Lightbringer

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A few months ago, I made a man cry from an act of kindness. He told me later: “they give you so many nicknames that they associate you with each one personally. You are a lightbringer.”

I find myself writing today because of a tragedy or a to be tragedy. The transience of life flickering before our eyes. Often, we forget our own fragility. It’s sad when you receive bad news. Its worse when the back news comes from somebody you love and they deliver it with the full force.

People are sometimes so strong. I think. Especially when they cry.

I was unable to hold the bad news giver. I was unable to hold the bad news. My eyes flickered and suddenly his pain became her pain became my pain. I wanted to let her know that I felt for her. Loved her all the same and prayed that things would be alright.

God provides. They will be, only we never know that things will be alright when they happen. Were too involved in the superficial to notice the natural process.

Life is painful, but the most painful things are sometimes the most beautiful. I just hope and pain that we sometimes carry amongst ourselves is lifted. Especially from this specific family this post is written about.

Justin Bieber

For years I’ve prided myself in not knowing who Justin Bieber was. I just never cared.

Today my older sister woke me up with one of his songs and at first I was unimpressed by his lack of vocal range. Then she showed me his face and some stories about how he was supposed to be aborted and how he treats his sister like a queen.

I think I’m in love with the person, not the artist.

Wonderful little day

“Sister, I don’t want to go home…” Are the first words I woke up to this morning. I don’t have a sibling living in the house at the moment. There was a five-year-old that I was babysitting and it was such a wonderful way to wake up in the morning.

I dressed and got ready for class. The teacher isn’t there so I will have to teach the class. Last time it was chaos. They overwhelmed me. I say a quick prayer before putting my coat on and walking out of the house and running to church. Hoping that God will provide me with the confidence needed to teach the class.

Well, nothing is ever perfect. I tried, I went, and they learned. Their eyes closing slightly at the early morning speeches and ideas. Then the hugs, and the energy came back and suddenly I felt as if I were somewhat successful. Somewhat.

I went to church, then went to the store to buy a homeless shelter some items. While there I met a newborn. Newly two days old with their parents walking, happy as ever. His small pink fists pressed against his cheeks as he breathes in and out, in and out and suddenly I’m overwhelmed with emotions.

I read a book “Son” by Lois Lowry, which makes me appreciate my mother, despite our differences. The emotions of Lowry and the loss of her son about 17 years ago rang so true through the novel. The reviews aren’t perfect; they never are, but despite the amazing novel “The Giver”, I find myself loving “Son”, even more.

After about two hours, cramped up in the middle of the aisle with cranky parents having to maneuver about my legs, my father calls me and tells me were going to “Rise of the Guardians”. I don’t normally see movies, I’m fidgety and cannot sit still but this movie had me on all three levels:

1) Jack Frost, the idea of him being a thin, long-legged, mischief maker with white hair sold me.
2) the quotes that were in the movie. Don’t ask me what they are now but I do remember I gawked quite a bit.
3) the Easter bunny when nobody believed him… And the sand man. Everytime the Easter bunny talked in his “non-believing mode” I was sobbing from happiness and joy.

And lastly a husbands love for his wife. He had this elaborate set up for his 25th anniversary and his wife fell sick. In short he had a parish involved and her brother to walk her down the aisle for a renewal of vows. But since she fell sick he did it all in the comfort of his house. She cried. He cried. I cried.

I wish days like this could come more often, but it will stay with me forever and ever.

Good teacher vs. bad teacher

All my life I’ve been surrounded by teachers. Teachers of all different languages and races because I’ve lived in so many places and so many countries. Never before have I ever truly experienced a good teacher until now, until I decided not to go to college and volunteer with a teacher I know.

This has been the best decision of my life.

I take a role as one of her students, sit at their desk while running copies and doing menial tasks while commenting on some children, some dreams and some themes in their stories. I learn more in her class than in twelve years of schooling. My eyes brim with tears and my mind searches for a way to learn more – yes learn more after attending a fifth grade class seven, eight years later.

I’ve never once had a teacher make me want to learn, make me want to think, make me want to be better. And even at the coffee table discussing one child and a problem that he has, she tells me what I can do to help.

“Mem, you know what the problem is, we’ll fix him like we fixed you.”

“Yes, and I’ll continue to be a good example for him, and let him know we love him while reaching back and letting him grow on his own.”

Teaching is hard. I’m just a volunteer that’s there everyday and I know; I’ve seen it on a teachers face. We discuss the stories, the pictures, the arithmetic, and the lesson plans. How do we approach it in a user friendly way? How do we let them explore with their overbearing parents?

So many questions, so many possible answers. So much love. I hope that my being there will help them change, grow and blossom.

A lesson

I find myself sitting between two college students and watching them draw work that i will not see myself doing until years later. The idea haunts me. I eat the following:

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As i continue to attempt to draw something way beneath their level:

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(sorry about the shadow, its my arm).

the teacher comes out and plops a book next to me:

“youll soon be done with this book this is your next.”

“I think i can manage.”

“Thats the spirit! Youre at the point now where nothing will be easy anymore and everything will be progressively harder. Few will make it and those that dont will interpret this as failure. If youre willing to learn this everything is on you now.”

i look to the left at the beautiful hydrangeas (my favorite flower) the student is drawing and to the right at the mushrooms the other student is. I look on the walls and remember the motto she spoke when i first started my lessons:

“turn your home into your own art gallery.”

i remember when i was younger and drawing was all i had for a friend and for company. I remember how unartistic i was and wanted to learn how to paint so badly that i saved up money for an easel and paints when i was eight. I remember scrounging up the money to pay for these classes.

I answered with a line drawn on the paper. And the teacher dismissed me, planning her next lesson as one that may break me apart.

Walking with mama

After a tumultuous year, I (and my mother) get to spend few solitary and peaceful moments together. It’s not that we don’t want to but our personalities clash so heavily and we aren’t very good talkers, always keeping quiet unless our honest truths come out.

Which in our conversations, happens a lot.

Yesterday, she and I walked alone for a while, got along and suddenly I realize, this is the mother I love and adore, who loves and adores me. I’ve missed so many moments of my life being torn up by her and she by me.

Throughout the human life, especially in adolescence, it’s healthy to rebel, and rebel I did. I also knew it would hurt her but at the same time, in order to preserve my sanity I did.

“Mem, how many days left?”
“86.”
“I’m going to hold onto each of those 86 days and miss you terribly when you’re gone.”
“Regardless of all the fighting?”
“You’re still my baby girl. And you bright this light into this household.”

I didn’t cry then. But I cry recalling these words to anonymously show the world how much I love my mother, and my mother loves me.

Mom, in 86 days I won’t be a child anymore. I’ll be growing up. I’ll always be your youngest and you’ll always be the mother who lay in bed for three months straight after four miscarriages trying to keep me alive in those pivotal few months and watched over helplessly as doctors kept me in an ICU for a week because they thought I was defective because I was born to older parents. You watched me grow in three different continents, always struggling to make the right friends and choices, in the end you are the reason why I made it so far without too many problems.

Closing this horribly sentimental blog post, last night I realized. No matter how hard I try, or seek. I’ll never understand a mothers love and strength until I am a mother myself.