Marching bands are a symbol of celebration. You welcome a hero with a marching band. You welcome a winning team with a marching band. You celebrate winning with a marching band.
Have you ever been part of a marching band?
The last time I was part of a marching band was marching to the cemetery to the burial of my papa.
My father was gunned down in the middle of a crowded street in one of the most dangerous place on earth — Tondo, Manila Philippines. Ironically, this poverty-stricken place is the same location that moulded him to be the man he was. A loving father, an enforcer of the law, and a problem solver. I am sure he was a lot of good and bad things to others, but to me, he’s a legend.
I remember feeling like my heart crushed into a million thousand pieces as my mum told me that my dad is gone.
That was 19 years ago. I was 14 years old.
I still remember every detail of that day and the later days that came after the news.
In Filipino tradition, we mourn to the dead for a certain number of days. It meant never leaving the body of the dead for days and nights. There will be prayers throughout this period, there were songs, there were stories, food, and even games. It was a ritual that I suppose looking back now did two things: it celebrated his life, and allowed all his loved ones to come to terms with their loss.
So under a make-shift chapel in Tondo,Manila. Next to the train tracks, surrounded by cardboard houses, and joined by the hustlers and poorest of the poor of Tondo, in a place he loved, in a place where he took his last breath — we mourned for my dad.
It was beautiful.
A marching band led his coffin to the nearest cemetery as we walked behind the car that carried his body. I remember having mixed feelings about the marching band who was playing lively music in the background. Why play this music on this heartbreakingly difficult time of my life?
19 years later I learned why the marching band was playing.
It was there to celebrate my dad’s life. To celebrate the goodness and the love he brought to the world.
Today, I’m reminded of this marching band in my little place in this world.
As I sit in my corporate desk living a 9 to 5 life. I think to myself that I also want a marching band. But I don’t want to wait till I’m gone to celebrate my life, my goodness, and my love. I want to celebrate it with people in my life NOW.
Wouldn’t it be great to walk the street or enter a room with your very own grand marching band leading the way?
Wouldn’t that change your beliefs in your abilities and outlook on life?
What if you no longer wait for your friends, your boss, your parents, your loved ones to join your marching band?
What if instead you lead you own marching band?
It would mean backing yourself up.
It would mean believing in yourself.
It would mean putting yourself out there.
It would say you are unstoppable.
Life is full of heartaches and misery. But it is also full of love, and chances. It’s too much of a shame to wait till the end till you show this world what you are made of.
You are worth a stadium full of marching bands.
But first, you have to believe and take the lead.
Originally published at medium.com