I received a text message from my mother early this morning from the Philippines. The ever warm concern in her voice is evident as I read her message half awake, asking me if I’m OK, if it’s safe where I live because if not, she would rather want me home.
What happened to the voice that ever propels me to move forward, why so sudden it calls my retreat? She must have been watching the news lately about some overseas Filipino workers in Libya trying to flee the country in siege and the worsening insurgency situation where many Filipinos are trapped and some are even held hostage in their work place calling for help. But more than that, I understand where the sudden fear of my mother coming: The recent earthquake in New Zealand left our family in deep sadness with my cousin still missing among the rubbles of the CTV building that collapsed during the February 22 Christchurch, New Zealand Earthquake. We are in agony after days of waiting and still with no official confirmation if she’s been found. I feel for my Aunt. I feel for my mother who must be so scared back home thinking of my safety being away from home and alone, which made her send that message calling my retreat to return home.
I replied reassuring her I’m OK and not to worry, and rather asked her to pray that I would do well on the very important event in my journey as an artist on March 5 that would mark my first attempt in trying my chances in the Art field with my scheduled whole day appointment at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a group interview. My mother never made me feel she ever doubted what I’m capable of doing even as I was just starting to draw at 3 when she taught me my first art lessons at home drawing flowers. She made me believe at such a young age that my gift could send me somewhere to some doors that would open great opportunities for me. She is the voice that continue to propel me in my journey.
But today, when I read her text message, I am turned between listening to her voice that once fueled my young imagination to reach this doorstep where I am waiting for some hand to open the door for me, and the voice calling my retreat to come home. My will is being tested to move forward or withdraw from the journey I started to trod long ago when she first handed me a pencil and a paper that made me draw my way to this chance within reach.
My mother’s message shows to prove her unconditional love. Love that is not measured by how much accomplishment I take home, for more than anything, she’s more concern of my safety.
The voice of my mother remains a powerful propeller of my journey – it is the voice that sends me to distances trying every chances. But it’s also the voice that could call my retreat to return home.
I wrote this piece to understand the depth of her message. I wrote this piece to reassure my mother I am safe.