I was blessed to have met this man at an Amoris Laetitia talk in Don Bosco Center of Studies of Father Francis Gustilo. The focus was on families caring for people and children with special needs. There I met Ernie Gawilan. Ernie is a paralympic swimmer from Davao. During the talk, he cheerfully retells the story of how he was born with underdeveloped limbs because of an abortion attempt. And to top it off, his father left him, and his mother got sick of cholera leaving him helpless. Eventually, his grandfather took care of him afterwards he was orphaned.
Such a life would have hindered others not to fully live through all that difficulties. But not Ernie. He never gives up. Nevertheless, his handicap has not stopped him from joining the Paralympics. After the talk, we all went to the pool area at Don Bosco Seminary, and for the very first time, I have witnessed how fast he swims. In a second, he was already halfway the people.
I encourage those having challenges right now, or anyone who has a similar situation with Ernie. At first, it may seem hopeless and unfair. However, I believe that such challenges are actually blessings in disguise. Maybe you just have to find what your purpose in life is through them. Maybe you just need to put on rose colored glasses and e take a look closer at the hidden blessing of your situation, whatever that maybe. What are the lessons that you need to learn because of them?
Ernie Gawilan News Clip courtesy of GMA NEWS
Ernie Gawilan Biography from Wikipedia
Straitstimes.com Photo of Ernie Gawilan