Posted in Inspirational, Living a Life

I Think We Are Not Supposed to Die Alone

6am, May 30, 2014.

I think we are not supposed to die alone.

Sometime between 1am and 5am this morning, our little budgie, the one with a broken leg, the one whom the others were picking on, the one we tried to save by separating her from the healthy ones, our little budgie died.

We were going to take her to the bird doctor tomorrow—even made an appointment last night—but it was too late.

Lester's Dear Budgies
Lester’s Dear Budgies

I had a feeling she was not going to last the night. So I asked her, before I went to bed, to hold on just until we could get her to the doctor; but I also said, not to hang on just on our account. And she left. Perhaps, the injury was too much to bear. They say that birds have a way of keeping the appearance of being well; and so when they look unwell, that means they really are unwell and past “saving.”

And last night, she looked unwell. Call it instinct for self-preservation—this hiding one’s “injury;” this keeping suffering from others. And it makes sense—the law of the jungle is, “the fittest live”—so one must not show injury. One must keep suffering to one’s self.

From my point of view, human as it is, keeping one’s suffering from others is a marker of thoughtfulness—an expression of consideration for the other. But, I won’t turn it into a normative expectation.

Human community should be free and open enough to share both joy and sorrow, blessing and curse. Community and loneliness.

No one should be forced to die alone. No one must live in loneliness.

I made the choice of intervening when I saw our other budgies “bullying” the injured one. I thought my separating her from the others was a way of protecting her. Maybe that was right, maybe that was wrong.

I am not a bird expert. But, one thing I noticed, even though I kept her in a cage close to the others, separated only by the bars of the cage—so they could still hear each other, see each other. I noticed the others kept “looking” for her, kept in proximity of her.

And, I noticed, too, that last night, our injured one was trying to “re-join” the others. And when I opened her cage to feed her and to make things comfortable for her, she did not move away from my hand, she even allowed herself to be touched.

Maybe she was just too injured to move away. But then again, maybe, as a social species (budgies are supposed to be that), that is their “instinct”: to be with others even to the very last. And maybe, the “bullying” behavior was not intended to harm, but was an expression of “community” between them, even an attempt to care for the injured one.

And if so, I made a huge, terrible mistake. I took her away from her companions—and I probably should have not done that. It seems that her last acts of life were to rejoin her group. And interestingly, when I came down this morning, instead of being greeted by the noisy cackling and chirping of our budgies, there was silence. I think the others knew one of them was gone.

No one should die alone—or be forced to die alone. No one. Not even our injured budgie.

I will never know whether I did the right thing or not. But that is neither here nor there. The fact is, our injured budgie left us last night. And she did so quietly in the night, without making too many demands on us or on her companions. And this is her gift to our frail, oftentimes arrogant and self-centered human sensibilities.

We need to learn—I need to learn—to live in ways like our little, injured budgie.

Lester Edwin J. Ruiz

About Dr. Lester Edwin J. Ruiz

Lester was a faculty member of New York Theological Seminary in New York City beginning in 1997, where he was professor of theology and culture.

He became vice president for academic affairs and academic dean in 2006. As associate professor of political science at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan, he taught courses in peace and world order studies, international relations, and politics and culture.

A graduate in pastoral care and counseling from Ottawa University (Kansas), he holds the Master of Divinity with an emphasis on religion and society and the PhD in social ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is ordained in the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.

Ruiz is co-editor of four published works, including Re-Framing the International: Law, Culture, Politics, with Richard Falk and R.B.J. Walker. He has contributed numerous chapters to books and has been widely published in journals and other periodicals.

Active in social media, like Facebook, Lester shares his ideas and reflections on a variety of topics. We have taken the opportunity and permission to share his thoughts on the death of his pet he blogged on Facebook. Thank you Lester.

– From Worry To Glory

PHOTO CREDIT: Lester Edwin J. Ruiz; Association of Theological Schools; Joven Baloyo (Featured Image)

Posted in Inspirational

You Are Called To Persevere

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
(1 Peter 5:10)

Have you been in a situation where after you finally decided to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, surrendering your life and receiving Him in faith as Lord and Saviour, you suddenly faced tremendous trials?

I know of many who after gaining their new-found faith faced trials in many forms. They experienced rejection from family and friends. Some suffered financial losses, lost a job, relationship conflicts, sickness or even death of loved ones.

Suffering for your Christian faith happens in every situation and location

It’s understandable and expected that a Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim who becomes a Christian will certainly suffer persecution, oftentimes severely. I read and learn about the persecuted church through Open Doors.

How about when you are living in a nominal Christian family and community and then you discovered Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life?

For sure you will suffer from isolation, not primarily because the nominal Christian environment you are in will reject you. Your renewed relationship with Christ will lead you to thirst for more knowledge of your Saviour.

As a true disciple of Jesus Christ your focus now is how to strengthen that relationship. Eventually, you will find yourself avoiding the people and environment that would take you back to your former nominal Christian living.

Would you believe that your most painful persecution could come from within the Christian community or environment?

It’s when you thought that the Christians around you would stand for what is right and just and you found yourself all alone making a stand.

Worst, the Christian leaders whom you expected to take the lead have become accessories to the wiles of the unjust.

The scorn and insult would become inevitable when after you have settled in your heart that you will trust Jesus Christ alone, follow Him in baptism, and commit your life, your family to serve Him each day, something untoward happened unexpectedly.

Perseverance in faith brings freedom, happiness and joy

When you are facing debilitating trials, read and remember the story of Job. Despite suffering from severe trials, he remained steadfast in faith. Read how Job persevered and gained God’s restoration.

Yes, Christians are called to persevere, especially when our faith is under trial.

Keep holding on to your faith no matter what happens. When you persevere, you will witness God’s amazing power sustaining your life along the way. Then when you have overcome, you will find peace and happiness that you have never experienced before.

Starting your new life in Jesus Christ could place you in lots of challenges but persevering in your new found faith means a life of freedom and victory.

Just come to Him in prayer. Hold on to Jesus, He’s always there. Trust His word, He loves you always now.

Are you going through tough times today? May this post strengthen your faith in Christ.

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