June 2015

eastwind journals29 Jun 2015 04:22 am

THE RUNAWAY GIRL a true story

A True Story
eastwind journals 168


By Bernie Lopez
Permission is granted to re-publish with credits.


Except for the ending dialogue, this is a true story as related by a friend. It attempts to explain the Theology of Death.


amen I say to you
beware and be cautious
for you know not
the day nor the hour


Matthew 25:12-13


Jimmy is a senior citizen. He is on the Light Rail train on the way home. A frail girl of about ten with dirty clothes and a heavy backpack enters. Staring into nothing, she stands beside Jimmy, clutching the train post. There is a half a seat beside him, so he offers it to her. She gladly sits.


JIMMY. Where are you going?
GIRL. Cagayan.
JIMMY. You mean Cagayan Valley in the north?
GIRL. Yes.
JIMMY. You are going that far alone? That’s about 12 hours bus ride.
GIRL. That long? I can manage. (Casually) I’m running away from home.
JIMMY. Oh oh. Why?
GIRL. My stepfather touches me and forces me when he comes home drunk. Happened many times. Then he mauls me. I can’t stand it anymore. (She displays her bruises on the left arm.)
JIMMY. Yes, you better run away before you get crazy. Have you been to Cagayan before?
GIRL. No. But I know the town where my grandmother stays. She will take care of me.
JIMMY. Do you know what bus to take and where?
GIRL. Not yet. I will ask around. Perhaps you can tell me.
JIMMY. Do you have enough money?
GIRL. I have no money, just loose change.
JIMMY. How do you expect to get there without money?
GIRL. I will ask the bus driver and conductor to give me a ride.
JIMMY. For free? I am not sure they will do that.
GIRL. They will. People are kind.
JIMMY. And if they don’t.
GIRL. I will ask passengers to pay for me.
JIMMY. Do you know how much it costs?
JIMMY. I think it would be about 500 pesos.
GIRL. That much? I will manage.
JIMMY. Passengers can’t afford that much.
GIRL. I will ask for 20 pesos per passenger. People are kind.
JIMMY. I like your positive thinking.
GIRL. I have a guardian angel. The Lord loves me and takes care of me. (She takes out a tattered rosary and proudly shows it.) I prayed before I left the house. Nothing can happen to me.
JIMMY. How about food? It’s half a day’s ride. You need to eat.
GIRL. I will be okay. My grandma will feed me.
JIMMY. No, I mean during the 12-hour trip.


The girl does not answer. Jimmy squirms in his seat. He gets a 500-peso bill from his pocket and gives it to the girl. All the while, Jerry, another senior citizen is listening to their conversation. He stares in surprise at the 500-peso bill.


GIRL. Thank you, sir. You are very kind. (She clutches the money.)
JIMMY. You better put that in your bag so it does not get lost. (The girl does so.)
GIRL. You are very kind. Thank you.
JIMMY. (Long silence.) You know what? Do this. When you get in the bus, talk to the driver and tell him you have no money for food. Ask him to take you with him when you make a stopover to eat. Drivers get free meals from the restaurant because they bring passengers to eat there.
GIRL. That’s clever. Okay, I will do it. Thank you.
There is a long pause. Jimmy squirms again in his seat. He hands three 100-peso bill to the girl. Jerry grunts.


JIMMY. That’s for your food. The driver may not like to give you a free meal.
GIRL. Thank you again sir. (She clutches the bills.)
JIMMY. Put it in your bag. (She ignores him.)


Another girl, a teenager, sits beside them.


JIMMY. Hello there, miss. Can I ask you a favor?
JIMMY. Where are you going down?
TEENAGER. Pasay Rotonda station. Why?
JIMMY. Good. This girl needs to go to one of four provincial bus stations, the one where buses go to Cagayan Valley. She does not know how to get there. I am going down at Ayala. Can you take care of her? Just ask around what bus station to go to.
TEENAGER. No problem, sir. I will do it. (She looks at the girl and smiles.)
JIMMY. One more thing please. Escort her to the station until she boards the right bus. Please get her a sandwich. I gave her money. Do you have time for this? Is it too much trouble?
TEENAGER. No problem, sir. It’s okay. I’m glad to help.
JIMMY. Thanks. (To the girl.) Okay, she will take care of you. Do not talk to strangers, only the bus driver or conductor. Is that clear? Put the money in your bag.
GIRL. Yes sir. Thank you again. You also have a guardian angel. I can feel it.


Arriving at the Ayala Station, Jimmy says goodbye. He and Jerry leave.


JERRY. Wow. That was something you did back there. Why did you want her escorted all the way to the bus?
JIMMY.  Many strange people hang around bus stations, looking for victims.
JERRY. Oh, white slavery. Never thought of that. In all my life, I never saw someone hand out 800 pesos just like that to a complete stranger. Did you notice she is a very brave girl?
JIMMY. Yes, an innocent lamb unafraid of the jungle of predators.
JERRY. It’s more ignorance than bravery. Or it’s faith.
JIMMY. Extreme despair makes you brave. Kapit sa patalim. (Grab the blade in despair.)
JERRY. It’s faith, not ignorance not despair. She never sees it as a ‘blade’.
JIMMY. She has a guardian angel. She knows it, that’s why she is not afraid.
Did you not realize the girl could be conning you?
JIMMY. It crossed my mind. But I gave the benefit of the doubt. Supposing she was conning me. I lose 800 pesos, right? So what? But suppose she was not conning me. Supposing she’s really running away from home and has no money. Supposing she becomes a sex slave?
JERRY. No way. She has a guardian angel, remember? You gave without hesitation and so quickly, without thinking too much. Amazing. You must be rich.
JIMMY. Rich, my ass. Rich people do not take train rides. I earn a lousy 24,000 a month. I get by. Simple living. I live alone. What is 800 pesos to me? I would spend that in three days on food and transport. I would not die of poverty or hunger.
JERRY. I give coins to beggars. At times, I give a whole 20-peso bill. I give but I am not a martyr. 800 pesos? Wow. Tell me, what made you really do it?
JIMMY. Tell me, how old are you?
JERRY. Sixty five.
JIMMY. I’m sixty nine. You and I are going to die soon. There is no time. When the rare opportunity comes, grab it. All my life, it’s just me, me, me. It’s a game changer really, this thing called death.
JERRY. (Long pause.) Come to think of it. You’re right. Thank you for inspiring me. From now on, I will look for little girls to help. So you think I also have a guardian angel?
JIMMY. You better believe it. And you better look hard for opportunities. They don’t come easy in train stations. When the rare opportunity comes, grab it, and die for it. It matters a lot for us old guys.
JERRY. Rare? They’re all over the streets. They’re everywhere.
JIMMY. There is no time. We could die tomorrow.
JERRY. It’s also true for the young. They could die tomorrow.
JIMMY. Do you realize the Lord gives us the poor to sanctify us not so poor? Sharing is never an option. It is an obligation for the rich or the poor.
JERRY. Can I treat you to a bowl of noodles?
JIMMY. Sure, sure. Here’s your rare opportunity. (They both laugh allowed.)


I empty your body so I can fill your soul
I make you poor so I can enrich you
I burn your home so you can seek My shelter
I make you sick so you can find My healing
I bring darkness so you can seek My light
I make you lose your way in the desert
so you can find My path
for even crooked paths lead to Me
I give deliverance only after you carry My cross
I am the Hound of Heaven in search of lost souls
first I sanctify you by sharing My cross
then I make all things beautiful for you
in My time and in My way




when you wrong another, you wrong yourself a hundred fold
when you uplift another, you uplift yourself a hundred fold
malign another, and you malign yourself
teach another, and you enlighten yourself
when you aid the weak, you strengthen yourself
when you give to the poor, you enrich yourself
comfort another, and you are consoled
save a life, and you are saved
life is such that what you give
is what you receive, only a hundred fold




eastwind journals21 Jun 2015 12:41 am


eastwind journals 167


By Bernie Lopez
be as wise as a serpent
but as gentle as a dove


Cosmic Principles are universal tenets that apply to most of our situations in life. They are a set of guidelines in the way we plan our lives, the way we relate to others, our attitudes and values towards rapidly changing circumstances, how we decide on critical options that will make or break us and others around us.


inner balance is freedom
from fame and glory and ego
from insecurities and fears
freedom to be humiliated
and come out on top
inner balance is courage during crisis
loving when everyone is hating
whispering when everyone is screaming
being able to withstand violent storms
and come out stronger
inner balance between yielding and insisting
between prayer and action
heat cancels out cold and vice versa
love cancels out hate and vice versa
yin or darkness cancels out yang or light
they either clash or blend
or achieve harmony or conflict
we are made up of two spiritual parts
the ego and the super-ego
the ego seeks its own gain
the super-ego seeks the gain of others
the ego and the super-ego are constantly at war
one seeks to love, the other to be loved
the ego breeds wars
the super-ego breeds harmony
the Lord nurtures our super-ego
and dispels our ego
you can discover yourself
only by discovering another
for the other is a mirror of  yourself
and you are opaque to yourself
look inward and get lost
look outward and discover
give and you are satisfied
get and you want some more
look inward and you see total darkness
look outward and you see blinding light
war begins with grabbing
peace begins with giving
compromise breeds harmony
non-compromise breeds conflict
war begins when people
no longer talk to each other
peace begins when people
are open and listen
shout so you will be ignored
whisper so they will listen
listen to know the other’s view
before you give your view
taking the backstage breeds wisdom
taking the limelight breeds ignorance
meditation begins with no thoughts
confusion with many thoughts
too much effort, you miss the shot
no effort, you make the shot
too much planning, you miss your goal
no planning is sometimes the best plan
what the heart sees so plainly
the mind is often blind to
what the Lord hides from the wise
He reveals to little children
perspective is power
when you see on a clear day
the verdant valley from a mountain top
you see who you are
if your heart is kind
you can see forever
you see better in darkness
darkness gives understanding of the light
forget about your eyes
see with your heart
forget about your ears
listen with your soul
do not resist flow with the wind
do not grasp touch lightly
learn the way of the wild flowers
they grow without working or spinning
we use only about a tenth of our brain energy
if we tap the rest
our mind power can lift spoons
and discern harmony when all is chaos
and gain insight when all are confused




See the PowerPoint version
the philistines swooped down on the israelis
30,000 lay dead on the battlefield
the ark of the covenant
symbol of the relationship with the Lord
was desecrated and taken
they cowered on their knees at the feet of their foes
for decades they would be scattered
the israelis in their darkness and despair
lamented that the Lord abandoned them
(jeremiah and the book of lamentations)
but one of the greatest realizations
one of the most profound spiritual reversals
in the entire period of the old testament was that
eastwind journals20 Jun 2015 09:09 pm

OUR AWESOME UNIVERSE we are stardust

eastwind journals 166


By Bernie Lopez


we are stardust


we are stardust in a cosmic way
and to stardust we shall return
we are dust in an earthly way
and to dust we shall return
trillions of years ago
a massive super-nova occurred
an explosion of a mega-star
the explosion was the size
of billions of light years in diameter
lighting up half of the known universe
it was a ‘mini-big bang’
a microcosm of the primordial first explosion
that created the entire known universe
our sun is a speck among a trillion other stars
within the milky way galaxy
which is in turn a tiny speck within a cluster
of billions of other galaxies
which is in turn a speck within a super-cluster
of millions of other clusters
that is how small we are
that is how big the universe is
the remnants of that super-nova
is what we know today as the virgo super-cluster
that super-nova created intense heat
of billions of degrees fahrenheit
the foundry in which the very first heavy metals
were formed on a molecular level
gold, zinc, iron, manganese, copper
the iron in our blood came from that super-nova
billions of years from now
our milky way will collide
with andromeda, a nearby bigger galaxy
but their stars and our stars will not collide
they will simply pass each other
triggering gravitational mega-storms
the birth new of stars
the death of old stars
the formation of intertwining nebulas and stardusts
harmony within chaos all at once
billions of years from now
our very own sun will collapse
and explode into a nova
a millionth of a millionth
of the size of the the virgo super-nova
a trillionth of trillionth
of the size of the cosmic big-bang
we are stardust
and to stardust we shall return
in a cosmic way
just as we are dust
and to dust we shall return
in an earthly way
our sun is temporal
it will die billions of light years from now
we are temporal
we will die in mere decades
but within the temporal is the eternal
because our spirits are immortal
we are a speck in the universe
yet we are bigger than the universe
because of consciousness
what we see becomes part of our consciousness
contained in our small brain and infinite spirit
what we see becomes what we are
through consciousness, we transcend the physical universe
we transcend cosmic time and space
we are for now and we are forever all at once
like a flower which is for now as it will wilt tomorrow
but which is forever as it gives seeds for the next generation
the harmony and chaos of the universe
are within all of us and each of us
the battle between good and evil
between light and darkness
between building and destroying
within the temporal we must earn the eternal
by fending off the temptation to grab, steal, and hate
and learning to give, share, and love
we attain eternal virtues within our temporal world




Click photo to blow up


Click photo to blow up
Click photo to blow up

Meditating on the Universe, Fr. James B. Reuter, SJ


ten wisdoms excerpts19 Jun 2015 03:38 pm


ten wisdoms 02


By Bernie V. Lopez


Excerpt from the book – Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer.
This has been blogged before as a separate article.


never let your mind take over
always let your heart take charge
for the heart has wisdom the mind is blind to


Once in a while, we see the faint glimmer of heroism in desert dunes, as in this story,


“Your kingdom come.” Our mission in life revolves around spreading God’s kingdom on earth and changing the world for Him. Changing the world in situations of extreme human conditions requires both prayer and spiritual strength. In this particular case, not everyone may have the “creativity” to change the world as Jacqui did. This story is inspired by a movie and the aftermath of the Sumatra tsunami.


Jacqui was once a journalist who became famous overnight when she wrote about the human drama of the mega-earthquake in Sumatra in 2004. A quarter of a million people died worldwide in that disaster of the century. She immersed herself among the survivors to be able to write first-hand the poignant stories of the lives of survivors torn apart by the biggest tsunami of the century. As she was writing, tears fell on the keyboard.


Now, she is a high ranking official at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). But she is bored to death at her desk job. When she hears about the African famine in Ethiopia, she jumps with joy and wants so much to go. She is attracted to the harsh field of human disasters. It is the journalist in her blood. Her boss, Frederick, is angry.


FREDERICK – Tell me one good reason why you have to go, Jacqui.
JACQUI – This is special for me, Frederick.
FREDERICK – You have tons of work here. This trip is out of line. It is not in your job description. You can’t go. I’m sorry. There is nothing special for you in Ethiopia.
JACQUI – Yes, there is. It’s close to my heart.
FREDERICK – Not good enough. You have to strip yourself of this journalism disease you still have inside you. I know, I know. It is addictive once it has made you famous. Forget it.
JACQUI – It’s not that. The laurels mean nothing to me, Frederick. You know me. My heart is there. I’ll die if I don’t go.
FREDERICK – See. You have the reasons of a child who is denied of her candy. You’re obsessed. A professional does not get obsessed and attached.
JACQUI – So I am obsessed. I don’t care. I’ll die if don’t go, Frederick. Please, I beg you.
JACQUI – Then I resign. I can’t stand it anymore.
FREDERICK – Be reasonable, Jacqui. I need you.


From those last three words, Jacqui knows she has the upper hand. She quickly storms out of the room. But outside, she walks slowly, hoping to hear him holler. Silence. After ten paces, her heart sinks. Tears roll down her cheek. She cannot resign. This job is her last card before boredom and alcoholism.


FREDERICK – (Screaming). Jacqui, get your ass back here! (Jacqui gives a soft scream. She wipe her tears as she re-enters the room.) Okay, you win. Fifteen days, that’s all you have.
JACQUI – Thanks, Frederick. I will never forget this. I promise to work double time when I come back. I am your slave.
FREDERICK – Get out of here before I change my mind.




And so, Jacqui wins. She is doing the one thing she does best, that is, absorb the feelings of people in pain. It makes her whole and, ironically, it strengthens her spirit to see and help people in pain. It is her way of changing the world for the Lord. She whispers a short Our Father and Hail Mary for the Lord to bless her trip.


Arriving in Ethiopia, she is met at the airport by David, a UNCHR veteran who is an expert in massive food programmes. He is feeding a staggering 850,000 who are dying of hunger.


DAVID – Ms. Jacquiline Durmont?
JACQUI – Just call me Jacqui.
DAVID – We go straight to the refugee camp on my jeep. Hey, you look so happy and excited.
JACQUI – I am, I am.
DAVID – This is not the place to be happy about. About 4,000 die everyday, about one half percent of the entire camp. More than half of them are children below four. Are you still happy?
JACQUI – Okay, okay, I’m no longer happy. I’m wiping off my smile.
DAVID – I read your writings. Are you going to write about the people here? If you are, I can’t help you. I will not permit you to use these people for your ambitions to stardom.
JACQUI – I am not here to write. I am no longer a journalist. I represent the UNCHR.
DAVID – I’ll bet. That’s your cover. I know your kind. Not one journalist who has been here was able to write a story. I have a nickname among journalists. I am called the anti-media snake. Ms. Durmont, you won’t get your story, I promise.
JACQUI – Jacqui, that’s my name.
DAVID – Ms. Durmont, you have to prove you are not a journalist.
JACQUI – Why are you so hostile? (She gets her cell phone out of her pocket and talks to Frederick on the line). Frederick, I got problems here. You know my problem? Well … okay … okay … (hands the phone to David) … he wants to talk to you.
DAVID – (On the phone).  Yes, Sir … yes, Sir … yes, Sir …right away Sir …. (Hands the phone back to Jacqui). Jacqui, right?
JACQUI – Right.
DAVID – Sorry. It’s the place. After two weeks, it gets into your system.
JACQUI – My turn. We don’t need softies here. You want me to recommend your transfer?
DAVID – Nope. Okay, your turn. Let me show you around. We go to the refugee camp. (Cutting across the vast desert, the jeep churns a cloud of dust. All around, they see people trudging along the direction of the camp. Jacqui sees something).
JACQUI – Stop, stop.
DAVID – We can’t stop here, Jacqui. Protocol. There is a rule. High-rank UNCHR personnel unescorted by security cannot stop. It’s dangerous out here, Jacqui.


Jacqui suddenly shifts the gear to neutral.  As the jeep slows down, she jumps out, falling to the ground. She picks herself up and runs towards what seems to be a pillow on the ground. It is an abandoned baby in last stage of malnutrition. Jacqui shoos off the flies in the baby’s eyes, and goes back to the jeep. They move on.

Click photo to see credits.


JACQUI – Remember, David, protocol is a man-made bull created by administration people who have no field experience.
DAVID – It is still protocol. I can’t violate protocol.
JACQUI – David, why are you here?
DAVID – To help people in need. That’s pretty obvious.
JACQUI – You better make up your mind, to help people or follow protocol. Because at a certain point, they contradict each other and you have to make a choice. If we did not stop, protocol would have killed this baby. One small advice, David. The heart, your wanting to help people, has primacy over the mind, your wanting to obey protocol. Make sure this baby makes  it. If she doesn’t, I will make sure you don’t.


The jeep arrives at the UNCHR headquarters in the middle of the desert. Jacqui hands the crying baby to David. David hands the baby to a nurse and gives instructions. A convoy of seven ten-wheeler trucks full of sacks of grain arrives, churning up a cloud of dust, triggering a commotion among hungry refugees.


Photo by Dr. Dutkowsky
JACQUI – Where is your security force?
DAVID – The colonel won’t give me one. He said I don’t need one.
JACQUI – You realize if there is a riot, we could get killed. Get me the colonel on the phone. (She hands her cell phone to David. He calls the colonel and gives the cellphone back to Jacqui).
JACQUI – (To the colonel on the phone). We need security here at the camp, colonel. My name is Jacqui Durmont, UNCHR.
COLONEL – THE Jackie Durmont? I’ve read all your writings. You are one son of a bitch of a writer. Do you know, your writings move me to tears?
JACQUI – Cut the crap, colonel.
COLONEL – We can talk about your request over dinner. Tonight? I pick you up at the UNCHR office?
JACQUI – No problem. Can you send security right away? We may have a riot here.
COLONEL – Sure thing, Ma’am. Right away. They will be there in an hour.
JACQUI – Thirty minutes. Don’t mess with me, colonel.
COLONEL – Alright, alright. I want to talk about your days in Tunisia. You described the Sahara as a sacred place, remember?
JACQUI – Pick me up at the refugee camp. (She clicks off the cell phone).
DAVID – I like your style. Swap security for a dinner date. Really nice, Jacqui.
JACQUI – Want me to call off the date?
DAVID – No, no. I owe you. We really need the security.
JACQUI – I know. That’s why I will be the martyr, tortured to death by a boring macho colonel.
DAVID – You know him?
JACQUI – I was here as a journalist last year. He’s been eyeing my ass. (Refugees are crowding the lead truck. There is a commotion. A near riot situation is emerging.) We have to get to the lead truck. You push, I follow.


The two penetrate the screaming mob. In ten minutes, they make it through, going up the truck. Jacqui’s sleeve is torn. She raises her hand to quiet the mob down in vain. The noise instead intensifies. The truck starts to wobble. Jacqui grabs a megaphone and speaks in perfect vernacular. She is ignored by the hungry crowd.


JACQUI – (Screaming through the megaphone).  I was here a year ago. I don’t know if some of you recognize me. (A few raise their hands).  This is a lullaby song a mother taught me before she died. Her baby died of malnutrition in my arms ten minutes after she died.


There is no reaction from the mob. She starts to sing. There is a sudden quiet and calm as the Ethiopean lullaby echoes across the desert, cutting deep into the hearts of the mob. At the end of the song, there is a deafening roar of applause.


JACQUI – The security force will be here in a few minutes. If they are here, and we have not formed a line, all of you will be pushed back and will be the last to be served. I need five of your leaders to form the lines. Five lines please. (A dozen raise their hands. Jacqui selects the five leaders. They start to move). Okay, those at the back, move back. Only the women, the mothers will be served first. Let the women stay in front. Move, move. Those women carrying babies or with children at the very front. The men, stay behind, please.


Jacqui sings another song. Some women join her. The lullaby echoes across the desert, having a calming effect on everyone. In ten short minutes, a near-riot mob turns into a quiet disciplined crowd. Five long lines are formed, women in front, men at the back. In another ten minutes, a convoy of three trucks of soldiers arrives. Rifles on hand, they alight from the trucks. The colonel goes towards Jacqui.


COLONEL – Hello, Jacqui. This is impossible. How did you do it?
JACQUI – Simple, colonel. Just touch their hearts.
COLONEL – Just touch the hearts of a violent mob? Are you kidding? Impossible. (Jacqui starts to sing the lullaby again. The colonel sings with her). You are an amazing woman. I bow to you. You are a woman warrior, the Joan of Arc of the desert. (The colonel gives a slight curtsy. The crowd applauds).
JACQUI – I am no warrior. There is no war. There is no enemy.
COLONEL – Yes there is, hunger, death. Dinner tonight?
JACQUI – On one condition.
COLONEL – What, another condition? Okay, shoot.
JACQUI – I want your commander to monitor the food distribution 24/7. And tell David here if there is a problem. If there is a riot in the future because there is no security, I will get your ass. One more thing. I want lobsters for dinner.
COLONEL – Lobsters in Ethiopea? Let’s see if I can get some. How about steak? Easier to get.
JACQUI – Okay.
COLONEL – Your wish is my command, my queen.


They board the jeepney and fade into the red sunset. The dust gives an orange glow.


the Lord Himself created wisdom
He looked on her and knew her value,
He poured her out over all His works
upon all mortal beings in accordance with His goodness
He lavished her on those who love Him


Sirach 1:1-10


To order the book, send email to author at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com


Check out another book by the author –
Wings and Wanderlust (The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self)
Read some excerpts first at –



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