• Jasmine Mendiola

Mio Miracles

“Mom, can you go to the church and be healed?”

I guess he was referring to his visit the other day at Mt. Carmel along Visayas Ave. A high school friend of mine gave us a pass to one of Fr. Suarez’s healing masses. Mio was impatient, I was told by my parents as they had to bring him while I went to work. They texted me to pray when the “healing” began as Mio finally overcame his annoyance of waiting for such a long time (not to mention how early it was in the morning on top of his mood swings, courtesy of his medicines).

I actually tried to write about how the events unfolding before us seemed like actual miracles everyday while I was in the MRT that same morning (I guess that entry didn’t miraculously get posted, maybe because I was meant to write a more well-thought of essay).

I find myself in tears when I am alone during the most regular times of the day: cab rides, mrt rides, afternoons on my desk in the office and praying at night. I can’t seem to find a rational behind it because in my mind, there is absolutely no reason to feel so sad and shed tears, what with all the miracles surrounding us.

I suppose that in itself is a miracle: the fact that no matter how everthing going on is overwhelming, the feelings combined result in an unexplainable gush of emotions that are confined within the privacy of my personal space. If Mio saw tears in my eyes, he wouldn’t be able to understand that they’re there not because of the same reasons he used to protect me from (“who Mom? who made you cry? Stop crying Mom, please.” I remember him pleaing when I cry in bed over [gah!] such a shallow matter of the heart now that I think about it.)

The warmth of my tears signal that my heart keeps beating precisely because I am overwhelmed with love. If the people who have shown so much support and helped us knew how the simplest words sounded like angels singing, everyone would probably feel like the pollution in Manila as I rode that long MRT and jeepney ride that miraculous morning would smell like God.

My tears felt like agitation and worry leaving my insides because it had no place in my heart. I received a call the other day from two perfect strangers: a couple who’s child survived leukemia of a more complex type. I welcomed this call with an open mind. And hard as I try to guard my heart and take all things in rational consideration, I felt like a baby being cradled in my own Mommy’s arms. They spoke of no lie that what’s ahead was going to be more difficult than it already is. They recounted their past through my blogs telling me how they couldn’t finish reading without reminiscing their own pain and fear. It was unbelievable hearing it–how else can it be more difficult? My son was assured of an 80% cure and I have a batallion of people praying. No one would know better than those who have gone through it, I thought. And fear overwhelmed me so much, my walls shattered into an unguarded path that led to more tears. And then I realized, life itself was hard already: work is hard, money is hard to find and there are just those small things that annoy you everyday–all these on top of your son dealing with cancer. Yeah. It is hard when you look at it like that.

Those feelings on top of pressure at work was hard to manage. And although my usual workaholic self would find it instinctive to fix and work harder, all I could think of was, “this is time away from my son and it should be worth it.” Then again, I remember that the long-running epiphany in my mind is that this experience is an opportunity to be humble and grateful. I had no right to complain and I just had to accept. In order for one to do that, one must be equipped with an ounce of miracle, I thought. Why? Because its schitzo having all these opposing thoughts and feelings in mind.

Miracles I used to think came in the form of pictures of the Virgin Mary appearing in leaves, carved figures of her crying blood and apparitions of sorts. How foolish of me to overlook the practical miracles that unfolded in our life. Who would have thought that cancer would be a source of blessing, an opportunity for hundreds of people to do good and for our life to serve a purpose? How is it possible that I can write and Facebook about it in the first place? How is it possible that I find reason or inspiration to put such random thoughts in clear words and yet translate it into something so real in print? How is it possible that people from all walks of life are touched by a five year old?

From where we’re standing, our fight is no different from anything that anyone else is fighting. Be it as simple as a bar exam, a breakup, a tough day at work, debt, poverty or politics–kanya kanya lng yan, I say when people shy away from ranting in front of me these days. World leaders try to erradicate evil in so many ways–plebicits, world campaigns, mass healing and such. When all we need, I realized, is a miracle that comes from within. I’m thinking along the lines of “The Man in the Mirror”, yes, but more than that, we all have cancer cells in our body and those that suffer by it only happen to have very low immune systems, I was told. My personal cancer was arrogance, doubt and a kind of worldliness I am embarassed to admit. Yours may be ignorance, selfishness or insecurity. Whatever it is, your cancer can only be healed by a miracle or a sheer luck of being born with strong guts. And luck is nothing but a commercialized synonym of a miracle I think.

The miracle we’ve encountered is the fact that there are so many people praying out there–even those who aren’t Catholic. The greatest gift Mio has received is the blessing of sincere well wishes and the assurance that he will be healed. The miracle happened the moment you opened your hearts to my son. And it took cancer for it to happen. If only you had the chance to witness and have the privilege of being loved by Mio, I would understand why this is possible. But no, you haven’t. That is a miracle.

That high school friend of mine offered the healing mass saying that she was a skeptic for the most part, but if Mio taking a shot at it would change her mind, then so be it. I would find it doubtful too. But another new found friend told me that if you command it, it is done. If you will it to be, whatever it is, it is done. The confidence I gained in the innate goodness of most people and the weakness to surrender ourselves in faith have brought me to conclude that I cry most days because a miracle is happening everyday that Mio is being healed.

I’ll show you more miracles later on, in the most realistic things you could actually imagine. Mio asked my Mom while the mass was ongoing and there were testimonials of those who were healed, “is it my turn next to talk, Anmom?” Like he knew what he was saying.

Mio’s testimony is his childhood. And we owe that to you. Its a miracle that I declare it. But there is no evil in the world that cannot be overcome if all of us just realize how miraculous our daily lives are.

My son is well, happy and healthy from where I’m standing. I believe it so. I would do everything in my power to hold him and shield him from more pain but I am sick and the enemy is from inside him anyway. Who would have thought that saving him entailed help and prayers from beyond ourselves… beyond myself. From you and everyone out there? That’s a miracle to me. I hope it is to you, too.

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Jasmine Mendiola

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