Confession: I started writing this piece last March 5, so I could post it on March 13, which is a special day because it marks the birth of a special sister of mine. But life and my poor health got in the way. Today I told myself, I have to post this because I may no longer be able to do so, if I postpone it any longer. Time is such a precious commodity in Life, and if there’s one thing I learned this year it would be this: When you feel like giving tribute and thanks to people you love, do it ASAP. Some people say Carpe Diem, but I say #SeizeTheTimeNow, because you never know when it could be your last.
Psalm 90:12 says it best: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” This is why I decided to write a series of tributes and thankful notes to people who have helped shape who I am today. I’m starting it with one of my favorite women (because ladies first), someone I have looked up to, literally — since we were kids. Growing up, she was almost always the tallest in our class, maybe even the whole school (at least from my viewpoint). A gentle giant, and a natural leader.
Her name Cyrene means “a wall, strength.” Greek mythology says the origin of her unique name points to Kyrene, the maiden huntress and princess loved by Apollo, who took her to Africa and founded the city of Cyrene in her honor. The same city where a certain man named Simon came from, who happened to be at a crucial place some 2000+ years ago, when he was picked/forced by the Romans to carry the cross of a battered Yeshua, all the way up to Golgotha.
Uncle Aramis (Cyrene’s father), loves to tell how he was so touched by what Simon of Cyrene did — and how sometimes he imagined himself to be in Simon’s shoes — to be able to walk side by side with, and lend a little help to his Savior, the Man Who changed the world. So when uncle held his firstborn daughter for the first time, he confessed he was filled with the same kind of awe and gratitude, and thus named her after Simon of Cyrene.
Aunt Eden (her mom) says of her, “Cyrene is a stubborn child, but a very loving and caring daughter, sister, wife and a doting mom who would give everything for her loved ones.”
We who love her call her by a special nickname, which I will have to keep secret from the rest of the worldwide web, because it’s a privilege to actually know it.
They say that our first cousins are our first best friends, so:
THANK YOU, Cyrene, for being that friend I needed during my childhood. Thank you for lending your bed to me during those sleepovers, and thank you for being patient with me until I could fix your authentic Barbie when I accidentally broke it… If roles were reversed at that age, I might have not been as calm as you were, haha!
Thank you for the Disney Princess playtimes, using our skirts as Rapunzel’s or Aurora’s hair… The jokes, the laughter, and for just… being there. Honestly, I felt better when you came back to GES (I missed you terribly when you had to move away for awhile), because then, I didn’t feel so much like a minority Sabbath-keeper; I knew I wasn’t alone in my faith and beliefs with you around.
Another thing I cannot forget, and I think I have not thanked you enough for — was when you saved my life from that nasty dog in Antipolo St. who went after me. I think I had been running away from that angry, scary Doberman for what felt like an eternity, until I came to that part outside your apartment and I heard you and Za shout: “Get down! Get down and pretend to pick up a stone!” I was so scared that the Doberman might catch up if I stop running… but as soon as I stopped to pick up a stone (it was a small pebble really, the only thing I found on that cement road) — the angry dog whimpered, and ran away from me. My heart was beating so fast when you guys opened your gate and screamed, “Dali! Pasok dito!” So many life lessons learned from that incident alone, haha!
Now I see your children growing up, and your son — he is amazing just like you, and able to compose himself well in Twitterverse. Tell him to keep it up, he makes me a very proud Tita on Twitter.
You are a wonderful mom just like Tita Eden, so keep on going – we are just here praying for you, rejoicing in your successes, and grateful for your friendship and love. Miss you!
PS: Cyrene is also one of those who keep inspiring me to lose weight and be healthier. Follow her Keto journey here!