The title caught my eyes, Loving Through Heartsongs. I found it in my forays at the bookshop at Metro East Mall. Yes, hubby, my daughter and I went back to the place after the 9am mass last Sunday to buy some groceries. What a perfect time to visit Booksale again, after having been there last Friday.
I never heard of Mattie J.T. Stepanek before but the short write-up about him says that he has been writing poetry and short stories since the age of three. He has actually published five books all entitled Heartsongs. It is disheartening to learn though that he died before his 14th birthday last June 2004 but he left a legacy – reflections about life, loving, illness, death, family, country and most of all faith in God. I was so moved while reading his poems that I cried. His idea of happiness is clearly depicted in one of his poems simply called About Happiness.
Happiness is traveling.
Not really “me” traveling.
But my Heartsongs traveling.
When the songs in my heart
Travel out and around the world
In the things that I say and
In the poems and stories that I write
And in the prayers that I feel to God,
And when the letters and words
Of those Heartsongs bring some
Peace to the countries and people
Who have war in their lives,
That is real happiness
He struggled with a rare form of muscular dystrophy which also claimed the life of his three siblings. I think this was his last book in the Heartsong series. The selections were divided into “Finding Love From Lessons”, “Witnessing Love inCreation”, “Sharing Love Through People”, Keeping Love Amid Challenges”, and Learning Love for the Future”. It’s love everywhere for this young poet who shared himself to the world through his poems. In his poem Gift-Rapt, he has this to say: “Let us think gently, speak gently, live gently….and the world may be blessed gently with the greatest gift of all…Faith.” So true, when everything fails, it is our faith in God that will carry us through. I remember my own struggles being a cancer patient. “It is truly impossible to learn nothing when you believe”, because life is a constant learning experience, it teaches us lessons that decide how strong we are when confronted by and faced with situation that is beyond our control. He is matured beyond his years. And here is what he says About Promises:
Of some life.
Some people are not good at keeping promises. These lines somehow remind me of our present political situation. I don’t want to explore this much-hyped scenario, that is why I seldom blog about politics. We should learn a lesson from this 13-year-old. He surely has too much love in his heart and sincerity in his soul to be able to write passionately about life, sharing his thoughts, reaching out to people belonging to an older generation like us.
Kudos Mattie, I am inspired discovering your poems.
Photos courtesy of Mix 107.3/WRQX-ABC Radio.