Thursday, October 16, 2008

Like Watermelon Seeds

Ephraim, when he was about four, with his sister

Previously, I wrote something about my daughter. To be fair, here's something I wrote about my son after a swimming incident.

The water was shallow. In fact it's only thigh-deep. But for my son Ephraim who was only four years old at that time, the seawater was up to his chest. With one more step, the salty and greenish brown water would reach his neck. The water was murky because there were too many people, especially children, playing in the water. It was summer and the cool and frisky water of the sea was too inviting.

While holding the tiny right hand of my son, I observed the people around me. There were young girls in pink suits. One even had a pair of goggles. I think she was only three but she showed no fear of the rushing waves. Some children her age are naturally fearful and wouldn't dare to swim alone. But this girl looked even excited. Another group of young boys about the age of my five-year old daughter, were throwing water at each other.

I also heard my six-year old niece, Erika, shout, " Tita! Tita! Look at me, I can swim!" Then she quickly demonstrated her apparently new skill. She looked back at me, as if looking for a confirmation that indeed, she now knows how to swim. I watched and nodded to please her. But the truth is, she wasn't swimming at all. She was just crawling.

From the middle of the sea, I saw my husband rose. His body was itching so he decided to say good-bye to the brine. But I still didn't want to get out of the water. I was actually itching to go to a deeper portion of the sea, not here by the beach, babysitting Ephraim. I wanted to go there, in the middle of the sea where my sisters-in law were, frolicking together with our friends. They giggled as they all struggled to remain afloat by embracing a solitary bamboo pole. I also wanted to float and to feel the warm sunbeam on my skin. I wanted to be cradled by the rolling sea waves as the gentle breeze touch my cheeks. Ahh…how relaxing it would be. Unfortunately, I'm stuck here at the beach with Ephraim…Ephraim…

Ephraim! I was too busy watching others I forgot that I was keeping an eye on my young son. When I turned to him, he was already submerged in water. His little face was ashen white. With both eyes and mouth closed, he nervously paddled. He wrestled to rise to the surface.

My heart raced, my mind reeled. No! He's not going to drown. I will not let him get drowned. I immediately grabbed him. As he rose to the surface, Ephraim caught his breath. After the rescue, his first words were, "I didn't know seawater is salty. It tastes just like watermelon seeds!"

Looking back now, I thought that was a brilliant comparison. I always knew the sea is terribly salty but in all my English composition class, I had never thought of comparing the saltiness of the sea to that of the watermelon seeds.

Come to think of it: In the first place, who would have thought that there's still food to scrape in a tiny watermelon seed? I don't know the origin of this novel morsel. But maybe, just maybe, the one who peddled the idea that a salted butong pakwan can be eaten, is someone who had too much time in his hands. So he invented a food that will require him a lot of preparation before he can actually eat it in seconds. Or he could be someone who was an environmentalist and thought of a novel way of recycling spitted watermelon seeds. Or most likely, he was someone who had nothing to eat, but saw lots of seeds spitted by those who have much watermelons to eat. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. I also believe that afflictions have a way of bringing out the best from us, even the best ideas.

That’s why the next time I find myself in the middle of a sea of problems concerning my kids, my husband, my friends, my budget, my work, my whatever… and I feel like I’m drowning, I will not panic. For a while I may feel like my lungs are ready to burst, or I am about to pass out for lack of oxygen. I can paddle my arms as vigorously as I can so others would know I’m crying out for help. Then I’ll remind myself that great ideas come when one is submerged. That's when I get a different perspective of life. That's when I realize my limits. That's when I call out to Someone stronger than I am who can save me. And sure enough, He will come to the rescue. When I come to the surface, I know better about life, and about what really matters.

Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." The Bible, from Matthew 11:28-30


Fernando R. Gonzalez said...

Wow, Marlene! Welcome to blogosphere...I enjoy reading the entires. just like this one. Great for your son Ephraim, tapang ha. hehe. :-)

Fernando R. Gonzalez said...

wow, marlene! welcome to blogosphere! i always read your entries, so inspiring. just like this one. your son ephraim, tapang ha! post mo rin sa blog yung 'passport to faith' series mo....:-)

Marlene Legaspi-Munar said...

Hi Don! Thanks for visiting and for the encouragement! I know you also write about your kids in your blog Nakaka-miss childhood nila so lets enjoy the times spent with them. Yeah, I will probably share my "journey of faith" in this blog soon. Watch out!

Eve said...

Thank you for the invitation to visit your blog. Galing mong magsulat. And it seems that your son Ephraim takes after you, "like watermelon seeds" indeed! This reminded me of something Dennis, (Diane's brother) said, oh so long ago, probably your son's age, when we were out in front of our house and a gust of strong wind blew the fallen leaves of the trees lining the street: Mama, tingnan mo, nagkakarera ang mga dahon!

Hope you will find time to visit my blog, too. And you may tell others who are interested:

Marlene Legaspi-Munar said...

Hi Tita Evelyn! I'm honored to have you as my visitor. I dropped by your blog already and left a message. Yeah, children are so poetic. Their raw and honest observations make their comments so lyrical! (Kakatuwa si Dennis--"nagkakarera ang mga dahon". Pam-Palanca ang linya!)