Today I would like to share with you a story from my past that I hope speaks to many of you. It’s about loss, love, and kindness. They are memories that will stay with me forever.
For seven years of my life I lived in Bronx, NY until I left at the age of 10. In my last year of being in the City, I was in the 5th grade at an elementary school that was literally one block from my home. That was where I met Philippe Gaton. Philippe was a Puerto Rican boy with the kindest heart of anyone that I had known. Never had I met someone so pure and so mature. I was a bit of a troublemaker in that I loved wrestling on the playground and playing jokes on my classmates. And when someone took a joke too seriously or if I got myself into trouble with my classmates, Philippe would stand up for me and at times would actually stand between me and the aggressor. There was a time when I had bumped into this grown man, causing him to become verbally hostile. Being a terrified 10 year-old, all I could do was apologize over and over, but it was to no avail. Philippe came out of nowhere and stood between me and this adult man and proceeded to deescalate the situation by talking to the man as if he were an adult himself. He then gently took my arm and steered me out of danger.
Naturally, of course, I developed strong feelings for Philippe. And naturally, I picked on him the most and made fun of him more than anyone. I often chuckle when I think back to our dreams at that point in our lives. I wanted to be a scientist and Philippe wanted to be a professional wrestler (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was big at the time). Being the person that I am and was, I never gathered the courage to tell Philippe how I really felt, but there was an unspoken understanding that we both felt the same way about each other. The word that I can best use to describe him was “good.” His soul, his character, his looks, and his heart were all good.
I passed the 5th grade with the expectation and assurance that Philippe and I would be together the next school year. As classmates and perhaps, even as a couple. That summer my brother and I went away for camp for a two week period. On the day of our return, my mother left her job to pick us up and drop us off to our father who was home as he always was. The cab was late and in a rush, my mother dropped us off at the door and hurriedly got in the cab and back off to work. To this day, I do not understand the rage and fury that my father had when I told him that my mother was not with us because she had to hurry back to work. He destroyed the apartment and nearly broke everything in sight. He was so anxious for my mother to get home that he waited on the corner block before hauling her off. That night they had the worst fight I ever remember them having. I think it was then that my heart severed ties with the man that was my father. And when he exhausted himself and left to the streets, I went up to mother and declared “I don’t want to live here anymore.”
A week later, my mother sent my brother and I to stay with my aunt in South Carolina for the summer. In that time, my mother took what she could and left the Bronx. My brother and I returned to New York but it was to Binghamton where I would be for seven years. And my father knew nothing of it. Moving to Binghamton was a relief because of what I was leaving behind and because of the promise of the better life I was looking forward to. Though we looked over our shoulders often, I didn’t care about what my father thought and how he felt. I only cared that we were free and safe. At the same time, I was sad because I was not able to say goodbye to Philippe. I knew that he would understand what I was going through, and it broke my heart that I disappeared without warning.
Two whole years passed before I saw him again. Although we had left the Bronx, we would visit on a regular basis to see my other Aunt and go school shopping. On this one particular summer day in the City, my mother was craving beef patties. We decided to go to a Caribbean bakery that I had visited all too often when we lived there. For some reason, I decided to wait for my mother in the car. And as I sat listening to my Aunt and cousin talk, I saw Philippe. With a small plastic bag in his hand, he looked like he had just stopped at the corner store and was heading home. Like a dream, I saw him walking slowly towards the car, asking myself if it really was him. And when he came close enough, I threw the car door open and shouted his name.
Philippe stopped abruptly and looked at me. He then said something that astounds me to this day. He had simply said my name. After all those years of wanting to see him, after all the praying and wishing that he would not forget me, that I still meant something to him, he said my name.
Philippe approached the car slowly, respectfully acknowledging my cousin and aunt and turning his attention back to me. The look of shock on his face reflected my own. I don’t remember who reached out first, but I remember grasping his hand. Despite everything I felt and was feeling, all I could say was “I moved.” He asked me where. I told him. He asked me when. I told him. He confirmed that I just finished the 7th grade. And then we didn’t know what to say because all that was needed and wanted to be said couldn’t have possibly been done in the short amount of time we had. So we said goodbye. I slowly closed the car door, and out of the back window I watched Philippe sulk slowly through the crowd and up the hill that I had walked up and down so many times. Just like a dream once again, the world seemed to have been fast-forwarded as he alone moved in slow motion. I watched him walk away from me until I could see him no longer, and still I looked.
“Who was that?” my cousin asked.
All I could choke out was “someone I knew” before I turned around cried with all the strength that was in me. It had seemed that all the pain I had been through, the love, the loss, the unspoken words, and the unrecognizable feelings I had since knowing Philippe came out at that very moment. I had never cried that hard before then.
One night after that I had a dream. Philippe and I were in the 5th grade again and we were on the swings at our school playground just talking while the stars above us shone brightly. We laughed about the old times we had on the playground and in the classroom, and I told him why I moved away. I told him I was sorry that he never knew. I told him that I liked him a whole lot. And then I told him goodbye.
These days, I dream about Philippe once in a blue moon, but we have not reconnected. Like the young 7th grader, I don’t believe he will remember me. But perhaps, as it was before, I may be surprised at hearing him say my name once more. Philippe is not a professional wrestler, but from I gather, he is an aspiring actor. He goes by Philip Gaston now. He has and will always have a special place in my heart.
Peace and Love,
Hello My Dear Readers,
I’m not really one for New Years Resolutions, but recently, God has been reminding me of my goals and dreams in this life. When I seem to be down or discouraged, something happens or someone says something that reminds me that His plans for me are still unfolding…perfectly. With that being said, I have created a list of goals and hopes that I want to aspire to not this year, but for the rest of my life. These are my prayers and dreams that I want to never stop striving for, no matter where I am in life.
For this year and for ever more:
- Keep me humble
- Help me to continue laughing at myself
- Please don’t let me lose my dorkiness and nerdiness, and may I continue to never be ashamed of it
- Don’t ever let me lose my compassion and empathy for others
- Help me to grow in patience and forgiveness
- Strengthen my love and respect of others
- Help to me to be better a wife and best friend to my one and only
- Don’t ever let me stop dreaming
- Strengthen my hope and trust in myself and most of all, in You
- Until You say it’s time for me to have children, help me to devote myself and my life entirely to my husband and those around me for You
- Help me, Lord, to always see You in those who are suffering and in pain, especially those who show otherwise
- And please, may Your Light continue to shine through me
Peace and Love,
We all have a lot going on in our lives that tend to occupy our minds and worry us more than we should allow. There are times when I am so focused on a project that I find it very hard to sit still or focus on something else without feeling guilt or anxiety. The little or big things that go on in our worlds tend to make us oblivious to the larger world that we live in. Your neighbor, a store clerk, a customer, a teacher, a co-worker, or whomever may not know what you’re going through, but even so, they are still in this world with you and may be going through the same problems that are probably even greater than yours. I believe that everyone could use a blessing, a good cheer, or something to make their day and perhaps, lives, a little brighter.
When I was senior in high school, my dance teacher took some of my classmates and me to a very expensive restaurant to celebrate our graduation. Little did we know that the gentleman who was dining alone across from us overheard our conversations and generously decided to pay for all six or seven of our meals. This was of course a wonderful surprise, but I’m talking about making a difference in someone’s day by doing the seemingly small and insignificant things that really matter:
- Looking someone in the eye and giving them a genuine greeting and genuinely wishing them a good day.
- Putting back unwanted store merchandise in the correct location.
- Stopping your car to allow a waiting driver to pull in front of you.
- Greeting people who you normally don’t notice or speak to.
I know these may seem meaningless or senseless to some, but from being on both sides of each scenario, I can tell you they make a difference. From the sudden gleam in a janitor’s eyes to the feeling of relief that someone cares, I can tell you that it’s worth it. So please, stop and see someone today and try to do so everyday.
Peace and Love,
When I first saw this photo of volunteers Rajesh Kumar Sharma and Laxmi Chandra giving free education to homeless, orphaned, and impoverished children in India, I didn’t have any words. Acutally, I couldn’t even find the words to express the emotion I felt. Two weeks later, I found them. And although they may not be a thousand words, and although this photo is worth so much more, these are the words I have. I invite you to add more.
I shall follow up with another post on this photo.
Peace and Love,
There are and have been so many disasters in the world. And for some particular reason, my heart especially aches worse for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan — in the Phillippines and around the world. Lately, I cannot seem to shake the feeling that people seem to be ignoring the suffering of the world or have forgotten about it already. Now of course the media has a significant impact. Even so…
My own theory is that many of us feel that there is nothing we can do for those suffering in the world. Some may feel like they don’t have the money or time to contribute, and therefore they shut themselves off to the pain of what’s happening around them. I can understand that, and to those people I say Something is Enough. Prayer is enough. A thought of well being for others is enough. And if you want to take it a step further, do something in honor of those in need. Donate blood. Donate clothes and food. It can even be something as simple as giving someone a smile or a genuine, heart-felt wish for a good day. I believe that God placed us on this Earth to be of help to someone, no matter how far or near they may be. The greatness of our lives is reflected in how we devote it to others. So for today, for tomorrow, and the days to come, pray for someone, smile at someone, do something in honor of someone. And please don’t ever forget. As an author, my goal is to inspire you and touch your hearts and minds, make you see something different. And I hope these words have touched you.
Peace and Love,
For those of you who have read my previous posts, or the “About Me” page, you will know that I enjoy watching cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants and some Disney movies. Today, I would like to discuss in list form why I do and what everyone can gain from doing so as well.
1) Along with praying, spending time with my husband, playing golf, and watching sports, it’s a way of allowing my mind to relax and de-stress.
2) Some of these shows/episodes and movies are actually really funny. What I particularly like about Spongebob is that it’s somewhat relatable in that most people know at least one of the following:
A) Someone who is obsessed with money
B) Someone who likes their job waaaay too much
C) Someone who hates their job and/or has a miserable personality and loves nothing more than bringing people down with them
3) The researcher in me loves to analyze these programs and movies. For example, have you ever thought about how much more sinister Disney villains were back in the 90s compared to now (remember Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame)?
4) One can not only learn a lot from cartoons but be reminded of things that many adults tend to forget or not practice. This includes lessons on what it means to be a friend, and what it means to have compassion, kindness, and love for yourself and other people.
Like I mentioned in my post about the theme of history in Kingdom of the Sun, cartoons can be a reminder of how truth is often twisted as well as the power that the media has in general.
5) They sometimes have catchy songs. “Colors of the Wind” anyone?
6) They can be really nostalgic.
7) They remind me to never take life or myself too seriously. They remind me that it’s okay to laugh at things that others may not necessarily see as funny. They remind me that it’s okay to be myself. They remind me of how awesome being a kid at heart can be.
Peace and Love,
“You’re the greatest husband in the world.”
“She’s the best mom ever.”
“He’s simply the greatest.”
“You’re the best grandpa in the world!”
These are words that make me smile and sometimes laugh when I say them, hear them, read them, or when they are said to me. It’s because the true meaning of these words make them that much more powerful and sweet.
When something like those words are said, they may not be taken that seriously because one may unknowingly think in the back of their mind that they cannot possibly be the greatest at something in the history of ever and the world. And even so, these words are still gladly accepted because the general meaning is understood.
But the way I feel about it is that to everyone that loves us, we are thus a part of their world, their lives. So within this large world are “mini worlds” that belong to each of us personally. So, to be told that I’m the greatest wife ever means so much because in his world, in his life, I am the greatest, and out of everyone in the entire world, he has chosen me.
Everyone has the potential and power in them to be something great and to do something great. I hope that you are and will be someone’s greatest.
Peace and Love,