March 23, 2012

Langga's Graduation

Today is my niece’s graduation from grade school. Oh but she’s slowly turning into a young lady. I must admit, I still call her ‘litol gerl’ with a slip of the tongue every now and then. Her mom would immediately ask “litl gerl pa ba ‘yan?”. She’s grown taller and trying to act all grown-up already but mind you she still takes some time to play with toys and re-read her old children’s books.

Their theme song for their graduation was You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban. Ah, i realized that's why i keep hearing her singing the tune for a couple of weeks now. I appreciated the homily that the mass celebrant gave during this morning’s Eucharistic celebration. He mentioned about the story of Derek Redmond, the runner who was out to get the medal for the 400-m race in Barcelona back in 1992. He was determined to bring home a medal, whichever color medal it may be. Once the race started he was actually doing well, when suddenly, about 175m from the finish line, he heard a pop and felt pain. He had pulled a hamstring. He tried limping but fell on the track agonizing over the pain, thinking “There goes my medal.” He knew he was out of the race. This dashed every last hope of him winning an Olympic medal.

Medical aides were rushing to his side to help him but he sent them away. He decided to finish the race. Hobbling on one leg, bearing the pain, his tears running down his cheeks, he inched his way slowly through the race track. His dad Jim, who has been his coach all his life, pushed through the crowds and came running towards him. He told his son he will stay with him and they will finish the race together. Derek sobbed and slowly father and son made their way towards the finish line. All the spectators stood up to applaud and cheer them on. Nobody paid heed on who finished first. All eyes were riveted on the couple slowly making their way forward. A few steps from the finish line, Jim let go of his son so that Derek would step through the finish line on his own. I'm posting this video that i saw on youtube on this story. All credits due to the one who posted and to ESPN.

I admire the close son-father relationship displayed in the story. They exemplified what a good parent should be to his child, always walking along with him/ helping him, but ready to allow him to finish a task and take credit on his own.

That is what God the Father is to all of us. If we just call on Him, He will not leave us to go through life alone, beating the odds alone, taking all the pain alone. Each time we fall, He is there ready to pick us up and hold us up if we but remember that He is a Father watching over all of His children.

I remembered the poster that hang on my housemate’s room way back in our university days. It said: “The race is not always to the swift and strong but to the one who keeps on running.” I do solemnly agree. For me, life is not a race but a journey, an adventure that we need to enjoy and hence savour every little experience that life has to offer. It does not matter if we are a late bloomer or slow learner. The memories we make, the values and meaning we pack into every moment of our life is more important than all the money or wealth that most people are trying to accumulate nowadays. Quality time with loved ones is very important. We cannot chase after materialistic dreams and successful life status symbol if it is at the expense of human relationship with family and friends. What empty success and hollow victory that will be.

Such story is one of triumph of the human spirit. We all go through difficulties in our life. There are times we fail. But this is not always because we are not good enough or that we did not try or give our best. There could be several reasons why this happen. It may just simply be not meant to be. But if we continue striving and keep pushing forward, overcoming weaknesses and turning them into strengths, then we are on the way to a very meaningful victory in life.

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