September 30, 2017
My best friend R. has just built his own design studio after years in management in the BPO industry. I sent him my worst photo while hoping for the best. It was taken by J., my best friend here in Cebu, after one of our mountain explorations by motorcycle.
It was a starry, starry and silent night. I've been trying to remember the chords of "A Love Song" because I love Kenny Rogers, both his songs and his roasted chicken and mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.
The result is Wow, especially for those who have seen the original. Wayne Dyer said it best in the title of one of his books, inspired by the classic song by Jimmy Cliff: "I can see clearly now."
It is also symbolical – out of the dark and into the light.
'Tis the season for more exciting landmarks along the road. Here is what I've written on my cellphone last Sunday:
I'm sitting on a doorstep in an alley beside the newly-opened laundromat. I can hear the sweet sound of a piano from the house across. The sun is out yet it's cool where I am, and I also mean that as metaphor.
Then a couple of elderly women came by. We smiled at each in the way polite strangers do. They opened the screen door, and I caught a glimpse of their family on the sofa watching my unseen piano player. I'm touched by that glimpse of harmony and togetherness.
Right now I have ice-cold Mountain Dew, last night was my first session at the newly-opened Anytime nearest here, in a couple of minutes my clothes will finish spinning dry, and later I'll be with my life partner on the phone during their lunch break. Yet I feel timeless because I'm so at peace.
I call this my Wonder Week. I have found myself in many serendipitous moments that I have no idea where to start if I try to tell them all.
The most amazing is when an old friend appeared again in my life – at the precise moment I needed something only he can give.
It was totally out of the blue – like all answered prayers.
Truth be told, he had broken a promise he had made, and it hurt me because we have been through a lot together. Yet I never, ever, held a grudge. I just prayed about it. Now he is back, and finally doing what he was meant to do, which means so much to me.
This time will be sweeter. The timing is of exquisite perfection, and I'm grateful to give him what everyone deserves – a second chance.
This is the beauty and the power and the glory of letting go and letting God.
I made some poetry recordings last week, one of which is "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas. This classic poem has crossed over to modern-day pop culture when it was heard in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, read by no less than Michael Caine, an icon on both film and theater. By coincidence (and my life is full of those), my fellow author and childhood friend, E., made a special request for it and I'm playing it now.
The poem has deep roots for me. It inspired the title for "Do Not Go Gentle," the autobiography of Herbert Howe, a Harvard student and a Peace Corps volunteer, in his battle against fibrosarcoma, a rare form of malignant cancer. I still remember how I found myself in tears when I read his detailed accounts of the brutal effects of chemotherapy.
His story is my inspiration for "Dream! Believe! Survive!" which is one of my earliest magazine stories, published in Philippine Panorama in 2005. That time was also when the TV talent show "StarStruck" first aired and became so popular, with the slogan "Dream, believe survive!"
"Survivors conquering insurmountable odds awakes our noblest ideals and remind us of who we really are – and what we’re still capable of becoming," I wrote in my story. "Here are some true-to-life stories celebrating the triumph of the human spirit."
A Love Song
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night