Thursday, November 21, 2013

On overcoming suffering, keeping the faith alive and all the stuff we can do right now

Whether it's a case of the blues and blahs or rebuilding what's left of a life after an ST (once known as a "sex trip", but now means "super typhoon"), this cock-eyed optimist agrees with a woman who overcame many physical challenges and went on to inspire the world. Thank you, Helen, wherever you are, for these reminders. She's another of those women who found her voice, her strength with help from an inspired and inspiring teacher, Anne Sullivan, the type who never gave up.

Somewhere in my youth and childhood, I encountered this pair, played by actors Patty Duke (as Helen) and Anne Bancroft (as her namesake Anne), in the film The Miracle Worker. I caught it in our black and white TV one late evening when I should have been in bed.

I draw some strength from the remembering of it because I had a mostly silent father (not that he had difficulty communicating, he was quite eloquent in his silence and the rare times he spoke) and, nearing the end of his life, lost an eye to complications from his diabetes, but it never slowed him down.

When I think of those appeals to medical practitioners of ritzy Makati Medical Center and similar hospitals to set up makeshift tents in Central Philippines to attend to the wounded and suffering, I think of Dad and what he would've done in his quietly plodding way in these situations. I mean, you know, he wouldn't even need to be told, he wouldn't be hobbled by his family obligations to us to do what must be done, and nobody, nobody could tie him down with platitudes like "Charity begins at home."

Here's to you, Dad, Helen and Anne.



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