Ace sportswriter “on leave” Neil “NJB” Bravo writes another masterpiece during one of his breaks.
NJB, columnist of the Mindanao Daily Mirror in Davao City, currently prepares for the country’s toughest exam, the Bar, at his “home base”, Ateneo de Manila University.
Happy birthday NJB and lovely daughter Athena Jillian.
God bless you guys!
Life made simple
I have said it before. If I were to connect the stories I have written, it could take me to the moon and back. One thing though, I have never put to writing my life story. If I do, it will have to start from the moon.
I was named after two astronauts. On a year mankind defied the limits of gravity, built a virtual highway to the galaxies and stepped on the moon’s crater.
Man’s one small step, and the humankind’s one great leap seemed to me the order of life. When we were born, we are given the choice to be great like astronauts, or fall hard like meteors. We can never choose what to take us to this journey, but we have a choice how to navigate our direction. One thing for me, I didn’t get a spaceship for the voyage. I must have moonwalked my way to a long journey that I start to feel it is taking me too much time.
Before we get further, this is not my life story yet. The most part may have been loaded, but the more significant ones have just began. I have learned through the voyage, the simpler it gets, the more significant your life becomes. There is a time to write my story, but for now, I am just beginning to visualize the parts I will write in control-shift-B.
It now begins with what I call “Control-Shift-G.”
Control. It’s either we have it, we lose it, or we don’t really have it. How many times have I lost grip of my senses? That’s what we wrestle against everyday with this competitive world. Impatience leads us to losing ourselves in the race for superiority. As much as we wanted control, we end up losing it. I have met, worked, and served different types of people. I have flirted with power. Bathed in imaginary fame. Came close to fungible fortune. Knew the difference between public service and publicity. And realized that politics and hypocrisy are half-sisters.
In shot, I have gone to the moon and back. But still, I was never in control.
Shift. I needed this badly. When everything seemed like a vicious cycle of ass-licking and butt-kicking, I thought it was time to shift. When every little thing left started to drop like shreds, I shifted before I would even lose self-respect. Having a high position is one thing. Losing your self respect is another. I took the latter. If you want to see Heads without their heads, you see them in ergonomic swivel chairs and go by alphabet initials.
I stuck to one letter. G.
The last ingredient to the equation: G stands for God.
I am not the typical righteous person to speak of my faith. But recent days leading to this important date with destiny, I have found refuge in my chief pilot. The ultimate astronaut.
A few days ago, I read about a story of a man who walked into a barber shop. Not mine, but let me share this–“A man walks into a barber shop and sits down for a hair cut. They start to have a conversation about God. The barber said “I don’t believe in God, if he was real there wouldn’t be homeless or people in pain, if he was real he would fix things.” the man did not want to start an argument so he just went with it. After his hair cut the man walked outside and saw across the street a dirty homeless man. He had a long ugly beard and his hair was nasty and ratty. The man then thought… “I didn’t stand up for god, that’s not right.” so the man returns to the shop, goes up to the barber and said “If Gods not real, then barbers aren’t real.” The barber said, “But they are.” Then the man said “No, if they were real then every man would have a clean shave and a nice hair cut, look at the man outside.” Then the barber said, “I can’t help him he didn’t come to me for help.”
The barber must have realized, exactly why he thought God was unreal because he did not fix things for people.
“I know now, they didn’t come to Him for help.”
A few days from now, my daughter Jill and I will mark significant days in our lives. For the first time, we will not be together. Even Jill has started to realize she has to navigate her spacecraft while I am away.
Somebody said: In life, we wish for the best, but we also prepare for the worst. So in the end, we are not oblivious to the outcome. Either way, we are content with the way it turned out. Happy if it goes our way and content when it does not. Life is too short for us to be satisfied with our lives; you can always do better, always move on up. If you can dream it, you can make it a reality. Pain is just a factor of our existence; with it can cause a person to weep; without it, we will never know how much one individual means to us.
We live in a world of laws and rules. If you follow rules because you believe in them, that is good. If you follow rules that you do not believe in, that’s pointless. Life is meant for us to live, not to be constricted by fear. Within love, there is pain. Within happiness, there is suffering. People spend their whole life wondering what life could be, when they could be living life on what it can be. Those who expect people to do things for them never succeed. Those who come from a background that is not so rich, happy or great often are optimistic about their outlook and find themselves fighting for what they want and believe. To them, anywhere is up, and the smallest things usually are the greatest.
Just like that one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.
I am past 40, maybe past my prime and I have made this life simple. To God be the glory. And this makes me happy.