Photographs and Memories

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust

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Youngest cousin surrounded by older (Instamatic Camera)

Memories:  This is one of the very few prints I kept using simple instamatic disposable cameras. I can’t even remember who the baby was, for we had so many of them — looking at this photo brought back memories of me when I was maybe four or five. My brother was just born, the youngest in our family. My siblings and I were at the foot of the bed, watching the baby in awe. A fluid was dripping from my nose, stuck out my tongue to like it. 

It’s strange how my brain conjured this memory. Maybe my brain is telling me that what I see in my mind is essential versus what I see.

A lady bird landed on my arm. (Canon camera)

Symbolism and Meaning:  A ladybug landed on my arm when I was on one of my pilgrim walks. The other pilgrim said it’s a sign of luck that Mother Mary came to visit This belief is based on Christianity. One thing I know for sure, when I see a ladybug, it brings out the happiness in me.

The other day, I was watching “The Dig” on Netflix. It’s a true story that happened in 1939 that changed England’s history where they dug up a burial site of an elaborate ship filled with treasures. One of the items they found is a well preserved yellow ladybird. What’s fascinating is the treasures were carbon-dated during the early Anglo-Saxon period around 410 to 1055. 

I wonder what made them carry this object. Is it for divine protection for the afterlife?

Medjugorje Christ Statue (instamatic camera)

Pilgrimage:   Returning from spiritual travel, folks always ask for a photo to support stories I tell them. They want to see pictures of churches, masses, the incorruptible, and miracles such as a dancing sun or an apparition. Really!?! Maybe, I can photoshop some of my pictures. But I don’t. What you see is what you get.  

When I was at Medjugorje, an imposing larger than life, Christ Risen bronze statue stood at the square. I noticed a man wiping the knee of the sculpture. When he was gone, I went to inspect what he did. The statue is solid to the touch but hollow inside. Touching the knee, I cannot determine what the man saw. I just stood there baffled, and then I saw a trickle of water dripping down. Interesting. Where is this condensation coming from, I thought. I even checked if there’s a water valve attached to the statue to fill the hollow part. Nothing. So I wiped the water off with my hand. It has no smell. I looked at the knee with great intent and saw water forming like a tear. I wiped it again, checked if there is a hole on the knee. Nothing. The tear-life liquid leaks again. I was mystified. 

Did I take a photo of the liquid? Unfortunately not. I’m not a photographer equipped with all the proper camera. All I have is a story.

For those who believe no miracle is enough, for those who believe no miracle is necessary.”

Apparently, a liter of liquid comes out of the statue daily.  There are oral testimonies that it is can cure illness.  On the scientific level performed, it’s 99% water with traces of calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur and zinc.  The Church does not comment on the phenomenon.

The Power of One

“Don’t kill it.”

She was startled by what I said when I exclaimed to one of the walkers at the Camino trying to take a bug out of my neck.

“It’s only a ladybug.”

“Still, please don’t kill it and give it to me.”

She gently picked it up and placed it on my arm.

With a sigh of relief that it is safe, I brought it to the nearest bush, let it settle on one of the leaves and whispered have a good life.

Ladybug has such a power to me.  It brings back memories how a tiny creature saved my life.
The Power of One

Flashback:

It was warm fall weather, and I was on my way for a vacation to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico.  I should be thrilled in going for a week-long all exclusive holiday, but I wasn’t.  Depression was taking hold of me at the time.

I didn’t want to go. There was a foreboding feeling that should I go, I will not return. Another thought that comes and goes that life is not worth living when depression arises.

“Give me one reason to live?”

I was talking to the statutes on my altar. They are the statues of Mother Mary, a crucified Jesus Christ on the cross, the saints, and angels.  Can they hear me?  I doubt that they can.  They are just statues.

It was a moment of madness.

Over and over again, I repeated: “Give me one reason to live!”

Tears are flooding my eyes, everything looked obscure. As my eyes were wandering all over my bedroom, I saw a small red dot just above the curtain wall.

Curiosity took hold of me and went close to check what it was.  When I came closer, it became clearer that it was a ladybug.

Instinctively, I tried to pick it up to release it outside.  However, it flew away, and I lost sight of it.

I searched the walls, the curtains, the ceilings, the floor, the bed, behind the door of my bedroom for the ladybug and for the life of me I cannot find it.

“Where are you ladybug?”
“You cannot stay here.”
“ You will die here.” 
“There is no life for you here.”
“You need to show yourself.”

On and on I talked to the ladybug. It felt a long time searching for it, and I became aware of the time that I need to leave the apartment otherwise I will miss my plane for Mexico.

Imploring to the ladybug, I beg: “Please come out. I have a plane to catch.”

As I said this, my eyesight cleared up from crying and saw the ladybug in the far corner of the west wall of the ceiling.

Finally, I caught the ladybug, placed it in between the palms of my hands so it won’t escape, went to the balcony, opened my hands and gave a soft blow of air from my lips to give it a nudge to fly. And it flew. Free, the ladybug is now free.

In Nuevo Vallarta, a new door opened up to a different meaning of living a life.

There I experienced other forms of life: releasing a bucket full of baby sea turtles into the vast ocean, talking to the iguanas and lizard, watching the sunset, walking barefoot on the sandy shores, tasting the saltiness of the sea, feeling the warm rain on my skin, horseback riding along the Andes Fault and visiting some ruins.

Coming home, my disposition in life is a bit brighter.  Depression still exists, but I don’t find it overwhelming.

When life becomes unbearable, I think of the ladybug.  A Godsend. I firmly believe in the God of small things. Life grows into a series of little things in faith of gratitude. The possibility is due to a single ladybug.

The power of one.