Posts tagged ‘commentary’

One Ordinary Day

Cross Street

Today I walk to the post office to mail a holiday greeting card. Since Christmas Day is past, it may appear a little late, but not really. In my native country, the Christmas season doesn’t end until the Feast of the Epiphany on the first Sunday of the year. Besides, I know the recipient will understand.

It’s 10:30 a.m. The sun is up and shining bright, but with the temperature hovering in the upper 30s, there’s hardly any pedestrians and dog walkers in sight. By contrast, the main street is busy with anxious drivers eager to beat the red light. They show impatience and don’t hesitate to blow their horns at so-called Sunday and holiday drivers who get in the way.

The post office is a mile from my house. As I saunter on the way, I ponder on the year that’s about to end. What an uneventful year it was! It would be remembered mostly as the year my mother passed away in the Philippines. I wasn’t able to attend the funeral. Since I live in the U.S., I could only wish my sister had given me more time to book and prepare for the trip. Scheduling the burial five days after her death just didn’t cut it. Needless to say, it made me angry and sad.

It’s my fervent hope that the coming year will bring peace to our family. May it allow us to rise above our petty differences and learn to forgive and forget and move on. After all, we’re family and there’s nothing we can do about it.

After mailing the card at the post office, I have decided to go to the nearby food court for my favorite comfort food. On a cold day like this nothing compares to a hot noodle soup. Bon appétit!

December 28, 2019 at 2:51 pm Leave a comment

Can’t Stop the Leaves from Falling


It’s Sunday morning. I have decided to go to the nearby park to get a breath of fresh air. As I walk around, I see autumn in full swing. Trees are shedding their leaves falling to the ground.

I sit on the bench and watch the Canadian geese feed on the grass.

Where did the days go? I can’t believe we’re heading to the end of the year again.

As we get older, the years seem to speed by at a dizzying pace. Decades come and go in the blink of an eye leaving behind memories good and not so good.

My reverie was interrupted when out of nowhere, a Jedi boy armed with a plastic lightsaber, started running after the geese who scampered away in terror. It was only when his mom called him back that the geese returned unharmed to my relief.

It was a momentary distraction that I need to stop my thoughts from heading in the wrong direction. After all, autumn isn’t about dwelling on negativity. Rather, it’s about letting go. Just as trees get rid of old leaves in anticipation of spring, so we must free ourselves from the chains of self-pity and past heartaches. It’s only then that we can look forward to a new beginning.

Please indulge me by sharing this poem I wrote on the subject:

can’t stop the leaves from falling
nature has the final say
even on a fair autumn morning
the wind blows them away

brown, red, yellow, or green
their color doesn’t matter
on these grounds where they now lay
they are dead, they breathe no longer

the tree made leafless looks grim
branches pointing up to heaven
once again, it would need a trim
for next spring, so says the raven

In the poem, I’ve mentioned the raven admired for its intelligence. It’s said to have the ability to predict the future. In some culture, it stands for death often seen surveying the battlefield after the fight is over. In another, it stands for hope that, amidst the carnage, life springs anew.

In the afterglow of the passing year, I wish you, you, and most especially you, the very best of what life has to give.

December 8, 2019 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

To Genifer Buckly: In Memoriam

Genifer Buckly
Genifer Buckly (Photo from her Facebook account)

Genifer, 24, was a volunteer who went to Pangantucan, Bukidnon, Philippines to teach and do community work under the auspices of the Jesuit Volunteers Program.

On Friday, Aug. 23, she died after being repeatedly stabbed by a man who broke into their quarters. The other teacher who was with her also suffered serious injuries but survived.

Genifer would be the first violent casualty of this 40-year volunteer program aimed to “teach in under-served areas, train grassroot community leaders, assist cooperatives, implement livelihood projects, minister to the disabled and abused, engage in youth formation, advocate environmental issues, uphold the dignity of Indigenous Peoples and fight for the right of the oppressed.”

I will remember her smiling with seeds in her hands. With her untimely passing, it will be up to others to plant them and continue the work she has left behind. From above, looking down below, she’ll be watching the seeds grow and bring forth fruit.

I offer condolence to the Buckly family and to those who have known her in this life. May she rest in peace.

August 24, 2019 at 9:31 pm 8 comments

Is This the New Normal?

An 11-year-old girl tearfully pleads for dad’s release after massive ICE raid in Mississipi a few days ago. What’s next?

August 8, 2019 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

Memorial Day Concert 2019

Memorial Day Concert 2019

Every year I look forward to the annual Memorial Day Concert at PBS. It’s a multi-award television event that honors our men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifice as well as gives recognition to their families and loved ones at home. I hope you can join me in watching it tonight.

I find it especially moving to hear stories of those who had served and paid the ultimate price.

One such stories has stuck in my mind to this day.

Embed from Getty Images
In a previous Memorial Day Concert telecast, Danne Wiest read excerpts from a grieving mother’s letters to her son Eric who was felled by a sniper’s bullet in Iraq. The letters were from Gina Barnhurst who regularly visits his grave on Sundays.

Lance Corporal Eric Herzberg

“There is a peacefulness about this place,” she wrote. “It is quiet and beautiful and special. I am so proud that you are buried here at Arlington. I want the world to know that you are a hero. People need to know the real cost of war – the real cost of freedom – the real sacrifice our service men and women make. They need to know the sacrifice of the people left behind.”

After her presentation, the camera followed Diane Wiest as she went to the grieving mother’s seat in the audience to hug her. As Gina Barnhurst stood up and sobbed, I felt the real meaning of grief. At that moment, I understood the pain and cried with her.

I could only wish that former Pres. Bush and the people who initiated the invasion of Iraq were watching at that time. It was their decision that put her 20 year-old son in harm’s way. Was it worth the ultimate sacrifice? For one thing, she wouldn’t see her son get married and have kids.

“He was just a beautiful person,” she said. “He was fun, he was sensitive. and the thing I hate the most is that he’s not going to be a daddy. He was really great with kids.”

Fatherhood and what appeared to be a bright future died with him.

Today should be a day to honor our fallen heroes like Eric and those that they left behind. It should be a day to bow our heads and pay our respects in unity. It shouldn’t be a day to score political points. Doing so would desecrate the spirit of Memorial Day.

May 26, 2019 at 10:42 am Leave a comment

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