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WHEN THE JOB MEETS THE CALL

by Anonymous last modified Sep 20, 2019 06:35 AM

Nowadays, the world has gotten so competitive that being innovative and task-oriented are a must in finding a good job. Although I do believe that people should study hard in order to land in a good job, live a comfortable life and secure a good future, but my journey through life has taught me that there are things beyond comfort, convenience and security that we need to aim for.

 

WHEN THE JOB MEETS THE CALL

by Elbert Balbastro, Columban seminarian

elbertpakistan 

Nowadays, the world has gotten so competitive that being innovative and task-oriented are a must in finding a good job. Although I do believe that people should study hard in order to land in a good job, live a comfortable life and secure a good future, but my journey through life has taught me that there are things beyond comfort, convenience and security that we need to aim for.

The value of education, our way to escape poverty as my parents taught me, was my inspiration to finish college and get a degree in Computer Science. After graduation, I started working in a distributor’s firm with a profitable salary.  Along with the benefits of good income, comes convenience, comfort and buying power. As time passed by, however, my job and income could no longer satisfy my wants. As I continued to earn a good pay, the more I developed a high-maintenance lifestyle through shopping and expensive vacations. After all, there is nothing wrong in wanting for more, as long as I maintain an honest job. With that thought in mind, I decided to apply for work abroad and got a three-year working visa in South Korea. Despite my tripled salary, I eventually realized, that though I was satisfied with my job, I felt something was lacking. All the things I bought gave me temporary happiness not truly worth remembering. I had reached a point where my dreams were already at hand, and this made me wonder, “What’s next to this?”. After three wonderful years of working in South Korea, I decided to come home, to look for direction in my life.

elbertkorea

Elbert (right most) with some friends in Korea

It seemed that my mind and heart were craving for something more satisfying and long-lasting. After spending some good amount of time in discernment and prayer, I found my call and responded to it.

June 2012 was the time I joined the Columban formation. It was immediately emphasized during our orientation that there was no guarantee that an ordination would happen. Despite the vague future ahead of me, I held on to my faith and hoping that God will sustain me with His grace.

On our first year, we were asked to go to a Home for the Aged institution run by a religious congregation for our apostolate. We did this every Saturday.  Our sole task was to do the laundry of their 92 patients. We washed their clothes, beddings, pillow cases and towels manually. Normally, in the face of inconvenience, my usual tendency would be to flee instead of facing the issue, just like what I did in my previous work employments. But this time, I stayed and faced the challenges. I felt a divine force or a divine intervention that seemed to convince me to continue what I was doing.

When the job meets the call what happens? In my case, it produced the fruits of 3Ts – Try, Trust and Truth. These three essential elements have become my foundation in strengthening my vocation. First, to try something would also mean to wholly accept the things that comes with the decision. When my Superior informed me that I was assigned to Pakistan for my First Mission Assignment (FMA) for two years, my initial reaction was fear. I gave a half-hearted YES; I said that I would try. I remember teaching inside a school made of bricks wearing a Shalwar Kameez at 48 degrees Celsius heat without electricity. The climate was sometimes unbearable but the warm hospitality and love of the Parkari Kohli tribe and the support of the Columbans was heart-warming. Through that experience, I have learned to accept the goodness of others and the challenges in life. And I finished my FMA with joy and gratitude.

elbertpakistani

Elbert (with garland) with Pakistani community

Second, trust is difficult for me to develop, but in involving myself in the process of formation, I have learned that to trust means to surrender and let go of self-control. It also entails emptying oneself and allowing God to fill-in a renewed self. By trusting the goodness of God, I was able to overcome my habit of running away from problems. 

Lastly, truth is one of the essential elements of being human. Being true to myself creates an awareness of my own self. I used to buy branded clothes to gain status and respect from others. But people are interested in my authentic self, not the kind of clothes I wear. After serving a year in Pakistan, people told me that my simplicity gained their respect and acceptance. Hearing those words has led me to an insight that humility springs from being true to one’s self.

In my present "job" at the vineyard of the Lord, I now put the welfare of others over my own comfort and convenience. When the job meets the call it produces peace. This kind of peace stems from knowing that I am a beloved of God and that other people accept me for who I really am.   

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Elbert (middle) with friends in Pakistan

 

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