This is an excerpt from the book I am drafting; of my journey to life.
Along that journey are people -- individuals -- who have touched my life one way or another; is (or was) responsible for the man I am now.
Needless to say, I admired them so much; hold them in high regard and respect. They are the heroes and heroines of my life.
I do not have a place to build them their monuments nor a ground to mark their honor, nor a trophy to bestow on them. I hope they know, through this KUDOS, that in my heart and all throughout my life, I carry a tremendous, a very deep feeling of gratitude for them all.
To all of you, THANK YOU SO MUCH, FOR MAKING MY LIFE SO MUCH BETTER BECAUSE YOU ARE THERE. I hope your influence and your light of goodness will continually shine and magnify its radiance to make this world a better and brighter place. Please accept this compliment as a token of my gratitude for making a difference in my world. You played a very important role in shaping my future, and therefore, EACH OF YOU IS A SIGNIFICANT PIECE in my life's quilt.
(In no particular order).
Beatriz 'Betty' P. Dela Cruz Solis - My MOM. Her challenges and hardship, her sacrifices and perseverance in working to sustain us, her kids, to give us a better future is a story of heroism. I was a witness of the terrible pain she had to go through during the final days of her life. She died so young at the age of 39, in the line of duty, fulfilling a role so divine - Motherhood. I can only hope I reflect the kind of life she wanted me to live - simple, kind and yet strong and resolute in my desire to make a difference in this world. In a piece of land where she was laid, was an invisible mark that says: THE GREATEST MOTHER IN THE WHOLE WORLD. Wherever you are now, I know, one day, we will see each other again.
Craig Whiting – An American friend. During those times when I was so down and could not even support myself, he was there to lift me up. He willingly offered help, encouragement and selflessly lend a hand until I was able to finally stand on my own. He is an angel from God who supported me and my siblings. His family founded Believe International sending hundreds of poor Filipino kids to school (and now, PEBA is sponsoring scholars from this organization by adopting kids and sending them to school).
Ethel Cecille M. Baltazar - In my journal, I simply described her as 'Wonder Woman' because she constantly amazed me of her great enthusiasm in making things happen at its best. She has a great sense of service to others; always willing to contribute to the growth of good causes. She is there when no one is around to listen to and advice me; when I am disheartened and about to give up. She is there to encourage me to carry on, reminding me to trust God above all things. I feel overwhelmed and humbled to have someone of her caliber who believes in my abilities and capacities. For me, she is a GREAT mother, a GREAT sister, and a best friend, rolled into one.
Gordon B. Hinckley -The most influential person in my life next to my Mom. Ironically, I've never seen or talked to him personally, and probably, he knew me only by name when he signed my mission call. But his influence is so strong and so great that his words, his counsels, his teachings became my guiding light through all these years. I have a complete compilation of his conference talks, four of his recent books, and other excerpts from his teachings. I believe in him, and I got the strong desire to be better, to be a little kinder, and to serve others without expecting anything in return.
May to remember - The girl I first fell in love with, who captivated my heart, occupied my thoughts, haunted my dreams and desires for six long years. I made poems, love letters and journal entries for her which I later compiled under the title 'May to Remember'. Her story was already a closed book, for she is now married and has kids; and so do I. But the memory of that love for her will continue to linger on and the wonders she did to my life that moved, inspired and helped me are enough to make her one of the heroines of my life.
Nothing - My four years of stay in Manila, all of my pursuit for a better life, all my striving for excellence, all my desires to be more faithful, all my dreams and ambitions were inspired by her. Ironically, so strong was her influence that she took captive of my life that long years, without her knowing it. Eventually it ended up in a love suicide that led to the reinventing of myself. Thus, born a KENJI and the meaning associated with every letter of that name.
Jesus and Constancia L. Daniel - I lived with them during my entire college life when I had nowhere to go while venturing in Iligan to pursue my college education. They were instrumental in molding me during my formative teenage years. They taught me by precept and example the virtues of humility and hardwork - even the dignity of working with my hands. They filled the role my parents were not able to fulfill. Today, they are one of the most respected couples not only in the community they live in but in the church as well, with 'lolo' serving for nearly a decade now as patriarch.
Marlon and Armi D. Deiparine - I was so blessed to be 'adopted' as a son of a kind and responsible man, and his loving wife, Armi while I was in Iligan for my college education. For the rest of my college life, they supported me: financially, emotionally, socially and spiritually. They have the most profound influence in my faith and my resolve to live a better and happy life. Both of them played the role as mom and dad, guided me, advised me, and showed me an example during my crucial teenage life. They stand with me as my parents during my university graduation. They are one of the greatest living heroes of my life, and my posterity as well as those of my siblings will forever remember them.
Mrs. Thoughtskoto - Oh how much I had been caring and loving her. And the many sacred and secret prayers I keep in my heart that only I and the God of Heavens know. It is too hallow for the world to know how much I love her, and how deep is my respect for her. It is enough to know that in her presence, I feel the desire to achieve. In her presence, I always wanted to be my very best. There is only one thing I greatly wish for: to spend my life until eternity with her and my family, and for me to continually yearn for a chance to do everything good for her happiness and joy in accordance with God's Holy Will. The greatest moment of my life is when we knelt at the sacred altar of the temple and promised in the eyes of man and in the eyes of God to love each other, for all time, and all eternity. She is the greatest heroine of my life.
I have so many more heroes that is not listed here, some of them might be reading this piece now, some of them my associates in the organization I worked for. Some of them are friends for a lifetime, and even beyond. And some of them, simple people and strangers who inspire me to do good, be good, and be the best in everything that I do. Someday, when my book is complete, I will fill the pages with those names for the world to know that I am who I am because of them.
► Read Kenjie's previous articles here.