The lingering sleepiness on this particular Sunday was warded off by the topic of Jordan’s “Perfect Rhythm” radio program: Given Grace Cebanico. The program was only 30 minutes long but it effectively summed up the life of Given Grace, not as a student, not as a daughter, but a faithful servant of God.
It is quite disappointing that much of the details of the last few hours of her life were distorted by the media and the eternal evil of gossip. Jordan shared that she actually came from a night-long preparation of a school-related work and not from a party as is known by some of my acquaintances. And I myself, despite not knowing her personally, could not imagine her partying the night away like that given the hectic schedules of the last few days of the semester in UPLB. She could have only been working on school stuff. Unfortunately, yes, quite unfortunately, that she became the target of those beasts who took the form of drug-pumped suspects.
Jordan played Given Grace’s favorite songs and on the last part of the program, Given Grace’s rendition of a Christian song. It is quite reassuring, despite the brutality of her death, that she is now in peace with her God, away from the ugliness of her departure. At least on that extent, the people who love her are appeased. And on this mortal existence, it is also relieving to know that Given Grace’s killers were promptly arrested before her funeral. Justice was initially given to Given. But I know that Justice will soon tighten her grip and resolve for the punishment of the suspects.
For her fellow Christians, the reigning question as Jordan aptly put it is: “Why her?” But not one can really answer that. Misfortune falls to the good and evil alike. And that is one hard fact that we should all remember.
The reason I allude to this time as post-Given Grace period (much like post-WWII period, etc.) is that it is undeniable that most of us, Filipinos, have been moved by her death. For death, when it comes to a most senseless form, can really move a person’s heart. And especially on Given’s case for she could have achieved more if she have only lived longer. Which makes me wonder if our lives have been moving towards some higher call, towards a life that has a purpose. Given Grace found her purpose in God and she died embracing such purpose. If her death would lead others to approach the God who gave her life’s purpose, then I believe Given Grace did not die in vain.
* Photo provided to Pransisem by Marlon Jaurigue, an orgmate of Given Grace in Young Software Engineers’ Society, UP Los Baños