An almost perfect ten 2010
by Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza
January 3, 2011
2011 is here and 2010 left me with a lot of great memories. It was a year of overflowing blessings and beautiful memories, down to the last few days.
When I was a kid, going to my lola’s province in Agno, Pangasinan had been part of our summer vacations. My cousins and I had always looked forward to it.
Going to the beach was part of my childhood memories since my grandparents’ house is located near the sea.
Agno is two towns away from Alaminos, one of the country’s wonderful destinations, but we always went up until Barangay Lucap in Alaminos only where the bayside is.
We have not had the opportunity to visit and make a tour around the islands until Tatay Joel, a family friend, invited us to go there a couple of weeks ago.
It has been a decade since the last time I have frolicked in the sand; so when my Mom told me about the trip, I was so happy and so excited like a kid! I really love the smell of the sea ever since I was a child. It has never failed to give me a relaxing feeling and a happy mood.
During the trip, we stayed on Quezon Island. I sat down on the shallow parts of the beach, the rushing waves dancing around half of my body while playing with sand. Quietness and joy pervaded my whole being. It was heavenly for me.
The entire Pangasinan trip was not only about frolicking on the beach, but also touring around the 120 scattered islands while riding in a boat.
Getting in and out of the boat was like playing a video game for me where I was in control of the lead character because I needed to overcome an obstacle one step at a time, and I successfully did it without falling in the sea!
It may be something done with less or no effort at all for everyone, but it is an achievement for me. Succeeding in those kinds of little things always makes me happy.
Our Pangasinan trip wasn’t over yet, we visited the Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine.
It is known for miraculously curing the sick.
Most pilgrims in Manaoag commonly light candles and offer prayers.
Many people also go there to have their newly-acquired vehicle blessed.
I think the reason why we are praying to Mama Mary is because she is the Mother of Jesus, and she knows and loves him so that means she could easily intercede our intentions for us to her Son Jesus.
I do not really ask for a miracle that will heal me instantly of my disease and disability; I believe that I have already received a miracle – the miracle of my precious God-given life! And I am thankful for that.
Before heading home, we visited my friend Manong Joel Tangunan whom I got to know via social networking sites. I learned about his inspiring story.
I address him as Manong which means ‘older brother’ in the Ilocano dialect, and he calls me his Ading which means ‘younger sister’.
Manong Joel is 35 years old. His right hand is flabby and droopy, and he has been moving around in a wheelchair eversince he was a child.
He used to live in the Tahanang Walang Hagdanan until Mr. & Mrs. Cericos, a couple with big hearts, adopted him along with some kids and gave them a better future.
Despite his disability and the many obstacles he encounters, he continues living on, moving on, and making good and productive use of his God-given talent.
His right hand may seem useless; nonetheless, that right hand creates beautiful notes, and along with his fascinating voice, he composes excellent and beautiful music.
He wrote in his blog, “My Creator appointed me to be as such, yet, being human with deficiency characterized such limitation as a life on its own. No one can be greater with that appointment and I’m just like others making my own chance to live, practice and live it as life.”
Manong Joel rendered a beautiful interpretation of the song “I Can” that Armin Cruz composed using the words and principles that I live by. It was a good collaboration, I say.
He used to live in Tondo, Manila until he got married to Gerlyn in 2007. They later moved to his wife’s hometown in Manaoag, Pangasinan and I promised to visit him when we are in town, so we did.
Although his wife understands his current condition and does not oblige him to be the breadwinner of the family, Manong is still doing his responsibility as the head of his family by doing what he can and what he does best — creating music.
He arranges and composes songs for weddings, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, and he even composes jingles for campaigns and advertisements.
He has composed a number of inspiring songs that talk about life, love and society in general. You could check it out at: http://www.youtube.com/joeltangunan
His right hand is the source by which he provides sustenance to his family. Let us help him preserve that right hand. Let us help him continue to make full use of his God-given and talented hand. Be a source of blessing to him. You may contact Manong Joel at email@example.com if you and let him arrange and compose a song for you.
I attended Simbang Gabi last Dec. 23 with my friends and my sister. They relayed to me what the homily was about.
The officiating priest said, “If you want to receive blessings, be a blessing.”
Those words made me reflect, asking myself, “Am I a blessing?” Then came the immediate response, “I am.” For I have always tried my best to be.
On the afternoon of that same day, good tidings came, showering me with the greatest and the most wonderfully
blessed Christmas gift that I have received! It was overwhelming! The golden rule inspires and it works.
I remember during the beginning of the year 2010, my Mom hoped and prayed that may the year that had just passed be an almost perfect 10 for me.
I am still sick. I am still deaf. I am still in a wheelchair. But I have been so much overwhelmed with all the blessings and all that have come to be and to pass for me for the year that was.
It is said that ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’. I say, ‘Perfection lies in the heart of the receiver.’ 2010 was a perfect 10 for me.
Let us all be humble and ever grateful to God for all the miracles and the blessings that He had so graciously showered upon us.
Let us welcome the new year by being blessings for others. God is in need of compassionate men and women.
This virtue of compassion must never be lost amongst men. For if God our Creator and Father is compassionate, gracious and merciful, why should mere mortals be not?
Have a truly blessed 2011 to one and all!