Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ben Breedlove: How he convinced me that miracles do happen

Everybody goes through a bad day.

A day so bad that wearing a smile is as hard as carrying a bag of dumb bells stacked on your shoulders. Most of the time, we found ourselves sailing through the motions as if getting ambushed by stress and pain is no different than facing otherwise. However, hurt and distress inevitably runs along side a distressing day which usually caused our cursing and frowning. 

Whenever I find myself caught by all the factors that result to an awful day, I always hope for an inspiration or a motivation that may not completely brush all the negative dusts away but at least make me feel a little better. After all the constant hoping and praying, I'd find objects with statements or sayings engraved on them that will shift my mood from an "unhappy camper" to "a boy with a new toy".

Objects like a billboard that says "Smile", a shirt worn by a stranger saying "Love one another", a TV show filled with humor like Modern Family or a pink thermos in the kitchen that says

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream;not only plan but also believe"

Yes, that's right, we have a pink thermos at home (color chosen by my youngest sister of course) that has that statement printed on it which I just found out a few days ago. Well, the thermos has been doing its kitchen duties for weeks now and one morning as I was enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee, the side of the thermos with the saying written on it was staring at me, which would explain my discovery of its mere existence telling me to dream and believe.

Anyway, I was supposed to write about these objects that can inspire people but then as I was a click away from starting a new blog post, an article from Yahoo caught my attention. 

It was one of those videos that went viral on YouTube. I have a little interest on videos growing notoriously because sometimes it's either about people wanting to be famous or those people trying to be funny. On the other hand, this one is different. 

The video was uploaded by a teenager named Ben Breedlove on December 18, 2011 who suffered a heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. He introduces himself in the video and what he has been going through all his life with this heart ailment with words written on pieces of papers. He raises every paper one after the other with an acoustic music of "Mad World" playing on the background.

His face showed no marks of fear or anxiety. He seemed to be at peace. He would smile in some parts of the video as if he wasn't going through something that could easily take away his life in a matter of minutes.

Nevertheless, I have gotten to know his inspiring story one paper at a time and has convinced me that miracles do happen. He has narrated how he saw what I personally think is heaven and how peace dominated him at the time which was the part that made me smile. He didn't want to leave that place but then, he woke up and found himself in the last place he remembered he was.

On the night of Christmas, he passed away leaving the world with his encouraging words that will undoubtedly be engraved on every people's heart.

He reminded me that life is short and that no matter how short life is, we are given a million chances to straighten up our lives and to live each day with endless joy. He taught me that peace is the greatest feeling a man could ever have, for peace frees us from worries and doubts. Ben taught me to hold on to what I believe and be firm with it. Ben pointed out the power of faith.

I strongly believe that he is now in a better and safer place. Though we don't know each other but through the video, I feel like I have known him all my life. I am thankful that I came across this article about him and I know it's not a coincidence. It was meant to happen to remind me that life is precious. Life's description that most of us take for granted.

If you guys wish to see the video, you could go straight to YouTube and type "Ben Breedlove". He uploaded two separate videos, Part 1 and Part 2. Once you finished watching the videos, I am sure you will be inspired like you've never been inspired before.

To help you out, here are the links that can direct you straight to Ben's videos.

Let's pray for Ben and take a lesson from what he has been through and try to live with it.

God bless everyone and as what Ellen DeGeneres says every night, "Love one another".

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Tree: Mirror of my past

I turned the key to unlock the gate as the dogs greet me at my entrance. Actually, I could hardly tell  if they were barking at me or at a cat sneaking through our backyard again but either way, I couldn't care less. Our dogs bark all the time. Whenever the water delivery guy turns up at the gate, they bark at them so loud they were ready to tear the guy apart into pieces. When a strayed cat who unfortunately finds its way to the backyard pass by their cage, they would freak out and run around their pen which would seem as if they just had 12 cups of coffee.

Anyway, my mom peeked through the window and rushed to the door as soon as she saw me came in. I thought it was going to be the same old tableau of a lonely, spacious living room that would welcome me, but to my surprise, it wasn't. A 7 ft. tall Christmas tree standing by the window near the door, covering an amount of space in the living room, altered the look of the house.  In my head I said, "Finally! People will stop thinking that we hate Christmas!".

In our former house, we didn't get the chance to decorate every Christmas because of a few issues with the people we were living with and predicaments popping out from nowhere. So every time Christmas approaches, our neighbors would always illuminate the darkness of the night by their colorful Christmas lights, intricately placed on their doors and window panes subsequently living our house in the dusk of the streets. I was convinced that passersby assume that we're not celebrating Christmas because of our house's apparent display of invisible Christmas lights and decorations.

I guess that is one of the many memories that hit me when I glanced at the Christmas tree. A memory that I wish I could permanently bury in the past. Suddenly, I realized that it wasn't just a Christmas tree. It's a mirror. A mirror of my past.

The Christmas tree sent me back to the place in the past where my family was surrounded by insolent and pretentious people who never got tired of trying to put us down. We were not in our place to fight back and so all I could do was to take everything in. We took everything they said as if all words were true even if its not. It was only me, my mom, my youngest sister and my step-dad against these shark-infested world.  I wanted to stand-up and do something but I knew it wouldn't do me or my family any good so I tried my hardest to shut up. We would always turn out to be the bad guys at the end of the day anyway so what's the use. Basically, we were living in an abnormal life back then where we had to be careful with our every move or it could be used against us. An argument may start if we play music or turn on the TV and we could get shouted at if we laugh at a joke. Obviously, it was a gruesome life to live. 

Despite these bitter memories, the tree tells me something about our abilities. Our ability to surpass every life challenges, ability to be resilient in every storm and the ability to remain faithful in the presence of hopelessness. I never thought we could never change our lives. I never thought we could get out from that prison and I never thought there could be no Christmas tree standing in our living room. However, all these thoughts were proven wrong. We were able to move out and start a new life. We were able to bring ourselves out from a seemingly endless misery and the best part for me is that we were able to buy a Christmas tree which now stands in our living room reminding me of a never ending possibilities of life.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A conversation with the girl I like

No matter how fast we run to catch a running train, we can never touch it, we can never stop it and we can never outmaneuver it. This is how I see a day that passes before me. I know that each day will continue to get ahead like a train speeding on a railway, so instead of counting the seconds, I count my blessings. Instead of counting the minutes, I count the times I have become a blessing to other people, and instead of counting the hours, I count the times I laugh at life. These thoughts managed to roam around my mind for a few seconds as I looked back at the day and see how I spent it. However, it was weird that I could hardly remember what happened or what I did that day. It's like I woke up one sunny afternoon and found myself wearing my school uniform while walking towards the mall with my friends, going through the same old routine that never gets tired to repeat itself after every class. 

Well, I stopped bothering about how my day went and just convinced myself that it could just be another day blanketed by mediocrity.

I looked around and tried to seek something that will make this day different but I never did. Nothing changed at all. Starbucks was still standing on its same spot, serving the best coffee in the city. The Hotdog On A Stick stand along side the mall building didn't move an inch from the last time I saw it. 

Basically, history did its magic again and made things as if I was living in the past. I think the only difference I noticed was the people I saw that day. Unfamiliar faces minding their own businesses. I looked up in the sky and the sun was nowhere to be found. It was probably somewhere behind the woolly clouds playing another round of hide and seek. 

I like it when the sun plays hide and seek because when I find it lonely as a strayed bird in the heavens, I am sure it will find a way to kill its boredom by burning people's skin. 

There was something weird though, as my friends and I made our way towards the mall's entrance. I felt like everything was in slow motion. I was feeling so well I could do a triathlon so there was no reason for me to be light-headed. I felt like somebody had control over what's happening that he could choose whether to slow down or accelerate things up as he pleased. 

I could barely hear the malls usual combination of sounds from people's conversation to the sounds of footsteps.

I didn't pay attention to what's happening around me but as I  glanced on my left, I saw her.

I became nervous. I deemed I had to do something but I had no idea what. 

Should I approach her and say hi? or maybe pass her way, pretend I didn't see her and see if she would notice me and talk to me. 

She was standing alone and seemed to be waiting for someone.

For a moment, I wished it was me she was thinking about but she didn't even notice me as I took my step on the escalator. It was too late. I gazed at her as if it was going to be the last time I'd see her as the escalator draws distance between us. So, I let the thought go and tried to focus on something else.

To my surprise, I heard a very loud shout saying my name coming from nowhere. It was very clear to me.

I looked down from the second floor and saw her standing from where she was but this time, she's turned to me and her eyes glued on mine.

I didn't quite understand what was happening. 

"No, it wasn't me she's looking at, it's probably someone else", I thought. 

I checked the vicinity and I saw no one else. The area was empty. I looked at my friends to see if they heard someone called my name but they never appeared to notice. They were acting weird that day. They goof around sometimes but that particular day, it wasn't the kind of goofing off they usually do.

I continued to walk with them and next thing I knew, she was behind me. She talked to me and we suddenly made a conversation. I could hardly remember what we talked about but all I know is that it was going to be the best day ever.

I told her what I feel for her but she didn't answer back but instead, she wore that captivating smile. I didn't mind her not responding to my question and gave her a smile back.

All of a sudden, everything turned black, it's as if something forced me to close my eyes. 

For a second, I had no idea where I was. There was no light. Not a tiny single one.

 The light rushed in and darn it! 

I turned up to be on my bed, sleeping the whole time.

Have you ever had that moment in your life where this perfect moment came in and as you were enjoying it, suddenly disappeared into thin air? I hate it when some perfect things only happen in dreams.

When I found out that it was all living in my head, I was saddened. I stared at the ceiling and tried to remember the details of the dream, wishing to continue it if I close my eyes again.