The Stairway of life
RECOLLECTIONS, REFLECTIONS - Dr. Jose "Dodong" R. Gullas (The Freeman) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

I will never forget the instruction of my dear parents that “whatever the Lord gives you, an answered prayer or an unexpected blessing, whether big or small, you should always be grateful and humble.” Lola Ande, my maternal grandmother’s, words likewise still rings in my mind. She told me, “Remember that there are days when you are up and days when you are down, so always be prayerful and be humble.”

This reminds me of Solomon, the Biblical king most famous for his wisdom. In 1 Kings, Solomon sacrifices himself to God, and God later appears to him in a dream asking what Solomon wants from Him. Solomon asks for wisdom. Pleased, God answers Solomon's prayer, promising him great wisdom because he did not ask for self-serving rewards like long life or the death of his enemies.

And so, taking it from King Solomon’s experience, each day I ask God for His gift of wisdom. For in life, after all, is about making choices, taking risks, and being happy and contented. And all these, for sure, requires wisdom to be able to choose right, do right, and be right.

When I have to make crucial choices or important decisions, I’d always look to the framed photo of Papa Inting and Mama Pining that I’ve kept in my office all these years. And every time I wake up in the morning, my mind is always filled with thoughts of my parents, whom I ask for guidance to ensure that their legacy will live on for generations to come.

I have so much to thank for in my own life, foremost of which is my coming to terms with every single event in my life as part of a divine plan. I’ve come to accept everything. The acceptance has brought me peace and relief.

No regrets. I have made what I believe were the right choices to make at the time. I have always trusted God to lead me, and I always feel His assurance. God contains my fears.

All too often, especially in times of great hardship and despair and with daunting challenges during the bleak times, many people tend to make the mistake of blaming God for their situation. But if only they take the time to look back, I am very certain they will stumble upon that time when they made a choice, which choice that is responsible for putting them where they are or for making them what they have become today.

As I climb my stairway of life, I’ve been sent people to trust and rely on. And, yes, these people have helped me in the realization of the wish of Papa Inting, founder of the University of the Visayas, and Mama Pining, his co-founder and inspiration for their legacy to be kept alive. This year, UV celebrates its Centennial Year, 100 years of producing “kings and queens who may never wear crowns but are royals just the same” as Papa would put it. My immense gratefulness to all these people for their support.

My fervent wish, hope and prayer is that God, in his eternal wisdom, will bless the future Gullases with the grace to make the right choices, the right decisions, and to take upon themselves the even greater responsibility of taking care of the legacy of Papa Inting and Mama Pining, as we the second generation had done.

Now, my greatest dream, wish and desire with prayers to the Lord is for our regional newspaper, The Freeman, to be recognized among the 100-Years Club in newspaper publication in the world despite it being a local paper. Who knows, this may become a reality with the intercession of my brother, Servant of God, Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, with my constant companion Senor Santo Niño, the ever-protective arms of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the watchful eyes of Mama Mary.

Perhaps the greatest gift I have received is the gift of wisdom from my dear parents and my grandmother.  Their words were my handrail during the rough times in my life journey. To this day, I still hear them say: “In life, always look back to yesterday and that you and your future children shall learn to value and practice the virtue of humility – to be always humble, humane and compassionate and to be prayerful, because the Lord may knock at your doors anytime. Don’t ever forget that in the stairway of life, the people you meet on your way up are the same people you will meet on your way down.”

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