Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Twins

July 30,2011.

The twins would have been 23 today.

July 30, 1988. It was a day that began with hope and ended in despair. Everyday thereafter is a struggle to bury the memories of the pains, the heartaches. Twenty-three years ago, it felt that the world stopped, she wondered, "What is the point of it all? ".

They died as soon as they were born, too premature. The clinical diagnosis was fuzzy in her mind; it did not matter anymore because they were dead. She had premature rupture of the membranes, which at six months of gestation did not give the babies any chance. Just before her husband signed the consent for emergency caesarean section, she felt the gush of fluid signaling the end, and heard the nurse's frightened whisper, "It's meconium."

When she woke up in the hospital room, she knew immediately what happened and she felt the visceral pain of losing a part of her. She held her babies for the first and the last time, touched their small feet and kissed them; hoping that she can preserve their memories forever. The pain was unimaginable.

One week after that fateful day, she walked to church with a heavy heart, not really understanding how she can go past the pitying stares and the empty words of condolences. All she wanted was to curl up in bed in a darkened room. Her world ceased to matter. Even though the tears had run dry, she could not imagine ever smiling again.

She stayed at the back of the church with her trembling fists clenched at her side. Darting a look at the closed door, she had resolved to bolt out of her seat as soon as the recessional was played. But the resident minister must have sensed her need and delivered one of the most inspiring sermons she had ever heard. The spiritual hymns worked their way into her heart and the Lord's promise broke through the dark chambers of her mind. She surrendered herself to God and believed that she will find reason to live again.

"I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure."(Psalms 16.8-9 )

It was not easy. It will never be easy. Losing someone you love is a tragic moment that leaves its imprint in everybody's lives. Losing both her twins shook her whole being, seared her emotions and left her scarred for life. She had mourned her loss but picked up the pieces again because there was no other recourse left for her.

The profound sorrow did not choke her as she thought it would, but instead she found herself smiling again. Until finally, her natural sense of humor resurfaced. And when her new son was born, she relished the simple joy of living. Time, family, and friends eased the way. Her God's embrace gave her the strength to carry on.

Life went on. The heart-rending pain of the loss had been numbed to a dull ache for what could have been. Somehow the human heart surprises us with its capacity to make room for more loves to come. All it takes is patient endurance.

Joseph and Jason remain as a reminder of the need to hold close to the faith and strength of God's enduring love.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The World Got Talent

It all started for me when Susan Boyle came on stage on the Britain Got Talent show. This frumpy, overweight woman walked up in front of a frowning Simon Cowell and a snickering crowd, then shamed all disbelievers when she brilliantly sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables.

In a society obsessed with fashion-model or movie star looks, it is an upward battle to shine with sheer talent alone. For all the ordinary people out there, those who are disadvantaged because of their looks and station in life, that moment with Susan Boyle was a promise fulfilled, a dream realized. It is also a reminder to us all to open our minds to all possibilities.

Thus so began my fascination with the underdogs who end up center stage because of their undeniable talent. Together we suspend disbelief when an armless pianist dared to show up on stage. I draw inspiration from the unlikely heroes; those who triumph against all odds. And I cheer on those who dare to reach for the stars.

Korea- Sung-bong Choi,"Nella Fantasia" His story moved everybody to tears as he recounted being on his own at 5 years of age. At the end,I just wanted him to win it all, to makeup for his lonely childhood years.

Thailand- Bell Nuntrita, 2-voiced singer. Wait for the surprise. Enough said.

America- Kevin Skinner, "If Tomorrow Never Comes". A chicken catcher from Kentucky whose heart-felt rendition highlighted a beautiful voice.

Philippines- Jovit Baldovino,"Faithfully". Coming from extreme poverty, he had to sell "siomai" to help his family. Now he has two best-selling albums to his name, and a thriving career.

America- Cindy Chang, a 42 year-old Korean unemployed technical writer. Yes, she did not look like Susan Boyle but she overcame her shyness and came out of her shell.

Update: 7/5- Cindy didn't advance today on AGT :(

Philippines- Marcelito PoMoy sings "The Prayer" all by himself. He is a man of many voices.

Britain- Madonna Decena. Singing "I Will Always Love You", this single mother to two kids reminded us about the sacrifices we do for our loved ones.

China- Liu Wei - this armless pianist performed "You Are Beautiful". He is an inspiration to everyone.

The stage is for anyone with a dream...

We have our own stage to shine on. So imagine the spotlight on you. Oprah might be waiting for the new Charice.

Our stage might not come with a microphone. But we can still dream of something big and live the life we have always longed for. We just need to work hard and follow our passions. Be the next superstar. For our next group of students or our new audience of patients. You'll never know what awaits beyond if you don't even try. The impossible had just become possible.

We only need to believe in ourselves.

Dream. Have faith.

Nella Fantasia
In my imagination I see a fair world,
Everyone lives in peace and in honesty there.
I dream of souls that are always free,
Like the clouds that fly,
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

In my imagination I see a bright world,
Even the night is less dark there.
I dream of souls that are always free,
Like clouds that fly.

In my imagination there exists a warm wind,
That breathes on the cities, like a friend.
I dream of souls that are always free,
Like clouds that fly,
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

Addendum: July 22, 2013

This was from the X-Factor Australia 2011 auditions. Emmanuel Kelly did not let the tragedies in his life deter him imagining better things. Wow!!!!

Addendum: November 25, 2013 Just because this world has many talents.

From X-Factor Israel- an unlikely surprise, an unexpected discovery. Another Susan Boyle. Rose Fontanes, is a 46 year-old Filipina caregiver in Israel who wowed the judges with her rendition of "This is My Life" in the first audition round. She received another standing ovation from her fellow contestants after singing Lady Gaga's hit "You and I" and she advanced to the second round.

Rose Fontanes won the X-Factor Israel edition.