a song, a workshop and a farewell

I know this blog has been unusually quiet. I was wonderfully and unexpectedly gifted a very nice Mac Powerbook by Lydia but the unit I got was defective and was replaced only yesterday. I absolutely love this Mac. To use it is such a joy I’ve forgotten why I even went PC in the first place.

Been incredibly busy finishing a recording for an NGO group that wanted a song to inspire public teachers to encourage kids to read. I really like what I wrote. The study and final version was sung this afternoon by Agot Isidro who is such a joy to record–very professional and very good. When I get permission, I will include a link so you can hear it. Meanwhile, here are the lyrics.

By Jim Paredes

Believe in the power of your dreams
That every tiny prayer is never lost
But always heard and answered

Believe that you are not alone
That there lies in every heart
The longing to reach out and touch another

From a tiny acorn
Comes a mighty tree
Within us lies the answer
To how we can be free (Free to be all we can be)

Believe that we can change the world
It’s all within our hands
We have the power to make it so much better

Believe that God is on our side
That we will find the way
Each time we fall and stumble in the darkness

Believe and hold this to your heart
That every single time you open someone’s mind
You liberate a being

Believe that all was meant to be
That you are here to bring some light and hope
To comfort those who need it

From a tiny droplet
Can start a mighty wave
Nothing’s ever wasted
We can all be saved


Don’t believe it when they tell you
That there’s just no hope at all
Hold on to the strength within
The voice that says no one’s too small.


In between breathing, I also had to rush another recording the other night which was long overdue. But before that, my TCU workshop opened to a good crowd of 19 participants. It had a very nice vibe to it perhaps because it was in a new venue, my in-law’s house instead of the usual rented hotel function room. It’s good to be running it again. As always, I learn as I teach. I enjoy as I spread joy. I create as I am recreated.

I saved this news for last since it is the most serious.

My step father Othoniel Villafranca Jimenez died three days ago In Medical City due to complications brought about by lung cancer. Since my mom’s death eight years ago, I had seen him only once and just for awhile. I was able to see him again three days before he passed away. I saw him lying in bed very sick and almost unable to talk. I had a surgical mask on since I was told he had pnenumonia. When I saw him, he mistook me for my brother Raffy. I pulled down the mask to identify myself and held his arm while I massaged it. It had been years since I talked with him.

My last words to him that night was something that just jumped out of my heart as I watched him lie weak in bed. Even if ours was not an easy relationship, I whispered an ‘I love you’ to him and he answered the same–something we never said to each other in all this time. My voice broke somewhat just as I saw tears streaming down his cheeks. I gently pressed his arm one last time, turned around and left.

The next day, I visited him once more. He was all tubed up with life support and even as the doctors claimed he was not fully conscious, he was clearly restless, probably rebelling against the machines that were hooked up to him. He recieved his last rites last night in his room and when life support was withdrawn, he peacefully departed to be with his Maker. As my brother Raffy put it, we know he will find with his Creator the peace which life could not give him.

I write this with mixed feelings–sadness and a tinge of bewilderment as I grapple with that portion in my life with him which I am still trying to fully understand. Some things will take time to fully process. Otto, I wish for you eternal peace and joy as God takes all into His loving arms. No more pain and sadness. Only eternal love and acceptance. Godspeed!