Thursday, May 31, 2007

Choices we make

Which way to go ?
Originally uploaded by whisper-star
I got this in my mailbox (forwarded by my husband). It's one of those that others may not even consider reading. But it's something to ponder on...

Two Choices

What would you do? You make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: "When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!" Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, "Shay, run home! Run home!" Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."

Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things." So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Politics in the eyes of a child

Here's another one from my daughter Sofia...


Philippine Government
By: Irina Sofia T. Echavez

Do you know how it feels if parents fight and the kids see it? Well, that’s how it feels if the government fights, only much worse!

To me, as a child, I don’t really get it that much. I know that they’re fighting. But, why are they fighting? Everything has a reason. I know that they have a reason but, fighting about it? That’s quite childish!

They can just talk about it can’t they? But fighting isn’t the right thing to do. My mom told me that fighting is bad, that’s why when I fight with my siblings, my mom tells us that we should just talk instead of fighting, and it’s easier to talk about it. Isn’t it?

If you keep fighting it will end up to no good at all! Fighting will never solve anything. I thought that they should really just talk. They aren’t acting right! They are acting foolish. They are acting very childish and not proper for their age. They are adults; they should just talk about it and make sure there is no fighting.

I do fight with my siblings quite a lot, but we will get punished if we do so. They should get punished if they keep fighting.

They probably have children! They are supposed to be good role models right? They should act right to be good role models. I guess that’s why most children fight. They see it on TV or stuff like that. I’m not an adult yet. I’m just saying that fighting won’t solve anything. Talking will be better, much better. It will solve it probably.

Elections in the eyes of a child

Originally uploaded by remzamora
I noticed my daughter Sofia "working" overtime on my laptap while her siblings were watching TV. Curious, I asked if I could take a peek into her folder. She said yes and boy, was I surprised. With her permission, I'm sharing her thoughts here, unedited. She's another journalist in the making. :-) I hope politicians get to read the thoughts from a 10-year-old girl. (Photo credit to REM ZAMORA of Phil. Daily Inquirer.)


Election effects on a child
By: Irina Sofia T. Echavez

Is election good? Does it have effects? Yes. Election is good, because it will help us choose someone to take care of our country. But, did you know it has effects? Of course it does! Especially on a child like me.

It affected me because this summer I’ve only seen my mom for a few weeks. Not only that! It also affects me; because when I watch the news it shows lots of killings just because a certain candidate wants to win.

Killing? They can just talk! And, they even deny it! Killing people is a crime! Then, lying on top of all that! What happened to people today! Can you even find people like President Magsaysay nowadays? No. Of course not! He’s a one-of-a-kind kind of person. I am from this generation but I have heard of the people way back, way before. They have been good candidates! Why can’t the candidates today be like the old ones? No candidate who wants to help the country is desperate to be in that certain position. If a good candidate wants to help the country they will certainly not kill. They will try to talk and run a fair campaign.

Killing is way bad already. They couldn’t possibly be good or godly as they think they are. If you think it is easy picking candidates, well guess again buddy! I’m not interested in politics and I don’t know much about politics either but I know that good politicians are definitely hard to find! Most politicians are corrupt. You do not know how corrupt they possibly can be.

Anyway, politicians try to “capture” the votes. What do I mean by that? Well, they try to make the voters think they’re perfect for the positions so they can take over the certain place. It’s like a talent show. Whoever gets the loudest claps is the winner.

Good politicians are hard to find because most are corrupt. Actually, it isn’t the politician that’s corrupt; it is what they are thinking.

If you think of bad stuff, then what you do is bad. If you think of something good then so is what you are doing. If you think of such stuff, then such stuff will be what you do. It is hard to know if a person is bad or good unless you’ve actually seen them in action. It’s like you think someone’s your friend but, then they are actually enemies. It’s like in Spiderman 3. Peter Parker (Spiderman) thinks Harry Osborne (New Goblin) is his friend, but then actually he was just tricking Peter. See, in politics it’s like that. You think someone’s good but then they’re actually someone bad who’s just acting like a good person just so they can get you to vote them.

Here’s another bad thing about politics, there are some people in the COMELEC who somehow deleted some voter, and then said they didn’t. Lying isn’t right, we all know that. You can just say that you deleted it and then just put it back again, and tell them that you put it back so they can vote again! Come on people! Deleting someone from “the list” is bad enough! Then lying on top of that makes it much worse! If they think they can just get away with it, well they are wrong, very wrong! God can see them doing it! I mean He can see everything! Even if we can’t see Him, He can see us. Even if they already know that, they should know that it is bad. Lots of people want to vote. Don’t they know that? They probably know that already! They are adults already they have to know what’s bad and what’s not! If they say they don’t, let’s just say that they’re just all children living in adult’s bodies. First, they delete people from “the list”. Then, they lie. They aren’t acting like themselves. They aren’t acting like adults, they are acting childish, aren’t acting there age.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Encouragement from Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta

How do you encourage someone facing a loss? It's one of the hardest things for me. I hated so much the “condolences” of well-meaning people when we lost our mother to a freak medical accident 20 years ago. I wished they just kept silent than giving me the feeling like rubbing-it-in kind of way of telling me “you're mother is dead!” I would rather be in a corner, crying until I couldn't cry anymore. Like the loss of my mother, I would take any loss in life the same way. For a while I'd grieve. Then I'd put myself back together again and move on.

Losing an electoral bid for me is like losing a dearly beloved. When my brother lost his first bid in politics last week, we felt so bad and grieved with him. It's always better to cry than keep all those emotions inside. Now, we see the lessons and hope to learn from it the next time around.

But sometimes, it's easier said than done. I didn't know how to comfort Sen. Tessie when the trend in the senatorial canvassing started to show. So I just prayed hard for her, that God would embrace her and she would only feel His love. Then I got a call last Saturday. It was Sen. Tessie. Honestly, I didn't know what to say. Surprisingly, she was so upbeat. She told me she wanted to thank everyone who helped her. Maybe, it wasn't God's will yet, she said. She said God prepared her heart for whatever results and despite the loss in her senatorial bid, she felt nothing really was lost because God had a purpose for her running. Wow! What a great woman of God she is. I could only say thank you to her. I thought she needed the encouragement. But she was actually the one who encouraged me.

Yesterday, I received an email from her. With her permission, I'm posting Sen. Tessie's email. For me, this is not just about Sen. Tessie. This is about how we should face circumstances in life.


My dear Andrea,

Greetings in the Precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude and appreciation for all the love and the untiring support you have given me in my desire to return to politics. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.

The past three months had not been very easy for me. Yet, through those difficulties, I've experienced grace after grace after grace. I know I would not have experienced most of it if not for the full support you gave me. Words are not enough to express my gratefulness first to the Lord, and next to my family and specially to you.

I've always said that I'd work very hard from Day 1 to Day 89 to gain victory on Day 90. As I've said before, my desire to return to politics is not anymore about me. Rather, it is all about Him, our Master, whom I want to serve. I thought that if I was elected, I could serve Him more and influence others in the halls of power to acknowledge Him as their Lord and Master.

Now that the national election is over, the Lord has spoken. Initially, I felt sad. But then maybe, it is not yet His will for me to return to the Senate. Maybe, my desire is not yet part of His plans for me at the moment. Yet I know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. I don't know what His purpose for me is at this time, but I do know for sure, His plans are perfect.

I have finished the electoral race, stood firm in faith and tried my very best that in everything I did in the campaign, I pleased Him first.

I had kept my campaign focused on the politics of unity and the politics of hope. I refused to involve myself in gutter politics and the politics of hate and ignored to answer malicious attacks on my person. I chose to forgive instead of resorting to revenge, simply because I know God would fight for me. And He did as He always does.

When I campaigned, I took every opportunity to share the goodness of the Lord in my life. In so doing, I wanted others to know the God whom I serve.

True enough, because of the peace and calm that He granted me, not a few of my colleagues and the media team covering the Team Unity became curious where I got the strength. It then became an opportunity for me to share His Word, what He did in my life and what He is doing still. Indeed, despite the obstacles and trials I faced, the load always seemed lighter because Someone up there was making sure that the burden would be light.

On Day 90, I've said that the Lord's Will would prevail. His plans are good and pleasing for sure. And so, nothing is lost and there is no defeat!

God is still refining me. Like gold that has to go through the fire, so must I as He prepares me for a greater task ahead.

Again, thank you so much for everything – the prayers, the love the trust and the support. Indeed, I am so blessed that God has led me to you who made me feel that I found a God sent Friend.

God bless you more as you bless others!

Most Sincerely,