Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Values that I Hold Dear to My Heart

"Don’t lie, don’t cheat, be kind, be respectful…"

As a little kid, I was bombarded with these words by people around me. It was always followed with, “Or else Jesus would be mad at you.”

It was that fear of making Jesus angry that prodded me to be cautious of all my actions. I remember that in everything I did, I would look up to His image in the altar. We have His big portrait and whenever I gazed at it, His eyes were staring directly at me.

It was my desire to please Him that at an early age of ten I began reading the bible. I learned to love parables which made my two younger sisters considered me as weird because I would spend my summer vacations reading.

My mother taught us how to pray the rosary at a very young age. She recited it in Spanish (or Latin? I’m not really sure) that I couldn’t remember much except, “Arapronorbis” I spelled it as I pronounced it that time.

What does it mean? I guess it’s “Pray for us”, because I could recall that it was almost at the latter part whenever we would say it. Oh, I also remember the words, “Santificado” and “Nuestros”; I have no vaguest idea what they mean. They seemed like a far echo of yesteryears.

I have no idea either where my mother learned how to pray the rosary in this language. As my siblings and I grew up, we learned to adapt the Bicol translation and later on the English. None of us learned how to pray it the way my mother did.

The praying of the rosary sometimes ended up with me and my sisters being reprimanded for not praying quietly or not reciting our part together with my big sisters. My mother would say that God is watching us and we were not showing respect to Him.

The values instilled within me sort of rooted from fear. Fear to anger God, fear to be in hell (I had recurring nightmares because of this), and fear to make anybody mad at me. I guess nobody was successful enough to enlighten me that there’s more raison d'être why I should live with those values.

I watched my every step hoping that I won’t commit mistakes. Whenever I did, I would have sleepless nights and conscience would plague me relentlessly. It was always accompanied by bad dreams.

I became slave of my fear that before I do things, I would look up at the sky or stare at Jesus’s image in the altar hoping that I won’t make anybody mad. That trepidation guzzled my sagacity of why I should do the right things.

As I ventured in the world of maturity, I started to dig deeper why people should not cheat and lie, and be kind and respectful…without being indoctrinated by the past.

It’s not fear that’s supposed to rule how people should act but the realization that when I cheat, I’m fooling myself, when I lie I’m being dishonest with myself, when I speak ill of others it says what kind of person I am, and when I am unkind towards others it shows what kind of heart I have.

Simple rationale which could have made a big difference…

On the affirmative side, growing up that way also helped me in a manner that I became more cautious with my actions towards others. It prompted me to have deeper communion before doing anything.

Now, that I’ve grown up, my values are no longer imprisoned by fear. I came to realize that God is not an angry God; He doesn’t punish or get mad with little kids. 

Some things never changed though. I still have nightmares whenever I commit sins. The occasional white lies and unintentional cruelty towards others are enough to give me sleepless nights…not because I am afraid God would punish me but because I know that I caused pain to others.

You see, it’s the silhouette of core values positively imparted that must speak of who we are…not fear. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Life as an Aunt

For the past few days, my brain munched and gulped down for breakfast, lunch and dinner the words such as congruence, angles, perpendicular, Pythagorean, electronegativity, meitnerium, darmstadtium, ununquadium, one plus one, two and three letter- words, parts of the body, kennel and months of the year.

They made me rolled my eyes, clasped my hands tightly and uttered silent prayer of forbearance. I guess having six-year-old and 15-year-old girls at home was enough to put you on the occasional brink of losing your sanity.

It’s almost the end of the school year so it’s no wonder why the house was in total chaos. My two nieces, Shayne and Trisha are completing their final requirements in school and examination is one of them.

Of course, since it would be the last it only means burning midnight oil if they don’t like to be in the same level next year- Shayne is in 9th grade and Trisha is in Senior Kindergarten.

It felt like I’ve been blasted from the past with their lessons. I’ve been so tough with them that after long days of studying, they now have big circles around their eyes.

The girls seemed to have finally recovered from their ordeals. But after being bombarded with 9th grade and kindergarten lessons, I think I’ve suffered with “study lag” and my brain swirled and twisted.

Trisha’s shriek of laughter in the darkness of the house tonight finally made me realized that it’s indeed over. The power interruption which lasted for almost an hour gave me some time of fun with her while Shayne worked with the help of the candle on her book reports.

I tickled her relentlessly until such time that she was rolling on the floor with laughter. It was like music in the ears. It actually means that she doesn’t think of me anymore as monster after those tough hours of studying.

Her laughter also reminded me of the things that I should be grateful for. Having them in my life is actually a blessing.

Here are the top ten hilarious and touching things I have gleaned from spending a year with the two girls:

1. As their tiny limbs hug you, you will realize what a blessing is.
2. Good times mean teasing, bantering words, and PESTERING me.
3. Kids fall asleep better when you tell them, “Good night, sweet dreams, see you tomorrow, God bless, and I love you both”. I’ve been saying that practically every night and whenever I fail to do so, they would wake me up and won’t stop harassing me unless I say it.
4. They want milk whenever we ran out of it.
5. Kids are the most honest creatures. They’ll call your visitor ugly without blinking of an eye.
6. Quiet nights mean tickling, tickling and endless tickling. They seemed not to run out of energy.
7. Kids considered anybody who’s “cute” for them as their "boyfriend".
8. They imitate and buy everything they see in television.
9. Going to the church means lecture- not from the priest but from me.
10. Wearing the same color and style of dress like them is enough to make them giggle the whole day.

The big toothless grin, the shriek of laughers that echoed in the house, the warm hugs from tiny limbs…the veil of innocence. Now, those are real happiness...right?

Happy hugging of your angels... 

Filed under: 
Inspirational Articles/ Daily Blog

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Heart’s Wishes

As I lay daydreaming 
In the comfort of the room 
I thought of your sad face 
So serious and forlorn. 

Beads of tears ran down my cheeks 
So swiftly I couldn’t get a grip 
My heart ached with your pain 
Your sorrows so deep I couldn’t bear.

My heart wished it could express better the depth of care 
Or utter it painstakingly until you could feel 
The cries of love might be loud enough for you to hear 
Oh, I wish…how I wish… 

Thy heart speaks of longing so ardent 
To caress your face to cuddle your head 
The ember of love may light up your face 
And let loose of that pain so intense. 

I wish my love could cradle you 
Hug your spirit and lulled you to a tranquil sleep 
I wish in dreams you’ll forget your worries 
Into the dreamy wonderland may your worries vanish. 

My heart wished as you gaze up at the stars 
You’ll see the brightest one I sent and painted with love 
May it sooth your heart and thy plight afar 
Oh, I wish…how I wish… 

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Wonderful Women in my Circle

Had it not been for the award I received from a fellow blogger, I would've totally forgotten that it was the international celebration of Women's Day yesterday.

My heartfelt thanks to Zubli for the Wonderful Woman Blogger Award...

...and for choosing me to be included in this group of amazing women bloggers.

Yeah, it's a bit strange looking at the slide presentation in another site with your face on it...


Little Big Mistakes

Mistake…this is the most dreaded word of anybody in print publication.

Perhaps, one of the most difficult tasks I have handled was being the head moderator of the school paper publication. That position gave me countless stomach lurches, long- agonizing nights, and starving moments.

Why? I have learned one very important lesson…

I learned that no matter how closely you scrutinized, perused and rechecked words, sentences and paragraphs, errors would remain lurking somewhere…in the most unexpected places.

Days before publication, the sleepless nights, no appetite meals, and restless days are normal occurrences for me.

To lessen errors in printing, I generally lay-out the whole magazine and personally encode the articles. In addition, I would sit for long hours in the printing press looking thoroughly with everything in the magazine.

I try to forget the word errata. I know that there is no room for error…it’s simply not in my vocabulary. But, proofreading is not synonymous to “perfect reading”.

It is not a surprise really if one of my most hated scenarios is coming face to face with thousand newly printed magazines. It’s a good thing my office is a bit secluded so I can reread the magazine before distribution to the pupils.

One…two…as my eyes located the error I wanted to throttle myself and to shout for everybody to hear, “Why in the world I didn’t see it?”

My stomach would tighten, my heart would feel like it were about to burst with erratic breathing and I would wish dying right there and then. With closed eyes, I would bury my face to the bulk of thousand magazines in front of me.

While others excitedly indulged themselves to the shiny and colorful magazine and after I received congratulations, I would hide in the office fearfully anticipating the time that somebody would approached me about misspelled words and names or error in data…and I would then think of errata to calm my pounding heart.

If there is one thing I would really pray for was that I won’t hurt anybody with what was published in the magazine. The thought of causing pain to others was enough to punish me for days and give me that ever present knot in the stomach.

As I pray at night, every bead of the rosary was dedicated for every article in the magazine with an additional beg of mercy to all the saints I knew.

Most of the times, my fear had actually no basis. Those little errors popped out insignificant to the eyes of others. Nobody seemed to notice at all. But for me, those little mistakes were big enough to give me unutterable shame for not doing better.

The phrase, “If only…” would haunt me days after the distribution.

Most of the times, I would think of relinquishing my long agonizing days of encoding, layouting, editing and scrutinizing words by resigning from my position but quitting was not in my vocabulary either.

You see, life is like that. It is made of everyday imperfections. We commit mistakes, we hurt people, and we do nonsensical things.

At night, our actions would haunt us and we cringe in embarrassment. Unfortunately, we could not take back anymore the words we said, the actions we did and at times the things we wrote.

The positive side of the publication was that after printing, I could still do some repairs with errors as soon as I noticed it. I could forego my lunch and spent my whole break time pasting and covering the boo-boos.

In life, we could not cover up actions. However, we have the words, “I’m sorry” as our “erratum” enough to heal wounds and to mend broken hearts…


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