Thursday, October 25, 2007


The old forlorn looking boxes lay in the far corner of the storage room. Why was I in the room in the first place? --Hunting for old photographs of mom and dad which I wanted to update with Kodak’s new restoration technology advertised at the mall the other day. After 2 – 3 boxes I found one which I liked and as I took them out of the box, out tumbled to the floor a worn and familiar notebook. Oh yeah, my high school notebook and how it plainly revealed an old penchant for writing oodles of familiar verses and phrases especially when teacher wasn’t watching. I got to do that in my Literature class where I have access to books… dozens of them. My teacher often caught me at it but would give me that gentle look and simply smiled. She was a true darling, my favorite. Sometimes when she could she would ask me to stay after class and we’d talk about several of those quotations in my notebook. She more than any other teacher in my school opened up many doors and windows in my mind. I learned from her far more than the rest ever did in our class. Here are a few of those quotations intertwined with new ones from recent years -- Each one timeless in its thought and wisdom.

1) A university professor set an examination question in which he asked ‘what is the difference between ignorance and apathy’. The professor had to give an A+ to a student who answered: ‘I don’t know and I don’t care.’ -Richard Pratt

As we know an ignorant person may not be faulted for his ignorance but he could be for his laziness to learn though. But one of indifference bears the burden of knowledge but in the same breath ignores it and does nothing about it. It bothers him less or not at all. Here’s what Ralph Chaplin says in his poem ‘Mourn Not the Dead’… To quote... “But rather mourn the apathetic throng, the cowed and the meek, Who see the world's great anguish and its wrong And dare not speak!” Unquote.

2) "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius

A friend once said to me that he never falls, that he thoroughly studies a new venture checking all angles making sure that mistakes are not made ever. Every move that he makes is well thought-out leaving no room for failure -- Admirable maybe but not for me. I would be much awed rather by one who though he may fall a hundred times over but then resolutely rises a hundred times over too. So what new challenges or new learning could there be if one has it all figured out from the start? Where would growth and development come from when you already know all the answers? How better are we shaped and molded but through our mistakes and failures, taking falls but picking ourselves up each time and starting afresh with new resolve and tenacity. An uncle once said to me – “Honey, I will be counting your successes by the scars you took from rising with every fall.”

3) People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate & muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold. -John Jay Chapman

Oh yeah, worry-warts everyone! We worry ‘bout every little thing there is to worry about on this planet. Name it-- we’ll worry about it for sure. But why do we worry? I can think of a dozen reasons; you may have two dozens more. The thing is we worry about things we don’t even comprehend. We worry when we don’t know how it’s going to turn out or where it’s coming from or even why it’s here. We worry over things which don’t even need worrying about. Can you imagine that? It permeates every thread of our daily lives. When I was in my first day of grade school, Mom worried whether my shoes fit or not. When I was in my teens she worried over my lack of fashion sense. When I was in my twenties she worried whether I would get to meet the right man for marriage. When I got married, it was my turn to worry bout the itsy-bitsy details of raising children as a working mother and wife. Now much older, I worry if my health would last me another century. See it never ends?! Ugh!

4) If he could only see how small a vacancy his death would leave, the proud man would think less of the place he occupies in his lifetime. -Jean Baptiste Legouve

Remember this -- “whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make proud”? Pride will take you where you don’t want to be but which you will ultimately deserve – your downfall. Now I don’t understand why some people have such a bloated idea of their own worth. Though we matter in this big wide universe we are but still merely a simple dot in the whole tapestry of life and the universe. Neither will anything that we do please or call God’s favor to us because apparently He doesn’t judge us by our intelligence, beauty, masters’ degree, positions and titles, trophies and medals, or the length and breadth of our solemn prayers (although the world uses all this standard on us). So therefore what would make Him look to us with favor? It’s the lack or absence of pride, sez my teacher. Pride, she pointed out to me, is arrogance superiority conceit smugness egotism haughtiness vanity snobbery snootiness and every other thing which points to self-importance self-righteousness or self-centeredness. It was quite a long list of descriptions she thrust upon me and insisted that it be included in my notebook. Lest I forget, she winked.

5) "Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better." -John Updike

I saw this in a friend. It led him to greater heights and achievement at the workplace. That even the minutest task rose to become benchmark for the rest of his department -- All because he strove to give it his best shot. I would remember my teacher’s words every time I would see him working at his desk (he was on the staff of the sales manager then on the ground floor)-- cared neither for the size or weight of the task at hand but rather in doing it right and doing it better. Wearing that attitude consequently engaged his innate creativity and ultimately won him much deserved recognition and promotion.

These are only but a few, there’s more. But I think this should do for now lest more and longer might bore you. ? Well, it felt good going back through all those memories, especially about my favorite teacher. Maybe in the next ‘ish there will be stories about the ‘love’ of my young life. Hmmm… am I getting you curious and intrigued by that now? Lol Until then, ciao! God bless you and your families. :-)

posted on Thursday, March 08, 2007 5:29 PM

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