Dear office mates,
Like most of you, I was also having a difficult time absorbing recent developments in our office. The spate of personnel departures is numbing and the word “integration” has almost become synonymous to dissolution. All of us have something to say about recent developments and discussions have been tense, opinions (like this letter) fly from all over, and “leaving our options open” a common game plan.
When I woke up this morning (and played with my new toy), I was delighted to see the picture above in my collection. It was 2008 and we just had an office blessing. We were this many and happy in the olden days. Sadly, a third of the people above have already moved on, some more will be out in the coming days, and just about a third will remain.
Is the boat sinking?
Turbulent times is for me a desert experience. These are times when we are taken into that zone where we are stripped naked of our defenses and thus feel vulnerable. Just like what the prophet Hosea did to his wife. “So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart,” he says. There is some sort of purification that happens in the desert. When our guards are down, the elements and the silence speak and affect us and remind us of only the things that really matter. We are also reminded to trust in the loving hands of God that is at work within and among us. Its power to transform us, however, ultimately depends on how much we give of ourselves in the process.
No, the boat isn’t sinking. It never will.
Some of us felt bad with the way things are decided and handled in our organization. Some of us felt fearful when all of a sudden things shook and we were left in an insecure position. Some of us had issues with personnel departures. And most of us really cannot make out what lies ahead, when it’s extremely important to us because we have families to feed and lives to build.
The boat, which we call De La Salle Philippines, won’t sink. It can take another form, have a different set of people running it, or even get erased from the list of the Securities and Exchange Commission but its Spirit will remain indomitable. The mission of educating the poor will be there for as long as there remains at least a child who by matters of circumstance cannot be afforded a human and Christian education.
Consider yourself a Missionary when you decide to work in a Lasallian institution. I think this is an advice which could set one’s mind to a good perspective upon entry to this organization. We may not be dealing with students directly but our work which is supposed to catalyze One La Salle is part of the Mission.
The changes we experience right now may make us feel bad but it’s not entirely bad after all. Those of us who will remain are not entirely powerless to still make this a community of professionals working in support of a Mission. I, too, feel insecure and that makes me fearful for my own future but it helps me a lot when I bring it to prayer and let God take over those concerns. And with those feelings taken away from me, I am now free to give my work the best shot it deserves for I know that this will ultimately benefit the thousands of Lasallian students enrolled in our schools.
And hey! The integration with another office is something to look forward to. We may have lost some coworkers and friends but the family will have new members soon! There’s no guarantee that it will be easy but we can always make it work.
As a closing note, please let me share this prayer by Ms. Prechie during the DLSP Congress…
Grant us the courage to be open to each other and not to be fearful of the new and different. Help us to rejoice in that which is always the same and unchanging, while finding delight in freshness and change.
Cheer up, fellow Missionaries! Not everything is lost. Let us move on and welcome the school year with a resolve to make things better not just for ourselves but for our families and the students we serve. And at the end of the day, we lift up everything to Him who knows what is good for us. Domine opus tuum! The work is yours, Lord!
In St. La Salle,