« Home | Nation of Islam » | Reading Keene » | Youth at the grassroots » | AIDS is a youth issue » | Stargazin' with the Mahatma » | Pasko sa Pilipinas » | THE FREEMAN FOUNDATION » | Why hire an architect? » | A centenary of feminism » | RAFI: Touching people, shaping the future » 

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

This zest for life

Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
September 6, 2004; posted at www.thefreeman.com

SEPTEMBER 1 to 7 is International Enthusiasm Week. I dunno how most of you will respond to such a call for celebration. I personally believe what is there to be enthusiastic about other than being alive? What’s there to have at this very moment is this zest for life—for this one, borrowed, fleeting life.

I have in my diary two entries on how to get a life and how to go about celebrating it. With the world’s backbreaking round of drudgery or whatchamacallit, life remains to be very, very beautiful.

This issue is dedicated to Joshua, to Kristoffori, to those baby mills who dump cherubims anywhere, anytime; and to those who almost give up on life. Read on:Diary entry # 1: “Many times I’ve noticed that glow in Kristoffori’s eyes. I could read that very human need to belong. Countless moments I’ve seen those lips of his curve into a smile wanting to make friends, but he barely talks. Except when drunk, though, he has all the nerve to babble things, finding solace in alcohol.Kristoffori never brags about a string of girlfriends he had dated out and had French-kissed with – topic of interest of most young boys I know in this Alumnos neighborhood. Never heard him talk of his brushes with siblings or parents, wonderin\g if he lives a normal life.

But, one night he came bringing into my rented pad a good heap of cassette discs that ignited the rapper’s delight in my head. He started talking about Puff Daddy, Cypress Hill, LL Cool J, Tupak Shakur and, of course, the artist’s tragic death; and Marshall Mathers or the glory of Eminem.

The topic moved on to how it took him this long to finish school just to give way to two siblings. He bared his soul to me by sharing how he had just broken up with his seventh girlfriend in a span of five years; his whirlwind romances with pretty young gals after that, of girls just “wanting to have fun”.

Kristoffori is young and ambitious, gorgeous and interesting. But like most introverts, he is always mistaken as cold and assuming.

But truth is, he would not take the idea of being alone. He is very human, wanting and needing so much to grasp the real meaning of life.

“I’m at the verge of giving up on life,” he said. “Life’s just not fair. See, some guys have all the luck. Like they don’t have to worry on how to finish the damn schooling and how to get a moneymaking job,” he chuckled and shook his head. I could relate.

Sure, reality bites and is nauseating. But I moved on to convince him it is still worth all the zest.

“Life’s a ball, you heard that many times. Don’t you believe?” I asked him.

“What ball are you talking about? Life’s a mess…,” he paused to wipe sweaty palms at the hem of his royal blue cargo pants. “Don’t you think?” he’d thrown back the question at me.

“Don’t be so quick to give up on life, sweetie,” I soothed him with praises, giving notice of his good looks and assuring him of his wit and - uhhmmm - sex appeal. “You are one of those guys blessed with a loving family, with an opportunity to step into college, and with those good looks that’s to die for,” this I recited with the delight of watching him turn lobster red. Kristoffori was already blushing.

I’d thrown at him a wink and then we shared high fives. “Di matabang ang description, sa?” I was giggling.

“Puwerte,” he was laughing.

Most of us, I think, are impatient. Very impatient. You, Kristoffori and I want results and would want every situation to work out for us. We try to blab “if others can, why can’t I?,” but we aren’t willing to pay the price of success. The truth is it is this bulldog tenacity of purpose that wins the battles of life, whether fought in the field or in the forum. Most of us zero in on life being bitter when what truly makes life is the very definition we give it.

Life is all about struggles. Why do we have to conceive of a monument as enduring as the pyramids of Egypt when we are not bound to expend the efforts required to build them?

Whoever has forgotten that it takes three days of hard work and perseverance for a tiny silkworm to spin a cocoon using a kilometer of thread. And can we overlook the insights and inspiration from the oyster that turns grains of sands after it is wounded into a gem?

Life can only be a mess if one loses his belief in it. It has been said “there may be epics in men’s brains, just as there are oaks in acorns, but the book and the tree must come out before we can measure them. For one to appreciate life, one must first get a life.

Diary entry # 2: My former high school classmates were shocked. Downright shocked upon seeing me cuddle the baby Ymarrie, swaddled in immaculate linen, sleeping in peace, her angelic countenance painting roseate cheeks, subtle fair skin. Ah! The miracle of life.

They couldn’t believe I got a daughter so soon. I was in my mid-twenties that time and many friends thought I was so straight, I wouldn’t end up having a baby when opportunities, career-wise, are flowing like milk and honey. But I did! How I long to have a baby, if only time so soon allowed. Ymarrie is a bouncing 5.7-pound infant with curly ebony hair, a cute nose, subtle rosy cheeks and chinky eyes. She is a cutie, a little bundle of joy.

The thought of having four little boys running around the house or out there on the yard on their make-believe stallions chasing after bandits, or them bouncing basketballs or hitting balls with bats crossed my mind once.
But instead of quadruplets, out came a little baby girl with tiny hands reaching out to me as if wanting me to own her, this little baby Ymarrie.

Before the eyes of God, in the holy sacrament of baptism, I received Ymarrie when I lighted one of the candles for her. I became a mother instantly. A godmother at that! Today, the baby is already a young schoolgirl. And she sweetly addresses me as nanay.

I had longed to have a child of my own. I prayed that my womb wouldn’t die too soon, and would let me experience the joy of motherhood.

If I’ll be given that blessed chance to deliver an angel, I wouldn’t dare even in my mind, to put him in a safety deposit box or place the little angel at any stranger’s doorsteps. Not one of my children will share the fate of those who were left outside of church premises waiting to be picked and cuddled, and owned and loved.

When I’ll have that blessed chance to conceive a baby, in or out of wedlock, I will nurture him and give him love and show him there are plenty of reasons to celebrate life. For every time a baby is born, his shrieks will remind me to believe in love and life always.

Every time a baby shouts his powerful uha, it will remind me of those times I also did mine. For every time a baby is brought out into this world, a ray of hope flickers.

Just imagine this world of ours without the chatting, the giggling, the chortling, the garbling, the yelling, and the crying of earthly angels. Just imagine if there was no child in that Manger.

***
Here’s a note from Madagascar. You may crank up my addy wild_pechay@yahoo.com.
Dear MS. VALEROS, I have read today (on The Freeman’s Lifestyle online version) your write-up entitled “Chalk dust in Siam”, where you describe the plight of your chatmate aliased Bicchuchu. It was very encouraging and inspiring. I come from a poor family too and modesty aside, I too have that above average talent that can be of great help if I had been working in the Philippines even just in the government.

Because of low income, poor motivation, and the “palakasan” system, I opted to find my way for a dream come true here in this very far away Africa. Today I am managing a French Aquaculture Company, employing a little more than a thousand workers here in Madagascar. I had managed so well that this is now my 3rd successful year in this company. At times along the line of my work I have imparted some valuable help too in this country of poverty. I managed to insert community services and basic help programs as part of the company’s concern. I have built and donated (using company and company suppliers resources) churches, schools, bridges, etc. that the poor people here can use. With these and many more, I too have my own reflection with a wish that I could have done all that to my country. Although my story is a little bit different, but it’s quite just the same; it somehow reflects what kind of government (and of people running it), that we have. Thank you and more power.

Best of my personal regards,Leonido C. TALA Project Manager AQUAMEN EF (Aquaculture Du Menabe - Enterprise Franche) BP 7715, Bat F2, Village des jeux, Ankorondrano, Antanarivo 101, MADAGASCAR Tel +26120 2263701 Fax +26120 2267960 e-mail: leonidoctala@hotmail.com/ futuretangub@yahoo.com. ©

3/16/2006 12:49:00 AM | Anonymous laura said....   

tu est moche

3/16/2006 12:49:00 AM | Anonymous laura said....   

tu est moche

3/16/2006 12:49:00 AM | Anonymous laura said....   

tu est moche

3/16/2006 12:49:00 AM | Anonymous laura said....   

tu est moche