Monday, August 29, 2011

the internet feeling

i had the occasion to video chat with my grandniece via the internet.  she smiled at me. i smiled back at her.  her eyes twinkled in merriment and i desperately tried to match that twinkle in her eyes. yet, i know my eyes will never be able to capture again that innocent gaze.

i know,  i have had that pure gaze once. i was a child once also.

as one grows older and learns of the ways of this world one becomes adulterated. one becomes a grown person and one's eyes project the adult viewpoint of life. as one becomes inured to participate in an adult's constant grind to achieve material gains and be on top of the heap, one becomes devious unknowingly, and one loses the inner child.  that aspect of his self that has the sense of wonder, that sense of awe, as he beholds the multiplicity of the Infinite's creation surrounding him. that sense of self that puts unwavering trust in the Infinite -- " i am the Infinite's child and i  reside in its bosom, i will not be forsaken. i will be eternally happy."

she smiled again at me. she twinkled her lovely eyes. she never said a word, yet, her  2-year old eyes bequeathed silent joy in my heart. i remembered a little poem i wrote for a child once --

oh, little child with a happy smile
wish i could just be you a while
and have those ruddy, fluffy cheeks
oh, your innocent happiness i seek

you care not for even one tomorrow
for you the future holds no sorrow
it seems like heaven's blessed showers
are poured upon your eternal flower.

she extended her hand towards me. i extended mine. our hands met, our fingers tried to intertwine.  there will be no sense of touch  though, as we are miles apart.  yet, we kept our hands on the monitor's screen. trying to touch. 

she smiled her innocent smile as we kept at this playfulness.  i smiled back at this craziness.

i am rediscovering my inner child.

Monday, August 22, 2011

of praying

just last sunday,  we heard mass. we came early so we were able to pick our seats. we chose a spot near and in front of the altar. there were already lots of people. it's a great feeling to be able to devote some time to congregate with others and praise and thank the Infinite. for the help and graces received.

i immediately noticed the young man sitting to the left of my daughter. he acted rather uncommonly. he kept on gnawing at his fingernails and talking with himself, laughing out loud occasionally. his eyes were always closed, and he was seemingly absorbed in his inner world.. i observed him and judging by his irregular actions i concluded he is a special child, somewhat autistic, or probably a bit mentally challenged. there was no hint of violence in his actions. i  looked around and saw a lady seated just behind him. i surmised she was his mother. the lady gave me a reassuring smile. she probably caught the apprehension in my eyes since her son is seated beside my daughter.

the mass began. immediately, there was this change in the young man's demeanor. he got so lively. he participated well in the singing and the prayer rituals. he knows the entire proceedings by heart. he still kept his eyes closed. he sang out loud, sometimes in tune, sometimes out of tune, sometimes in a bass voice, many times in high-pitched, his falsetto voice clearly soaring above the rest. yet, i am convinced, there is nothing more honest that what he is doing. his singing and his prayers come from his heart.

so when the priest prayerfully announced, "lift up your hearts to the Lord!" and we all answered "we lifted them up to the Lord!", i believe the young man is truly lifting his heart to the Infinite, with nary another thought preoccupying his inner self.

as for me, i lifted my heart to the Infinite as well, but, at the back of mind there were these pestering thoughts about some unfinished business that i'd have to complete once the mass is over.

my inner self is just not there last sunday..

Sunday, August 14, 2011

words, thoughts, feelings

some young friends invited me to go karaoke singing one time after a stressful workday.  just to unwind and release accumulated tension. i obliged and went with them.  it's nice to be around young people. they have this energy that is infectious and this gung ho attitude that spells fun and lightness of spirit even for a short while.

they drank beer and smoked and bantered a lot. all for camaraderie and laughter. all stresses and discomforts were being released. i joined in their fun and my inconveniences were dispelled as well. i know that these might come back, but, if only for a brief span of time my ill feelings, my hurts, my discomforts were forgotten.

i leafed through the big book of karaoke songs and scanned the titles. i need to carefully choose my piece. i need to sing one which is familiar with me and which tune i can carry.  i chose one by the bee gees -- words. it goes, "smile, an everlasting smile, a smile could bring you near to me ..."  

well, my song went well, if i may say so, since i did not receive any catcalls or boos from my youthful friends.  or perhaps, they just don't want to show disrespect?  ha, ha.  while sitting there sipping my cold coffee, the last paragraph of this beautiful song came back to my mind --

you think that i don't even mean
a single word i say
it's only words but words are all i have
to take your heart away.

i think there is great wisdom in these lyrics. we humans communicate our thoughts and feelings via language. via words. of course, most times, words are inadequate to express the exact meaning of what we want to convey. and yet, we have to express what we need someone else to know.

and so, i thought, this is why it is important that we choose our words well. once uttered, we cannot take them back. most human relationships get ruined in this way.  most pains, hurts, inconveniences, discomforts, and quarrels, result from our careless choice of words.

of course, careful use of words can also heal pains, hurts, discomforts and quell strife and fix misunderstandings. yet, better it is to prevent these negativities from ever happening than to take great effort to dispel them later.

when it was my time to sing again, i chose to sing the same song.  my youthful friends teased that i knew only one song. i just mischievously smiled and went on with my rendition.  when i came to the last  lines of the song this poem by that great american poet, emily dickenson, flashed in my mind's eye --

a word is dead
when it is said
some say,
i say it just 
begins to live
that day.

there is also so much wisdom in this little poem. 
every word is a reflection of Life. 

i watched my friends in their youthful banter. i silently offered a short prayer in my heart, that they may learn to choose their words well.  Life's still unfolding before them.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

equal opportunities

on way to my early morning workshift again. hailed a jeepney as usual.  the driver stopped by me and said, "please hurry up, board quickly, i don't want the jeepney behind to overtake us."  i boarded as fast as i can. i understood what he meant. at  this unholy hour, there are so few commuters that a driver needs to be always ahead so he can pick as many passengers as he can.

so like a rabbit on the run, our  jeepney glided over the darkly lit streets. the driver kept on looking at his rear view mirror carefully ascertaining how far ahead he is from the vehicle behind. and like a  patient fruit picker, he plucked each and every commuter who hailed him.

it caught up with us at a stoplight. the vehicle behind us.

"basyo ako (i'm empty)," the elderly driver confessed to our driver. there is this unmistakable dejected tone in his voice. and frustration. looking at his vehicle, which is as decrepit as the man is old, i immediately concluded he will never be able to outrun the jeepney we were riding in. our 18-seater jeepney is already half full. from the way the old driver spoke, i sensed he not only meant that his vehicle is empty, his spirit is even emptier.

our young driver never said anything. he just looked at the old man and smiled a mischievous smile. when the light turned green, again our jackrabbit jeepney scampered ahead. our jeepney's backrider jeered at the old driver, "SEE YOU LATER AT THE NEXT STOPLIGHT, OLD GUY!" i could see the old man just shaking his head.

approaching the next street corner from the stoplight, the backrider tapped the shoulder of our driver in elation. there were about 6 persons waiting for a ride.

"we're in luck," said the backrider to the driver, "there, they are hailing us! this is a good first trip for us!"

i saw the young driver quickly stole a glance at his rear view mirror as he slowed the vehicle and halted beside the waiting passengers. they were about to board the vehicle when our driver spoke, "no, no, please wait for the vehicle behind. i can't pick you up. i am having some engine troubles."  he pointed them to the jeepney approaching behind us. when the other vehicle's headlights are already very near us he revved up his engine again and started.

we saw the 6 people board the old guy's jeep. 

"why'd you not pick them up? we should have been almost fully loaded by now! you know how difficult it is to come by commuters at this hour." the backrider asked his driver friend.

"i don't know," he answered, "i just thought we needed to help him today. it's tough being a driver. besides, he'll never be able to overtake us."

he did this twice more. stopped by waiting passengers but did not pick them up. directed them to wait for the old man.

the old guy caught up with us again at another stoplight.

"whew! i thought this will be a terrible early day for me!" he shouted to our driver. there is this wide grin now on his furrowed face. his spirits are up. our young driver, lit a cigarette and smiled his mischievous smile at him. then he flashed the thumbs up sign at the old guy.  his backrider is silent beside him, looking back and counting the still unoccupied seats.

the red light turned green and our jackrabbit jeepney again scampered ahead.  i thought to myself -- heroism is displayed in different ways. this early morning introduced me to another unsung hero.

if only our captains of industries and leaders of governments can be this selfless.