It is still a vivid experience. Something that is deeply carved in my senses. That very day that I was holding flashcards about weather conditions, teaching them how to read the words and what it is, sounding it out enthusiastically for them to imitate, adding some tune for better reception and recognition of the words such as sunny, windy, and others, gesturing with both hands for motion when one of them caught me by fear and surprise as she pulled the white hair clip off my hair. It was so abrupt that I was caught off guard of myself. I was for a second worried about staying even longer in the room where I was the only one with at least “normal” brain function. It was the longest 5 seconds of my life. One of them, whom I supposed was the “teachers’ pet” ran immediately to their Thai Teacher to report what had happened. There and then the standby Thai Teacher came in and reprimanded the poor child, led the girl in one of the corners of the room and talked to her very softly that I couldn’t decipher what the other teacher was trying to explain.
As my sense of normality came back, I recomposed myself. I tried to control my shaking voice of terror. No doubt that the act of this adolescent girl who was in need of special care has sent a shiver down my spine. Still, I thank God for creating in me a brave heart that I was able to keep coming back to the room with 15 special children and finish the semester with them. I fully know that she didn’t want to cause harm to me; that it was the only way she could have the hair clip that time; that I wasn’t prepared for such. If only she could have enunciated what she wanted but one thing is for sure she had placed a specific concern for their special needs.
After more than a year, I was troubled by the same concern for these children with special need. This past week, during a school’s event, I happened to see myself worrying about a certain child who for a reason fall into the same category. While in the hall packed with so many other students and teachers and with the loud sounds and screams, I saw him grew uneasy of the scenario he was currently in. After a while, he just had a meltdown. He wasn’t able to manage himself while in the midst of so many colors, sounds, and performances. He fell on the floor trying to cover his ears, head on his knees and with eyes closed. I ran towards him, clasped him, his head on my shoulders as I covered his ears. I tried really hard to at least calm him down before he feels worse than that. As the sounds grew louder, we decided to take him out of the hall for a much calmer environment. I was so worried as a mom to her child.
I didn’t specialize in this kind of teaching. Never did I have an experience of teaching children with special need. These were such a remote experiences. I was wondering why God has allowed me to face such challenge. I know that He’s changing me and building something in me. And this is teaching on another level. Teaching them through the love you have for them beats all the learned strategies and book-based knowledge. Beyond the course outlines on the printed pages. Beyond the subject matters.
‘Cause you’re short and you’re little compared to those who usually deemed to do it – so you’re not qualified. You’re hindered, you’re stuck, you’re unwanted, and you’re discriminated for sure. You’re that square peg in a round hole. You just don’t fit well or maybe you just don’t fit at all.
In this world where eyes become so picky, faultfinding and hypercritical, we become so anxious about how we look and how we act. You become so concerned about what other people may say about the blood red lipstick you were wearing in the office on a Monday morning or that rugged ripped jeans you wear to a party of girls wearing skirts.
You might be aspiring of becoming a flight steward. You made all necessary preparations and earned the needed education only to find out on the day of screening that you are short of 1 centimeter for the height requirement. Heels won’t help you either. So you didn’t qualify. You didn’t meet the standard.
You desired to be a university professor. You gained all the needed degrees and obtained all the necessary experience. The screening came, applicants in line and so you were. Then the panelists told you that you’re excellent as your records showed but there was a certain applicant who was more physically attractive than you are. He’s tall that would mean the students would look up to him (literally). And you’re not because you’re short of 1 inch to be at least 5 feet tall. So you weren’t chosen. You didn’t meet their set standard in physical terms.
(Insert deep, long, heavy sigh here) The world has made up so many standards for a certain job, position or stature. All of these standards are collective. That is, many people pile up standards through time and as the time goes the harder it gets to meet those. It’s even harder than climbing the Mt. Everest. The more I think about this the more I get anxious about life.
However, to keep me sane, I set my mind beyond these worldly expectations. I thank God for He sees the inner qualities of a man. He does not see the surface but goes beyond it. He created every single one perfect in His sight. And when He calls you to do a ministry for His kingdom, he wouldn’t check your educational background and won’t go checking your physique if you would fit. Our outward appearance may wither as the grasses in the fields but the beauty that comes from Him qualifies us to His calling. We need not worry about our bad hair days or what fancy outfits we would wear. He looks beyond all of these. He looks after the beauty of the heart.
So if you’re thinking of giving up on your aspirations just because the world tells you do not fit, take another thought and look at yourself one more time in the mirror.
Yes! Finally, I got the drive to get hold of my pen again and of my own busy self to write. I thank God for this! I always felt the urges to write everything I went through – the new experiences, new opportunities and the new challenges of being in this time of life which they call “quarter life”. However, the demand to do work and even more work (though no one is forcing me to) is just paralyzing me to put all these free-flowing ideas into writing. I am always inspired to write but my so-busy self is always deterred. I was like a train on the track, which at first was eagerly transporting the passengers from point to point and would go to and fro enthusiastically until that day when the oil is not enough or when the machine started to rust and wheels got stuck at a certain point. I had this mindset at the onset of the year that I should be more consistent in writing, that I should be at least publishing one post per week but it didn’t work out that way. I know it’s myself to blame. The more I planned it that way, the more I got distracted. I often wonder how the online writers and bloggers I followed managed to constantly write. Well, it always boils down to these – time management and priority setting. I just thank God for the opportunity today to be able to pen this. I’m that kind of train fully fueled up to the brim and finally ready to get going to and fro. Maybe not one post per week, I’ll just let it flow as time does. I’m just not going to put so much pressure on my love – my love for writing and its purposeful expressions.
Another thing I praise God was His clear love letter that He sent me through a person. It was in a random conversation with this person, who I admire for certain reasons, in which a catchy line from His love letter just popped out her speech and struck me right through the innermost part of my heart. I waited until all parts of this letter came to my senses and then, I responded. I rejoice in this truth He placed in my heart. I knew He called me to share His words and that burden to impact people with the divine truth is deeply engraved in my heart. The love letter opened doors for me to even expand and extend the platform where I could share the good news and where God can use me mightily.
So here I am now, in my quarter life year, putting things in place and allowing God to establish His plans for me. I also took the step of adding a new flavor on my coffee diaries that is much committed to faith. By this, I mean, I will not set aside the first reason why I continued and set up this blog that is to serve as my e-journal but in the next days to come, this blog will serve its purpose to be a vessel of change, courage, inspiration, and faith.
I believe in the power of words, not only when you utter them but also when you let your soul and spirit speak of them through writing that is purposely done in the manner of inflicting courage and faith on the readers. I always desire to inspire, uplift and cause positive changes in the life of people; may it be to the grandest of it or the littlest impact.
It’s 10:19 PM here in Thailand and I’m still wide awake. I just finished a movie – animated one and “The Boss Baby” to be specific plus the third episode of a Top Model Search on TV where two Filipina top Model aspirants were both in the bottom 2 this week. I’m quite an avid fan of this show which transformations of women can be seen and the exceedingly powerful personalities of ladies from different countries of Asia are being showcased.
However, as this show was running right before my eyes as I watched it on my Mac screen, I felt the outburst of writing this. I felt the shame as one of the Filipina models who were both in the bottom 2 tried to pull the other Filipina down. How shameful was it to see that every time she would talk ill about her co-Filipina competitor, the banner that says she’s from Philippines too would flash on the screen and over millions of people are watching and witnessed the disgraceful attitude of “crab mentality”. Instead of helping and encouraging one another, one would pull the other down to be able to climb up on top. Thinking that by pulling the other down, she could easily be on the top of even more deserving girls who are all vying for the title as well. I’m quite disappointed by her attitude and her intolerable overrated self-confidence just brought her down. She was then eliminated at the end of the episode and the person she was wishing to be eliminated remained in the competition.
The disappointment was just too much to bear because I was expecting that it would be the other way around. I’m pretty sure I’m not being so idealistic. I’m just quite hopeful that in one way or another, in this show maybe, the camaraderie and synergy among Filipinos could be made known and made clear to the world. I was hoping that, since they are both rooted from the same land, they would bring out the best culture of their motherland.
(Sigh) I just pray that, one day, all of us will be less tactless, will be less selfish and will be less self-serving. I pray that, a day will come, that even in a competition and in all the seasons of life, we’ll find ourselves self-denying and humble enough and not demeaning other people. I pray that my countrymen will be even more united and not self-seeking. I pray that everyone will seek to develop Christlike character. These, I pray.