Chris McCandless Into the Wild

I have not been touched by a movie lately as that of the true life story of a young man called Chris McCandless. The movie was based on a novel, I think, by his younger sister. Anyway, except for the images I checked on google, I didn’t want to read any criticism about the life story, else my perception might be affected. There was, I think a proposition not to talk about Chris any longer.

But why not?

I was able to relate with Chris.

Chris was a man in search of his self, his being. He yearned to feel joy and happiness that couldn’t be gratified by the existence he was in.

Chris comes from a rich family. He went to college and graduated. He was an adorable lad, someone you would like for a son, someone you would like for a brother, someone you would like for a boyfriend.

Somewhere in his childhood though, he realized that he has two warring parents. Somewhere in his adolescence, he discovered he has an older brother whom his father never acknowledged as his son by another woman.

Chris breezed through life the protective brother, the ideal student, the traveler. He loved going on adventures.

Right after graduation from college, he did just that. He turned down the gift of a new car, gave his law school money to charity, and disappeared into the highways and byways by a different name: Alexander Supertrump.

Destination: Alaska. A rover wandering in search of a meaning.

Along the way, Chris met a few people. He was the congenial, most likely a gregarious company one would love to spend hours working with or just have a conversation with, or just keep quiet with.

He enjoyed the experiences as if he was born to be free, not trapped in a rich family, business or politics. Those things he resent, without offending anyone.

And when he reached Alaska, the wild area, he found a rusty bus that he turned into his shelter, his abode. And he discovered his happiness. He was overjoyed by the view of the majestic scenes on the horizon, overwhelmed by his becoming a hunter. It was the hermit existence. And he loved it. He was born for it.

And one thing with Chris, he reads and writes.

He loved Leo Tolstoi and Jack London. Perhaps that was the reason. He felt his self fed up with society’s hypocrisy. He felt his self invited into the wild. None most satisfying. To be free.

Did it occur to him that solitary existence could be fatal? Yes. But it was a life’s adventure to take that risk.

In the end, Chris died of starvation, because he couldn’t cross back the river, and he couldn’t hunt for food. Even the berries that he ate turned out poisonous.

A tragic story of a brave soul. Given the strength and vivaciousness, I would probably device my own adventure. For what could be more compelling to know that one could be attuned with the great creation, in the brightest of days, the darkest and coldest of nights,to admire the beauty of snow caps, smell the freshness of the trees, hear the music of the wilds, the sound of silence, and inhale the marvelous scents and exhales into the greatness of the earth and the heavens.

If Chris survived, he could have put into words a story of love. But it was not meant to be. Chris story is a lesson for us, to be true with our selves, to find beauty and joy and happiness. It was his regret, because albeit he felt happiness, it would have been real if he had shared it.

Find your peace, Chris, you already have shared your happiness. My turn to say Thank you, you are worth knowing.

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What we truly celebrate on the first of January.

For our 2017 New Year’s Mass, we trooped to the Shrine of the Divine Word. As blessed as I felt, thankful enough for being in the company of my daughters this New Year’s Day, I did receive a most wondrous of homilies from a missionary priest.

He said that there was a common factor among the Archbishops of New York, Archbishop of Chicago, and Archbishop of Los Angeles, they all in agreement that the Filipino is the new chosen people set to bring our faith into the corners of the world. Why? Because the Filipino fill the churches come Mass time.

Once, when this same priest was studying French, he was summoned by his teacher who resided on the third floor of a building. He was made to witness an empty promenade, vacant for many decades, until the Filipino set foot in France, and filled the cobblestones with devotees wanting to hear Mass.

Yes, the faith of the Filipino is formidable as a rock. Sent on a diaspora to many corners of the world, the Filipino, specifically the Filipino mothers, or the women who worked, initially as domestic helps and caregivers, nurses or entertainers, artists, etcetera, when faced with hardship and trouble, turn to faith and cling to that hope, that God will ease the difficulties that beset their situations. Thus, the churches filled with black-haired Filipinos.

Further, what is most unusual in the Filipino is their utmost devotion to the Blessed Mother. How the Filipino pay Her with most high regard, calling Her Mama Mary, like She is their very own Mother.

Yes, the Filipino is a chosen race, chosen to bring to the world the love of family, the devotion to mother, and the deep faith that transcends trials.

Then the missionary priest asked us to kneel, to give honor to that Mother called Mary and Her Child Jesus, with Joseph by Their side, because They set the example of FAMILY, that which binds the Filipino, that which the Filipino lives for.

The missionary priest said that after the Mass, he would have to make his own journey home, because his own mother makes a head count, and the priest is always late, for her Mano Po, Inay blessing.

That is what we celebrate today, the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

Of course, this blog is a short summation of that doctrinal homily, I just hope that we know why we celebrate today.

For my own Mommy, I miss you. And Lola Naty and Lola Oda, too.

Christmas Music

We get lost with the wonderful lights and decorations, the hustle and bustle, the shallow exchange of recycled gifts.

I feel bad about it, too.

But whenever I hear Christmas music, the Carol of the Bells, the jingling and giddy-yap of all merry a gentlemen come ships a sailing, a drummer boy drumming, all on a quiet, silent night, one holy night, for a Babe born in a little town of Bethlehem, oh, I do feel all warm and wonderful,

Today, though, my daughter sang and played on the piano Hallelujah, Hmmm. Pretty intense. And how mind-boggling on a Christmas Day.

Then she played “I wanna build a snowman” and said it’s on Disney’s Christmas playlist. Okay.

Nothing to this post Just enjoying the Christmas music.

Cracked.

Advent is a season for reflection, the time one reviews one’s self, not simply as preparation for Christmas, but this time and age, when millennials race for their dreams and ambitions their techie/selfie way, this is the one moment they stop to think about their wish lists and their resolutions.

It’s a juvenile thing that I didn’t expect to find my self into. I have had my life and lived it, and I am grateful for the simple and yet stress-laden life. Whose life isn’t, any way?

My meditation though springs not from more desires but from the misgivings friendships has disillusioned me with. I have deleted friends from my life, friends I shared my secrets and my passion with, friends I went running and swimming with, friends I spent hours on the jurassic telephone with, trading tips on this and that, friends I sat on recitals with and shared moments of fun and laughter over dinner tables, pricey or otherwise.

Who would think that someone you trust your life with could be jealous or envious or sour with you, when all the time, you believe that love abounds in that friendship. Exactly how I felt when a friend told me she didn’t like my daughter. Wow. I didn’t know how to take that. Another told me that I must not narrate stories about my daughter not unless she is boarded a plane to jet set the world. I was shocked. Another friend estimated my daughter’s future pay, which she believes will be totally super in comparison to her own child’s pay. How we got fast forward into the future, I didn’t know, but I was fine with the today’s meals, no matter how humble.

And when someone calls me best friend for life but does not return my calls nor messages, comes to me only when she needs me, I think I have to redefine the acronym BFF. It doesn’t sound right.

I am cracked. Honestly, when I decided to end the friendships. there was a pain that pinched my heart. I allowed a few tears to roll down my cheeks. It was for the sadness over the loss of people I thought loved me back. Hu Hu

So, in my melancholic state, I have resolved to start friendships again, with fresh faces from the strangers I meet. There is the newspaper peddler who was surprised I sat beside him for a chat, the grocery cashiers and baggers, the disers. the guards, the mendicant children who got ecstatic over a loaf of bread or the value-pack meals I give them from 7-11.

For a time, I didn’t think of these lowly people as friends. They were just there at the moment. But when I see them again. they become ecstatic, delighted to see me and strike another quick chat about anything under the sun. I indulge them, of course, I realized that I have so much time to pour in a thought or two to people who genuinely listen. These ordinary people are so true, grateful for the little time I was with them, and wish me safe and all right when I say good-bye.

I don’t think I am cracked any more.

What to write in my own Bucket List…

Some people I know have crossed out items in their Bucket Lists, and are down to just a few items more, and yet I have to write mine.

I have learned about the Bucket List sometime ago, when I noticed a friend on facebook forever adding places to visit in her own Bucket List. And it seemed to me her list will have no ending, for there is as much more exciting place some corner of this earth that will be good to visit.

Anyway, after a few attempts to watch the Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman starred movie entitled The Bucket List, I finally got to finish the movie today. And what a heart opening movie it is.

The story revolves around two  completely different strangers who went to see the world, instead of lying down in the hospital for treatments of their terminal illnesses. in the process of living out the adventures of their lifetime, they get to fulfill their simple but very meaningful wishes in the Bucket List.

The Bucket List is actually a list of things one desires to fulfill while one awaits death.

But why wait when one is ill or old? We can make our Bucket Lists early on, and see if we could cross out some of the items we have done.

Mine is difficult to make, because I still have to search my heart about my dearest desires. But here’s a start. (for editing later, pending more wishes) Not necessarily in the order of importance.

  1. Watch people sip coffee while reading books in my own library.
  2. Sign an autograph on any of my blogs.
  3. Ride a jet. (Far flung)
  4. Adopt a child.
  5. See the Northern Lights.
  6. Walk the slopes of Ireland and dance in a tavern.
  7. Take care of my own grandchildren.
  8. Read the Bible cover to cover, one more time.
  9. Find a best friend.
  10. Embrace my family who lives in Los Angeles.

For all the imperfect people.

The homily from a young visiting priest we had yesterday was funny. The priest talked about his vocation, as the Gospel was on the calling of the apostles.

The priest said that there was nothing earthshaking about his calling, his was just a simple response to a call he heard. But his family and friends have different opinions about his vocation, and continue to be bewildered by his being a priest. And, as gladly. he allows himself to be the butt of jokes come reunion time, as loved ones swipe their hands on him as if he is a holy icon. Ha ha ha. To them, he is the same guy, nothing super special.

But that is precisely the point. He is not super special. He is not the perfect guy. He has faults. That is why he was called.

God actually called on the imperfect ones to do the job for Him. Abraham is low-key, Noah a little dumb, Moses a coward, Jacob a deceiver, Joseph vengeful, David a wife stealer, Jonas an evader, Samson proud,

The new testament has quite an amazing list, too. Zacharias has a wobbly faith Joseph the carpenter had called feet, John the Baptist a loud hot-head, Magdalene a prostitute. Simon boastful, James has temperament, Zacchaeus a usurer, and Saul a persecutor, or killer of Christians.

These are not exactly the men, or woman, we would want to idolize. And yet, God picked them from many a perfect ones. But when they responded, they delivered.

So, it is not that you and I, imperfect as we are, that God has not chosen us. He has called us already, actually. It is our turn to make the response.

Have you?

If you haven’t, then, what are you waiting for? Time is of the essence, brother,

What Bucket List?

I call my sister every dawn, Manila time. That is sometime in the afternoon, I suppose, LA time. We talk about this and that, mostly about our family, the every day thing.

This morning though, she told me that the cross stitch she worked on after our Mommy passed away was in her Bucket List. Although I have an idea that the list is supposed to be about the things that one likes to do, or as one friend puts it on facebook, about the places one wants to visit, I really have no idea why it is called a Bucket List.

So, Google shows me Bucket List is a Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson movie, the two on my long list of credible actors. Why did I miss this 2007 movie? I don’t know. In 2007, if I remember right, was the last time I saw and hugged my parents. It was also the year my Jean graduated from High School, the year she entered college, and the year the termites crept inside my ceiling.

Just the same, I took a sneak preview of Bucket List. I have not found a complete copy of the movie.

It is sad, I suppose. And it is about people dying, whatever the cause is, and these people are undergoing some sort of introspection about their lives. And these people are left with some wishes they would like to do, with the little time left for them to live.

I am not qualified yet to write my Bucket List. I am not dying yet. But this sure makes me meditate about some things I have probably not done. Oh no, I do not have a grand ambition of walking the Great Wall. nor get myself in a predicament of how to get down from the tip top of the Great Pyramids, lest one gets stuck in the tomb forever, but this sure gets me thinking, what are the things I still want to do at this point in my life.

Good advice, Ate Grace. I will come up with a long one, I think. Somewhere on top of that list is to visit you guys. For there is nothing like family.

 

 

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