Monday, September 25, 2006

Now Playing: Beyond the Borders

Beyond the Borders
Jamie Rowe
From the CD The Prayer of Jabez: Music, A Worship Experience

I lift up my eyes and see what
You've given me
There is comfort here but Lord I want to see
What's beyond my own horizon
There's a hunger in my heart

So I stand at the edge of my borders
And I long to reach past the world I know
Lord enlarge my territory
Open my eyes, take my life
Beyond the borders

Lord Your kingdom comes
To every willing heart
So for You not me
I gladly do my part
Lord I want to be Your vessel
And move beyond my fear

So I stand at the edge of my borders
And I long to reach past the world I know
Lord enlarge my territory
Open my eyes, take my life
Beyond the borders

Of what I thought I could be
To the simple truth You see
That You can use me now
Move me somehow

Thursday, September 21, 2006

God's Friend Am I

I came across the late Mother Teresa’s acceptance speech for her Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. I could somehow relate to this part of what she shared:

“[Some] time ago about fourteen professors came from the United States from different universities. And they came to Calcutta to our house. Then we were talking about the fact that they had been to the home for the dying… And they came to our house and we talked of love, of compassion. And then one of them asked me: "Say, Mother, please tell us something that we will remember". And I said to them: "Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family. Smile at each other." And then another one asked me: "Are you married?" and I said: "Yes, and I find it sometimes very difficult to smile at Jesus because he can be very demanding sometimes". This is really something true. And there is where love comes - when it is demanding, and yet we can give it to him with joy.” (Emphasis mine.)

My thoughts exactly!!! By the way, this story is also in the collection of quotations from Mother Teresa, “In My Own Words”. Sometimes I go to mass, or spend time at the Blessed Sacrament, and I am before Jesus, and I cannot smile. I just cry until I realize that the sampaguita vendors are staring at me, or more like waiting for me to notice them, because perhaps “Crying Lady” would like to buy some flowers. I cry because He asks too much, or I feel that way. But I love Him and I can never say “No” to Him even when He asks me to take in more sufferings than I already have; even when He disciplines me through situations I would rather avoid; even when He allows me to experience failure and pain and denies me my dreams.

Indeed, God can be very demanding sometimes. I am reminded of another Teresa (St. Teresa of Avila), who was said to be riding a donkey from one of her convents to another, when they came to a big mud-puddle and then the sassy donkey balked and threw the saint right into the muck. St. Teresa, always in touch with God, said, “Lord, why this?” He answered (she felt Him answer), “That is the way I treat my friends.” Teresa came back, “Then no wonder You have so few!”

So if saints could do this, I shall continue to talk to God with honesty of emotion. I cry and I struggle, yet I know that I would only know true joy if I keep saying yes to him. My friend Vannie noticed how I often argued, discussed, and wrestled with God, as if having a say on everything could change things. I often end up obeying God, anyway, but not without acknowledging, expressing and accepting my difficulties with His commands first.

Like right now, He’s doing it again. Treating me like a very dear friend, turning my world upside down, molding me, pruning me, and taking control of my life. I know, I know. I asked Him to!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trio of Luigi, Miko and Izza

The kids here are playing Franz Schubert's Marche Militaire. Watch little boy Miko wiping his hair off his forehead or hiding his other hand in between turns. But he never misses a beat.

Luigi's Piano Recital 2006

Credit should go to my sister-in-law Peeya for this video of her kids. She edited this, uploaded to You Tube, and sent me the links. There have been hundreds of views for these videos of little boys playing classical piano pieces. They've really made their momma proud, Luis and Miguel.

Luigi, 8 years old, playing Symphony No. 5 by Beethoven during the Piano Recital last March 19, 2006 at the Aldaba Hall, UP Diliman.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Something Borrowed: Why buy when you can borrow? I wore this to a wedding held in Subic last June. The reception was by the Subic Bay. I'm attending three more Lingkod weddings before the year ends.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Now Sharing: A Fairy Tale

Karell, a fellow Filipina student, gave Margaret her first guitar. She didn’t want to buy it as she had used up her budget on the pots, pans, and other items that Karell had sold at bargain, rush-owner-leaving prices. Margaret had secretly wanted to play classical guitar all her life, but never got around to doing so. She had traveled all the way to Toronto to study literature, not music, she said to herself, so she turned down the irresistible offer that Karell made.

Late one afternoon Margaret heard a light knock on the door. She opened it and there Karell was, holding the guitar with a huge red ribbon tied around it, and beaming happily. “Meg, I’d like to give this to you as my welcome-to-Toronto present. I hope it brings you good luck, ” Karell said.

Margaret laughed and replied, “Kay, being a renewed Christian I don’t usually use ‘hope’ and ‘luck’ in the same sentence. But thanks, this is so generous of you! I guess nobody wanted to buy it, huh.” They both laughed at this, and then she let Kay into her room and listened to Kay’s last-minute tips on how to survive life as a Filipina student in a foreign land. Then they bid each other goodbye, exchanging email addresses, as Kay was set to fly back to Manila the next day, having finished her master’s degree in political economy in just one year.

After closing the door, Meg felt a little sad. Kay was the first friendly face she met upon landing in this country, as the former was part of the Filipino community’s welcoming committee for her.

Classes started soon, however, and Meg became too busy trying and learning new things to feel lonely and sad. Besides, she chose not to entertain such negative feelings. She was, after all, starting a brand new life. The guitar thus gathered dust under her bed, a place she only got to clean occasionally.

She became more disciplined than she had ever been in Manila. She went to mass everyday, as she deliberately chose a university from the internet that was accessible to church. She swam ten laps thrice a week, signed up for jazz classes, and hit the books like she had never done all her academic life. She hardly made real friends as she was always busy rushing from the library to the gym, the church, or the pool. She preferred to eat alone and when she had nothing to do, she slept. She oftentimes dreamed of her family back home and called them up weekly.

Meg thought she was functioning properly, and was making good progress at her studies, when she read one email that got her curious. It said that the university was offering free guitar lessons to enrolled students as part of the campaign of the new dean of the Conservatory to revive interest in music, which up until then had not been a particular strength of their school.

As if to maintain her interest in the offer, while having her coffee during breakfast one morning, she read the university newsletter and chanced upon an article about the new dean, apparently one of Canada’s more famous child prodigies who could play the violin, flute, piano, drums and guitar, but who decided he was just fed up with performing and wanted to try teaching, to impart the gift of music to more students. They forgot to insert a recent photo of this interesting young dean, she thought, as she finished her coffee.

How one so young could become dean was something she thought about while walking to the library. It made her decide to make a detour and pass by the College of Music. She was sure the slots for the free guitar lessons were already filled up, and anyway there was no way she could fit that into her schedule, so she didn’t know what she was still doing there. She looked for a bulletin board, but when she couldn’t find one, she decided to try her luck at the Dean’s Office.

Can I help you?” she heard a baritone voice behind her. She turned around and knocked the Starbucks coffee that the man behind her was holding, spilling the hot brown liquid all over his crisp white shirt. ”Oh no, I’m really sorry,” she managed to mumble, and spent precious seconds wondering if she should offer to wipe the coffee off his shirt. She decided against it. She looked up and noticed he had deep blue eyes. He said, “Don’t worry I’ve got an extra shirt inside, just in case a beautiful dark-haired girl would decide to do this to me on what would otherwise have been another boring day”.

Despite her embarrassment, she looked at him indignantly and said, “If you go around giving women lines like that, you would surely be asking for coffee and all sorts of hot beverages on your clothes everyday! I hope you have an exciting life!” Her budding music career forgotten, she stomped off in the direction of the exit to the building. “Men!” she muttered to herself, as she fought off all urges to look back and see if he was ok. She heard the office door open and close, which was good, she thought.

She didn’t know why she was still fuming as she was running down the steps. She was astonished to see the same guy – who must have changed shirts faster than that blue-eyed superman – running ahead of her and then jogging backwards, to talk to her across the field. “I’m sorry, did I offend you? Please stop running.”

Meg stopped running. She said, “Ok, if you’re trying to show me that indeed you have a new shirt, well I’m glad you do. Congratulations. I’m also glad to have saved you from boredom. Now please get out of my way, I have tons of readings to knock down next.” She was surprised at her own responses. Something’s wrong with me, I’m definitely sick, she thought.

“Whoa, whoa, hold on for a minute. Why do you turn psycho on me every time I try to start a decent conversation? I was just curious what you were doing outside my office.”

Your office?”, Meg asked, wondering why the words “young dean” didn’t register to her earlier. Of course. She had just spilled coffee over, and then proceeded to insult the very person she needed to ask help from; aside from walking, rather, running away from him in the middle of that ridiculous conversation.

It didn’t help that his eyes turned a lighter shade of blue under the sun. Meg suddenly felt dizzy. Her knees threatened to give way any minute now…

“Yes, my office, Miss... I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name. My name is William King."

Pleased to meet you, Dean King. I’m Margaret Gonzales. I come from the Philippines”, Meg replied in a small voice. “You have the name of a prince and yet you are a king,” she added before she could stop herself. There must be an institution for people like me, she inwardly shuddered. She was on a roll today. Must have been the coffee she drank that morning.

May we go back to my office now? I have no weapons; the hot coffee has now safely been disposed of, thanks to you.” He was smiling. How could he smile at such a time as this? Is he making fun of me? She was still suspicious, and growing crazier every minute.

She walked back to his office with him. In silence. He opened the door for her. She could see coffee droplets on the doorknob and the floor, actually all the way to the garbage bin where he must have hurriedly shoved the empty cup. She mentally stopped herself from wiping off the evidence of her graceful nature.

He asked her to sit down. She sat down, and immediately noticed something she loved on his table. He was reading “Pride and Prejudice”. Ahh, she knew it. An artistic, soft-spoken guy could not be presumed to be straight in this day and age. He noticed her staring at the book lying on his desk, and he immediately explained, “It’s for my niece, I’m writing a book report for her.

It’s ok, you don’t have to explain. You don’t have to invent an imaginary niece either.” She couldn’t believe she said that! She just insulted a stranger twice in less than thirty minutes. She was going psycho, she concluded.

To her horror, he laughed. It was a deep, baritone laugh. “I had better ask you matters of business before you make this day my most interesting yet since I went back to the academe. So, let’s start over. As you can see, my secretary isn’t here yet. She’s a working mom and some days she comes in late. What can I do for you, Margaret Gonzales?”

Of course his eyes were dark blue again. Indoors, dark blue. Outdoors, light. She realized he was waiting for her reply, and she said, “Honestly, I was just curious about the free guitar lessons…”

Can you play the guitar?”

“No,” she said. She thought of adding, "otherwise I wouldn’t be here for free lessons", but before she could speak he shot another question. “Can you play any musical instrument?”

No, uhh, if that’s a requirement then I guess this was a bad idea…” she said.

”No, no, it’s perfectly fine. Let’s wait for my secretary so you can sign up. Or you can come back, as you seem to be in such a hurry.” He finished his sentence, then started rubbing his temples. “I get a headache if I don’t have my coffee. Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to remind you.

Before her big mouth could get her into real trouble, the dean’s secretary buzzed that she was in, and very sorry as her toddler refused to be left at the day care center. He buzzed her back to come in. He instructed her to show Ms. Gonzales where to sign up for the guitar lessons.

Relieved and eager to end that encounter before she said one more bizarre thing, Meg wordlessly followed the secretary. After she was finished signing up, she heard a voice behind her. “You owe me coffee.” She whirled around, with her bag and her hair whirling with her, and faced him.

Haven’t you had enough excitement for one day? I am a walking disaster. You have not been exposed to the worst of my antics.

I love a good challenge. And I need my espresso, pronto. Shall we?”

Margaret had sworn off men. She hated men. She left her country because she was tired of men. She didn’t need this.

But she owed him coffee, and he was kind and helpful enough the whole morning despite being on the receiving end of her tactless outbursts.

“Just coffee,” she said. But of course they talked for hours. She ended up volunteering to write the real niece’s book report, as it was something she could whip up in minutes. It was easy to talk to him, she realized. He could take her insults with smiling, sometimes even amused, eyes. A girl could get used to that.

So amused was he by her, in fact, that he played the flute for her one day at the library. It was totally unheard of, but to have the famous new dean courting a Filipina was enough excuse to disturb the silence of the academic halls.

He disturbed the academic pool too, when he played the violin for her as she was doing her laps.

He showed up during her dance class and played jazz favorites on a portable piano, to the delight of her classmates and the amazement of the entire gym.

His music inspired her to write. He gave her strength to explore fresh ideas and express them passionately. He could have already gotten away with her heart through all that, but he still decided to bring in the entire school orchestra to play for her. She looked out her dorm room window and saw them, with their stools and music stands and music sheets, playing under the baton of their dean, with songs that gave her a new home.

During their wedding reception, Meg surprised William with a performance on her guitar. She played Pachelbel’s Canon in D. And he surprised her with this poem, which he wrote faster than he could have written the book report, had he been the one to finish that.

Fire came
In that little package
That stood waiting-
To ruin my shirt,
To waste my drink.

That little fire threw me out
Of the prison of my boredom.
Music came alive
Within me when before,
Only notes were played to perfection.

Her hair is dark,
Her tongue is sharp,
A wild, fearful heart.
I wanted to tame her
With my every song.

Now tender, now sweet,
She still is fire, waiting
To ruin more shirts,
To waste more drinks--
Until death do us part.

As the guests clapped at this wonderful piece of poetry, the university orchestra played, the jazz dancers performed, and the couple kissed.

Smiling in her seat is Karell, who enjoys a happy ending as much as the next fairy godmother.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Author's note: I wrote this after a night of God's Love, Lingkod QC's most unique CLP yet. We had music, poetry, stories, sharings, fellowship, pica-pica, mingling, greeting. It was a blast. And we talked about all kinds of love. Well I love music and poetry, and I believe they should get married, and the rest as they say is history.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Canon in D

My brother bought an electric guitar recently because his sons were inspired by the kid featured on You Tube, playing Canon in D effortlessly. I saw this kid on CNN the other day and I admit his style stood out from the rest of the guitar players who uploaded their own videos playing the very same piece. Watch the kid from Korea, who prefers the IT industry to music, for now, on You Tube.

And now, the reason why I wrote this blog, a six-year old who conquered the famous Pachelbel piece on the piano. We have the same last name, hehe:

GO Miko!!!

Chasing the Dragon

Fr. Geoffrey suggested that I read "Chasing the Dragon" by Jackie Pullinger because he said I would be inspired by the life and work of this British missionary. He outlined some similarities that he noticed between my dreams and her realities.

I started my chase, or search, for "Chasing the Dragon". I went to the bookstore he recommended but they ran out of copies. I tried calling every branch of "Books for Less" but they had never heard of that book. On our third session, I came empty-handed and that was when Fr. Geoff suggested that I try the internet. Now why didn't we think of that before? I shook my head in disbelief and promised I would look it up the minute I got home. I then found her story, without having to buy the book. Isn't that grand?

I think God must be telling me something about what He has done through Jackie, who left Britain in 1966 on a one-way ticket to Hong Kong, and against all odds built one of the most successful drug rehabilitation centers in the world, the St. Stephen's Society. I learned that "chasing the dragon" referred to opium and and heroin abuse, which the area she was drawn to in Hong Kong was infamous for.

Did she know what she was doing when she followed her heart to go on mission? Not a bit. Did she get formal training prior to leaving? Not at all. In fact, she graduated as an oboe student from the Royal College of Music. Now there are books and documentaries about her and the fruits of her mission, which rescues hundreds of young people from a life of misery on the streets. All these because one courageous and faithful woman said yes to God, and sent off without knowing for sure where it was He was leading her.

I texted Fr. Geoff that I finally found Jackie. He replied that he hopes her story would inspire me.

I hope so too.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Not for the Faint of Heart

Cooking in our family is not for the faint of heart, literally and figuratively.  Most of my kin prefer hypertension-inducing Pinoy cuisine (lechon kawali, kare-kare, and the like) and they deliberately ignore all that have been said about the health hazards caused by consuming too much fried food.  Fried chicken and fried rice are thus staples in our household.  In fact, my youngest sister only succeeded in being a vegetarian when she moved to the US. Her apartment had its first smell of duck and pork when we stayed there for a week last December.  She burned her scented candles and did everything to extinguish the smell of meat that her nostrils were no longer used to.  

Aside from the fare that’s usually set on the table, everyone in the family is so opinionated that whoever slaved over the stove has to prepare to hear comments from these aspiring food critics.  Whenever a dish is too salty, the cook is bound to hear it.  What makes it worse is the fact that my parents and I have opposite tastes in food.  While I prefer my pasta cooked al dente and my steak medium rare, they prefer spaghetti that’s so soft it could be mistaken for pancit canton noodles, and they can’t eat steak if they see blood oozing out from it.  I’ve learned not to take it personally, as they criticize each other’s cooking as well.  When we still had our angel in the house, she planned our weekly menu and could silence all contrary opinions because she was able to capture all of our taste buds.

Now we’ve been forced to endure one another’s cooking.  Thus, we have ceased to experiment for Sunday lunch, because that’s the time when my brother’s family comes over- and there are more critics.  The kids hardly eat fish and vegetables anyway so we’ve limited our menu to dishes that have worked in the past. Miko, in particular, who reminds me of the boy Calvin from the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, sometimes acts as if being asked to eat rice is sheer punishment.  He only eats snacks and sweets so we often wonder where he gets his boundless energy.

My dad had been doing the cooking for almost a month now, since he decided to face his retirement.  After two consecutive experiments with munggo which did not sit well with my palate, I thought it was time for me to do the cooking.  I decided to keep to the tried and tested dishes and cooked spaghetti with meat sauce and pork chops for Sunday.  To adapt to my clients’ taste buds, I added a little sugar to the sauce, even though I would have wanted to add more herbs.

To my relief, everyone silently ate their lunch.  It was a good sign, no leftovers on their plates, and nobody threw up.  I guessed they were hungry.  The only comment I got was from Miko, “Next time, if we’re going to have spaghetti, could we have hotdogs?”, to which request I replied affirmatively.

For dinner, my mom cooked fried chicken.  Miko said he wanted spaghetti again.  He then asked me across the table, “Tita Ella, where did you buy the spaghetti? I like it.”  

Could it be?  Were my ears playing tricks on me?  I replied, “I made it myself, Miko.  I’m glad you liked it.”

Could you please teach Mommy how to cook it?  I really like it.”  His mom laughed out loud, and I confessed that I didn’t follow a recipe, as I only added the ingredients that were available.  He looked so cute that I wanted to put the rest of the meat sauce in a jar for him to bring home.  My mom warned me that he might refuse to eat the same thing a third time, and it would be a mighty waste of red sauce.

He confessed as well.  He said, “But please don’t put mushrooms anymore.  I hate mushrooms.  Yecch!”  

So for the love of the little kid, though his mom and I love mushrooms in our spaghetti, I’ll substitute it with TJ hotdogs next time.  I just hope I could repeat the same success on my succeeding kitchen assignments.

Another compromise I allowed was for my parents.  Mama just had to boil, and I mean boil, the cooked spaghetti for just a few minutes more, until the pasta became so white and soft I thought the noodles would burst.  

I can’t please everyone, but at least my cooking today was good enough for one.

In cooking, as in life in general, we really have to strive to please our Audience of One.  And His approval should be enough to keep us going.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lingkod at 22: Firmly Founded and Fishing Forth

First Call

Recently, I did something totally out of the box. I signed up for auditions to a relatively famous choir. The notable part is that I actually showed up for my first ever audition! Such ambition, I know. I almost chickened out, but fought against it.

It started with me working hard (naks) on a typical weekday, with most of my officemates out on mission work. I was left to man the office, and I used the time to finish my documentation and paperwork backlog. It was interesting enough, but also threatened to bore me to death. A virus also hit our network (Brontok! It’s like a curse!) and for two straight days I naively tried to use Norton Antivirus to wash it away. I learned later on that several of the QT’s had the Brontok washer, for it hit most of our computers and flash drives during the RLTC. With the washer, it only took a little while to wipe away that pervasive and tenacious virus.

So desperate was I for some fresh air, having been stuck in the office reminding myself that I was doing everything for the love of the Lord, when my cellphone beeped. One of my friends informed me of said tryouts to this particular music ministry, and I replied with “Hmmm… hmmm.” She urged me to “Goooo!” as I had nothing to lose, anyway.

So amidst the busyness of the day I searched my heart. Of course I had dreamed of doing something like this. I never thought they held open auditions, and it seemed like a good opportunity. I wasn’t too attached to the results, and I saw it as a good sign. I then managed to send an email to the tryouts coordinator to indicate my interest. The next day, I received a reply giving me the time slot for my audition – which was two days away, and instructing me to prepare two songs.

I had very little time to prepare, true, but the good news is that I had little time to panic, also. Hence I tried to take it slow and one step at a time. I downloaded the application form and filled it out. A grin began to form on my face as I answered the questions “What is your background in music?”; “What musical instruments can you play? Rate yourself.”; etc. It was fun to reminisce about playing the piano and recording for the Lingkod anniversary CD. My confidence grew a bit; at least my answer to both was not “None”.

Next I had to face the arduous task of picking two songs within my voice range, to which I was very familiar with, and the lyrics of which I could remember. I chose two of my favorite songs and practiced while I could, in the office, in the car, and in my bedroom. It was great fun to practice, for I discovered a lot, my limitations, mostly. I sent a text message to my sister in Sydney asking her what to do with my “pesteng ahem” – or permanently itchy throat. She suggested lozenges and gave me other tips. She’s the real singer in the family, so I valued her advice.

The friend who encouraged me to go to my auditions suggested that I don’t tell a lot of people about it, so that I wouldn’t be so pressured. I agreed. I ended up asking prayers from about less than 12 people, I think, which was a record for me. Haha. I knew people who knew people from the choir and they just said that I should sing about God’s love story written in my heart, and all shall be well.

The day came. None of my friends could accompany me to the actual auditions, so I came alone, five minutes before my time slot. Scenes from “Flashdance”, “Centerstage” and “Fame” flashed through my mind. I was ushered to the waiting area together with the other nervous hopefuls. I strained my ear to hear how other auditionees were doing each time the door was opened. It was 9 in the morning and not the usual time for me to hit high notes, and I was dying to get it over and done with. I stared at a clump of trees outside the window and prayed for peace, offering whatever voice I had to God, for Him to deal with as He pleases.

The auditions were held inside a studio, and there was a panel of judges, I mean, choir members. I felt like I was on Philippine Idol. I had a cough (which was common for singers, the musical director said), and had less than eight hours of sleep, which a friend said was a necessity for optimum vocal performance, and worst of all, my heart was beating out of my chest. For my first song, I forgot the lyrics to the second stanza, paused to remember it, and then the keyboardist totally forgot how to play the last part – with the bridge and my other favorite parts. We moved to my second song, which wasn’t what I practiced but which was what I wanted to sing to God at that time. I closed my eyes and sang “Something More”. My head was aching, my throat was itching, my heart was palpitating, and my voice was shaking, but I finished the song. I didn’t sound like me at all, because I couldn’t control my voice! It did not cooperate, so affected was it by my beating heart.

My friend Therese met up with me after the auditions and we had brunch. I veered away from doing a post mortem of my performance, and this surprised even me because I usually am a perfectionist. I had to drink my migraine medicine though because my head felt like it was splitting into two. I thanked my intercessors and went on with my life, trying not to think about the results and being reminded of them only when people asked me about it.

A couple of days ago, I heard from the coordinator of the choir through email that they were heartened by my interest in joining their ministry but I did not make it. Oh. Okay. I expected as much, but it was different to see it in black and white. It was so final. God’s “No”. And I told myself to stop escaping, because the reality I was in was the reality that God had already prepared for me.

I’m currently reading a book entitled “How to Reach Your Life Goals” by Peter J Daniels, an assignment from my career co-discerner Fr. Geoffrey. It offers practical tips on how to identify my goals and to reach for them, as a Christian should. I hope to come full circle on the topic of dreams/goals. I grew up aiming for the best, failing and falling but getting up again to give and achieve more. Then I had The Failure – my first bar – which was my ultimate breaking and God’s greatest act of mercy, to transform my proud nature into a humble servant. Now I don’t know my dreams, or perhaps I do but I refuse to face them, so scared am I of returning into the selfish, proud me that used to roam the earth (and okay still sometimes takes over this body).

I’m rediscovering, however, that the desires that God planted in our hearts are the ones that would bring us closer to Him. It’s ok to dream pala. But I have to re-discover how. There is a process to this, and I’m undergoing it, while recognizing the beauty and value of my current post as a volunteer mission worker for Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon, something that I really love doing but is also bringing out many struggles from within and without. Maybe when I figure out how to properly do so, I could write more about this. I could stay longer, or I could leave. Either way, I am assured that God would show the path leading me to my life goals that in turn would lead me to His love through service to my fellowmen. No matter what people say.

It sounds grand, but then, dreams tend to be that way.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Death of a Crocodile Hunter

I usually can't stand to watch his shows that feature crocodiles, snakes and spiders (not among my favorite things), but I'm saddened to learn that Steve Irwin, the famous "Crocodile Hunter" from Australia, was killed after being stung by a barb of a stingray, which went straight to his heart. Read the BBC account here. Mama and I watched the news, unable to believe what we were hearing. His death was being announced while one of his shows was being run over at the Animal Planet (another SkyCable channel). Mama likes to watch his shows whenever she is in the mood for a good documentary.

Mr. Irwin most likely knew he was courting death by dealing with those dangerous creatures, yet he still went on and filmed documentaries that promoted the protection of the environment, especially the said creatures. I've actually seen stingrays and am not as scared of them as the crocodiles and spiders, not to mention the snakes (my absolute fear in life) that did not kill him. I think I even touched a baby stingray at the Singapore zoo, once (right Mommy P?). They are said to attack only out of fear, and Steve is only the second recorded death by stingray in Australia.

We really do not know the day or the hour when we shall pass away. The important thing is to do that which we were born to do, and to give it our best. May all of us be inspired by such bravery as was displayed by Steve Irwin.