trick or treat!

“Do not deceive yourselves.  If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age,  he should become a ‘fool’, so that he may become wise.”  1 Corinthians 3:18

truth hurts.  and so is the discovery that the perceived truth was actually a lie afterall. then you wouldn’t know exactly which is worse.

what can exactly make a difference is the “who”.  strangers can lie all they can, so what?  if it does not involve us in any way, it wouldn’t matter at all.  but if it is someone with whom a mutual trust we thought exists, the truth hurts even more.

all of us, at some point in our lives, experience this sad truth.  betrayed, tricked, duped, deceived, bluffed, even stabbed at the back.  what can be more painful?

but it’s okey to feel bad.  it is a proof that we are alive and normal.  because to be numb is like being dead. 

but then again, if we continuously wallow in the pool of  lies and betrayal, then we will soon drown in the negativity of our self-inflicted pain.  and we’re just as good as dead.  because we can no longer move on and see things in a different light.

let’s make our “wallow episodes” short and significant.  like boosters to help us surge upwards, consider the trickery that once pulled us down, good luck in disguise.  the beautiful lie that finally appeared as the ugly truth, would teach us painful lessons that would eventually make us better persons. 

our “trust-o-meter” may malfunction for quite sometime.  but be patient.  people in our lives who stay true under any circumstance would calibrate it again like new.  we would eventually realize our true alliances, and they would enable us to be survivors in life.  these are the ones to whom our focus should be on, to cherish and value even more.

truth is a bitter pill, sugar-coated with lies.   in the end, we decide – to swallow or not.

trick or treat!

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when lions roar

 
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

the lion king was the first movie that my then baby, megan ever watched.  i’m not certain if she ever recalls that experience.  but that movie changed how we perceive these creatures from then on. from fierce and savage beasts, to sweet and loving living beings.

thus i pay tribute to the Lions of Al Andalus International School in Al Khobar, who for the second year in a row brought pride and honor to the institution with which they belong.  the Philippine Embassy at the Diplomatic Quarters in Riyadh was transformed into a jungle (pun intended) when the cheerdancers roared their way to the first place, beating the two other groups who had the hometown advantage.  the teamwork, grace and intensity of their performance left the spectators in awe, as the Lions raised the standard for the succeeding teams, who obviously were not able to meet.

as in every competition, some other factors led the champions to victory and made them stand out above the rest.  let us acknowledge the Rafikis, coach/trainor/choreographer who taught these lions the moves and the grooves. 

then there are the  Mufasas and the Sarabis, the ever supportive parents, who despite their hectic schedules and the stress that a lengthy travel from Khobar to Riyadh entails, still manage to be the source of strength and courage of their children. 

but above all, thanks to the LORD for having gifted the Simbas and Nalas with intense passion and superb talents.  yet, intense passion alone cannot sustain the fight.  so does superb talents on their own.  but with these two gifts together, where can they go wrong?  hakuna matata

our son Miguel did not take part as cheerdancer, but was with them all along to  capture their moments in photographs. but as we all go back to “Pride Rock” in khobar, i pray that these young lions, including our own simba, continue to carry in their hearts the inspiration of that twice-in-a-lifetime experience. 

they brought home the bacon indeed, but with it are the most flavorful lessons on friendships, family (as an ever dependable support group), hard work, unity, honor, sportsmanship… and God who made it all possible…

Unto Him we give back the glory.

(photos courtesy of 4Ds – daisy, diane, duchess and derick )

big mistake, the captain’s “major, major” wrong decision

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath , for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. says the Lord. On the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 

Do not be overcome by evil, OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD.” Romans 12:17-21

we are still in shock as news on the bloody hostage taking in Manila continues since it happened two days ago.  the police officer Rolando Mendoza, who appealed his case not in court, but in front of the world, definitely had his voice heard.  but at what cost? and did it achieve his purpose?

“rolando mendoza was a good man”;  that was what his family, his colleagues in the police force, neighbors and friends who knew him personally say.  what made him do such violent acts which do not conform to the qualities of a “good man” is still in question. 

his demand to get his “life” back which he equated with the retirement benefits that he ought to receive was a sad cry for help.

nobody is in a position to judge him.  but in my own point of view, there is more to life than retirement benefits.  bad things happen even to good people.  even if you strictly do everything the right way, sometimes some things happen beyond our control which cloud our judgement and force us to do things against the moral values within which our characters are built.  this is because our lives are connected with one another.  whatever happens with one, affects another human being’s life.  the rage that the hostage taking incident sparked is a sound proof that all of us are intertwined regardless if we knew each other or not. 

rolando and the hostages didn’t know each other.  but when their paths crossed,  the journey would never be the same again.  it is sad that lives were taken in a futile attempt to win a personal battle.  if only rolando trusted more in the power of the Lord, rather than the word of the ombudsman or the promise of a negotiator, he wouldn’t have conceived that plan in the first place. 

what we do is not necesarily who we are.  we, as human beings made in the likeness of God, are basically good.  but somewhere along the paths we take in our lives, we come across dangerous potholes and humps, and interact with different types of people along the way.  they either make our journey is easy, but sometimes cause us troubles and hardships.  but if we stay in God’s grace, his everlasting love and light would guide us until we reach our destination.

as we go along our way, let us not depart from who we really are.  we are God’s children.  we are brothers and sisters, regardless of color, race or religion.  if we care for our brothers and sisters, we would never feel  threathened, even if everything will be taken away from us.  we will always be taken care of.  if we just believe in God’s promise.

it is written in Matthew 6:25-26  “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.  Is not life more than food? Or the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?”

if only rolando remembered this, he should not have made that big wrong decision.  he would not have made that big mistake.  and he could have prevented all the others from making their own.

the tale of two friends

And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? – – `My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.  For the Lord disciplines him whom He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.’

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather healed.”  Hebrews 12: 5-7, 11-13

i remember this story about two very close friends.  in fact, they were too close that they already treated each other as family.  one day, the other friend left and worked away from the other.  before he left, he asked his friend to take care of his mother while he was away.  he also entrusted his business and savings to him not wanting to bother his mother with finances.  on top of that, he also sent part of his earnings monthly.  his main concern was for his mother to be well taken care of.

two years after, the friend who went away came back.  only to find out that the friend he left behind betrayed his trust;  his money gone, the business went bankrupt and his mother neglected.  when he confronted his friend, this friend who betrayed him simply said he needed the money, but never asked for forgiveness nor did he show any remorse nor shame for what he had done.  he was even proud to say that he can pay him back anytime.  that was the last time they saw each other.

after some time, the friend had to leave his mother again.  but this time he made sure that he trusted the right people to care for her.  not long after, the friend who betrayed him was caught stealing from his place of work.  he was forced to resign without any benefits from his thirty years of service, or else the company would file charges against him.  he left the company empty-handed.  because of his lavish lifestyle which his salary alone could not sustain, he was also neck deep in debt with personal loans from other people which he could no longer pay.  his childred stopped going to school.  his house foreclosed by the bank.  and because he was already getting older, he started to get sick. 

it was time for vacation again for his friend.  during one of his routine visits to his doctor, he saw the friend who betrayed him in the hospital corridor, seeking treatment for his heart ailment in the charity section; pale, thin and weak.  but this then sickly friend was still hardened with pride.  he said he was supposed to pay back what he owed, but he got sick.  and yet, not a single sorry was uttered.  his friend who had long forgotten what he had done, simply said, “you know, my friend,  all our sins each have their own punishments.  maybe this is yours.”  and the friend who betrayed him, still proud and enrelenting answered back “you know what you said really hurts me.”  and the friend who betrayed him walked away, never looked back, not realizing the hurt he had caused the other.  now this friend who betrayed the other, has nothing.  no money, no family, no friend. 

when bad things happen to us, we associate it to God’s punishment for our past wrongdoings.  because i see God as a loving and gentle God, i refused to see him in this perspective especially when i was younger.  but when i grew older, i believe i also grew a bit wiser.

because by now, i know that everytime i sin, God calls my attention because he loves me and he wants me to change.   in subtle ways first.  but when i don’t listen, he jolts me.  like lightning in the middle of summer, i would be caught by surprise.  then, he gets my attention.  and i learn my lesson.  the hard way.

that does not mean that God is not a loving and gentle God.  He is.  it’s just that, i’m a stubborn sinner who needed something more than a push to make me understand. 

we can be the friend who trusts or the friend who betrays.  in which case, we can be forgiving like the other.  or really, really mean and proud, like the one who betrays him. 

the point is, when God does punishes us, let not foolish pride get in the way.  acknowledge that we had done something wrong.  ask for forgiveness.  resolve not to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.  or else, we would end up with nothing.  no love.  no friend.  no family.  no home.  and sadly, no soul.

never alone

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

yesterday i experienced the scariest and weirdest moment ever. 

you see, there is no company transport provided for us,  so i have to go with bhoy every morning.  that means i am always an hour and a half early for work.  that also means that it is my duty to unlock the office main door and switch on the lights. it also means that i could enjoy some peace and quiet before each stressful day.  there’s time for me to pray the rosary, retouch make-up, clean my desk, read the news and update my facebook status, even before everyone else arrives. 

except for some familiar sounds that come from the kitchen, which by this time i’ve already gotten used to, nothing unusual happens.  not until yesterday morning.

as i placed my bag and packed lunch on my desk and was about to take a seat, a loud banging on the glass part of the wall divider behind me swallowed the silence that i’ve grown to love now. BANG! BANG! BANG! as i turned to look at where the eerie noise was coming from, my heartbeat raced really fast that i felt it was out of the building within a sec.  but then, the rest of my body froze in my seat.  I WAS REALLY, REALLY TERRIFIED!!!  (thanks to my love affair with horror movies, my imagination became gory and gruesome OMG! )

the first thing that i could think of was a remote possibility that there maybe somebody locked inside the office the day before.  the second thing was oh well!  i could not think of anything more other than how scared i already was. as i sat motionless for like an eternity, i just prayed “Oh God, please don’t leave me. I’m all alone.”  minutes were transformed to forever.  you can just imagine my relief when my officemate and friend, mila, eventually arrived.  it was then that i got my heart back to its rightful place…my frightened heart that seemed to have taken a flight back home to laguna.

of course there may be spirits or souls that roam around, whose energy may have caused that really loud banging. and so, i was really wrong when i thought i was all alone.  in fact, i realized now that indeed, i was never alone. and never will be.  to quote Pope Benedict XVI during Sunday’s Angelus prayer, he stressed: “Every time we recite Our Father, our voice becomes entwined with that of the Church, because those who pray are never alone.” http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=37525

in connection to my weird experience yesterday, this legend about the cherokee indian youth’s rite of passage was sent to my email this morning. here goes:

his father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.  he is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. 

he cannot cry out for help to anyone.  once he survives the night, he is a MAN.  he cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

the boy is naturally terrified.  he can hear all kinds of noises.  wild beasts must surely be all around him.  maybe even some humans might do him harm.  the wind blew on the grass and the earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing his blindfold.  it would be the only way he could become a man!

finally after the horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold.  it was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him.  he had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

we too, are never alone.  even when we don’t know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us.  when trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Moral of the story:  Just because you can’t see God, doesn’t mean He’s not there.

oh yes God is always with me.  but question is, am i with him? or will i rather be elsewhere? how many times did i go astray and got lost along the way? do i sometimes get ahead of Him who is supposed to lead me instead? 

next time any sound breaks that precious silence again,  my prayer is that the presence of God would build up my courage and strengthen my faith.  let it be a resounding assurance that He will never ever leave me, even when most of the time i am not worthy.

a boy named CJ

“And He said:’I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself  like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’  And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”   Matthew 18:3-5

once in a while, i stumble upon stories of real people that deeply touch my heart.  even after the stories end.  this morning, i met a beautiful child named CJ.

his father, benette, who works abroad and was about to celebrate his birthday, called home and talked to his son, CJ.  he asked his father to look for his gift when he comes home for vacation in his ‘aparador‘. father and son also talked about plans to celebrate his sister Camille’s birthday and CJ’s becoming an altar boy, and eventually a priest someday.  the conversation was really sweet and touching, as detailed by benette in his facebook account.

that same night, tragedy struck. CJ was ran over and back by a ten-wheeler truck.  half of his frail body was crushed. he was with two of his cousins, Melai whose right arm was seriously injured and Melvin who was pushed by CJ to save him.  this happened three years ago.

it’s really hard to lose someone we love.  but to lose him unexpectedly and in a really gruesome way is even harder.  i recently lost dear loved ones recently too – my daddy, my childhood friend and best friend roobee, my aunts: tita fortune, tita estela and auntie bebeng, dearest friends boeing and eugene.  though really painful until now, i draw strength from the sweet memories they left behind.

but now, the parents of this little angel are still grieving, not only for the loss of their precious son.  but also for the elusive justice that they seek.  indeed as Catholics, we are taught to forgive.  but what is there to forgive, when the sinner does not repent? and where is peace, when there is no justice? 

i write this by God’s grace, so that readers may join hands in prayer to find justice for CJ and his family… to hope that this tragedy would never happen again to any family… and that  a boy named CJ would finally rest in peace.

invisible wall

“And He called the people to Him again and said to them ,”Hear me, all of you and understand:  there is nothing outside a man which by going into Him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him…  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”  Mark 4:14-15, 21-23

stone-walls-avila

there was this one gathering that we were invited to.  the notice was kind of impromptu so to speak.  it was already past my bedtime, but still we have to go,  if only because we have to drop our son off so he could spend time with his friends.  despite the other parents’ persistence over my mobile phone and bhoy’s subtle hints for me to get down from the car for a moment and say hi at least, i declined because i felt sick.  though as i look back, i am not sure now if it was for real or just imagined.  that was not the first time.  i have already excused myself on similar occasions many times before.  though at first, i thought i was able to get away with it.  but as i start to run out of excuses, i also began to question my motives.  maybe i’ve already pushed myself way deep into the abyss of extreme fear.  but what am i really scared of?

there were chapters in my life  when interactions with other people caused me so much pain.  intimate or otherwise, intentional or not, the memory would come and go, and would still hurt me as much.  subconsciously, as an instinct to defend myself from the probability of its recurrence, i built an invisible wall around me.  this wall provides a sense of security to know that nobody can no longer come in and hurt me again, unless i allow it.  so that if it happens again, it will be my entire fault because I let my guard down and let them sneak into my protected sanctuary and inflict pain on me… again. OUCH!

 sometimes it feels unfair to decline any invitation of friendship from new acquaintances, because that was when the hurting usually starts.  it is like cancer that slowly and silently ravages one single organ, and if it is no longer satisfied, moves to another, then another, until it spreads out to the whole system.  at that stage, no medications are effective enough to cure it.  and sadly, painkillers are just a moment’s comfort because they can no longer stop the pain entirely.  and that is worse than the disease itself.

 the wall that I built around me is selective.  my naive and vulnerable nature turns it into a sponge that absorbs any makahiyadisplay of kindness and gentleness.  and in an instant, it can turn into a “makahiya” which folds inward when touched or shaken.  it is an acquired instinct to over-protect myself now.  not only from predators lurking in the darker avenues, but warily from unfamiliar creatures which  disguise otherwise.

 call it instinct.  but sometimes it already seems like i’m just being paranoid.  and i really feel guilty after those excuses, because i know deep inside it is not fair.  especially to all who genuinely cares about me.  therefore i commit a grave injustice far greater than those who have hurt me.  not only am i depriving myself the warmth of human bonding, i also prevent others to get to know and understand me better.  instead, like a turtle who hides its head in its shell, i retreat into the innermost recesses of my solitude, because it is there that i feel safest.  or so i thought.

but truly, only God breaks down walls and opens new doors for natural order of things to find its course.  praise God for the power of His word.  for by His grace He made me realize that the madness that comes from without can do me no worse, than what i can do to myself.  and since i have no control of what’s to come,  i’ll be forever comforted by the reality that He will always protect me.

gods_embrace

harsh realities of life.  even our Lord Jesus Christ, in all His power and glory, was not spared because He loves us so much.  pain and suffering are part of what makes us better persons.  and they don’t even come close to what our Lord was made to endure.  He offered his life totally and unconditionally, and we partake in His suffering by enduring our own.  and maybe too, if i offered my own, by sharing my self to others regardless of any suffering that it might bring,  His suffering would not have been in vain. 

i just pray that one day soon, in the name of Christ Jesus, i would be able to put into action what the Lord had just made me realize.  and my invisible wall would finally disappear, together with the foundation of pain from which it was built upon.

the crosses and roses of Cory

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:6-8

the funeral mass for Corazon C. Aquino is now over.  the homily of  Rev. Catalino Arevalo S. J., Cory’s spiritual adviser, was simple yet profound.  part of it enumerated three distinct Cory attributes that are rarely inherent in one ordinary human being all together. 

1. her selflessness –  Cory always sought what was beneficial for others, always before her own self, her family even.  in her times of suffering, she would always think about them and what she could still do for them.

let us ask ourselves: how may times did we have the chance and the capability to help lola carry her heavy bags while she crosses the street, but did not?  because we are too focused on our timetable, that lifting a finger to help someone in need would be a waste of time.  how many times do we change our mobile phones in a year to be “in”, yet oblivious to the immediate needs of a relative who desperately needs financial support for immediate medical attention, because he can’t pay us back ?  or simply, how many times did we stop and look through a person’s eyes when we answer his questions?  are we always too self-indulged, that what we want to see are only ourselves? or we are just too selfish, we won’t respond at all.  are we too eager to go first in line, that we viciously sneak our way to the front, regardless whether those who came ahead of us honestly wait for their turn no matter how long it takes?   simple things that we could simply do, but we won’t.  even if we can.  because i, me, mine always comes first.  such selfishness.

2.  faith in God– Cory’s faith in God is so strong and powerful.  through all the episodes of her life, God was ever present.  God was truly a part of her everyday life, she attributed every moment of it as His will for her. she accepted each difficulty with resignation and each blessing with gratitude.  she was a Marian devotee, remembering always to pray the rosary.  she went to mass regularly, and she prayed without ceasing, always seeking the Lord in whatever circumstance.  as such, her faith is so overwhelming, it cannot be contained within her.  it burst into flickers of light to everyone who came close to her, until that flicker glowed into their own.  later will they realize that Cory had planted a mustard seed of faith in them, that grew as days go by that she lived by her example.  needless to say, everyone who came close to her or those who only see her on tv, now pray the rosary, and hear mass as often too. all because of Tita Cory.  imagine how many souls she had saved just by living a life of faith in God.

let’s ask ourselves:  how involved is God in our life? how many hours, minutes or perhaps seconds do we spend each day just thinking about him?  do we remember to thank him for little blessings like a beautiful sunny day or perhaps the smell of  roses? do we talk to God when we’re alone in the car and got caught in the traffic asking him to give us more patience?  do we tell him our innermost secrets? or ask his advise when we had to make an important decision in life? or do we remember Him only during calamities, misfortunes or sickness?  such a shame.

3.  her courage– Cory was only a woman, the weaker sex, or so they say.  but she has proven that gender has nothing to do with courage at all.  when Ninoy was arrested and eventually assassinated, she was left to raise five children.  that alone required much.  but lead a nation to stand up against a regime that has been in power for so long;  to survive seven coup attempts during her term; and to fight that last battle with colon cancer with such faith? indeed Cory was incredible and inspiring.  that was an understatement of course.   how great is Tita Cory, only a woman; but how remarkable and noteworthy that brave and grown men weep at her passing.   her courage was a gift that God gives only to those who deserve it.  and believe me, if heroism is defined by one’s courage and bravery, then indeed Cory Aquino is a hero.

let’s think about this:  we already knew that Tita Cory was deeply respected and admired as our icon of democracy.  but only in her death did we realize how much she is loved and will be missed by the Filipino nation.  all of us wish to be at least loved and missed at our own funerals.  maybe admired and looked up to, for those who seek power and recognition.  but are they as brave enough to fill in her shoes? to fight for the rights of the weak? to speak for those who can’t?  do they have enough courage to put God, country and family above themselves?  are they valiant enough to stand up for what is good, right and moral when all around them dictates otherwise? 

if each Filipino could only pick up bits and pieces of  lessons from her life and make them part of their own, what a beautiful nation this would be.  with little Tita Corys in each of us, how could we ever go wrong? for with that faith in God that she lived by, who can ever be against us?

thus was Corazon C. Aquino: a woman, a wife, a mother, a friend, a public servant, a President, a hero, an icon, an inspiration, a pillar of strength, a gift from God, a Marian devotee, God’s loving daughter.  and her life – a picture of crosses and roses.  all together is a sweet blend that is Cory.  truly one of a kind.

cory-aquino2

her funeral procession is now over. she is gone forever.  but her legacy lives on.  and her selflessness, her courage and her faith in God… i pray would remain engraved in our hearts forever. 

 for the first time, i can now truly say i am proud to be Filipino.  because Cory taught me what it means to be one. 

Maraming Salamat, TITA CORY!

the greatest entertainer who ever lived

“it is only bodies that are separated, but minds and hearts remain united, especially in Him, for whom the sacrifice is made of leaving all that is dearest.” – anonymous

 what an overwhelming memorial that was.  last night would forever be etched in the hearts of those whose lives Michael Jackson touched, as well as the generations to come.

mj casket

at the Staples Center, those who knew Michael Jackson as family and as friend paid tribute to this great man who will forever be remembered as the king of pop.  but then, it is an underrated title for an artist who will forever be larger than life.  definitely, he is the greatest entertainer who ever lived.  and yes, last night, i get to know the kind of man that Michael Jackson was, from those who were fortunate enough to have known him personally and lucky enough to be a part of his life.  to quote his daughter Paris “Ever since I was born, daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine.  And I just want to say that I love him so much.”  and this much i can say, he must have been such a great human being as well, to be loved and missed that much.

i knew him only from a distance; only by his songs and performances.  i didn’t have any photos, or memorabilia of him.  i didn’t have any songbook, nor any of his records.  i don’t keep news clippings or magazine write-ups, nor any scrapbook detailing his achievements as an artist. i don’t know the lyrics of some of his songs, except of course my favorites, and i don’t know much about the details of his career or personal life.  but when he passed away, i felt like someone very close like family to me had died.

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Michael was like part of our family.  he was there in our house even before I went to school.  he was there when I started venturing into a bigger world outside our home.  he was there when I first fell in love.  he was there when I went to college and found a job.  he was here now that i have a family of my own.  he was in my life all this time.  And only in his death did i realize that.

his music is his presence.  and now that he’s gone, i tried so hard to hold on to whatever i could.  because like those who have gone before him, i thought he’d be here forever.  now i have his greatest hits in my mobile phone, to stand as a symbol of how he’d been such a part of my life.  to immerse myself into the genius of his creativity which i should have done long before.  oh if i could only…

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as i watch the memorial last night, i realized it was not only me who had this unexplainable connection with Michael.  his person, his passion, his music.  he has such a powerful hold on all of us.  and like what Smokey Robinson had said, i am also glad to have lived in his era.  needless to say, i praise God for lending us Michael who have torn down barriers so that color, race, religion and nationalities no longer matter.  in his music, the world became one.  praise God for this wonderful soul, and this extraordinary human being. 

“if he is not with us, then who is against us.”  to all who have judged Michael harshly in the past, may you realize that one who has evoked such goodness in our hearts did not deserve to have been treated that way.  Michael Jackson deserved only the best.

so the Lord blessed him.  you are now free Michael.  where you have gone, no cameras can follow. they won’t bother you now.  from now on, there will only be peace and love in our Father’s embrace.  oh how i just wished you had seen how much you are loved.  and how much you will be missed.

michael's kidswhich reminds us to never! never! never! take anybody for granted.  let us all do as much good as we can, when we still have chance.  be it for a friend or foe, family or stranger.  even so, let us surpass the goodness.  let us give more. or better yet,  let us be the best for everyone.  we may not be the greatest entertainer who ever lived, but we can be the best human being that we can ever be.  AND THAT WOULD MAKE MICHAEL —S M I L E.

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that one last summer

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“The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.” Psalm 104:19

it was a long, sad walk from our parish church to the cemetery.  the weather was hot because it was almost noon.  it was summer.   i tried not to stop waving the fan so roobee would feel a little comfort.  she didn’t complain, but i knew that aside from her grief, she was not feeling well.  it was her tatay’s funeral and as tradition dictates, we had to walk behind the casket.  and i held her as we walked.  she was crying…

that was the last time that we were together for long.  because when we were about to leave for our flight back to KSA flowers93and they were, likewise, headed for manila for her nanay’s check-up,  the goodbyes were brief. we hugged each other.  i could not recall if we beso-beso.  all i could remember now is, that was the last time we would see each other.

after that last moment when we said goodbyes, we never really did.  roobee never stopped texting me.  about her family, our friends and acquaintances, if not her favorite quotes and sayings.  i couldn’t keep up with her texts and apologized for not being able to respond as religiously especially to the latter.

and that last sweet gesture.  she sent our silver anniversary reunion souvenir t-shirts and dvd through megan.  the first time i saw those shirts on fs photos, i already asked bhoy why they ever chose those to wear.  it wasn’t like a reunion, i said.  it was like attending a wake.  for everyone was wearing black.  and only now that i realized why.  it was only after she died that i was able to pay attention to the dvd.  she had a message written on the cover “boy and aninie,  happy watching! miz ya!”  if only i gave it due importance, if only i read it when she was still alive.  she should have read what i would have had texted back.   “miz ya 2!” 

the news was a shock.  it felt as if the world stopped turning for a moment.  i felt numbed.  and my mind went blank.  after a while, i knew i had to, either accept it or deny it.  i chose the latter.  i dialled her number.  her mobile rang, but there was no answer.  again, i tried.  but her mobile just kept on ringing.  once more, i dialled.  but even the ringing was gone.  then i knew deep in my heart that i had to accept it.   she was really gone.

tears-in-heaven2even if i tried so hard to control my tears, i couldn’t.  i stayed long enough at the comfort room until i had no more tears to shed.  at least for that moment,  i had to gather all my strength again, because i was at the office.  and even if i had to work, i couldn’t.  my spirit suddenly travelled back to all the moments that we shared together.  all of 32 years that we had known each other, flashed back as if i was watching a replay of my favorite movie.  all i could hear was her laughter.  it was just so alive.

there were just so many that i wasn’t able to tell her, so many that i didn’t do to show i love her.  all because i thought, there will be more time to share.  i thought when i come back,  she would still be there.  i thought time will come, when instead of pains of ageing and household worries, we would be laughing and talking about how successful our kids have turned out and how beautiful our grandchildren have grown to be.  but i thought wrong.

she is gone now.  we never even had a chance to say one final goodbye this time.  i couldn’t be even be there for her flowers8funeral.  but i love roobee so much.  i don’t know if i texted her that.  but i knew that long before.  it’s only now, though, that i realized how much. 

and now grimly, as i recall our long,  sad walk for her tatay’s funeral,  i also remember there was too much love and overwhelming grief that we  silently shared.  it could have been her funeral that we were already crying for.