This is a stab at a mission statement, written in Sept 2003. It takes the form of an obituary that I'd hoped to have written about me when my years finally come to an end. Stuff I like: "gratitude to God", "enrich the lives of the people he met on the way", "source of strength for his mother".
Obituary – Jonathan Aquino. Born February 15, 1977. Died August 18, 2040.
Jon determined that his mission was to live a life of gratitude to God, and to continually seek ways to enrich the lives of the people he met on the way.
Jon was the music director of Sacred Heart Church in Victoria BC for nearly four decades. He helped generations of parishioners to pray their joys, pains, and hopes through song.
Since childhood, Jon had a passion for computer programming. He programmed many computer systems that helped Canadian businesses and governments to achieve their goals. Jon also assembled over a hundred personal computers to give to people free of charge.
Jon deeply cared for his family and friends, and was easy to laugh with, confide in, and approach for help. He was a source of strength for his mother Elvira, his father Frank, his brother Dave, his sister-in-law Pam, and his other family and good friends: Victor, Ninang Lou, Betta, Samuel, Tadahiko, Yong-Ho, Takeshi, Hyun-Pil, Katsuhiro, Carlos, Corinne, Dale, Alan, Nick.
Over the next few weeks (months?) I want to start hashing out a new mission statement. Rather than come up with one overnight, I'll be blogging various things that I want to go into it -- I'm hoping that there will be a point of culmination when I can finally coalesce all the ideas into a cohesive statement.
Some things I know I want in there: people who don't have what they need (food, clothing, and a home, especially), NVC stuff including the idea of "making life wonderful", Covey's stuff, ...
One of Stephen Covey's mission-statement exercises is to visualize your own funeral, three years from now, and listen to what the eulogists say about you. I tried this for a few minutes, and the first speaker is my mom. Among the things she said was that I was the best son in the world (with Dave), and also that I was very gentle, and very supportive of her endeavours.
I find eyestrain relief in looking away from the monitor and toward a light source like the fluorescent lights overhead or outside in the sunlight. Perhaps my brain needs the full spectrum of colours once in a while.
This is a little piece I wrote on September 22, 2003.
Life is like a BC Ferries trip. It has a beginning and an end; the whole trip takes 90 minutes. Some spend the trip reading; others, playing video games; still others, chatting with friends. Eating is a pleasure. Some sit with family, mostly in silence. There's a gift shop. There are lineups. You hear laughter, and grumblings. People usually don't talk to strangers, though it happens sometimes. A woman sorts her beads into pill containers. A man studies the behaviour of the people in his vicinity.
Then there are those who take on responsibilities for the good of all: the person vacuuming, the cashier, the cook. These have taken on roles above and beyond that of passengers. They sacrifice their entire trip for the good of others.
So how does one take a ferry well? How do I want to spend my trip? Definitely enjoying the scenery a bit, though not too much as it can become tiresome to do so. But mainly sitting in silence, ideally in the company of friends or family, merely sharing a word of encouragement or empathy once in a while. In any case, quietly giving thanks to God for the food, the fresh air, the peace, the beauty of the sea. Yes, I would spend my trip in peaceful gratitude, meditating on the good things I am receiving from God in the moment. And hopefully, by some stroke of creativity or circumstance, doing some good to some stranger, before the trip ends.
Near the end of our journey, we are tired, and we want to get off the boat as soon as possible. If it's nighttime, we ask, "Do you see the lights yet?" The ferry walls shudder during the last few minutes of the journey. Then silence. We leave the vessel and set foot on land.
From this meditation I suppose I have found my mission: To live a life of gratitude to God, and to continually seek ways to enrich the lives of people I meet on the way.
To do: tell the people at work about the two ways to make their LCD's sharp: image lock (it's a bit of an art) and once their screens are crisp, they can turn on Microsoft's experimental XP ClearType technology (if necessary, adjust with ClearTweak) to achieve a theoretical resolution increase of 3x. I'd be happy to try tweaking the settings of your LCD monitor if you're finding it blurry.
I use my homepage bookmarks on the left instead of my browser bookmarks. Thus, I get my bookmarks regardless of which browser or which computer I'm on.
The bookmarks on the left are in fact a separate webpage, which means I can load them into the sidebar of my Firefox browser (nice). I wish MyIE2 allowed custom sidebars like Firefox -- MyIE2 is a lot more responsive on my secondary computer (Pentium 166).
I can edit the bookmarks from any web browser because they are on a (dummy) Blogger blog page -- the Blogger tools make editing easy. And there is a neat Firefox trick to block the ads.
Some of the bookmarks are handy submit forms. My favourite is the one that posts to my blog. So much power in such little text boxes! I like how the submit forms are buttonless -- got that idea from BoardGameGeek.
Some of the more interesting links are: a link to TightVNC running on my secondary computer (I find that the Java client has faster screen refreshes than the native client?!), links to my favourite Yahoo services (calendar, address book, notepad -- all of which can sync with my Palm thanks to Yahoo), Gmail (I'm quite proud to be among the first users -- being a Blogger member helped here).
A recent addition to my bookmarks has been the BBC Week At A Glance -- the most important news from around the world for the past week, compressed into a single page, neatly arranged, with pictures. I'm impressed. As Edward Tufte says, "Maximize the data-ink."
I've set up a Groovy script to run every week, posting to my blog a summary of my web-surfing activity for the past 7 days. Wasn't too hard, with the help of jwz's mork.pl script for parsing the Firefox history.dat file. I hope to soon add a graph of links visited per hour, generated by gnuplot (haven't used this before -- scriptable charting, I'm hoping).
On a theoretical note, I noticed an interesting thing about my categorizations. Some of them work just as well inverted. For example, I started with "Mail: Google" and "Mail: Shaw", but then I found I would tend to look in the G's for Google mail, so I added "Google: Mail" (and "Shaw: Mail" too). There's something interesting going on here but I can't put my finger on it -- or maybe this is elementary set theory, which I haven't studied.
AVG's scheduled tests are not running (but its scheduled updates are). Probably because the computer is sleeping. Move the test time to 3:15 AM, when scheduled tasks run, to ensure the computer is awake.
Notes on today's music: Blest be the Lord - move flute harmony earlier, = as we may not reach v 3; also guitar might add some desirable = percussion. JC is ris'n - faster tempo (but keep the rich accompaniment)
Perhaps the convergence is thus: To be close to God and my family, and to be a part of making God's wonderful things happen. Or even more succinctly: To be a part of making God's wonderful things happen. It's got community, the connection to God, the "wonderful" things that NVC aims at, and the "missa est" that Sister Judi suggested.
A new mission statement? Tonight Sister Judi suggested this as a mission: To be the presence of Christ to others. In other words, ambassadors for Christ. I'll try to live by this this week. Previously I had taken my mission to be: To be close to God and to my family, and to be a part of making wonderful things happen. I sense that these two missions will converge.
For me, what separates fun projects from drudgery is the language: I = prefer Java, C#, Python and Ruby to PL/SQL, IMF (XML), data modeling, = documentation, JSPs. In short, programming that's easy to run and easy = to debug.
The day *Praying in a playground * Hello te Michelle dropping Matt off * Costco with Mom * Farewell to Dave at the ferry terminal * Tim Horton's with Mom and Dave. Relaxed. * worried, stressed out about the Uri problem * morning Mass
I regret complimenting H_____ on his singing. For one thing, it was a = false compliment, and he knew it, so he probably felt embarassed and = dejected; moreover, it wasn't said with meaning -- I desire meaning in = everything I do. Resolution: express gratitude, not compliments:
We live in two realities. The first reality is the reality of work, TV, meals, books, sports, bills, appointments, missed appointments, and groceries. The second reality is harder to enter into. It sometimes takes a natural disaster, a major life trauma, losing one's job, losing one's home, losing one's brother or sister or child, before we can enter into this second reality. It is the reality of what really matters, and we usually don't live in this second reality. Most of our time is spent living in the first, the reality of mindless activity. It's easier to enter into; but in fact it is hard to live this way because it is living without meaning, and meaning is one of our fundamental needs.
I think about the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan -- a terrible natural disaster that compelled 2 million people to leave the reality of mindless activity and enter into the reality of what really matters. The reason Kobe sticks out to me is that some businesses actually continued to operate because they invested in sophisticated computer systems to back up their data. What's interesting to me is that while most of the population entered into the reality of what really matters, this privileged few remained in the reality of mindless activity. Is not the reality of what really matters the "true" reality: living in the present, painfully aware of one's mortality, free of hatred, only too willing to assist the people suffering nearby, suddenly prayerful?
After 9/11, people attended churches in surprising numbers -- they had entered into the second reality and realized what really mattered.
I want to live in this second reality always. I want to leave the reality of anxiety over bill payments, mortgages, job security, comparisons, what's new on the Internet, what the American Idol contestants sound like, what's new in the stores. I want to enter into the reality of prayer, closeness to my God, peace, living in this very moment, gratitude for having many of my needs met, closeness to my family, and meaning.
When Father Sig learned that I was singing the Exsultet this year, he seemed a bit disappointed -- he told me he was hoping to have a different person sing the Exsultet each year. Perhaps what is important to Father Sig here is giving others opportunities to contribute. Now I'm disheartened because my need for support isn't being met -- I hope Father Sig will still fully support me in my singing of the Exsultet despite this situation (I think he will try). I was not aware of his desire to vary the Exsultet singer each year. I hope to have harmony in my relationship with him.
Resolution: Vary the Exultset singers yearly, starting next year.
If only money were distributed on a needs basis rather than a = performance basis. We've got it backwards because those who perform best = probably have the fewest needs. But I'm discouraged when I consider the = effort to convince an entire nation of this.
395 The Strife Is O'er (teach it?)
394 The Light Of Christ (in C)
Flute solo: Ash Grove (accompany with low violin, perhaps?)
406 Sing With All The Saints In Glory (in F)
389 Jesus Christ Is Ris'n Today
* good chat with Mom on how to pray. She suggests novenas. Today is Day 1, and I am praying for healing for Wil
* dinner with Ji-Hwan and Mom: Nong Shin noodles, and a delicious dish of scrambled eggs and hash browns
* Review PC World's article on the Top 100 Websites
* rehearse Easter Vigil music with Rocio
* Good Friday service. Moving violin piece: When I Survey.
* Stressed out as I quickly practice for the Good Friday service
* delighted with the result of Windows XP's ClearType
* thrilled to get jEdit's SuperScript plug-in working with Groovy. Post to mailing list: improvements to instructions.
* review today's Slashdot articles
* Wake up after 7 hours of sleep -- regret not going to bed an hour earlier
Goals for this Easter weekend:
* focus on nurturing my spiritual life
* consider how to balance the energy I put into my various roles: spiritual, mental, physical, social, family, music, computer programming
* spend time connecting with mom and bro
It's Holy Week, and there is lots of music to prepare and rehearsals to attend. I must say I'm a bit overwhelmed with these and other commitments this week. I'm hoping that I can get through the week with efficiency, effectiveness, and peace.
My goal this week is to stay connected to God each day -- through prayer in the morning and evening, and also throughout the day with spontaneous prayers and simply being aware of God's presence. May God help me to stay connected.
I also need exercise, and re-connection with some friends (Dale and Vic) and family members (Dad and Ninang Lou). A bit of professional development (music, programming) wouldn't hurt either. I'll take some time out early this week to plan some time for these things.
At William Head, I asked H_____ if I could sit with him, and he agreed. We were then silent -- him reading and me staring at the wall. This lasted for five minutes, when at last Fred joined us and started a conversation with H_____. I left, feeling rather embarassed. I regret remaining silent. I guess at the time I wanted H_____ to have space, but perhaps that is not what he needed -- perhaps he needed to be heard and understood. In a similar situation in the future, I will ask if the person wants to chat or needs space -- then I'll have the clarity I need.
* Set up script to download Dilbert and Astronomy Picture Of The Day
* Church service at William Head
* Visit two plant stores with Mom and Ji Hwan
* Farewell to my bro at the ferry terminal
* Lunch with Ji Hwan, Dave, and Mom at the Rumrunner's in Sidney
* Music at Sacred Heart -- Ellena played a contemplative flute piece without accompaniment
St. Alphonsus, quoted in Awaken to prayer: how to pray as a Catholic: "How many are there who, not having any better opportunity, raise their hearts to God and apply their minds to mental prayer, without leaving their occupations, their work, or who meditate even while traveling."
* Learn with Mom how to burn CD's
* Watch Canucks win the division title
* Eat Ali Baba pizza with my bro
* Watch boxing with my bro
* Window-shop on Government St. with Mom and Dave
* Stop by St. Andrew's Cathedral for a brief prayer with Mom and Dave
* Tim Horton's on McKenzie with Mom and Dave
* Streamline my My Yahoo page
* Lunch with Ji Hwan and my bro: salad, halibut, tomatos, and rice.
* Half-hour liturgical-music practice with Ellena, our flautist
Today I felt kind of disconnected from God -- I spent less than 10 minutes in prayer total. I want to spend more time in prayer -- and more time generally in meditation. I'm intrigued by the idea of "awareness meditation" -- I'd like to try that tomorrow for 20-30 minutes.
ideas for stuff to do when my brother visits: aquarium, art gallery, = mall, ice cream, meals, park, rich neighbourhoods,filipino games, = driving,hacky sacky, tnt, chinese, sushi, richmond, kitchen cabinet, = scrabble,Jon_Aquino_Blog@shaw.ca granville island, memory box & = photographs, farm, seaside, science world, hike, arm wrestling, walk = along false creek, arcade classics, camping trip, yaletown window = shopping
How the day went:
11 PM - check out Yahoo Calendar sync'ing with my Palm Pilot
10 PM - prepare music for upcoming masses and communion services
9 PM - discussed with mom: housing a second Korean student
8 PM - Harry and Ron take on the troll
7 PM - watched Harry Potter DVD with my bro
5 PM - ate Nong Shin noodles, meatballs, sausages, and rice, prepared by mom
4 PM - browsed internet at home
3 PM - Tim Hortons with my bro
2 PM - exchanged computer monitor at Value Village
11 AM - arrived home
10 AM - left work early to be with bro
9 AM - arrived at work
What I'm most grateful for today is the will and the time to say a short prayer of thanks to God before bedtime. Let's do more of that!
Hymn picks for Holy Thursday:
435 Lift High The Cross
68 Pange Lingua Gloriosi (need to make sure I get the Latin right)
Not sure if we need music for washing of the feet and transfer of the reserved sacrament -- might ask Raf to be ready to play interludes.
(During washing of the feet) Whatsoever you do (246)
The cry of the poor (93)
Only this I want (224)