[Nanci is a friend from my time in Anchorage. Alaska: 1979-1984. She lives in Washington State, USA]
Well, I guess I am a survivor too, next year being my 70th, a year which I never thought I would see at the youthful age of 18, living in Spain’s Costa del Sol.
My parents were prisoners of war in Santa Thomas in the Philippines, along with my two elder brothers and grandma on my mother’s side. They went through much, for which I hold them in enormous admiration. They never held ill-will toward the Japanese, in spite of what they endured. My Uncle Bruin spent much time in the jungle living off roots and wild berries until eventually captured by the enemy. That he survived was a miracle.
I came along after the war and returned to the Philippines with the family. This was the place they loved the most. Yes, it was quite an idyllic place.
My parents’ generation was a special generation, on the cusp of the old and the beginning a new, awesome and sometimes frightening future.
From there my brothers went to prep school in the UK and I to Calcutta with my parents—an eye opener of great proportions, in my observation of the culture of this immense civilization with its myriad ethnic traditions, dialects, language, and religions.
I have witnessed other cultures as well, their diseases and social changes, with personal sadness. My life in the U.S., has not always been positive: the advent of television, flight, space travel, computers, the internet, many presidents, social changes, and upon seeing how my adopted country has affected others.
As someone who paints, and does photography, I see deeply the absolute beauty of the natural world, creation itself, awesome beyond belief—and then also, the pathos, sadness and brutality of man against his fellow man as well as other members of this planet. Why? In the scheme of things, life is brief and frail, and we all just specks of dust.
Did I leave a positive footprint? hopefully there is time for this, though personally, I believe the hands of the clock are close to midnight. Exciting yes! but what kind of tiny footprint have I left, have we left? Worthy or unworthy. I am definitely not ready to ‘fade into the sunset’ yet.
Perhaps the best gift in life, for me anyway, is being blessed with a dearly loved family, living treasures, being a part of their lives, ups and downs. At any moment, they could have been taken away from this earth, through the war, but our great Creator saw fit to keep them from an early passing. A miracle in itself. So I thank Him every day for their presence in my life, along with some of the finest friends one could ever have.
What more could I wish for? I have been utterly blessed throughout.