins at forty? I have no clue where that idea actually started but personally, I have to say that my life has already begun nine years ago. I have started to truly live a life back on December 13, 2007. This was the day when I have yielded my whole life to Christ and declared Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour.

“Everything is meaningless” according to Ecclesiastes 1: 11. When we say everything, it is everything in life. That includes dreams, career, wealth, pleasures, achievements, success, and even relationships. However, everything in life turns out to be meaningful when you started to live your life all for the glory and honour of the one who created us…our God. How? Through pursuing and building a relationship with Him through Jesus makes everything that we think, feel and experience, and do or pursue in life…meaningful.

Looking back on that day, I was at the lowest point of my life. In the past couple of years, I have learned to be grateful to God for allowing me to hit hard that rock bottom. Lost and extremely despair, I searched for the meaning of life for it was useless to continue on that time. Then He came into my heart as I have decided to give my life to Him. It was the beginning of living a life towards in its fullness. It led me to discover who really I am, my passion, career, gifts, and my calling. It led me to where I am today…a life with a purpose.

All the riches of this world I may not have. For I only have enough for what I need for the day. I may still be living with the consequences of my past. There will be more pain and suffering through the “cross” I have to take daily. Struggles and “dying to myself” would be continually not fun and may get even harder. However, nine years ago I have made my decision to FOLLOW and OBEY Him. There will be no turning back. Mysteriously in spite of this situation, life can never be any better than having the sense of purpose, contentment, inner peace, and joy each day. Is not that we are all searching for? All of which can be found only through Jesus. For He came to give us life and have it to the full (John 10: 10b).

In a couple of months, I will be turning forty. I believe in my heart that my life has begun already several years before hitting the final year of my four decades of existence. This marks the beginning of the tenth year of my journey with the Lord. And I am quite sure there will be more beginnings for this year and the coming years. Who’s counting? Me, for it says, “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

So, does really life begin at forty? Be the judge. As for me, I don’t actually think so. Have a blessed 2017!

Monday, November 28, 2016

“Sayang” (What A Waste!)

If there is one reaction that irritates me the most each time someone finds out about my broken masculinity, it is that word “sayang” or the phrases, “Sayang ka, ang gwapo mo pa namang lalaki, (What a waste, you’re such a handsome dude).” That is a very typical response that I often heard when a good-looking guy confessed that he is attracted to the same sex. Not only that it seems very insulting to me. Also, it makes me feel that my entire being is a trash, useless, and good for nothing. Actually, I found it rude. Honestly, there were times I have reacted silently this way, “How could you say that? For all we know, your life could even be more pathetic than mine and my existence could be a whole lot more valuable than yours!” As if I would fall for them if I have become totally straight! Sadly, there were a couple of times I have really said that. Forgive me but I lost my control. Truly, that is how irritating and insulting these reactions are to me.

People who are reacting usually this way towards a gorgeous man or woman who unfortunately likes another man or woman are totally clueless regarding its implication to the person. Evidently, it affects negatively our self-esteem. However, I would like to consider some of the possibilities on why they are saying “sayang or sayang ka?”

One probability is that he or she, usually a she, is feeling bad for herself because her options to have a beautiful boyfriend have diminished. Well, this happens more often when the person who shockingly got the bad news is single and chasing after the last jaunt towards marriage. For parents, they could be lamenting for their own single daughters. If this were you, okay I would take no offence. But don’t you think it is a little selfish?

Normalcy in life could be another possibility. It sounds like this, “Sayang naman, hindi magiging normal ang buhay mo. (What a waste! Your life will never be normal.)” Or allow me to be extreme on this especially for those who are self-righteous, “You will burn in hell when you die.” Oh yes, I heard these feedback at least once in my entire life. Only men and women who are attracted to the opposite sex are normal for them. Thus, when you go beyond that, you are not normal. Nowadays, everything seems to be normal anyway so what’s the big fuss? Why would you mean that if this were you? Perhaps we could reevaluate our definition of what is truly normal in this life of being a real man and a woman.

After saying, “What a waste!” automatically this statement comes up. “Your beautiful race would not spread.” Is it panic about the dearth of seeing numerous physically attractive people in the future? Or is it fear for the person that his / her winsome genes would not be passed on to the next generation and just stop? My guess is it could be both. Who says we did not want to have children of our own? And it does not mean it is impossible especially with the modern ways we have today. Extending our beautiful race through having offspring is a choice. Personally, I must say that it is more of a calling. Therefore, you may want to stop meaning that if you could. Would you?

Another insinuation of that disappointing reaction could be misery. There is a truth in this actually. Being “not normal” by having an attraction with the same-sex is not a joke. But unfortunately, for centuries, people with same-sex attraction (SSA) have been the butt of jokes. It got even worst when you are “blamed” for something tragic that happened. You have become the “curse.” The truth of the matter is, people who react this way have very little or no idea at all having this feeling. Next time, you may want to switch place with the person and experience how it feels to be “not normal” before responding in this manner. Having a bit of empathy would be very helpful and encouraging.

A friend of mine who happens to be single, smart, and have a pleasing personality, experienced the same response shared this with me. For her, “sayang” suggests you are incomplete as a person. Then I realized, yes it also could mean like that for a single but normal man and woman. Yet, it does not make any sense. No one is whole or completely whole if there’s such a thing. Everyone is broken in various ways whatever you are in this life. However, you could attain that certain degree of wholeness when you have found your purpose in life. By the love and grace of God, I have found mine. And so far I feel complete. But have you found yours?

Look, perhaps you have other reasons that I have not mentioned here. But whatever it is, I hope you do realize this by now. Using the expression “sayang” to a gorgeous guy or gal who likes and sometimes prefers the same, or to someone who remains single is not healthy. Otherwise, you would create more sadness to the already wretched emotion. You may bring despair instead of hope. And you could be breaking the previously broken self of the person.

Every life of a person is valuable whoever or whatever he or she maybe. Not having the “normal” things in this world that most people have does not mean that his or her life is “sayang.” Once you have found and live the very purpose of your God-given life for and through Jesus, it will never ever be a wasted life. As a matter of fact, not only you would feel complete but also you would have that sense of inner peace, joy in the midst of life struggles, and contentment. How could I say all these? Like I said earlier, I have found mine and praise the Lord for I have lived and am still living it.

So next time, please exert a little bit of an effort to control yourself. Promise, it would not kill you. Refrain from using “sayang” as a reaction to a handsome and beautiful SSA-ed man and woman. And also to “normal” and attractive single people. Who knows, his or her life could be a lot better than yours. What do you think?

Friday, October 28, 2016

You'll Never Know Until...

Try and do it. You’ll never know until you see it for yourself and do it. Of course, for Christians, it does not have to be this way for things that are clearly outlined in the Word of God. However, in our daily life, we are forced to make decisions.

These decisions range from the choice of clothes you are going to wear or food to eat, talking to a colleague or friend, or going home early. These are simple ones. Seeing a possible date, firing an employee, starting up a business, or changing a career could be moderate decisions for some people. While quitting a job, getting married, and shifting to another career are examples of major decisions that could affect your entire life. Bottom line is, making decisions are part of our everyday tasks.

Last month, I made a decision to file an application for graduate studies at De La Salle University. You know, just trying to go beyond my usual territory of studies and work. Getting a doctorate degree in Counseling and Psychology is a bit far-fetched for me. Aside from a few hundred bucks for the application fee, some effort in writing, and time of traveling to DLSU, there’s nothing else to loose anyway so might as well take the chance. I thought it was improbable for a few reasons. First, I was not sure if my credentials are enough for me to get into the program. Let’s face it, Bible graduate schools programs are sometimes not considered, or shall I say credited, to big and popular universities like UP, ADMU, and DLSU. Second, based on the requirements, the only thing I was sure of that would get me into the program is my license as a Guidance Counselor together with my simple thesis. Lastly, I was not sure if they would give me a full scholarship! But when I talked with the friendly personnel from the scholarship office, he encouraged me that I might have a chance. In other words, if someone would ask me what would be the probability of getting into to the program, I have to say that it’s pretty slim. Nevertheless, I took my chance. I guess we’ll never know until I try and do it!

Today this afternoon, I was scheduled for an admission interview. I was fifteen minutes early so I have fifteen minutes of waiting. Was I anxious? Not a bit. Was I hopeful? Oh yes! So I focused on refreshing myself and observing the people passing by the un-air conditioned lobby. My scheduled time has arrived and I got to meet the person I was speaking with through email. After a few minutes, I was introduced to the department head of Counseling and Psychology (that was how I remember but honestly, I forgot so I was not sure LOL!). The interview lasted for less than an hour. It went very well indeed!

Verbally, I got admitted! I passed the application! Right then and there, he unofficially welcomed me as a new student! I said unofficial for the formal admission letter would be sent to my email stating what type of scholarship they have granted me with, together with all the information I need to know. By the way, this scholarship would be a huge factor in making this decision. But again, yes I GOT IN the program! Praise the Lord.

I am quite very happy of course. There you go. You will never really know the outcome of something until you try and do it. So go ahead and take that step of faith! The big question now is, will I pursue this or not? Well, that would be my problem in the next seventeen days.

So Lord, will it be De La Salle University (DLSU) or Asia Graduate School of Theology (AGST)? Please pray with me, folks! Really appreciate it.