Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Destined for greatness

Today I was really inspired by an article shared by my good friend Earnest. Love it so much I just have to quote it here in its entirety.

Destined for greatness
By Harvey John Garcia
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:38:00 03/22/2011

Filed Under: Youth, Family

I hope you don’t hate me when you grow up for not being there on your birthday. I am writing this soon after your fourth birthday in a foreign land. When I say foreign, I mean that I am scared stiff and I do not know what I am doing here, but I am here and I am living.

I am in the United States right now. To be specific, I am sitting on a felled log one meter away from a river. I am feeling cold. My fingers are getting numb (another good motivation to write). The place where I am in is called Skykomish. It is up in Washington state. And I am in a forest. My crew and I are fixing a trail here, and I am teaching some young people along the way, trying to develop them into capable young adults.

Who is doing that for you? You have your Mom and Dad, and throw in your Mama Old. I am not a bit worried. They raised me, so I believe you are in good hands. It is just that I wish I were part of your life right now.

I hope that when you look back at your life some time in the future, you won’t hate me for not being there on your second and third birthdays, too. I feel horrible and useless as your uncle. Though I know that our small, tightly knit family is there to give you the warmth you need, I still feel guilty for not spoiling you against your parents’ set rules; you are a child only once. But though I may not be there for you physically, you should know that I have been always with you in spirit.

Sometimes I delude myself with the thought that it is my fate to travel far away from the people I love. I feel nomadic. At times it is a blessing. I can tell you stuff that I have done, places I have seen, people that I have met and experiences that endeared the world to me more.

I have a set of journals that I started writing after college. I hope one day to give it to you. I want you to laugh, squirm and learn from my experiences, the same way I felt when my Mom, your Mama Old, told me about hers. I want you to be proud of my accomplishments, disappointed by my failures and inspired by the occasion when I got up after each fall. I want you to see my humanity. Hopefully, this will help you understand yours.

In your lifetime I want you to learn three things. One is that love is unconditional. There is no prerequisite to love. It does not grow old, fade or want the same magnitude in return. It is a given. From the moment you were born, you became the adhesive that united us all. You are one of my inspirations to live. For this, I love you.

Don’t be afraid to love. Uncertainty is always there and nothing will change that. It is what makes the world dynamic. It is the only certain thing: change. So don’t be afraid to dive into something you are not sure of. Just make sure that you are doing it for all the right reasons.

Second is, you have the world for yourself. You only need to grasp it. Believe me, you will experience hardships in life. But that is not the hard part; you can get over those easily. You have my genes, and we bounce back fast. The more difficult times will be when you get over those bumps on the road and they lead you to peaks of success. Then you will have to decide how you will falter, fade, retain and graciously settle down into a comfortable state. Believe it or not, there is no single accomplishment. Everything is a cycle. You will have ups and downs, but as you grow old you get to decide whether the next up is higher or the next down is lower.

You will learn so much and teach so much to others. You will not be prepared for life because if you are, the whole experience will be meaningless. The most you can hope for is to have a stable footing. Always look around to see us, your family, your friends, your favorite thing in this planet. We will always be in the sidelines for you and to see where you are in the compass of life. Fill your backpack with knowledge and skills. Raise your head to the sky and dive into the ocean, metaphorically and physically. Always, always see yourself as a part of the web of life. Nature is the greatest mentor there is.

Third and last is that you will be great. Every person is destined for greatness. I know you will make your mark in this world. It does not matter how many people you touch with your light, it is the intensity that you blind them with that really matters. You will become as great in the same proportion as how much you put into the effort. But do not rush into it. Have a good start and keep a steady pace. In the end, the race is always against yourself.

I will be going back to work now and try to teach six young men some lessons. Maybe tonight, I will brew coffee and stare blankly at the sky. I will be tucked under a sleeping bag in my tent tonight, and I will be happy.

Oh, the most important piece of advice I can give to you is to always look up to the sky and realize how significantly small and how significantly big you are. Everything is a part of you. It took millions and millions of years for you to become you, and now you are alive.

(Harvey John Garcia, 28, is an assistant scientist at the International Rice Research Institute.)
Dear Isay,

When you are older I want to share these same thoughts with you. I am also excited for the many possibilities that life have in store for us.

Love you very much.

Nanay Day