Beneath the Same Sheltering Sky
Remarks delivered on April 7, 2002 at the closing of the Cursillo Men’s Weekend #40 at Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary Church, Lexington KY
The sun shines bright red over the horizon as dawn dissolves the surrounding darkness. Slowly, like pigments being smeared together, stains of purple fade into maroon, then orange, then pink, till the palest blue emerges and scatters all over the dome of the sky. Again, the miracle of morning unfolds.
I remember witnessing this same miracle many, many mornings before with my father. He would wake me up early and we would ride on his bicycle to the bridge over Cutud. There we would hold vigil for the gentle rising of the sun behind the lofty lonely summit of Arayat. I would watch in that twilight the water buffalo wade through the golden fields of ripening rice. Behind him walked the farmer singing an ancient kundiman to his beloved, while crickets and cicadas hummed their own little ditties.
But, there is no Arayat summit before me here. Instead, I have the day breaking from behind the indigo-shadowed Appalachian range. I watch the thoroughbreds graze on the bluegrass-blanketed hills as the robins chirp away in the shade of the elms. In the distance, an old man plays his fiddle while his young companion wails the loss of his wife, his dog, and his automobile.
I close my eyes as I stand here, a stranger in a strange land. I know that my feet do not rest on the soft, pliant earth of my homeland, yet I find my heart and my soul truly at rest. Yes, this mountain rock may be unmarked by the hooves of the damulag and unwatered by monsoon rains. Still, I stand here, my feet now rooted to this foreign soil, basking beneath the same sheltering sky.