One Dollar Ring

I got a ring today. A new wedding ring? A graduation ring? A championship ring? No, no, and no.

I was seeing patients in our outreach clinic when I noticed that one patient was wearing a one dollar ring on his finger. I don’t mean that the price of the ring was $1. Or yes it was. What I really mean is that it was a one-dollar bill that was folded into a ring.

Origami is the art of paper folding. It is often associated with the Japanese culture. This form of art is not just for the kids but it has some serious following. In fact even NASA engineers are studying origami to help design their future satellites, shuttles and other structures that can fold and unfold in space. This simple art has become rocket science.

A couple of weeks ago while we were in church, my son folded the church’s paper bulletin (while listening to the sermon I hope) and fashioned it into a wrist watch. It looks like an Apple watch actually. A little boy who was sitting beside us, probably aged 4 or 5, saw and admired it. My son gave his paper watch to him and that made the little boy happy.

I also saw my son folded a one-dollar bill and fashioned it into a bow tie before. But he has not wear it outside. Definitely not in church. I don’t think his mom will let him.

Back to my clinic patient, it was unusual to have a grown up man to be wearing a paper jewelry, I thought. Maybe it was his fashion statement. So I asked him about it and he just said that it was simply his hobby.

He then took the paper ring off his finger and gave it to me. I don’t really want to get his ring, but he insisted.

Well, I can say that I was paid $1 today for my service.

My $1 ring

Impossible Dream

There was excitement in the room. The anticipation for the announcement of the seven chosen people for the special task was electrifying the mood.

Packing the room were top students from different schools. They were the cream of the crop (not crap), you would say. They have been preparing most of their lives for a chance of a lifetime to be picked for a mission like this.

I was in that room.

Finally the selection committee entered the room. The chattering inside the room suddenly died down. It was so quiet, I can hear my own breathing.

The first name that was called was a boy who was popular and well-respected by all of us. He was even-keeled and well-mannered. He had the traits of a good leader. He always greets me, calling me by my last name, whenever we meet. Him being chosen was not a surprise at all.

Then the second name was called. He came from my school. He was a kind of odd kid, not much of a conformer by the way he thinks. But I would say that he had some gleams of brilliance once in a while.

The third one that was called was someone who I really don’t know, except that she was a girl. She looks geeky to me. But maybe she was really intelligent, and that’s why she deserved to be chosen.

The next thing I heard was my name. My name! I can’t believe it! I was chosen!

Three more names were called after mine, but I was too excited that I did not pay attention to who they were. What was important is, I was among these selected few.

We were then asked to come to the front of the room – the chosen ones. As we stood there and were being introduced to the rest of the group, and the world, my mind was whirling and my thoughts were racing. All my efforts and hard work were paying off. Finally my dream was coming true.

While my eyes were welling up I gave a celebratory hug to the other chosen student standing next to me. It was the geeky girl. I whispered to her, “we are going to the moon.”

Yes, that was what we were chosen for. A mission to the moon……

Suddenly I woke up.

Nooooooo! Don’t tell me it was all a dream!

It was so vivid. I was caught up with all the excitement. The emotions. The euphoria. The feeling of triumph. How could it be a dream? It felt so real!

I was disappointed that it was just a dream.

Dreams they say reflects our pent-up emotions and our unrealized aspirations. It subconsciously shows our inner yearnings. Somehow they project our passions and fantasies.

However, I don’t think I particularly wished to be an astronaut or dreamed to go to the moon when I was a boy growing up in Manila. Besides, the Philippines has no space program like NASA. The closest we can get to are the crater-size potholes in our streets that mimic the moon surface. Though I know that there are Filipinos (past and current) in NASA.

Does my dream had any significance? Do I have dreams that have not been fulfilled yet? Does it mean that my ambitions are unreachable like the moon?

Shortly-before-dawn-a-red-rimmed-moon-helps-to-light-the-way-for-the-Space-Shuttle-Atlantis-as-it-rolls-out-to-Launch-Pad-39A-in-preparation-for-launch-of-Mission-STS-86

After waking up, it took me a few seconds to figure out where I was and who I am in this “current and real” life: I was in my bed, in my home here in Iowa. My wife was sleeping beside me, and my kids were in the nearby bedrooms.

I looked at the clock. It was 5:30 in the morning. I slowly got out of bed and gazed outside our bedroom window. It was still dark, but the full moon was bright and bathing softly the surrounding with its glow.

As I stare at the moon, I reflected on my childhood dreams. Then I realized, as the truth sank in – I have already gone to the moon.

(*photo from NASA)