I always find visiting a wake sobering. It puts life into its proper perspective. I’ve been to many wakes before including my dad’s but it doesn’t get any easier even if you knew it would happen eventually. Still I have hope because I know that life on earth as we know it may end, but love does not.
Last Friday, our beloved Tito Rey Ortega died. He was an orphan who built an orphanage, and started many ministries in the Light of Jesus family including Pag-Asa ng Pamilya Scholarship Foundation for the underprivileged youth; Grace to Be Born, a halfway house for unwed mothers; Tahanan ng Pagmamahal, a home for street children; Jeremiah Foundation, a safe place for abused girls; Jesus Christ Cares for Cancer, a ministry for cancer victims, and the Hail Mary ministry for lepers in Abra.
Tito Rey lived a full life filled with love and a generous heart. I truly believe he went straight to heaven having fulfilled his mission on earth. I imagine God welcoming him with a big, warm hug, saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).
I am personally going to miss Tito Rey’s funny e-mails. Even in his sickness, he can crack a joke or two. His lightheartedness and full acceptance of the suffering he has been given inspires me.
He died to himself every day, so that others may live. I thank God for Tito Rey’s beautiful soul. I believe He is throwing a party just for him! Receive him Lord in your mercy, joy, and warm embrace.
In his life, Tito Rey taught me how to love. In his death, he is teaching me how to be brave.
Sometimes, I am a scaredy cat! There are things that I am still afraid of fully embracing, like diving fully into business, like falling in love, like getting out of my comfort zone. I guess I am afraid to be hurt or to feel pain, or to die. I realized that you could experience death not only physically, but also emotionally, and spiritually, and yes even socially when you experience rejection. Rejection is death. Sometimes we are afraid of being rejected that’s why we don’t even try to love.
My good friend Kirby, who wrote The Fired Up Life, told me recently, “Marj, fear is not compatible with love. It cannot share the same space.”
I held my breath for a moment, and wrote it on a tissue paper so I won’t forget.
Sometimes we give in to fear that’s why we fail to love.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
What is more important than what you are afraid of?
I am hoping it is something that you love.
To overcome fear, you must make your love bigger.
If I let my fear of vulnerability or rejection get the better of me, I wouldn’t be able to share my heart with you, and I would have deprived you of what you could learn from my mistakes and failures.
If I remained afraid of what other people would think of me, I wouldn’t write nor speak, and I would have deprived you of insights that could help you live a full life. But I overcome the fear every time by thinking of you who read this. I don’t want my dreams to die with me because I want to give you the love that you deserve.
Our gifts are not ours. A gift is not a gift until it is given away. It is meant for others. So, next time you are afraid to share yourself, and I say this also to myself, make your love bigger than your fear!
Leaving you now with this gem of a song from Josh Groban simply called, “Brave.” I pray that you will reach out, stand out, step out, and find your reason to be brave.
Let’s live life fully and completely! And when the time comes for our own wake to take place, I hope we can all look back to a life well lived, without an urn of what-ifs. I pray we’ll live a full life spent loving God and others every day.
At the end of life, the only question that truly matters is: Did I love?
I believe Tito Rey’s answer was: Yes.
I hope we can say the same. <3
Pearls of Truth
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but rather of power and of love… – 2 Timothy 1:7
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
“There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear.” – 1 John 4:18
“Let love be your highest goal.” – 1 Corinthians 14:1
“Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life!” – Leo Buscaglia
PS. Do not be afraid to die. Be afraid of not loving. It is love that will endure beyond this life.