On top of the table lay a pile of discarded papers. Crumpled at most parts, they are evidence of a night of hard reflection. Some lines were well-written, others had numerous erasures. Some had pasted a new sheet over the old, making new space for a better thought. Some had opted to printing a typed-up paper, removing all traces of doubt and uncertainty in trying to keep a good impression.
They all needed the sheets as they stood up in front, feeling as if a million eyes were watching them. The sheets were an excuse to take a breath in an otherwise breathless moment. The sheets were encouragement that reminded them of what they can do amidst that moment of I-cannot-do-this.
The sheets were proof that they are all a work-in-progress. That they are working hard to progress.
It was scary to look down from the top of the cliff.
But there I was, slowly adjusting my feet on the shaky wooden plank that serves as the jump-off point. In front me was a vast expanse of blue. Behind me were people waiting for their turn. Just a few seconds before, I was encouraging the girls before me to just remember the reminders: hands crossed over the chest, hold on to your life jacket, keep your legs straight. I thought of retreating. And I thought of regretting.
I closed my eyes, bent my knees, and jumped.
Did I do it right? What is happening?? Why am I not hitting the water??? I’m holding my breath. They said you have to breathe out once you hit the water. Why is it that I am not hitting the water?!?
I felt the water embrace me as I reached my destination.
I was scared before the jump. I was uncertain throughout the fall. Yet, looking back, no way was I not gonna hit the water when it is clearly right below me waiting to receive me. I guess for a split second there, I fell out of touch with reality.
I’m trying not to look too far ahead, to a future that remains uncertain. Nothing is final until it is final. In the mean time, I have to finish that presentation. Someone needs me to focus on the present. I know deep inside that I would be in anguish once the cards are revealed. Or maybe not. For nothing would be better than what is for me, right?
Walking down a street of an exclusive subdivision, one characterized by a high sense of security among its residents as exhibited by unlocked gates and several non-gated houses, I see from the distance a young boy. He seemed to have been sent to the supermarket, judging by the pack of canned goods that he held in his left hand. On his other hand was something black that looked of no interest to me at first glance. Only as he raised his hand and pointed it at my direction did I realize, it was a gun. I heard no shot but he seemed content as he lowered his hand and entered his home.
What is the reason that I do what I do?
I live for those moments when one simple answer can change the perspective of another person.
I live for those moments when a person comes up to me to sign a book just because I was the one there when she decided to take on a new direction.
I live for those moments when I hear a student say that she will commit to the process and continue to show up until she no longer qualifies in the age restriction.
I live for those moments when I hear people speak the truth of their dreams.
I live for those moments when people seek the non-judgmental presence of another.
I live for those moments when one question can make a life-changing difference.
What do you live for?
I closed this year’s series of learning sessions by doing a review of things we are grateful for. As much as was possible for such faulty memories, everyone did their best to recount at least one thing they were grateful for per month of the past year. Some already struggled just reviewing November. By June, it was pretty hard for most to be specific in what they are grateful for.
How important is it to be grateful? There were times this year when we were so quick to bring down those who tried to shine a bit of light in the darkness of our world. For what is there to be happy about when humanity seems to be nearing its destruction?
Life appears to me right now as a dance between light and dark…with each dancer pouring meaning into the existence of the other. Both are equally important in completing the dance and perhaps only with great humility will we understand…