Just when I thought my 2008 was going so well and I’ve never felt this calm and this centered in the past couple of years, something bad had to happen. Papa was rushed to Saint Luke’s Hospital last night over some heart complications. I’ve had some issues with my dad in the recent past, but time and accumulated affection have a way of gently bringing things to a happy resolution. When my Mom called my cellphone to tell me she was on the way to the hospital, I felt my chest constrict. Papa was always the healthy one compared to Mama and me. Papa was our strong pole. And when your strong poles falter, it scares you because it makes everything else falter too.
I have this high school teacher who texts me quotes and jokes at least once a day. My friends are not the type to send forwarded messages on a daily basis, so I don’t really get a lot of those and he is virtually my only source. Usually, I delete forwarded messages after reading, but I particularly like this one that he sent last night:
“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust, sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again’ who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at least knows in the end the triumph of great achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
I know it’s the sort of thing that could be a wall hanging at a government office (katabi ng Desiderata), but I was at the emergency room when I got it, surrounded by all sorts of reminders that life is short and the regrets could be many.