Wednesday, November 18, 2009


When I woke up the day after my birthday, the sun’s rays bathed a bouquet of roses my friends gave me the day before. It was lovely and fragrant, and I wanted to preserve it as long as I could for memory. Last night I thought- maybe I should get these roses and press them individually between thick books and frame them like the ones I did with the anniversary roses my beau gave me, or maybe leave it as a bouquet and let it dry like what Nanay did with her flowers on her 80th birthday.

In that moment- on an ordinary morning, this phrase came to mind: “omnia transeunt” (all things pass). Like everybody else, I keep mementos. I preserve everything that makes me happy- beautiful things that remind me of good times, in fact my room is crowded with all those things: books from even way back elementary days, numerous timepieces my brothers and my mom gave me, trophies and awards, picture frames that fill every possible space on the night table, dried flowers, bags and clothes of every size, shape and color.

But I remember a striking lecture that Sister Aquino once gave in Theology, she talked of a time they exhumed the body of the first nuns of their order to die in the Philippines. While they were in the cemetery, the men brought the coffins to be blessed before they were opened. When the prayers were done, the coffins were opened. Inside, the only things recognizable were the skull and major bones of the body, everything else- the nun’s habit, the small bones, the flesh- they looked like earth. This skin of ours, the tissues underneath, once decomposed look like mud and dirt. And so Sister asked us, “Anong pinagmamalaki mo?”

“You are dust. We are all the same- from the most powerful heads of state to the lowliest beggar, sinners and saints, men and women in every color- we become dust. Everything you have is on loan- your abilities, your properties, your life, they are not yours. Will God care if you were Cum Laude? Will God care if you were the richest man on the planet? No. He will only ask you how you loved Him and how you loved your fellow men.”

It certainly got me thinking of the way I’ve been living my life for the past 29 years. What were the things I’ve put so much value on? Pretty things, accomplishments maybe? I have every imaginable face cream, cleanser, deep cleanser, scrub, masque, SPF, and whatnot, and to what end? Beautify a face that would one day be dust. Ok, so maybe hygiene is necessary, but my excessive vanity is I guess something I could do without. For the past years, I think I have been working hard for the wrong reasons- acclaim. Though I do think being KSP had something to do with low self-esteem growing up, but now I know better.

And so on that note, I promised myself I’d make changes with the way I look at life. There are more important things that are not mentioned in one’s resume- like being a good friend, or being someone who keeps his word. I want to work hard for the right reasons, reasons beyond self-improvement or mere enrichment.

I have neglected the importance in being prudent and humble in my relationships with people around me that this caused a lot of strain, and nearly breaking off ties. Knowing I guess is half the battle, making amends and reparations are next. I guess what Sister said was right- we are only pilgrims in this life, making our journey to the next life. What we do now matters, because we are preparing ourselves. Will the world forget me when I die? Maybe, but I hope I would make a positive impact on the lives of others before I’m gone.

I guess I had a change of heart. I picked up a scissor and cut the pretty ribbons that held the bouquet together. I neatly folded the tissue that wrapped the roses and went downstairs. Placing the roses on a large vase, I hoped it would last longer, and that more people could appreciate its beauty. That’s a better remembrance.


rudeboy said...

That was a lovely, well-written, and thoughtful post. Good food for thought, Thadie.

Anonymous said...

I like the way you write. You're a gifted writer, I suppose. But more than that you write with depth. You're good reading.

Thad said...

@ Rudeboy: Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :-)

@ Anonymous: I appreciate the kind words.. You just made my day


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