Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Teacher's Lone Heart

“God showered the gift of teaching to people like you for He knew that in your heart lies passion for work and mostly love for children whose future depends in our hands…Happy Catholic Teachers’ Day”

I stared incredulously at my cell phone as it rang endlessly with messages as soon as I went out of the cold sterile room for my laboratory tests this morning. Then, I was consumed with paroxysm of unfathomable loneliness as I read the first message from our assistant principal. I heaved sighs of gloominess as I remember…

The deafening sound of band echoed in the whole campus…a giant banner was hung on the building announcing that special day…all bulletin boards were decorated with posters of meaningful drawings…and beaming faces of little kids welcomed each teacher as they gave flowers, chocolates, gifts and balloons. It’s the Catholic Teachers’ Day, the most special day in the life of every educator.

During the program, I was given a number of awards for being punctual, winning coach, success in implementing Speak English Drive, Discipline and Cleanliness. 

More than the awards I received were the hugs and smiles my children showered me which inflated my heart with pride. The little voices of children as they serenaded us with evocative melody of songs brimmed our eyes with tears of happiness. The poems interpreted…the letters given…the messages read…the corsage pinned…the dances presented…those are the real gifts.

It’s our day…a time to relish the fruit of hard labor…a time to lose ourselves and laze around in enjoyment with our kids without worrying about rules…a time to love our pupils and for them to affirm their educator’s efforts that no monetary compensation could equal. 

More than the gifts and bountiful flowers that filled my table at the end of the day was the contentment that embraced my heart knowing I made a difference in the lives of the children who’ll be the future of our country. 

It’s indeed a special day…one that would live in my heart forever.

Now more than ever I’ve felt that I truly miss teaching. It’s my life for many years. I’m thankful that even if I’m not there in school to join the festivity, many remembered to greet me. It surely eased that awful despondency I’ve felt remembering that it’s my special day…away from home.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why Do We Need to Suffer?

Not long ago, I made a vow never to post in my blogs when I’m too overwhelmed with emotions. Writing has been therapeutic for me but it made me regret later what I posted especially knowing that others have been affected with what I wrote.

So right after my check-up yesterday, I sat in front of the computer and expressed my fury with all the pains I went through. I’ve finished about five pages and decided not to post it but somehow it just made me feel worse. I wanted to shout to the whole world that it’s just so unfair.

Remembering my promise not to be swayed away by emotions, I wrote instead about the love story of my college best friend. It brought me to the realm of lovers surrounded with beautiful flowers away from the feeling of desolation. Then after that I seek comfort by falling in a deep slumber.

A day after it seems that I still feel the same way, worn out emotionally. Looking at the purplish bruise on my left arm while taking a shower made me feel awful again especially knowing that by next week I’ll have more. Why me? (Deep breaths)

I’m thankful though that I was given my family and friends who always make me feel better.

I didn’t post what I wrote yesterday but doing this now sort of lessens my yoke. Mend my broken spirit oh, please…

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My Best Friend's Wedding

“The unification of two entities, a testimony of love searching and founding fervent and enduring vow, aptly described their togetherness. Exchanging of words is not sufficient but nonetheless describe the deep memoirs of what will be their guide- the fulfillment of their immortal pledge.

We are gathered here as Dick and Shiela’s well- wishers and witnesses to their vows of fidelity as newly wed couple, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a home and a family. Now, bound together by the Sacrament of Matrimony…”

As my voice reverberated in the classy reception area adorned with beautiful flowers, the handsome couple walked down the aisle holding hands. The bride was dressed in elegant white dress and pure bliss etched on her face as her eyes locked with the man she loves. The groom epitomized the aura of a man deeply in love. His beaming face radiates what the words cannot describe. Shiela and Dick- after eight long years of relationship finally decided to enter everlasting togetherness.

Theirs was a love story polished by past and fashioned for the future. Dick, outgoing by nature and Shiela, a homebody- there again that old cliché’, “Opposite poles attract”. The former loves to joke around while the latter prefers silence. Oh, they both have passion in music- Dick is good in dancing (top secret what kind of dancing) while Shiela is good in singing.

They shared an amazing story of togetherness. Dick sort of “seized” his wife- to-be eight years ago during a ride in a motorcycle from a common friend’s house. He threatened her that if she won’t give the sweet “yes”, he won’t look at the road while driving. They ended up as lovely duo afterwards.

The two didn’t have an easy relationship. They started at a young age and maturity was far from expected. They have their own share of storms which almost separated them and destroy their relationship irreparably.

There was that usual jealousy and silly situations where they thought they would call it quits. Love says otherwise for them. Their devotion with each other rooted from trust that emanates from lessons in everything they went through.

When Shie worked out of town, they decided to call it off. It was almost a year of separation that she thought she finally fell out of love from him. However, fate has played another favorite in this couple’s love story.

There's been so many times I've let you down,
and so many times I've played around,
I tell you now, they don't mean a thing.
 Every place I go, I'll think of you,
 Every song I sing, I'll sing for you,
 When I come back, I'll bring your wedding ring.

Distance separated them again but it didn’t stop their love to grow deeply and this time more developed. Dick brought the wedding ring to his beloved Shiela when he arrived from Korea with a vow to love her forever.

Dick: “I thank God for bringing you into my life. I choose you this day as my wife, my love and my best friend. I commit myself to you openly, exclusively and eternally. I promise you my unconditional love. I give you my unwavering trust and I share with you all the days of my life”

Shiela: “I accept you as the one God has chosen to complete me. I join you now to share all that life may bring. I will be yours through weakness and strength, through sorrow and joy, through failure and triumph. I give my love to you alone with all my heart and mind, now, forever and always."

As the newly wed couple set a festive mood for the prosperity dance, their bodies moved together in perfect unison. Two hearts, entwined souls…

(Irmi Shiela or Che Che as I call her was my college best friend. We shared not only a room together back our younger years but dreams as well. Those were the times that the world we know was only school and apartment, where companion was only books, and where happiness was only our foolish jokes. We have completely a different life now but the friendship remains. When she told me that she was finally getting married and she wanted me to be the emcee of the wedding reception, I couldn’t contain my excitement. After all, the reality of her dream was what we’ve shared years ago- back in our small room where we have woven miniature aspirations together.)

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Jellyfish Sting Almost Killed My Sister

I woke up with a shrill of yell that penetrated the depth of night. My eyes riveted in the darkness that swathed me. But, no…it was more than that…the cry was familiar…I chilled when I heard it again. I wasn’t dreaming…

It was almost the end of summer when my former classmates in elementary agreed to spend an overnight swimming in a nearby town’s beach resort. Most of them were in their last days of vacation and about to be back in Manila for their studies.

I had that deep resolution not to join them since the following day I needed to go to the city for the final procedure of enrolment. My parents were quite adamant also to give their permission because when we had night swimming for my sister’s birthday, I arrived home burning with fever.

After several “conscience pleadings” from my friends and prodding from my sister, Angel, I’ve finally relented. After all, I could opt not just to join them in swimming.

My best friend in elementary and I chatted endlessly walking barefooted along the shore while others enjoyed swimming immediately. Not long after, when she decided to join the rest of the group in the water, I fell in a deep doze in the cottage.

It was supposedly a nice clean outing by close friends but turned out into a nightmare.

I was trembling when I scrambled on my feet trying to figure out where the sound came from. Then, I saw a friend running while shouting my name. She told me that my sister got entangled with a jelly (famous for the name salabay)- a killer jelly we found out later.

I saw the whole group pouring her water trying to remove some tentacles that perforated her skin. She was screaming the whole time and fainted several times. We immediately brought her to the nearest hospital not having any first aid to help her.

When we reached the hospital, she was still unconscious and her arms were swollen as if painted with red ugly lines. Her legs were not spared too.

Time occurred in a haze. When we finally reached home, my sister was writhing with fever. Her arms were still swollen. My friends courageously explained to my furious parents what happened while I was in shock the whole time.

My sister cried non stop and she was immediately brought again to the hospital to be confined. She stayed in the local hospital for about two days but her condition only got worse. She had on and off fever and her blood pressure was fluctuating.

It was the second night when my parents were warned my sister could not make it. We brought her to the city hospital in an ambulance and that was the longest journey of my life. She was given 24 hours to live.

It was an agonizing moment waiting for her to be out of that ordeal. The doctors said they have not treated yet any case like that. Though she was always in pain killers, it didn’t ease the pain she was going through. She was in and out of consciousness.

Angel survived that traumatic accident. However, the tentacles left permanent scars in several parts of her body. Her skin was severely damaged and until now the ugly red blemishes are still visible.

Up to this day, it’s still a big puzzle why I wasn’t with the group in the water when it happened. Some of them also had scars because of the tentacles though not so severe. Was my being a loner spared me from that incident?

Every summer after that, my friends and I reminisced that experience with disbelief in our faces. Oh, we did learn our lesson. We never had another swimming in the beach again…only in a pool.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

On Eagle's Wings

"You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
 Who abide in His shadow for life,
 Say to the Lord, "My Refuge,
 My Rock in Whom I trust."

The plight in the journey of happiness could be the toughest in one’s soul. In the course of a voyage are harrowing experiences that could sometimes sluggish your steps…

"And He will raise you up on eagle's wings,
 Bear you on the breath of dawn,
 Make you to shine like the sun,
 And hold you in the palm of His Hand."

There, you would find yourself face to face with questions that enough to sag your shoulders and say, “Okay, I’m tired…come what may”.

The snare of the fowler will never capture you, 
And famine will bring you no fear;
 Under His Wings your refuge,
 His faithfulness your shield.

Then, you’ll be plagued relentlessly with questions, what is happiness? Is it following your teachers and doing your tasks conscientiously? Being a dutiful daughter and sister? Enslaving body and mind to be a loyal and devoted worker? Living in a way others would be pleased? Building your way towards success?

Giving up a part of your heart so others may live gladly? Getting sick to experience pain and strengthen the will? Putting up a fight or making a sacrifice?

"You need not fear the terror of the night,
 Nor the arrow that flies by day, 
Though thousands fall about you,
 Near you it shall not come."

At the end, you find yourself in the midst of a blind alley. You have nowhere to go except to hide from the shelter of your safe haven. This you realized with the pang of pain that continue to haunt you.

"For to His Angels He's given a command,
 To guard you in all of your ways,
 Upon their hands they will bear you up,
 Lest you dash your foot against a stone."

A nurse once told me before an injection, “Ma’am this will sting a bit. Please close your palm.” I had that disbelief look on my face remembering the countless times I’ve been in the same scenario.

“Don’t worry, I know exactly the feeling”. She smiled and quipped, “Yes, but one never got used to the sting once the needle pricks your skin”. In a way she was right. But as I keep on saying, physical pain is transitory. After the purplish bruise is gone, the pain faded already also. The deeper wounds however, remain forever sometimes. The scar permanently damaged not only the heart but also the soul.

And He will raise you up on eagle's wings,
 Bear you on the breath of dawn,
 Make you to shine like the sun,
 And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
 And hold you in the palm of His Hand.

How can you let go of something you want so badly but you never had? I guess it’s one kind of a scar that will never fade away. A question that can never be answered…but let the wings of an eagle carry the cries. It’ll be difficult to bear the burden of not knowing the answer.

After all, at the end of a journey is always happiness never a disappointment. Keep going. The end of the dark tunnel is near…

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