Her Words

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April 7, 2011

Highs and lows

Sometimes we get highs...

So Taylor Swift and the Chippendales have come to give the little girls and the big girls their instant highs—and now that they're gone, the girls are back to normal , adrenalin levels down and sanity restored.

Same with Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars, whose respective concerts will lift the spirit and make one forget, momentarily, about death, taxes, drugs, earthquakes, radiation—and all those terrifying things that are (sometimes) of our own making and directed at our own destruction.

We ordinary mortals who go about our ordinary lives can read all about these exciting events or watch them on television and think our two bits' worth about "life on the other side—the glitzy side." Do these glamorous, beautiful, sexy people worry about their children's tuition or jeepney fare or lunch money? Do they wonder where to get money for next month's rent or electric and water bills? Of course not!

Of course we, too, can get our own highs from reading about and watching them, and sometimes if we open our heart and mind, from happenings in our own life.

One evening some weeks ago, there was this lady who participated in Paula Abdul's Live to Dance show. Her name was Bonnie, and she wore some kind of ice-skating outfit and had a tiny ornament on her short curly hair. She was a tiny person but she dominated the big stage with her twirls and pirouettes. And guess how old she was? Ninety, no less!

Then of course there's Anita, my daughter Nikki's neighbor across the street, who lives by herself, bakes cookies to die for, cooks delicious meals and still drives her car. She's 90, going a year older this month.

Our caregiver-reliever Jacky has a 91-year-old patient who, she swears, can still do knee-bending exercises, among other remarkable feats. Yes indeed, 90 seems to be the operative age indeed, and I have just put up a slogan on my desktop that reads: "Objective: Mobile and Lucid at 90!"

Then there are other highs, other moments. I read about the 44-year-old man who won the mega lotto on Valentine's Day. He had been placing bets for 16 years, had never stopped believing that someday, one day, his persistence would pay off, and he would win.

And win he did! If ever there was truth in the saying that faith can move mountains, this was it. Sixteen years of unwavering faith moved a mountain of money for this man with the believing heart.

Sometimes we get lows.

Not quite out of primetime and front page news are the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, the tsunamis that followed, and, even more fearsome, the threat of radiation. Then there's the war in Libya, the threats of unrest in the Middle East, the scary possibility of "the big one" in our very own beloved land.

And seemingly unending, the congressional hearings, investigations and accusations of corruption committed by those we are supposed to put our full trust in, those who come from institutions that are supposed to turn out individuals of unquestionable honor and integrity but who, sadly, have proven themselves akin to paper soldiers swinging and swaying in the wind. And then there are the three Filipinos who, so recently, were executed in a land not their own, for a crime they claimed to be innocent of. What can be more sad or tragic than this?

Something is terribly wrong in our world. How can all be right on this planet when those who dare to fight for what's right, or speak the truth, are eliminated; when one does not kill his enemy or those who would threaten his loved ones, but turns on his own kin and kills him in cold blood; when murders are not just murders but massacres, and those who cannot fight back or defend themselves are annihilated without mercy.

Perhaps the trouble with us humans is that we think we know best, we know everything, we can handle it, we're in control. But in truth we don't know best, we don't know everything, we can't really always handle it, and we're not really in control. We are creatures of illusion, and while on a small personal scale illusion could be inspiring and encouraging and can be transformed into reality, on a large scale it can be destructive, it can lead man to think he's all powerful, indestructible, immortal.

Yes, I guess God's in His heaven, but all's not right with the world. I guess maybe He's trying to teach us a lesson we won't easily forget or brush aside, telling us, "Okay, I've had it! Enough's enough!" And if we know what's good for us, maybe it's time for us to listen and to listen well.

Elizabeth Taylor has left us as well—she with the incredibly lovely violet eyes. Whatever she may have been in her private life, she gave generations of moviegoers many delightful memories, and on this crowded planet we live in there will be that one special vacant empty space created by her passing.

But behold! It's cherry blossom time again in Japan! While the seasonal celebration may be tinged with sadness because of the recent events that have struck the country and from which it is still reeling, surely the knowledge that next season, and all the seasons through time, the cherry blossoms will always bloom, will lift our spirits and fill our hearts with hope.

And perhaps at the start and the end of each day, if we can remember that there is a higher power Who makes all final decisions and calls all the shots, this awareness will make us more kind, more strong, more humane… more of a good guy than a don't-care guy (or worse, a really bad guy) because the end can come without warning and there may be no time, no chance to make amends. Then perhaps we really will be a better person than we are now.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of HerWord or BusinessWorld.

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