Christmas reminders

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By Nina S. Custodio


Sunday, December 22, 2013

AND so I wake up with a voice like a frog this morning. I knew somehow that this would happen today, though. Yesterday was such a busy day that I thought that my immune system would be up in arms as soon as the day was over!

You see everyone hurrying about, trying to get last minute shopping done, attending get-togethers and trying to get as much done in a day! Twenty-four hours just doesn’t seem to be enough! There were so many things to do! I too, got lost in the flurry of things and after everything was just about done, I noticed something out of the ordinary.

My throat felt numb and the fact that this does not normally happen to me that often, makes me even more suspicious. I thought having a painful throat would be better. And I was right.

So, I do not have my voice today. Tough for someone who loves to talk and kinda does it quite loudly. Well maybe it needed to happen so that I have more time to reflect on 2013, start planning on 2014 and figure out how to get to the malls in less time so that I do last minute gift hunting!

Oh, and there's a host of little things to do, too. Stuff that you need to find time for or hope to be able have the time for because they matter to you (but there’s just too many things need to be done)!

Return books to the library and try to get the librarian to renew them despite the one day waiting period minimum. Yep. I really would understand if she doesn’t but I’m hoping she would! I’ve already have the books for a month and I am far from being done with it! I guess it won't hurt to ask right? Otherwise, I would be okay paying the overdue fees it will be incurring!

Collect donated artworks. In the heels of two successful online art auctions (First A.I.D. and AIDecember) for the Yolanda survivors that I and a friend organized mid-November and last week, we are tasked to now collect all the works of our contributing artists who generously donated all the proceeds of their works to charity.

Incidentally, I am proud of the fact that they are all Artists In Davao (hence the A.I.D.) except for the students of the Montessori Child Development Center in Huntington Beach, California, USA who also donated the proceeds of their artwork thru our Davao Art Auction. We are proud to say that we were able to raise a good amount for our affected brothers and sisters and so please indulge me for sort of naming names. Thank you!

Get a mass card for a dear friend who passed away. It came as a shock to me when Dominic’s sister announced the untimely death of his brother. I have known him for 26 years and he has always been a Kuya to me in a cool way. Yes, he had those ‘kuya’ duties imposed on him like making sure I make it back in time to Kalayaan dorm in UP during my freshman year and asking my Comm. I prof (they were friends) to extend my paper deadline because I had been tagging along with him and his friends to Mowelfund and all those other places the probinsyana me would never even dream of visiting!

More than that, he opened up my world just by being around him and his friends who were filmmakers and visual artists who wore trenchcoats and distressed jeans way, way before it became in vogue. He had a lot of weird friends, who, once you get past the out-of-bed hair (normal sight now) and the expletive-laden sentences (more common now, regrettably), turned out to be really nice people with talent and brains worth raving about!

He taught me that to fully appreciate life, one should try to appreciate the uniqueness of each person that you meet. He showed me that you have to do your own thing--sing to your own tune, dance to your own music despite all the craziness and angst the world brings into your life.

Really, now that I’ve thought about me, he taught me how to respect other people for what they are--even when I don’t exactly get what they are..”peaceful co-existence” I think that’s what he told me once, with a peace sign and a smile. His interment is today and so one final goodbye my brotha from another motha. Papadom Dominic Gamboa, lead singer of Tropical Depression (and the punk band Betrayed in his early years).

I will truly miss you and our conversations forever.

Sigh. :/

What I learned this week is that life’s challenges and experiences go on, even during the holidays. We are sometimes forced to deal with grim realizations set up on a stark contrasting backdrop of a happy season, like Christmas. It sucks. But what can we do? Well, we go on. We keep fighting until all those ugly dragons are slung. We keep our head up and remain headstrong even when there are tears in our eyes and our hearts are breaking. We continue to learn. We remain hopeful, appreciative and thankful because in the end, we will realize that we will prevail. For those who have had a wonderful year and are celebrating the holidays with good luck and gaiety, I am happy for you! I hope you share your good fortune with those in need and spread cheer to those who need their spirits lifted.

This did not turn out as cheery as a Christmas card that I wanted it to be. It makes me feel uncomfortable to not end on a positive note. It feels like a letdown especially since Christmas is a few days ago and we are all on a Holiday High. But, we have to make space for times like these when things don’t exactly turn out the way we want them and have it come in the most unwelcomed time. Grrrr. It happens to all of us.

But we do know that every gray cloud has a silver lining, right? Things get better, happier. Still we should be remember that there are a million things to be thankful for -- big and small and you we should really count our blessings more! That being said, please take a minute and say a prayer for those who are going through hard times. Let us be reminded that giving does not only mean sharing things that money can buy. Let us pray that things get better for them and that the sun shines bright in their lives soon. Thank you.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 22, 2013.


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