MY MOST SPECIAL EVENT by: Sr. Vimonrat

 
Sr. Vimonrat Sretaraksa is one of my most avid students in English writing. Her main problem in the beginning was to express herself more spontaneously and in a more vivid way. After some lessons and exercises on free-writing, and “show, not tell” — she feels that it is now much easier to describe her thoughts and feelings. This is the final draft of one of her descriptive paragraphs. She mostly revised and edited her previous drafts with the help of some guide questions.

 

The picture of my perpetual vow ceremony is still colorful in my memory. This is the most important event in my life, the day that I have become a bride of Christ forever. I am led to the Eucharistic celebration accompanied by the beautiful song of the Sacred Heart Choir. In my hand, I hold a lighted candle that is decorated with little white and green flowers; I remember the wise bride who waits until the bridegroom comes. When a grand door opens, I walk on the red carpet that directs me to the sacred altar. On the way, I hear many people sing a lively song as in a big party in heaven. I am like a princess in a long white dress who promenades to the wonderful party. As I bow down at the altar, a spray of sweet floral fragrance greeted me. White lilies, pink roses and purple orchids are bunched together like a lovely garden. I cannot imagine, if I were a tiny butterfly. I would sniff all of the flowers. The significant part of the ceremony is coming, when mother superior calls my name. When I hear her call, I do not hesitate to answer, “I am here.” I have to step out in front of the altar. My left hand holds the lighted candle, while my right hand clutches my statement of vows. My hands are shaking, my tummy grumbles with so many butterflies, but I try to remain calm. I talk to God with my whole heart, yet I cannot do anything even to say “I will love and be honest to you forever; Please help me.” Now, I walk up I walk up the beautiful steps leading to the altar, gaily adorned with white flowers and green leaves. The grand hall is overwhelmed with silence. All eyes are staring at me, as I kneel down in front of the altar. Then, in my hushed voice which echoes around the silenced hall, I profess to obey, and to live a chaste and poor life for Christ my beloved Spouse. “May Lord help me to be honest for the profession forever.” Soon after, I stand up, and bring that piece of paper containing my profession of vows to the bishop for me to sign in front of him. But I cannot even write my name because my hand is shaking. I have to take a long breath to get rid of my agitation. Next, my mother superior and the bishop sign their names signifying their approval of my professed vows. Moments later, I step back to the altar, kneel and let the bishop sprinkle Holy Water onto my golden ring. My ordinary golden ring changes into an eternal bond between my God and me. My name is then called out by the bishop, so I approach him to receive the blessed ring. As my blessed ring is gently laid on my palm, a golden light glows from my ring and I see “Sponsa Christi” etched on its surface. I am now indeed a Bride of Christ, forever!

 

Journeying with My Students Through the Travails of Writing

 

Free Writing Exercise: Free write as if you are leaving your home and taking a journey you’ve never dared to take before.
 Source:http://www.deborahdavisauthor.com/writersworkshop.html#w4

I came across this site once while looking for fresh materials for my writing class. Although I had my own teacher-crafted lessons and exercises to give my students, I found the activities that Ms. Davis shared were very interesting. Thus, I decided to join one of my classes in doing some of her suggested exercises, so here goes:

August 2, 2013

Start: 11:07 AM

Here I am, one small overnight bag in my right hand and a backpack slung on my shoulders, standing at the threshold of my home. I can step forward onto the main gate, and out onto the street, or I can go back to the house while there is still time. I wonder what has led me into taking this journey into the unknown. I didn’t even bother telling anyone in my family, but I feel this is right for me at this point. I feel that at this moment in my life, I must go deeper into who I am and what I want from life. Unless I go away, and far from anyone close to me, I shall never be able to seek what I am seeking.

So with another small step, then another, I now find my way through the streets in my village. Time is running out as I feel my heart already aching to rush back to my family, so I must be brave and continue walking onto the terminal.

Finished: 11:14 AM; 176 words

 

My reflection on my freewriting exercise

In my experience, when I first started at 11:07, I was a little critical of my ideas, but I continued and after two minutes, I felt I was another person, no longer Marichu, so it was easier for me to go deep into my very short story. But after 7 minutes, I felt, I had to grope for ideas and words, so I stopped. Now, I will have to go back to it later in the next few days.

At the same time, while doing the exercise with my students, I could just imagine how it must be real challenging for them who came from non-English environments, and who were only beginning to appreciate writing in English.  Also, at the time,  perhaps because the topic was something I had not touched on previously, I realized my own difficulty — hence, I came to understand my students’ own struggles as well, more clearly.

The most important lesson for me here as a teacher is to be able to empathize more with students’ situation, their learning contexts and capabilities. This is indeed essential to avoid exerting undue pressure on them.

I have always found it to be truly effective when students observe me drafting examples on the board, and revising/editing along with them, yet I would just take this for granted. My own experience that morning, however, has given me a fresher perspective, and newer impetus.

The good news is my love for writing often spills over in the way I teach them to write. Hence, in no time at all, most of my students in writing come to enjoy crafting interesting, vivid compositions. Not only that, they declare that they have come to love the language itself. More so now, when they see me eager to learn more along with them!

 

 

 

 

 

My Saturday Epiphany

We are blessed differently — we Christians recognize this. Yet, this seems easier to think about in the abstract, for what makes it difficult though, at times, is not being truly grateful for whatever we have, — or being unable to accept the situation we find ourselves in.

Times when many ‘whys’ — borne of envy, fear, insecurity — assail our minds and erode our faith in God. Times when anger replaces the love that should fill our hearts, and we turn to put the blame on others, on things, and sometimes, on God Himself for the kind of life we have, never on ourselves.

It’s times like this when we need to pause, and reflect more deeply on how we can overcome such doubts. Where is the envy, or fear, or insecurity coming from? Are we  lacking in self-confidence; do our values lie in only the material? What is in the other that we value so much that we fail to appreciate our own? Do we use them as benchmarks for our lives? Don’t we recognize God’s intended goals for us?

Is God truly present in our lives, in ourselves? Perhaps, we  lean only on our own understanding without relying on His guidance. That is perhaps the reason we commit so many blunders. On the other hand, we should know that from the mistakes we make, we can learn our lessons.

God allows us to run the course of our lives through our free will –and when we fail, or stumble, He only wants us to stand up and try again and again. Like a child who is learning to walk by himself, he slips, stumbles, falters – with his mother or father silently watching so the child can get up by himself, and walk again. Like a baby bird who hesitates before he can fly on his own, we are just the same. Through our weaknesses we become strong. Through our mistakes, we become a little bit more perfect each day.

At the same time, too, God invites us to listen to Him, to let Him lead us, or let Him walk with us — yet many times we run away, or hide from Him. Then when we fail to reach our dreams, our goals in life, we start asking — why?

On the other hand, we may indeed be faithful, putting God at the center of our lives, and living the Gospel values. Yet, the more we seek Him, the more we feel God is nowhere — we experience what St John of the Cross calls “the dark night of the soul.” Hence, in our self-pity at times, with weakening trust, we cannot but feel unloved…

I for one have experienced many times being assailed by my fears and doubts, by my lack of faith. I sometimes feel so unworthy and so much unlike the great saints of the Church — that I cannot be like them, and so much away from God. I truly admire those whose faith is unwavering, whose faith even gets much stronger in the midst of suffering — physical or spiritual.

Yet, how good my God truly is — for on countless times in the darkest of nights, He makes His presence known to me. Like the glint of the early morning sun after a night of rain, God comes to freshen my soul.

I love you, O God. Amen                                                                                                

Without HIM

Without Him

My Life is hollow

Like a bottle

My Mind trips as a running brook.

Without Him

Who gives Beauty to

My Soul?

Yet, how Great is my God

For He fills in the

Emptiness in my Heart…

Though shadows lurk

In the path I walk

His Love protects

And shields Me

From every evil

I meet…

 

 

 

Hope Eternal

There’s a smile in

Every flower I see

There’s a melody in

Every bell that chimes…

There’s a goal in

Each bird’s flight,

As well as a gold pot

At the end of a rainbow…

There’s solace in

Every tear I shed

There’s hope in

Every tomorrow…

There’s peace

After each trouble,

As well as calm

After each tempest…

Yes, there’s love in

every man’s heart

And tenderness in

Every mother’s eyes…

There’s always joy

In each one of us

As well as goodness

In every worst in us.

Unspoken

For one brief moment
in the great sea of eternity
we have met;
We’re both small drops of seconds
in the river of time…

Like a single pebble
I’ve caused a ripple
in your cool pond of serenity;
While you’re the soulful wind
that kissed the splendid pearl
from out her shell…

I remember the beautiful name you gave…
You must have loved me then…somehow;
A treasured pearl…could I really be
that way for you?

Whatever that lies between us
then and now…
is like dewdrop from Heaven
so refreshing and sweet.
Yet…life is still far from crystal clear…
The pain of silence torments
and we’re both sad…

For one brief moment
in the great sea of eternity
we have met;
but I know
Immortal we’ll always be
In each other’s heart.

 

This poem also appears on Writing.com together with some of my other poems.