Going Into Orbit Decay


teouched heart

If you feel a hollow in your heart, it is there waiting to be filled, with deeds of goodness toward others and God’s presence.

We joined family friends for Mothers Day celebration yesterday after Church Services.

The sumptuous meal lasted all afternoon, complimented by the fine company and the cozy surroundings. Lively conversations, G-rated family jokes, horseshoe toss, game of billiards, and sinful desserts with fine wine to close the luncheon.

On the way home my wife and I talked about the celebration. What she had to say saddened me. It seems that one of the younger kids was going through a bout with depression – imagined or real I didn’t know. My wife recalled the conversation she had with Sensia, a 24-year-old college graduate.

“I hate my job,” she confided to my wife. “My co-workers are happy and satisfied with mediocrity. I have to work late to mop up their mistakes.”

“Did you talk to management?” my wife countered.

“It’s no use,” Sensia said with a deep sigh. “The supervisor just told me to deal with it. Upper management remains oblivious.”

“Hmmm. Sounds like a not-so-good place to work,” volunteered my wife. “But you know, you should focus on things you can control, like – your own duties and tasks. Do them well. Be the best at it. Soon you will become the resource person.”

Sensia turned quiet. She toyed with her food. Her plate didn’t have much of anything. Just a couple of stuffed celery stalks, capers and a sliver of smoked salmon.

“Is that all you’re eating?” my wife tried to bring Sensia back into the conversation.

“I am not a happy camper,” Sensia finally declared. “My latest boy friend and I broke up after only a couple of weeks. Well, he wasn’t worth it anyway. All he wanted to do was play with his smart phone. I lost my lease to my apartment. I moved in with my Mom and I have to gas up once every two days. I’m spending all my savings on gas. I have no appetite and can’t sleep. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I blame Mom for not helping me keep up my lease. She wanted me to move in with her.” Sensia sniffled. “I’m depressed just thinking about what to do next – but I can’t stay with my mother. The whole world is collapsing all around me.”

I knew my wife felt sympathy for Sensia. So young and alone at sea it seemed. She asked me, “What do you think? What would you do?”

Keeping my eyes on the road I managed to answer, “Well, maybe Sensia needs to hit bottom to rise. That’s the way of the world. Reality seeps in – it’s a bitter pill to swallow, you know, take the good with the bad. Just keep on trucking.”

I knew Sensia since she was in grade school. She always had everything handed to her by her parents. She also tends to be a bit dramatic and goes into histrionics at the drop of a pin. After her parents divorced, her mother became more doting. Too much of a good thing isn’t good, no matter what it is.

We paused for a moment and prayed for Sensia’s deliverance.

Things were going great and then. . .


After her husband died, she suffered a severe stroke

After her husband died, she suffered a severe stroke sending everything into a tailspin

In pursuing our mission to help bright kids from poor families finish high school, we come across many special applications or requests for financial aid. One such request came across our desk for consideration earlier this year. We can relate to this story. All of us are just one paycheck away from being homeless.

Maria, (we changed the names to keep the privacy of the parties involved) and her husband Taliofero operated a small cafe-diner. The place was no bigger than four office cubicles joined together, furnished with four tables with four chairs each. The simple menu included many local dishes affordably priced and targeted toward a clientage composed of the local government workers, school faculty and staff and a few students from wealthier families, who carry sizable lunch money allowance. Bottom line, business was booming. Maria was able to send her daughter Donna to private high school.

Then the unimaginable happened. Taliofero had a massive heart attack while cooking a batch of Dinuguan (a local blood pudding delicacy with pork innards). Their sense of loss and grief exponentially doubled as Maria suffered a stroke soon after they buried Taliofero. Utterly devastated, the family began to sell some of their belongings, jewelry and home furnishings to help run the business and to survive. Although it was touching and inspiring to see Maria and Donna try everything to mitigate the ravages of physical handicap and erosion of morale, the situation was nevertheless a portrait of raw despondency and frustration. Creditors repossessed their home. They moved back to Maria’s mother’s house.

Donna was going into her last year of high school. She had been an honor student all three years earlier and actively involved in the school paper as assistant editor. Donna’s bright and shows tremendous potential. But now, out of money and essentially broke, she faces transferring to the public high school. They applied for financial aid so Donna can graduate at the same high school wherein she started.

Our committee didn’t take long to decide. Donna will graduate this year from St Augustine’s School.