Had our brother, Ivan, ever lived?
In our memories, perhaps… Thinking of our brotherly fellowship, helping him grow, sharing and supporting his dreams, listening to his good singing voice, arguing, fighting, reconciling, forgiving, thoughtfulness, and knowing his struggles and frailties, we can say that our brother, Ivan, indeed had lived.
Memories will forever remind us of his existence, but for how long? Memories fade!
Still, had he ever lived?
“If I could turn back time during whenever I’m clean, I thank the Father above because when I yearn for something more in my life, but I cannot identify what it may be, I know you are the answer,” Ivan wrote on his short journal dated November 22, 2009.
He continued to write: You renew my spirit so that I am aware of You and aware of myself as a whole and holy person—spirit, mind, and body. As I commune with You in prayer and as I observe Your presence everywhere, my spirit is renewed. The renewal of my spirit enriches my mind and body. I am wise and healthy, strong and SECURE. Ivan.
So with his life filled with purpose, he became a good friend, perhaps to everyone, if time had been generous. He was a passionate leader…even if it means taking risks and compromises.
Ivan had indeed lived! He was a soul with an inner struggle striving to go somewhere. He was a person who grew up with faith in God, patience and perseverance—to win the test of time, but his inner struggles would often overpower him like a dark cloud enveloping his being. Through all these…
And his early death surprised his friends and us. It was so sudden, so unexpected. We were all praying and waiting for God’s miracle on him. He was still at his prime when he died; his life a great loss?
Now think had he ever lived?
Ivan was in a moment in the hearts of those who knew him. We mourned his passing, expressed our moment of sorrow, our bereavement for the loss of a friend, a brother, a son.
Yes, in a moment, he had lived. He was in a moment amidst us, and little did we know of his understanding of life. “Returning to the simple truth of my divine nature, I appreciate life anew” – this was Ivan’s opening statement he mentioned in his December 10, 2009 reflections.
This was his last entry on the short life journal that we found among his things. Reading through his reflections gives great comfort and assurance to us that after all that he had gone through, he is holding on to his faith in God.
Ivan’s complete December 10, 2009 journal entry says:
After two days of joyous celebrations, I still survived the obstacles and hindrances that came. As I quiet my mind, I become aware of the here and now moment. I breathe deeply, relaxing as I exhale. Then, I smile, enjoying the miracle of being alive. I appreciate the new surroundings taking in every vibrant sight and sound.
I enjoy consciously being a part of life instead of being distracted by my mind’s endless list of things to do. For now, breathing and smiling are the only things on my “to do” list.
In these moments of renewal, simply being alive with the spirit of God is enough. I pause now, aware of my nature as a living, breathing child of God, and I smile as I enjoy life at the purest level of being. Ivan.
For those who don’t know, Ivan had epilepsy. We learned that he had it when he was nine years old. Despite his illness, he tried to live a normal life. He finished AB History and Public Administration at Central Philippine University.
He was active in sports. He was a high school varsity athlete in the long-distance running event. He joined the college soccer, softball, and basketball teams. He had skills in organizing events, like sports and camping.
He could cook for a large group. He had a good singing voice, and he could touch one’s feelings by the way he sang.
Ivan had his last pause on the evening of June 22, 2010, at the beach of Concepcion, Iloilo, Philippines.
There is no doubt that he had lived indeed, and he is now smiling and enjoying life at the purest level of being. ‘Til we meet again, Bro.
“Only one life ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. ”
Indeed, he enjoyed life at the purest level of being, knowing that he is the child of God. For Ivan, having the spirit of God who guides him is all enough that he can still smile and enjoy every moment of his life that God gave him.
Just like him, we also have our own personal struggles in life. In this present world, on what we called life, we must endure sufferings in various degrees.The Lord Jesus Christ is our savior that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
We have to remain faithful to end and hold on to God’s promises in the Bible..” And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death shall be no longer, nor mourning, nor outcry, nor will there be pain any more; for the first things passed away.”
Ivan will be missed by his friends and family and those who know him but rest assured that he is now happy with the Lord.
Mare Chat, thanks a lot for your enriching and comforting remarks. God bless you always!
What a wonderful tribute to your brother. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
WOW I LOVED the blog you wrote about your brother. It was simply beautiful. It’s true that a lot of us reach times in our life where something is “missing.” And you are right- it’s only when we realize we are missing God and allow him to re-enter our lives that we feel complete again.
Great article. I’m sure your brother is very proud.
Again, I’m very sorry for your abrupt loss.
Thanks Noura for appreciating.
Jaja Juarez - Tan
Thank you so much for sharing! I will post the site especially for our Batchmates to see and read. Indeed, Ivan was a person after God’s image. Never gave up and always had a positive outlook in life despite the struggles he went through. Now he is in a better place, no more pain, only joy and rejoicing. In God’s time, we will be there too.
I remember Ivan when we were in high school and the church activities. Even he had the sickness, he is a very active person who enjoys life helping others and giving his best in God’s ministry.. Its sad that he left this world so early but I know he is now free and happy with Him eternally….
Thank you for your very comforting comment. God bless you Jeff!
Very thoughtful Jonan.
Thank you for sharing this with me.
I remember Ivan when I visited your home one time in Ajuy, that was long time ago. He was a kid close to his father, Manoy Malvar. He is gone, but good to know he is with his father again in heaven is very comforting, and both of them are in perfect fellowship with God. There is a reason for everything, and it is suffice to place everything in the hands of the loving God, who knows everything and what’s best for his children.
From Worry To Glory
Thank you for remembering Pastor Jesse. As Christians, we remember not in grief but with fondness, love, and joy for what our loved ones who have gone ahead have achieved. Blessings to you!
Carmela Mosquera Romero
Yes, Ivan had ever lived.I as witness of his sincerity and faithfulness in the Lord.He taught me so much about trusting God and “being” with God.His journals entries were so amazing, kindly, brilliantly and faithfully penned in tribute to his Savior and Lord.Can’t forget him.God bless, Pastor Jonan and family.
Jacy Joy Juarez-Tan
I will always treasure the memories I have spent with Ivan, be it in High School or our College days. It was always filled with laughter and praises to God our Father. Ivan left earth for a better place with Jesus, the same day we welcomed our first born son, Jeriah Philip. It was a day filled with mourning and joy.
Thank you Ja. And thanks for sharing about Jeriah Philip’s birthday. Now I have your joy to think about when 22 June comes.
To Ivan my friend, you are never forgotten. I have a lot of fond memories with you. Wherever you are right now, I know you have found eternal peace and happiness. ‘Till we meet again my good friend.
Thank you very much Berchman.