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Monday, July 4, 2011

My Rock Bottom Became My Launching Pad!

Was channel surfing the other day and came upon The Oprah Winfrey Show where Oprah was interviewing JK Rowling in Scotland. Half-way through the show, I found myself sobbing and crying as I learned about Jo's (as she is fondly called) struggles before becoming the first billionaire author of all time. I was crying because our lives had so many parallels, I thought she was telling me about my life right now and rather than talking about her past!

Don't mean to brag or, worse, sound delusional but couldn't help see the common points in both our lives:

I loved what she said about the turning point in her life,
"My rock bottom became my solid foundation..."

But I had to rephrase that in a way that reflects my life now:
"My rock bottom became my LAUNCHING PAD!"

You see the person I am now vaguely resembles the person I was known since birth until last year. I was known to be pampered, lazy, physically weak, temperamental; probably it is best summed up as BRAT. To give you an idea this was what used to be my daily routine:
7:15 a.m. Wake up, take a bath, dress up for work
8:20 a.m. Drive to work
8:40-9:00 a.m. Arrive at work usually late, praying that I arrive ahead of my boss
5:30 p.m. Leave work
6:00 p.m. Arrive home watch TV or play PC games while waiting for dinner
7:30 p.m. Dinner with Marti
8:00 p.m. Wash up, watch more TV or more web surfing
12:00 a.m. Go to sleep
That's what I do on weekdays; imagine how much more idle I was on the weekends!

But last year, I hit rock bottom. The mounting tension between me and my Dad was becoming unbearable. At my sister's hospital room while she was on labor in April 2010, my Dad tried to strangle me in a heated argument about him always taking the side of his sisters and his mistresses over my sister and I. If it wasn't for my Uncle (my Mom's brother), it would have been a close call. He declared right there and then that he was abandoning us, particularly my son and I whom he promised to always take care of with me being a single parent. He knew it was the worse thing he could do to us since Marti and I had no one to financially depend on but him and he used that to hurt me in the worst possible way. I almost got convinced that it was the end of everything and I decided to leave everything behind; even my son who solely depended on me.

One evening, I sent a farewell letter/ semi-last will addressed to my sister and faxed it to my brother-in-law's office since they didn't have internet access. I bought a ticket and was already on a provincial bus heading north when God kept tugging at my heart, showing me images in my mind of my son when he was a baby. After the last call, I ran out of the bus as fast as I could ---God's working hand No.1.

But I couldn't go home so I asked permission from my boss' daughter, Mrs. Moras if I could stay at the office overnight as I was heading somewhere early morning. I think Mrs. Moras sensed my anxiety and offered me to stay in her house in Bel-Air and if I wanted to talk. I broke down in tears, feeling love from a person who was not even a relative---God's working hand No. 2

I politely declined, sincerely thanked her and spent the night at the office. At 4:00 a.m., I realized my car hasn't been picked up by my brother-in-law as I instructed in my farewell letter so I had to bring it home. I waited until 7:30 a.m. calculating the time, making sure I'd be there when Marti and my Dad left for school and for work. To my surprise, Marti stayed home and hugged me, begging me to stay---God's working hand No. 3

Was intent on leaving, despite Marti's pleas because I was thinking he'd be better taken cared of by my Sister and his Papa who are both financially capable. When my Dad leaves, I cannot risk dragging Marti with me to homelessness and bankruptcy. I tried to appear stern and quiet and ignored the phone calls and text messages from my Sister, my friends, my Ninang Joy from the States, my Uncle but the last text message I accidentally read came from someone I least expected: it was from Mrs. Peña, my boss' 80 year-old wife and to this day I have not erased that message from my phone that changed my life forever:
"M in bed still sick hv just read ur letter that JNP (my boss' initials) brought home. Sad not to hv noticed ur state of mind and offer u my shoulders to cry on but m offering them to you now everyone has problems n if u cannot find the silver lining look around u n see that u r not alone and that others r even worse off so cheer up n shove your troubles away if I were to tell u mine u would be shocked. take a few days n if u want to talk call me n we can hv lunch. take care now n b happy lv COP (her initials)"
And then I broke down. Apparently, the draft of my farewell letter ended up in the inbox of our office e-mail so my boss ended up reading it! What's even more funny, my brother-in-law left his office early the previous day so he never got the letter! My Sister only found out I was gone when Marti called her the following morning --- God's working hand No. 4

It was then that I literally and absolutely felt God's hand working in my life. He would not allow me to throw everything away because all this time "everything" was according to His plan and it was His turn to take over.

The first person I called was not my Sister, not my friends and none of my relatives. It was Mrs. Peña and I heard the overwhelming and sincere relief in her voice when she heard me on the other line. The next day when she invited me over for lunch and a heart-to-heart talk, Mrs. Peña gave me the words that became the fuel to my launching pad:
"To hell with everybody, it's you that is important!"
She told me that if you don't take care of yourself, nobody else will and besides who would take care of the people you care for so much like your son, your sister, your new nephew, among many others?

So with those words, I slowly changed and improved my life starting with my daily routine. The impact on just utilizing time was so great that it had a domino effect in the many changes in my life! I realized that if I wasn't so lazy, I had so much spare time I could use to develop my skills, improve my personality, and even earn additional income! And most of all, there is so much more I could do to find time and serve the Lord! So now this has been my daily routine for almost a year now:

5:15 a.m. Wake up, take a bath
5:45 a.m. Dress up, put on make up for work
6:30 a.m. Kiss Marti before he leaves, Leave condo, commute via tricycle
and jeep going to work
7:00 a.m. Arrive at office, eat breakfast while checking e-mail and
updating Facebook page of millicentmelissa (our handmade
accessories business), or work at oDesk (virtual assistant job),
buy or sell or review stock investment in Citisec online
8:15 a.m. Finish web surfing or oDesk job, start organizing office work
8:30 a.m. Office work starts
12:00 nn Lunch break (usually skip eating since I ate heavy breakfast), update
posts in earning blogs, review/ research on internet and social
network marketing lessons.
1:30 p.m. Back to office work
5:00 p.m. Leave office, go straight home or buy groceries for dinner or proceed
to Single Parents Care group (on Mondays) or fetch Marti then off to
Makati Feast (on Thursdays)
5:30 p.m. Arrive home and cook dinner while talking to Marti about our day
7:00 p.m. Dinner with Marti or Makati Feast or Single Parents Care group
8:00 p.m. Start oDesk job
9:00 p.m. Novena to God's Love prayer with Marti then back to oDesk
11:00 p.m. Finish oDesk then read book or crochet to unwind
11:30 p.m. Go to sleep.

So it's never too late to change for the better. I know because I went through it! But my Friend, I pray that you don't have to reach rock bottom before you find your launching pad. But even if you do, just trust God that there's nowhere else to go but up and He would always be there to make sure that your fueled enough to reach your star!
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