We live in a world of complications, challenges and chaos that we have forgotten that it is still a wonderful world to live most especially when we choose to make a difference on how we see the world and on how we take actions on this. Pope Francis invites us to see “Creation as a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude”.
I stumbled upon this wonderful story which was originally told by Joy Garrison Wasson, an English teacher in Muncie, Indiana for over 30 years.
The story goes like this… It seems a group of geography students were studying the “Seven Wonders of the World.” At the end of their course, they were asked to list what they each considered to be the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World.” After much debate, these were the most voted for answers:
- Chichen Itza, Yucatan State, Mexico,
- Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
- The Colosseum, Rome, Italy,
- The Great Wall of China,
- Machu Picchu, Peru,
- Petra, Jordan,
- Taj Mahal, Agra, India
As the teacher was going over the results, he noticed that one girl had not turned in her paper. He asked if she was having trouble with her list. She responded, “Yes. I can’t make up my mind because there seem to be so many.” The teacher said, “Let me help. Read what you’ve got so far.” The girl hesitantly started to read, “I think the 7 Wonders of the World are:
- To SEE
- To HEAR
- To TOUCH
- To TASTE
- To FEEL
- To LAUGH
- To LOVE
The room was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.
The things we overlook as ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous. Do we take more notice of the “wonders” man has built and tend to forget about the real wonders that God has given us? Yes, sometimes I think we do.
We need to take the time to thank God for all His wonderful creations. For the delight of hearing laughter and music, for the delight of knowing and touching others around us. For inspiring us to reach toward new knowledge, and heightened awareness. And for blending all of these experiences into the adventure we call life.
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forgot the errand.” -President Woodrow Wilson
We need to be a sculptor of life who chips away at a massive piece of marble to reveal its inner beauty one moment at a time. Allow me to invite you to rediscover LIFE once again through these 7 wonderful experiences:
- To SEE
…see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes! -1 Samuel 12:16
When you look around, there’s a lot of negative things happening and this affects our focus and attention from doing what really matters most. We are distracted and dishearten to the point that we become hopeless and helpless of our situation. With this obstacles, comes an opportunity to see life in a different way and to wake up every morning expecting good things to come our way and that ‘the best is always to come.’ Look back in your life and see how God has always made a way for you. So, fear not because God has something great in store for you.
- To HEAR
“But blessed your ears, because they hear.” – Matthew 13:16
The word HEAR is just one letter short of T and it forms the word HEART. This only tells us that it is not enough to listen using our ears and what will make it complete is when we use our heart to know the concerns and cry of the people around us. Nowadays, because of the advancement of technology people have become disconnected to one another. It is very natural to see people in one place without talking to each other because all of them are busy with their phones and gadgets. It’s time to take back what true connection is all about which is not virtual or viral but real people connecting and talking to one another. Let’s not just be high tech but let us continue to keep high in touch of each other.
- To TOUCH
“If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” – Matthew 5:28
Medically speaking, our sense of touch really has wonders because it has healing capabilities. It is said that a new born baby needs the touch and caress of a mother for its wellness. Also, there was a research made between two groups of patients in a hospital wherein one group does not have any visitors while the other group has regular visitors and they receive encouraging touch. After months, those who have visitors and has received touch gets well faster and their health becomes better compared to the other group who does not have a visitor. Today, it is normal to hear stories of stealing, hurting and even sexual abuse which has led to the loss of the wonder of touch. There is still hope in your hands, it’s your choice to use them, either to create or to destroy.
- To TASTE
“Taste and see that the Lord is good..” – Psalm 34:8
Our world has become busier and busier that if only we’ll give her a chance to speak up She’ll shout: Give me a Break! The demands of our job has become 24/7, to the point that we no longer have enough time to rest, spend quality time with our love ones or to do something to rejuvenate our body and spirit. More and more people are suffering from sleep deprivation and have forgotten that life is too short to spend it all at work. This is a wake up call not just to live life in a routine but to savour life one moment at a time. Take it slow and see the details around you (the people in your life, the places you go, the food that you eat and the many experiences that life presents you) because that’s when you discover how beautiful life is.
- To FEEL
See my hands and my feet–it is my very self. Feel me and see… -Luke 24:39
We have been using emoticons in our social media chats and conversations that we have forgotten to use our actual feelings and emotions in real life. This is what makes us humans, our capacity to feel not just for ourselves but also to feel for others. This is a reminder for all of us that our feelings are gifts and we should use it to discover God’s message for us and on how we can better relate to other people. Jesus Christ had experienced all kinds of emotions in the stories of the gospels which only points to us that God wants us to be fully connected to our humanity. In general, there are 4 major emotions namely: Sad, Mad, Glad & Afraid. Let’s begin by asking How am I feeling today? Then try to ask people around you on how they feel as well. These simples steps will lead us to better understanding our relationships.
- To LAUGH
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” -Luke 6:21
You will always hear this cliche that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and I really believe that it is really true not just because it is backed up with research and studies but I have seen it’s miracle in the lives of the people in my life. I’m sure you also have your very own story of its profound healing effects. This is also a shout out for the many people out there who take life seriously even to the point that they take others with them believing that life sucks and that life is unfair. The message this invitation wants to convey is to always choose to be happy no matter what. Life may not always be a walk in the park, we stumble and we fall and sometimes the best way to deal with is to laugh at our own mistakes and learn from it. Life is a jungle adventure and from time to time we all need to laugh our way out of it.
- To LOVE
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” -1 John 4:18
The best experience above all is to love and be loved but what if the equation is not totally complete. You made a decision to love but the person does not love you in return or the other person loves you but you can’t return the love at all. Ouch! How do we truly love in a world full of woundedness and brokenness? This is what Christian Love is all about. We are all called to become wounded healers just like the Lord. Jesus died on the cross to save humanity from sin and death. As Christians, we are invited to die with our own crosses and that is to die with our selfishness and sin for the sake of others. To Live a life that is life-giving for others. When the time comes that you are already tired of loving and you have given up on love, look up to our Lord on the Cross, find strength and the true meaning of what true love is all about.
Discover God in All Things
Pope Francis said in his encyclical, Laudato Si:
“The universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely. Hence, there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face. The ideal is not only to pass from the exterior to the interior to discover the action of God in the soul, but also to discover God in all things.” (223)
There are 2 ways to welcome this new beginnings. Either YOU BECOME THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF or Continue living the old life that you’ve been used to.
OPTION 1. Becoming the best version of yourself means that you refuse to limit yourself with the negative mindset and hopelessness. You continue learning from ones mistakes or from the mistake of others and create a success blueprint in living a significant life blessing the world.
OPTION 2. Continue living the old life that you’ve been used to means that each day of your life is ruled by fear and worries. You refuse to improve and learn for the better and you only live a life of selfishness.
MAKE A CHOICE, MAKE A CHANGE AND TAKE THIS CHANCE.
From here onwards, take a pause and have a moment of meditation. I want you to paint a picture of how your life will be. Describe it. Use powerful and positive words to create that life you wanted to live.
What will be the blessings that you will receive this year? And on how your life will bless many through your giftedness, work and mission?
Take a deep breath and offer this prayer and wish to our God to bless this new year for you. Just like the Psalmist, declare that: TODAY IS THE DAY THAT THE LORD HAS MADE LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.
JC Libiran is a Life Coach and the Author of Byahe ni JUAN: Life Lessons I Learned from Riding a Jeepney (Availlable in www.KerygmaBooks.com). His life mission statement is “To inspire and empower people to achieve their success and significance.” Let him hear your thoughts & ideas. Connect with him through JCLibiran@ymail.com
*Previously published in Kerygma January 2016