Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Interview With God

I dreamed I had an interview with God.

“So you would like to interview me?” God asked.

“If you have the time” I said.

God smiled. “My time is eternity.”
“What questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you most about humankind?”

God answered...
“That they get bored with childhood,
they rush to grow up, and then
long to be children again.”

“That they lose their health to make money...
and then lose their money to restore their health.”

“That by thinking anxiously about the future,
they forget the present,
such that they live in neither
the present nor the future.”

"That they live as if they will never die,
and die as though they had never lived.”

God’s hand took mine
and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked...
“As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons
you want your children to learn?”

“To learn they cannot make anyone
love them. All they can do
is let themselves be loved.”

“To learn that it is not good
to compare themselves to others.”

“To learn to forgive
by practicing forgiveness.”

“To learn that it only takes a few seconds
to open profound wounds in those they love,
and it can take many years to heal them.”

“To learn that a rich person
is not one who has the most,
but is one who needs the least.”

“To learn that there are people
who love them dearly,
but simply have not yet learned
how to express or show their feelings.”

“To learn that two people can
look at the same thing
and see it differently.”

“To learn that it is not enough that they
forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”

"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.

"Is there anything else
you would like your children to know?"

God smiled and said,
“Just know that I am here... always.”

-author unknown

Friday, June 19, 2009

friday again and i am thankful

It's 4:21 AM and my writing tasks are done. I could not think of any thing better to do than update this blog and tell online readers who chance upon my blog that I am simply thankful for yesterday- another Friday.

I remember. I have already wrote about Fridays and how they appeal to me. But yesterday which was Friday has another story to tell. Alright, let me start the ordeal.

I arrived home almost 8AM and there was this lady who was selling native delicacies. She regularly comes with a basket of these foods every morning, but it was only yesterday that I decided to try on some of these delicacies. I had it for breakfast along with beef-flavored instant noodles and I think it was a delicious pair. Might as well try it again tomorrow.

I know nothing is so special with having such food for breakfast. These are very ordinary foods any one can get from the market. But let me tell you. The taste of that rice delicacy reminded me of my childhood trips to my maternal grandparents' home. It had a familiar taste and texture which I have not had for almost two decades now. The lady who used to sell those rice cakes to my lolo daddy and lola mommy no longer lives in my grannies' neighborhood and no one has ever come up with something similar to those rice cakes she made.

The evening gave me more reasons to be thankful. When I entered Jollibee to have my dinner, Jollibee, the mascot, welcomed me with a warm hug and awakened the child in me. I was so overwhelmed and was laughing. I was very happy. I was not expecting such welcome and that hug. You see, that was the first time I had such surprise in my entire life.

I texted my closest friends about the Jollibee surprise and, not yet contented, I decided to go home and share the story and my pictures with Jollibee the mascot. I was really happy and I still am until this day.

Surprises. Simple pleasures. Thanks for all these blessings.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lessons My Father Taught Me

My dad likes old cars, albeit tuned up with tires full for optimal performance (and gas mileage). He can’t pass a sock sale without buying five pairs, although he has drawers full of them. And he recently discovered Sam’s Club, where he likes to buy my children lots of plastic toys made in China.

But when I was a kid, things were different. Although my dad grew up in a white-bread family and a small midwestern town, as an adult he was adopted as a blood brother to the patriarch of a Lakota Sioux clan. In the late ‘60s, he started teaching the novels and poetry of Native American writers to students in his English classes; eventually he co-founded the Native American Studies Program at UCLA. When I was five, he caravanned a group of these students from California to North Dakota, meeting Native American writers and elders along the way. I remember a Monarch butterfly that landed on my finger at Sitting Bull’s gravesite and stayed that way for the next two hundred miles.
So as an adult, I never thought of my dad as much of an environmentalist. But then I started looking at the ways my life has changed in the last few years, and I realize that much of the inspiration comes directly from him.

Take the garden, for example. As a child growing up in the canyons of Los Angeles, we planted corn, tomatoes, salad and squash; even when he lived in a condominium, my father had edible plants growing on the balcony.

And he doesn’t just grow them to eat: My dad believes in the power of plants. If you cut your finger, he’ll offer you an aloe vera leaf. Feeling under the weather? He’ll brew up some foul-smelling concoction of Chinese herbs. On important days—my wedding day, and the first time he met each of his three grandchildren—my dad will sprinkle our heads with corn pollen as he says a prayer to the four directions.

But most importantly, my father taught me that plants—and all living things, really—deserve our respect. That when you cut a flower or an herb you should give the plant some water or food in return, and thank the plant for what it gave you. And he helps me pass these lessons on to my children.
There are some childhood habits that die hard, however. My father now buys organic milk when we come to visit, but he still likes his meat bought in bulk and eaten daily. He does not believe that my Green Wash Ball can actually get his clothes clean. He stocks up on antibacterial soap and scoffs at my inspection of shampoo labels when he sends my kids to shower at his house. And regardless of how many times I talk with him about the dangers of chemicals in cleaning products and fertilizer, he still cleans his tub with Tilex and douses his weeds with Round-Up.

But hopefully, just as his lessons changed my life, mine might change his someday.

Thanks, Dad.