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 meant 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 in 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 and expressed our sorrow and our bereavement for losing a friend, a brother, and 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” was Ivan’s opening statement he mentioned in his December 10, 2009 reflections.
This was his last entry in 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 could touch one’s feelings by singing.
Ivan paused last on the evening of June 22, 2010, at the beach of Concepcion, Iloilo, Philippines.
Undoubtedly, he had lived indeed, and he is now smiling and enjoying life at the purest level of being. ‘Til we meet again, Bro.