Sunday, December 13, 2015

# 60 of white robes and toy scopes

it starts in kindergarten.  meet the people in the community, the teacher says. choose one and dress up like one, she tells the 4-year olds.  no doubt, these young minds bear an early recollection of that one person they want to dress up like....a spark that leaves a mark in their young minds.  he may be that policeman who makes the cars stop when they want to cross the street or that fireman in the big red truck with the big loud sound or that person in a white robe who would leave them screaming in pain come time for the countless monthly visits. 

 the 4-year old stands in front of the class. 
white polo shirt with rolled up sleeves many sizes big makes up for a doctor's white robe. white shoes and toy stethoscope complete the look.

high school graduation meant making decisions. defining the path one would pursue in college was a challenge.  after much thought, one finds herself setting her sights on medical school, a monumental life-changing decision. the requisite pre-med course saw one buried in tons of notes.  pulling all-nighters became the new norm and marathon referred not to 26.2 miles on pavement but to study sessions that lasted till the roosters crowed in the dawn of another day.

in the not too distant carefree high school days, the library was the
 least visited place. countless hours have now been spent here; a nook has been claimed as one's own retreat, a haven for one in midterm
 panic a constant buddy.

with a semester till the official conclusion of the pre-med course, one decides to go for the exam that would grant admission to medical school.  the choices are simplified, really - take the exam....or not. why one would subject one's self to another decade of the same grueling stuff is baffling, perhaps insane.  those who choose to forge ahead on this path know no hesitation for there is that fire that burns deeply into one's psyche.  the dream is constant; the chase for that dream is resolute. driven by passion fueled with compassion, one is toughened by ambition of the selfless kind.  one goes at it not with mediocrity but with excellence. sacrifice is a staple in medical school, rude awakenings aplenty.  there is no turning back. 

it starts in kindergarten. 
 years down the road, that white robe will take on the right fit and that stethoscope will become a toy no more.  the fire that once kindled
 the dream will burn even more deeply.

our original baby is going to medical school and our hearts swell with pride! this bundle of a firstborn, this treasure of a first grandkid will be the clan's first doctor in the making......isn't that most awesome?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

# 59 in His time.........

in all of us, there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage -- to know who we are and where we came from.     -alex haley, roots

she was adorable. everybody's darling. at 3, she aced every singing contest she joined. she was a natural performer. she took to the stage as a runner would to a track or a swimmer to a pool. at 4, she was famous. fifty years ago, when a child from a very distant, sleepy town in bohol is brought to manila to perform on stage with big-name stars, that spells stardom. with a capital S.  at 6, she was gone. brought across the oceans to distant shores. very distant shores.

her story was passed on, a staple at family get-togethers. famous young cousin, whereabouts unknown.   at our young age, that was hard to comprehend.  what was she like? why is she lost? how can she get lost? so many questions. no answers.

he searched for her. nothing more gut-wrenching than a parent waiting for a child's return. days turned into months. months rolled into years. years dragged on to several more years. always holding on to hope when all hope was gone.  clinging on to a memory that had sadly become but a blur through the years. an old man's heart so consumed with the loss of a child.  pining till his last breath. a woeful unspoken cry silenced forever.  never to be heard again.

 a single black and white picture was the only remembrance the family had of the little girl who captured the hearts of many yet unknowingly broke their own.

the clan's family tree is documented in a book that highlighted the grand gathering in 2009. the online version of the book paved the way for a long-overdue reunion that spanned decades and miles.

her father was desperate.  time was not on his side.  he wrote a letter that her family sent to as many people as they could reach with a prayer that somehow it would find its way to her. daunting task at a time when social networking was unheard of. 

it was almost theatrical.  a search on the internet two years ago brought her to the family book. a stab to her heart when she could not find her name under her father's family tree. nor her mother's name.  hurting, she did not bother to turn any more pages. fast forward to the present. her daughter comes across a repost of the real father's letter, surprisingly, in a humor blog. the daughter feels a connection. she goes back to the family book and turns more pages. she had to look. her mother should be there somewhere. indeed, she was! under the family tree of the father's twin.  a friend request on facebook to a newly-discovered sister. no accompanying message, just a request.  an american-sounding surname explains the sister's momentary hesitation to accept. 'are you filipina?', she asks. so it came to be that all pieces of the 50-year old puzzle started to come together.  pieces frayed but never forgotten through the years.

she is home. she has found her roots. 50 years is a long time but family knows no distance nor time. while the internet played a major role in the unfolding drama, it had more to do with keeping the faith. believing that He writes the script. He directs it, too. God's hand at work it was.

in His time, He makes all things beautiful.  in His time, He makes things happen. bringing her home to family where she truly belongs is as beautiful as a thing of real beauty could be.  as wondrous as only His hand at work could be.  isn't that most awesome?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

# 58 second chances...

his name translates to fire. merriam-webster defines it as the phenomenon of combustion.  a destructive burning.

growing up in a big clan that gathered at the ancestral home in the summer, he always stood out for his looks, quiet ways and mild manners.  his was a face meant to be noticed. that finely chiseled nose and pleasant, smiling face.  if talent searches and reality shows with premium on good looks were a fad way back, he could have had a shot at it.  could have broken a good number of young hearts.  he could have had a normal, drama-free transition from boyhood to adulthood.  could have finished school and have a decent job.  

if not for that ruthless menace of society that took the better of him and poisoned him to the core of his being,  he could have. might have been peer pressure. might have been escape. might have been the fire in his soul. it did not matter if he was a user or a dealer. it was still the same dead-end he faced. the physical transformation was alarming;  his downward spiral a dismal sight to witness. he wore his hair long. his movie star looks all but gone. face gaunt, dark circles around the eyes. hair uncombed. devil may care attitude that comes with the substance. came as no surprise when the long arm of the law finally caught up with him. found himself behind bars, momentarily at first. a taste of freedom soon after only to be back behind bars once again. twelve years this time for something not entirely his doing. at the national penitentiary in manila, no less. 

his mother's heart was broken. she went on with her life but something was missing. she smiled an empty smile.  a mother yearning for her son. she never stopped taking care of him.  whatever money came her way she would save to send to him.  in her sunset years, she waited for his return.

on may 31 of this year, he regained his freedom.  from manila, he flew right back to bohol to be with his mother.  never has his mother's smile been more real and full of warmth.  her son is back.  her life is complete once again. 

he is home.  he has aged beyond his years. had his hair been white, he could easily pass as his mother's sibling separated by a mere couple of years.  it will be a slow process but he will be able to stand on his feet again. it will be a struggle to steer clear of temptations. the demons will haunt and taunt him. he has promised to stay clean, a promise his mom hangs on to.

everyone deserves a second chance.  he deserves one.  second chances.....isn't that awesome?