ten wisdoms excerpts

ten wisdoms excerpts02 Nov 2016 07:44 pm

THE NUN AND THE REBEL – based on a true story

THE NUN AND THE REBEL – based on a true story
By Bernie V. Lopez
A drop of love in an ocean of hate.
Excerpt from the book – Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer.
Names have been changed, except Sister Josephine, dialogue reconstructed.
if you judge people
you have no more time to love them
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Early 70s. Zamboanga del Sur. The town of Dimataling was a “no man’s land” after Christian soldiers and Moro rebels had been killing each other for a decade. Sister Josephine of the Medical Mission Sisters stayed on to service the health needs of the few brave Christians and Muslims who dared to stay. She clung like oyster to a tiny bamboo chapel and a clinic, her paradise in no-man’s-land. One evening, without warning, the war knocked at her door.
In the dead of night, Sr. Jo was awakened by gun shots from afar. She ignored them and went back to sleep. She was used to it, as it happened so often. Later, someone banged at the door. Three rebels were carrying their Commander Usman, mortally wounded, bleeding profusely on the left shoulder. No questions asked, no words exchanged. Immediately Sister Jo went to work. It took her one hour to remove the bullet, and clean and bandage the wound. Then she fed the rebels.
CMDR. USMAN – I am deeply grateful, Sister.
SR. JO – Think nothing of it. That is my work. I am a medical mission sister. Our mission is to heal.
CMDR. USMAN – You did not hesitate to help me. I am amazed how you can help your enemy. You even feed the enemy. The soldiers will not like that.
SR. JO – What enemy? I don’t see enemies. I see only a wounded man. The soldiers can think what they want. They cannot touch me.
CMDR. USMAN – Soldiers are known to rape and abuse even Christians, am I right, Sister?
SR. JO – Extremely right, Commander.
CMDR. USMAN – The name is Commander Usman. I have great respect for you. If the soldiers abuse you, I want you to send a messenger to the Muslim side. I will protect you from them.
SR. JO – That’s very nice of you, Commander Usman, but I can handle them better than you, believe me. I don’t use bullets, just my habit (She flicks her sleeve.).
CMDR. USMAN – The offer stands anyway, just in case there are crazy drunk soldiers around.
SR. JO – My gratitude, Commander. I am deeply honored. I will remember your offer.
Suddenly five soldiers barged in. Soldiers and rebels were face to face. They cocked their guns and pointed them at each other. Sr. Jo quickly went to the middle.
SR. JO – Oh no, not in my house. Keep your war outside my house. My house is a medical mission for all who are hurt, Muslims or Christians.
There was a long uneasy silence. Lt. Reyes was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound in the upper right thigh. They kept guns pointed at each other.
SR. JO – (With absolute authority). Lt. Reyes, Commander Usman, I order you to respect my home. If you cannot, then kill me first before you shoot each other down.
There was a long uneasy silence. Cmdr. Usman was the first to order his men to put down their guns. Lt. Reyes followed.
CMDR. USMAN – I think it is time for us to go.
SR. JO – Yes, Commander, go. Lt. Reyes, promise me you will not pursue them.
LT. REYES – How can we, when I am wounded?
CMDR. USMAN – Sister, please remember my promise. Thank you for everything.
SR. JO – I will remember. Thank you for your kindness.
The rebels quietly and calmly filed out. Sister helped Lt. Reyes to a seat and began to tend to his wound as his men lingered around. Lt. Reyes was about to speak.
SR. JO – Not a word, lieutenant. I know what you want to say. I have no war in my heart. Can you not understand that? You cannot force your world of bullets into my world of love. This is one tiny space in this large island full of wars where there is no hate or vengeance. It is my space. Can we keep it that way?
LT. REYES – Yes, Sister. I understand. But I want you to send a messenger to me if the rebels come to disturb you. I will protect you.
SR. JO – Sounds familiar.
LT. REYES – What’s that again, Sister?
SR. JO – Nothing, lieutenant. I just said we are one big family.
in the oceans of war and hatred
there exist tiny islands
of peace and understanding that persist
they are flickers of a candle light
it takes one tiny candle
to destroy total darkness
imagine a thousand candles
mimicking the sunrise
ushering in hope and reconciliation
imagine a world of love
dominating a world of hate
coexistence conquering conflict
only each one of us together
can mimic that sunrise
we have that power if we know it
Lord, that we may be
instruments of Your love and peace
in a world on a tailspin


To inquire about or order the book, email the author.
The book has a collection of 49 inspiring anecdotes, mostly true to life. Send the book as a Christmas gift for only PHP500, courier cost included, to friends anywhere in the Philippines. Quick, no fuss, no shopping, remote control from your keyboard, cheap, a gift of priceless spiritual value.


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ten wisdoms excerpts11 Nov 2015 04:18 am

JOHN WAYNE gunslinger peacemaker


ten wisdoms 08

By Bernie Lopez
Excerpt from the book – Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer.
Anecdote 2 page 13.
This has been blogged before as a separate article.
This is an anecdote on the power of prayer, lifted from an old western movie starring John Wayne circa 1950s (title unknown, dialogue reconstructed, script changed a little bit). A professional gunslinger (John Wayne as Matthew Perry), known in the entire West as the fastest gun of his time, a known vicious killer, wanders into the farm of John and his wife Jane.


MATTHEW – What’s happening here? Your animals and plants are dying.
JOHN – Our greedy neighbor kept the water all for himself.
MATTHEW – So what are you doing about it?
JANE – We are praying for the neighbor so that he may share his water.
MATTHEW – (Laughing). You cannot do it through prayer. You have to fight him, use force.
JANE – I think prayer is more effective than guns.
MATTHEW – Not in my world, lady. I’ll prove it to you. Let me pay this guy a visit.
JANE – Please, no guns, Mister.
MATTHEW – Let me handle this my way, Ma’am.


The irritated Matthew gallops to the neighbor’s farm. He sees three men, one who seems to be the boss, Fred, the neighbor, and two burly assistants.)


MATTHEW – Hey, you got more water than you need. You better share your water.
FRED – What’s it to you? Who might you be?
MATTHEW – Name’s Matthew Perry.
Matthew sees from the corner of his eye the two assistants drawing guns.
FRED – You better get along, Mister. You’re not wanted here.
ASSISTANT – Boss, Matthew Perry. You don’t recall who he is?
FRED – Oh, THE Matthew Perry, fastest gun this side of the west?
MATTHEW – Yup, that’s me.
BOSS – How do we know you’re not just some cheap impostor?
One of the two assistants draws a gun. Matthew beats him to the draw, hitting the assistant’s gun, which flies off.


ASSISTANT – It’s him alright, boss. I reckon.
MATTHEW – You reckon late, mister. I could have wiped you out, you know.
FRED – (Inspecting the saddle of the gunman). It’s him alright. It says here “M.P.”
MATTHEW – May I suggest you share your water a bit with your neighbors. Seems like you have plenty to spare. Why don’t you remove one plank (pointing to the mini-dam).
FRED – Hey, come on you two. Do it!
MATTHEW – I think two planks would be better.
FRED – Yes sir, Mr. Perry. Hey guys, make it quick.(As two planks are removed, water flows instantly.)
MATTHEW – Would you like to come with me, sir? I want you to meet your neighbor.
FRED – Do I have a choice?
MATTHEW – No. Look, if you’re scared, bring your gunman along.
FRED – No need. (They go on horseback to the next farm.)
MATTHEW – (To John and Jane). This here’s your nice neighbor who is sharing his water with you. (To Fred), You have something to say to them, Mister?
FRED – I am sorry for being greedy. It is my pleasure to share water with you.
JOHN – Thanks.
FRED – You’re welcome.
JANE – No thanks to you. Thanks to him. (pointing to Matthew). Say, what you got there on your neck? I would say that’s a pretty nasty boil, am I right?
FRED – Yeah. Been bothering me for weeks now.
MATTHEW – Ever since you kept the water to yourself, I bet.
JANE – I can fix that. You better get down.(They head for the house. Jane treats the boil.)
FRED – Appreciate it. Quite neighborly of you. Feels better already.
JANE – When you give, you get double, you know. That’s how life is.
MATTHEW – And if you don’t give, you lose double. Know what I mean?
JANE – Oh, while you’re here, I have something for you. (She disappears into the house quickly and comes out with two baskets). This pudding is my specialty.
FRED – Mighty nice of you, Ma’am. (To Matthew). Thank you for the lesson in sharing.
MATTHEW – No problem.
FRED – Sir. Would you like to have a big steak at my place tonight? As a token of goodwill.
MATTHEW – Don’t mind if I do. I haven’t had steak for a long while. (To John and Jane). Do you see what I mean? You have to use force to get justice. You have to fight for your rights. Guns are better than prayers. They don’t do you any good.
JANE – On the contrary, you see, the Lord sent you to us to bring us water. The Lord did it. He made you do it for us because we prayed.
MATTHEW – You mean, prayers are better than my gun?
JANE – Of course, Mister. You used fear to get your way. I used kindness to draw out my neighbor’s kindness. Now we are assured of water even if you’re long gone. Kindness for kindness, not force for force. If you look for war, you get it. If you look for peace, you get it.
MATTHEW – Well, I’ll be damned.
JOHN – No, son, you’ll be blest. Go your way. The Lord is now with you.
FRED – Gunmen have strange ways.
JOHN – The Lord has even stranger ways, my friend.


Fred and Matthew disappear. John and Fred become the best of friends. Matthew would visit them often and relish the steak dinners. And the water flowed to the dozen farms downstream. And there was peace in the valley only because someone prayed and understood the power of prayer. And there was prosperity only because everyone shared.


To order the book, send email to 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 –
ten wisdoms excerpts15 Aug 2015 03:52 am


The Sunset Girl
As his vast empire lay at his feet, a tycoon ponders.
eastwind journals
By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
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in death, as in an ocean
all our slow or swift diminishments
flow out and merge towards the Lord
teilhard de chardin 
Terence is a self-made tycoon, from rags to riches. He is called by newspapers as “The Octopus,” head of a multi-billion conglomerate which has tentacles in almost everything from utilities to telecommunications, computers to cars, shampoo to ice cream. You name it, he owns it. He is feared by competition. He is in his sixties, gray-haired, quick-tempered, bossy, and vicious. He is called covertly in the office as “Hitler.” Everyone is scared of him.
His office has glass wall-window overlooking the west side of Midtown Manhattan. His desk is as large as a pool table, glass and chrome, with only one folder and a telephone on top, nothing else. He starts his day at 7 a.m. As the sun dips and turns red-orange across the Hudson River, he drops everything and begins to relax. For him, sunset is sacred. There is a knock at the door. 
TERENCE – Yes. Come in Lisa.
LISA – (Nervously). Sir, this is Therese, the new hire you requested.
TERENCE – Hi Therese. Welcome. Sit down. That will be all, Lisa. Thank you. (Lisa leaves. Therese sits without a word).
TERENCE – I have a bad name of being vicious. Deep inside, I am really vicious. It’s my nature. Don’t be afraid.
THERESE – I am not afraid. That’s a beautiful sunset.
TERENCE – You seem to be at home right away. I like that. Nobody is at home in this office when I am around. I am normally addressed as sir.
THERESE – Would you like a little exception?
TERENCE – (A bit shocked). Whoow. That’s good for a starter. And for what reason?
THERESE – It may be a good change of air for you. I mean, don’t you get tired of people at your feet? It’s about time you meet an equal.
TERENCE – Whoow. An equal. Wow. I could fire you right this minute for insolence. 
THERESE – (Calmly and with a smile). Go ahead. I can take it. You want me to go?
TERENCE – Whoow. This is getting better and better. You are interesting. How old are you?
THERESE – Nineteen. Believe me, it’s good to talk to an equal for a change.
TERENCE – And what is your position in this office?
THERESE – I was told I am the assistant to the third assistant Secretary. It’s my first day. I was told you hired me because you wanted a “sunset girl” to help you relax when the day is done. That’s an easy job. I like it. I have a talent in relaxing people. And I hate office work. That’s the reason I took this job.
TERENCE – And you call us equals, I a CEO, and you a what? Assistant to the third assistant Secretary?
THERESE – Yes. The only difference between us is you’re rich and I am not. That’s to your advantage. But your are old and I am young. That’s to my advantage. Pretty even, wouldn’t you say? We will both die one day. I might even die before you. Death is the absolute equalizer.
TERENCE – Yes, equalizer of beauty and ugliness, fame and infamy, wealth and poverty.
THERESE – Youth and old age, the powerful and the oppressed, the master and the slave, Terence and Therese.
TERENCE – And what is your secret in relaxing people.
THERESE – (Shrugging her shoulders). Oh, I don’t know. My smile, the way I talk. I’m just me.
TERENCE – (Leafing through her biodata). Hmmm. Summa cum laude, Boston U. Top of the class. Marine biology. You’re actually way off the mark, do you know that?
THERESE – Not really. I minored in Banking and Finance. You could use me. Aside from sunset duty, I am a genius in finance. Wanna try me?
TERENCE – I have a dozen seniors who can do finance while sleeping.
THERESE – Then let’s stick to the sunset.
TERENCE – I hired you because, first you’re at the top of your class, second, your personality test shows you’re an intellectual rebel. Good combination. I want a young bright kid I can talk to at the end of the day.
THERESE – About what precisely?
TERENCE – Oh I don’t know, anything. Corporate, business or even philosophy. I also need someone who is out-of-the-box, a non-corporate person, a tabula rasa. You know what tabula rasa means?
THERESE -Terence, may I call you Terence?
TERENCE – You already did.
THERESE – Terence, don’t insult me please. We just met. You said I was a summa, right? Why ask a stupid question. Tabula rasa. You want someone who is pure of heart, not tinted, not biased, no scars, right?
TERENCE – Bulls eye.
THERESE – You want an intellectual rebel. You’re tired of half of your VPs being intellectually subservient. You are basically surrounded by yes people, bright ones and not-so-bright ones.
TERENCE – There are a few brains here and there, but you’re right. Your first task is to tell me your first impression of me.
THERESE – I don’t think you are really an ass-hole. You’re not really vicious. You’re pretending to be most of the time. But for me, you’re failing miserably. Maybe you’re just insecure deep inside, which no one seems to have discerned.
TERENCE – Have you discerned it?
THERESE – I’m not sure. I feel your soft spot though. You try hard to hide it for fear it would be discovered. And that would make you feel naked. You did not mind my insolence. That’s the soft spot. And your soft spot is out of despair to talk to someone your equal. But then again maybe you are afraid of equals. It’s a complex mix. You are threatened by me when I said we are equals, and yet you welcome it.
TERENCE – Wait, you’re putting me on the defensive.
THERESE – Then don’t be. I think you sort of wanted a “sunset girl” with no scars for a good reason. You see, you know I’m not like your other secretaries and assistant secretaries because I don’t care. You have no hold on me. That’s a nice feeling for me, and for you also, isn’t it? You want me to defy you, I mean, for a change.
TERENCE – Do you feel my despair?
THERESE – Obvious from the minute I entered the room. So let me be your “sunset girl” for a week. If you don’t like it, fire me. If I don’t like it, I resign.
Therese stands up, goes to the wall, pushes a button, and a mini-bar appears. She puts brandy into two goblets and ice into two glasses, pours water, puts them on a tray, and places it on Terence’s table. She turns to him. 
THERESE – May I join you.
TERENCE – Stupid question. You brought two glasses.
THERESE – I know. Brandy. Iced water on the side.
TERENCE – Lisa told you?
THERESE – She is a good girl. Meticulous to your needs. Cheers.
Glasses clink. They both approach the window and look at lesser skyscrapers silhouetted against the now-deep-red horizon. Terence hands a pair of binoculars to Therese. Therese sees a seagull against the sunset. 
TERENCE – The sunset is sacred to me, you know.
THERESE – Same here.
TERENCE – I envy them. They are free to go anywhere.
THERESE – Yes, and we are not. Our survival mode requires sticking to solid earth. Our wings are different from theirs.
TERENCE – Let me pick your brain. Without showing you finance and market data, do you think I should buy Daily Globe? Let’s see what that tabula-rasa summa-cum-laude brain of yours says.
THERESE – What for? You have everything. It’s just to satisfy your greed. Oops, I don’t mean to be rude. I mean your ego. Oops, I mean your …. your …. (Pause). What the heck. Let’s not call a spade a clover. Let’s not be polite. Let’s lay our cards on the table. It’s your ego and greed, Terence. I am sorry to say. I mean, what do you want a newspaper for, to project your image? Power? Fame? Your image is over-projected already. I mean you were on the cover of Time Magazine three months ago, and Fortune Magazine four months before that. You’ve been on the covers, what, six times in the last what, four years?
TERENCE – Seven times. (Laughs uncontrollably). Now I feel good.
THERESE – You feel good being stripped bare by a teen from nowhere? Bare naked truth?
TERENCE – Yeah, feels good. I was right getting a sunset girl. So what do I do?
THERESE – Do you have to do anything? I mean can’t you stop? Stop acquiring. Stop merging. Stop this obsession for your empire. You’re busy but you’re bored. It has excited you  all your life, but not anymore. You are addicted to it, like morphine to a cancer patient. You need to detoxify. You need to go cold turkey.
TERENCE – If I drop everything, I will get bored.
THERESE – Not really, if you have some imagination.
TERENCE – You know we have been talking for 30 minutes and for the first time, you’re changing me, my life.
THERESE – Sunset girls do that.
TERENCE – This has been bothering me for a long time.
THERESE – I know. I read so many articles about you as soon as I got accepted here. I can see through you. You are naked to me, Terence. You better believe it. All this velvet under your feet is nothing to you.
TERENCE – I have seen three shrinks in the last two months.
Terence breaks down without shame, the Octopus, the Hitler sheds tears for the first time in a long long while. Therese gets the bottle of brandy and fills the two goblets to the brim. 
THERESE – Yup, that’s the first step. Tears. Very medicinal.
TERENCE – This is not the way to drink brandy, Therese.
THERESE – Sorry. I’m getting carried away. Okay okay. (She goes to the bar and pours tequila into two small glasses. They gulp it instantly). Shrinks can’t help you, Terence. You are opaque to these guys because they do not understand what makes you tick. They go through the motions of knowing you, but they don’t. They just want your money.
TERENCE – And you know what makes me tick.
THERESE – Yeah, I do. I felt it in my bones the moment I came in. That is why you don’t scare me. Now, maybe I scare you.
TERENCE – So what do I do, Therese? C’mon ‘sunset girl’.
THERESE – You won’t like what I will tell you.
TERENCE – For heaven’s sake.
THERESE – Okay. Can I put it straight?
TERENCE – Wait. More tequila.
THERESE – Now you’re talking.
She takes the bottle of tequila and fills the glasses. They are emptied instantly. She pours again. But just as Terence is about to have a second gulp, Therese pulls the glass away. 
THERESE – Wait wait wait. Here me out first.
TERENCE – Okay. What?
THERESE – Get rid of your empire. Give it away. That’s the only way you get out of your rut.
TERENCE – My empire a rut? You’re kidding.
THERESE – Yes, your empire a rut and you’re drowning in it. (There is silence. Terence yanks the glass from Therese and both down the tequila). I mean your sixty eight right? You’re in the pre-departure area. Tell me, have you ever thought you would die soon?
TERENCE – That’s what I have been telling these shrinks. And they would argue against it and I would hate them for being hypocrites. They just wanted to be paid. This has been haunting me for the last four years, the thought of death.
THERESE – You know, the late Steve Jobs said, “Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” He knew he was dying as his vast empire lay in front of him.
TERENCE –  And what is important?
THERESE – I don’t know. You tell me. Maybe Steve was trying to say, what good is your empire when you can’t take it with you. Sell half of it. Give it way to whom-ever. Do you believe in God?
TERENCE – I do. I do.
THERESE – You should, if you’re in the pre-departure area. You know there is this Jesuit saint, Francis Xavier, who said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but suffers the loss of his immortal soul?”
TERENCE – I was thinking of that actually, burning my empire, but I would not dare. I’m no Nero. And what would I do after?
THERESE – Not burn, give away. Two key words, Terence  – ‘profit’ and ‘immortal’. St. Francis puts it in corporate jargon, profit. And he compares your puny finite empire to the infinity of your immortal soul.
TERENCE – Coming from my “sunset girl,” I have just made a decision. Thank you, Therese. Maybe I can put up a foundation to rescue the homeless, give them back their mortgaged houses, how about that? (Therese pours more tequila. They down it in two seconds.)
THERESE – Anything, as long as it’s not for you. It has to be for others. That’s the secret. Are you up to saying a prayer with me? (Without a word, the tycoon falls to his knees in all humility, facing the sunset.) No, no. Don’t kneel. Slouch in your chair and swing it to the sunset. Relax. (Terence does so obediently like a child.) Okay, now, I will pray for both of us. Just sit there and listen. (Pause) Lord, teach us, Terence and me, how to give to others. Especially Terence, Lord, since he has so much to give.
TERENCE – Go on, go on.
THERESE – Done. Finished. Amen. You don’t have to elaborate. He knows. I have to go. It’s late, and I feel whoozy.
TERENCE – (With eyes closed.) Amen. Thank you Lord, for this angel you brought me.

THERESE – Another thing, Terence. How many people have you cheated to get to the top.

TERENCE – Are you accusing me of being a cheat?

THERESE – No. I am asking. Answer me.

TERENCE – Of course not. I mean, a few rare instances here and there.

THERESE – Out with it, Terence.

TERENCE – Okay, okay, some.

THERESE – Make a list. Write down whom you have cheated, as far as you can remember.

TERENCE – I can’t remember.

THERESE – You mean you won’t remember.

TERENCE – Okay, I will do it.

THERESE – That’s your ticket to heaven, you know. Not a stone will be left unturned. He knows. You have to give retribution. Every penny.

TERENCE – Plus interest?

THERESE – There you go. I feel whoozy.
TERENCE – Can I take you home?
THERESE – No, no. I live three blocks away.
TERENCE – But you feel whoozy.
THERESE – (Pouring more tequila). I want to walk home after this warm talk with you. I want to feel the cold biting wind on my skin. I enjoyed it terribly. For the road? (They empty the glasses.)
TERENCE – I will see you tomorrow at sunset?
THERESE – I don’t know. You don’t need me anymore. I gave you your sunset, right?
TERENCE – But you have to help me plan to give my empire away.
THERESE – He will help you. He’s good at that. Just don’t forget to ask Him. I am not good at that. Bye. (She heads for the door.)
TERENCE – Wait, wait. Just in case you don’t come back, here take this.
Terence has a hard time writing the cheque. He has to tear the cheques the first two tries. Finally, he hands a crumpled cheque to Therese. Therese pockets the cheque without looking. 
TERENCE – Read the cheque, damn it.
THERESE – (Stops at the door and reads it). You’re kidding. I can’t take this.
Therese throws the cheque to the floor. Terence, totally drunk, picks it up, and as he rises, his nose passes two inches from the cleavage of Therese, who backs away a bit.
TERENCE – Ooops. Don’t worry. I’ve never been accused of sexual harassment. I will do this with extreme dexterity. Look, no touch.
Terence pulls on her plunging neckline and inserts the cheque into her cleavage without touching her skin. Just as drunk, Therese staggers. 
THERESE – My my, such dexterity.
TERENCE – You’re doing me a favor. Take the damn cheque.
THERESE – (Sobs uncontrollably, and leaves). I won’t be back.
TERENCE – Hell, drop in sometime?
THERESE – Maybe.
With the money, Therese bought a modest beach house in Long Island and a second hand Benz. She bought a second house for her sister to take care of their sick mother in Cape Cod, where she grew up. Terence was envious and bought a beach house one block from Therese’s in Long Island. Terence drops by Therese’s beach house. 
THERESE – Are you following me?
TERENCE – Nope. I’m following Him.
THERESE – Oh. How nice. So we’re both headed His way. All paths lead to Him, no matter how crooked.
TERENCE – You know what? I made the list.
THERESE – A long one?
TERENCE – A bit. I didn’t know there were so many.
THERESE – Perhaps because it became a habit.
TERENCE – Its hard tracing where they are and how much.
THERESE – Give them triple of the how-much, no problem. If you can’t trace them, give it to street kids. Put up a soup kitchen for derelicts in the Bowery.
TERENCE – Or a half-way house for them for winter, a big one, right?
THERESE – There you go.
TERENCE – You know what?
TERENCE – You are, to me, the promised kiss of springtime.
THERESE – Shut up.
Of course, their houses were facing west. They would watch the sunset often in silence, not a word. That was how they prayed together. Slowly, the corporate empire shrunk, and a new empire loomed at the horizon, bigger and more awesome. Therese died at the age of 22, and Terence had to stay behind as there was a lot to give away. He died at the age of 89. 
The opposite of pride is humility. Humility, like forgiveness, heals. Pride, like hate, consumes. Therese was a humbling experience for Terence. All his pride, arrogance, and viciousness melted at the hands of the teen who stripped him naked. Who would ever believe a young teenager would, in the blink of an eye, convince a hardened tycoon to squander a multi-billion dollar empire. Therese was the cool breeze in Terence’s desert empire, the promised kiss of his springtime.
send email to author at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Another book by the same author –
WINGS AND WANDERLUST the art of discovering your inner self
Read some excerpts first at –




ten wisdoms excerpts25 Jul 2015 10:35 pm


A True Story
ten wisdoms 06


By Bernie Lopez
Excerpt from the book – Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer.
Chapter 8 “And Forgive Us Our Sins”.
This has been blogged before as a separate article.


This anecdote is inspired by a true story, as told to the author by the coach himself of the Ateneo High School Varsity team. Dialogue has been reconstructed. It is a story of pride and humility.
chapter 8 on forgiveness teaches us
that when someone elbows you
and you smile in return
it is a powerful game changer
beyond your imagination


Tony (not his real name) was the basketball coach when the Ateneo High School Varsity won the championship. Now, he has shifted his attention from rich kids to squatter kids. He left Ateneo and taught in an unknown public school.


As he watches the squatter teens play on a dirt court, he sees how tough they are and how fantastic their raw talents are, crude but intuitive and with quick reflex. He sees their passion and skill. But he thinks it will be a waste if they do not have focus and spirit. To Tony, to be a champ, a basketball team has to be ‘spiritualized’. Morale fiber is the key ingredient of champions. He approaches their leader Bobby.


TONY – Hey, Bobby, help me get your friends into the basketball team.
BOBBY – They’re not interested. They play only to enjoy. Then they hang out at the billiard hall.
TONY – But the gang wars begin there.
BOBBY – I know. I keep telling them that’s a dead-end, but they just shrug their shoulders. They don’t care.
TONY – Tell you what. I buy you guys sneakers.
BOBBY – Really? Do we choose what sneakers we buy?
TONY – Sure, why not, as long as it’s within my budget.
BOBBY – No, you get the budget, we choose the brand. That way you get your team.
TONY – (Hesitating). Okay, deal.


The gang wants only one brand of sneakers, the expensive kind beyond the reach of Tony’s budget. He goes to Ateneo and talks to the varsity team, his former players, to get some help.


TONY – Hey guys, I need sneakers for my basketball team, ten squatter kids.
JOEY – Squatter kids? Wow. Nice. Can we play with them?
TONY – No, no. They’re amateurs. They’re not in your league. You’ll beat them black-and blue.
RESTI – You were our best varsity coach. You made us champions, remember?
TONY – Yeah but these kids are different. They drink a lot … troublesome … hopeless.
JOEY – We also drink a lot. Hey guys, can a good coach make players out of squatter kids? (Everyone says yes in unison.)
RESTI – Okay, coach, tell you what. We buy them shoes on one condition. When you’ve trained them, we play with them.


Everyone screams with approval. Before Tony can reply, donations pour in. These are rich kids. Resti collects and gives a thick wad of bills to Tony after counting it.


RESTI – Okay, that’s thirty two thousand.
JOEY – Here’s another sixty from me. Buy them uniforms. (He writes a cheque. Everyone boos).
TONY – Hey guys, this is too much. I can’t take these.
RESTI – That’s the challenge, coach. You make champions out of these kids the way you did for us. And the only way to prove they’re champions is for them to beat us. Right guys? (Everyone jeers with approval.)
TONY – I am not sure.
RESTI – Aw c’mon. Prove to us you haven’t lost your touch. Challenge the champion, coach, only way to go. And take the money. (Everyone screams).
TONY – Okay, challenge the champion, guys. Give me a year.
JOEY – Take two years. Take forever. (More jeers). Tell you what. If they beat us, we give you double, a cool hundred thousand, for the kids, not for you. Is that alright guys? (More jeers showing their approval).
RESTI – Squatter kids beating us? That’ll be the day.


Tony goes back to the squatter kids at the dirt court. He tells them they will get ten thousand each if they beat the Ateneo varsity. They are silent, hesitant, thinking Goliath is invincible. But the money makes them drool. They agree. They meet for practice at the dirt court.


TONY – Why are you all wearing beach sandals?
BOBBY – The sneakers are for parties and weddings. We don’t wear them for basketball.
TONY – What? I got you sneakers to play basketball.
BOBBY – We play better with slippers. Jessie and Loy play barefoot. They can’t play with slippers.
TONY – (Moaning). So I suppose, you also don’t want uniforms?
BOBBY – No need. Just give us the money.


Realizing how the pocket is connected to the heart, Tony gives in. He gets his squatter team all fired up. Not a single absence in six months. They work hard. Inspite of the slippers, Tony is euphoric. He can see the change in them. It is not just basketball. It is something deeper in their hearts, the spiritual factor. Tony does not care if they lose the game. This sudden spiritual transformation is all he wants.


TONY – I think you guys can beat Ateneo, but it is the attitude that worries me? What do you think of these Ateneans?
JESSIE – Well, they are champions.
TONY – That’s what I mean. You have to remove that from your minds. They are equals. They are not champions, not Ateneans, just players.
LOY – They are rich kids with cars. We’re poor squatters. They are educated, we are not.
TONY – So what? Does that matter? Are you be afraid to face them? (Silence). They will intimidate you. Can you look at them as equals eye ball to eye ball, even just on the court? That’s all I ask.
BOBBY – We will try. Guys, you heard the coach, okay? (Everyone groans).
TONY – Loy, stay behind.


When everyone is gone, Tony supervises Loy on 3-point shots until it was dark. He puts in 4 to 5 out of 10 shots. Twice a week, Tony supervises Loy on 3-pointers for 3 hours. Loy starts to squirm and complain. But Tony finds his weakness. When he treats Loy to fried chicken and rice, he says it is his first time to eat in a restaurant. From then on, it is fried chicken after practice. Loy never misses practice. In 2 weeks, he is making 9 to 10 out of 10 3-pointers.


LOY – Coach, I notice a change in everyone. I’ve never seen them all so happy. It is as if we’ve discovered something worth fighting for. Suddenly, life is no longer absurd or boring.
TONY – (Putting an arm around Loy). Yup, way to go, Loy.


The dreaded game with Ateneo comes. The squatter kids, shoeless and shirtless, face an Ateneo team in full battle gear – blue uniforms, air-cushioned rubber shoes. Problem no. 1 is they are used to sliding on sandy dirt court. They keep tripping on the sticky wooden floor of the Blue Eagle Gym. Ateneo is piling up a lead. During a time out …


BOBBY – It’s no good, coach. We are slowed down by the rubber slippers.
TONY – Jessie, how are you managing barefoot?
JESSIE – No problem, coach. Wood is like cushion if you are used to dirt ground.
TONY – Okay, everybody, play barefoot.


The entire team plays barefoot. Problem no. 1 is solved. Problem no. 2 is self-confidence and inferiority complex. Poor kids can never think of themselves as equal of rich kids. During a time out, Bobby complains how the Ateneans were laughing at their bare feet.


TONY – It’s a psyche war. If you react, they win psychologically. Just don’t show you’re pissed off. Smile to show it’s not affecting you. Concentrate on making points. Pass to Loy for 3- pointers. And listen, guys. Be aware of each of the four other players on the court, whom to pass to, who can make a rebound. That’s how champion teams are made. (The team gives a hoot).


Loy’s long hours of practices pays off. He makes 4 consecutive 3-pointers, reducing Ateneo’s lead to 4 points. After that, the Ateneans stopped laughing at them. This boostd the confidence of the squatter kids. They can beat Goliath if they want to. Problem no. 2 is solved. Loy is now double-guarded, so he starts passing to Jessie or Bobby deep in the goal area, who takes over making points. The squatter kids are now leading by 5. The toughness of squatter kids in their poverty amazes the Ateneans.
Problem no. 3 is avoiding a brawl. When they started losing, the Ateneans resort to rough tactics. When Loy has a hard fall after being elbowed, he stands up, and limps away as if nothing happened. A poor kid will challenge a rich kid in private, but never in public. Also, poor kids are too afraid to have a fist fight with rich kids. The Ateneans are shocked. They want Loy to fight back, but he just smiles. The rough tactics continue to the end, but it is not working. Problem no. 3 is solved. The Ateneans finally lose by 2 points. Trained in sportsmanship, they went over to the squatter kids and shook their hands.


The game taught the poor kids self-confidence, and the rich kids humility. They began to understand the meaning of the Ateneo Spirit. It also bridged the gap between rich and poor. They played more games and became close friends. One would win, then the other. The Ateneans wanted the shame of the first defeat to squatter kids kept secret. But when they became friends, they did not care. They were proud of their new friends. The Ateneo team was sharpened by the squatter kids and remained champions in the UAAP for two more years. The squatter kids attended all their games, wanting to play in the UAAP someday. Loy was recruited into the Ateneo team on scholarship.

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 –

in any game never play not to lose

always play to win
reach for the stars
too much effort you miss the shot
no effort you make the shot
spiritual transformation
is found in dim corners and bright places
they bridge the chasm among people
rich or poor, in quiet woods or noisy traffic
you just have to find a tiny open window
then the doors slam wide open
because the human spirit is boundless






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