Wednesday, October 25, 2006


by Hermie Solemino

The journey we are trekking is indeed very long. From life's many avenues, we often pause and wonder how far we've moved on, or maybe we are just wandering in the labyrinth of a vicious cycle, stagnated and held down by many unnecessary worries that cling to us even in our deathbed.

How often do we wonder how big the universe is and how small and minute we are compared to it. The most beautiful, the wealthiest, the most powerful, even the most array of hyperbole and exaggerated adjectives that never stop, carved and propelled by man's vain imagination and self pride that he endowed himself out of narcissism and arrogance. Ah! Man, oh Man!

At the end of the tunnel...the most profound personal experience anyone can have was the beautiful journey of Rio Diaz Cojuangco. We are at all times frowning on the morbid idea of death, hanging on even to the last speck of hope, to cling on to the life so dear to us. In my solitude, I pondered how beautiful this lady is, not because she is physically pretty but more so because she went out of the basket and found her way to reconcile with our Creator. Rio Diaz Cojuangco, the former beauty queen, the actress, the politician, wife of the son of one of the wealthiest men in the land - she's got it all and yet she artfully and selflessly stripped herself of so many accolades and looked at herself vis-a-vis the spectra of the entire universe, to find out she's nothing compared to the vastness of it much more to the Omnipotent Hand that created it. She traversed her journey, touching people's lives even at the midst of man's most feared anguish called cancer or “Big C” by those who are enlightened and not so enlightened terminally ill patients. Others look at it as a curse, but Rio found blessings in it. She found herself and found God in it. That was far more better than any medicine and cure she received from one of the most elite hospitals in the United States.

I was even more amazed at how great the strength she showed, concerning herself more on how to console her loved ones than herself. People seemed to notice the real beauty that glows in her and yet she never claimed the glory but offered them to God - very selfless! She quoted what mother Theresa of Calcutta once said, “The donkey never did think that the honor and the glory lavished by people during the Feast of the Palm and the victorious entry to Jerusalem was his but to Jesus who was riding on him!”

We can never magnify the whole picture unless we dare to be little and humble. Our self-centeredness blurs our vision of the truth. Her life was a truth for the King of Truth, a living witness that is too fierce as to engulf us in the mystery of God's profound love for us. Until now, she is knocking to open our eyes and see ourselves go squarely beyond the assorted ornaments of the body.

We sojourn and yet it is a journey of limits. We travel on a road we ourselves paved, unguided by the Mighty Engineer who knows us even before we are conceived, the Most High who wanted to tell us that we exist not by accident but by His love. We may have problems like sicknesses and tragedies and we ask Him so many questions, only to lose hope and consequently curse Him. That language is far beyond man's understanding and yet God never see these personal tragedies as curses but as blessings, that he intended these to happen because far more important are not the sicknesses and the weaknesses per se but the messages behind them. That we see these tragedies in the point of view of man's experiences and comprehension, that God's ways and means are distinct beyond the dimension of human understanding. But if we open our hearts and souls and blind our physical senses, there is so much we can discover far beyond human reason. After all, He moves differently from our ways. He moves in His own laws, divine and mysterious, that not even the brightest can grasp its substance.

Some say when you are about to meet the angel of death, there is that reckoning as you look back in time and images of your life flashes before your eyes, painting your vision in a vivid array of colors that defines and narrates your life. Will you spring back in fear and wish to turn back the hands of time? Or will you meet those memories with sweet smile in your face, when you can bade your last farewell with no regrets and resentment and extend your hand with your angel to take your last breath that leads you to the beginning of a whole new world. A world where after the thorny path you traveled, your road is covered with jasmines and hyacinths and roses and crimsons that perfume the air and blossom like they have opened in the early hour of spring waiting just for you while the sweet murmurs of the breeze gently caresses your face, unveiling you so that you can see the glory of God in all His majesty as He allows you to see His face which not a single mortal had seen. What a lavish prize you deserved after a life of pains and sufferings.

When a baby's first cry in the world is heard, we are all celebrating for a new beginning and yet we lament when the same baby ends his life after the end of his days. How short the journey is, how limited the time is, what a journey it has been. And yet in the middle of life we pretend to have seen eternity, holding every moment of it, forgetting the fact that as each leaf is wilting from the tree, time is also drifting and flows so fast like a river. We wake up one day and see our once jet black hair ashed and greyed by the passage of time. That no matter how hard we summon the technology of man, nature is still going through its natural course. That we can never bargain anything to stop the ticking of time, that it has come to pass as it should be. That pretty soon, we are going to let the divine destiny set its pace and we must submit to its wishes, then, we realize that nobody is indispensable, that nobody should live forever, that our end is not an illusion. Until we are only a piece of story in the whole gamut of humanity, a piece of story to tell..even this, fades to nothing as the generations after us follow.

How far can we go then, in this journey of life? We look back and there is Rio Diaz Cojuangco and you will see a very beautiful smile, that bubbly face that opened the eyes of millions and touched the lives of many. She said, and I quote “At the end of the tunnel, I would like to see my Lord telling me "WELL DONE MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!”

Hermie Soleminio is from SPi Dumaguete. He is with Corporate HR.

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