Wednesday, December 18, 2013

An iteration of what I am and what 'family' has come to mean in these times

In lieu of an e-card or a Christmas letter to friends and expanding family here and overseas, this year I sent the full essay of Clarissa Pinkola Estes entitled "We Were Made for These Times" that US-based Jorge Vargas Ledesma earlier shared with me. Known for her inspiring book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, Pinkola Estes is spot on in this millennium of the Divine Mother,

I love the whole piece, perfect in its build-up from start to end. If I were in middle school again in the convent school where I grew up, and if I even had the remotest chance of a choice for a declamation piece, the choice would be "We Were Made for These Times."

The author had written:

"One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.

"Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

"There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.

"The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."

Ms. Pinkola Estes, you said it all for us who still struggle to find coherence in what has happened to our lives and our country in the last quarter of this year. Somehow the letter that I had emailed to this vast extended family struck a deep chord, and I am heartened to discover that I am not alone, that with me are fellow voyagers on an almost listing ship. The last thing we'll do is find safe harbor. Not yet.

Rolly with the new light in his life, our grandchild Kai. Her presence has enabled him to replay the role of father in a relaxed, unhurried way, something he missed out on as our own kids were growing up because of his passion for teaching and practicing journalism.

Mamay Kim and her Kai at the King Louis Flower Farm in Baguio

Teacher Ida sports a preppy look at an event in Singapore.

Kai admires the lights outside Tiffany's (no, not in the New York City Tiffany's immortalized in an Audrey Hepburn movie; it's the Mandaluyong City branch at Shangri-La Plaza Mall).


And let not this madwoman's declarations blind us to what the spirit of Christmas has truly meant throughout the ages. The lines are further underscored and sung in the mighty chorus of Handel's Messiah.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace".--Isaiah 9:6
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