This is Shirley Cheng's 1st place winning entry in the national writing contest, Be the Star You Are! founded by New York Times bestselling author, radio/TV personality Cynthia Brian. The essay is about Shirley's beloved mother Juliet Cheng, the cornerstone and light of her life, and it was written with much love. Winning the writing contest garnered Shirley a third appearance on Be the Star You Are! radio show on January 11, 2006, and the interview can be heard at http://www.ideocast.com/archive.asp?aid=5870
Heavenly Father bestowed the most precious jewel upon me on the day my life began. This treasure has shone endless light upon me, bringing unconditional love, unwavering support, overflowing happiness, and softest serenity to my life. I have never felt empty or alone, as I know the gem has me wrapped in its warm blanket, protecting me from the darkest corners of the world. Although twenty-two years have flown by, battling through wind and storms, its sublimity is undaunted, and not a speck of dust has ruined its beauty. It continues to shimmer, not flinching away from any dirt or mud. I always have it near me; if it is physically away, it is always locked safely in my heart.
That diamond is my beloved mother, Juliet Cheng, a beautiful woman in every sense of the word. When she smiles, the world lights up alongside her. When she cries, the days seem to dim in sorrow. Together, my mother and I have shared laughter and tears; the best of times and the worst of times. We have fought as a team with our swords of justice. We have conquered fiery oceans and thorny jungles and come out with stars in our arms. She has climbed all the high mountains with me, supporting and encouraging me every step of the way. She has carried me on dangerous roads and saved my life numerous times from the grasp of death. I would have been long gone if it has not been for her invincible stamina and courage to fight for my life to the very end until she wins.
My mother has done all this while battling her own horrendous illnesses. But she keeps on moving forward, never abandoning me or faltering in any way. Her light shines ever so brighter, never dimming as the years pass us by. She does everything in her power to keep me well and happy. Her love for me is "higher than the sky and deeper than the ocean." With her love always within me, I feel all the wonders of sensations. I am a billionaire even though my pockets are empty. I have all the riches in the world: love, happiness, peace, security, and support. What more is there to life than those pearls of the universe? She gives me all of those treasures without expecting anything in return. She is my life, and I give her all I can offer--my love, heart, and soul.
She is as gentle as a summer's breeze, but the lioness in her jumps out when she defends and protects me from the harshness of the world. Her wit is as sharp as a sword, and she is unafraid to use it against injustice whenever it tries to harm me. Not only is she a protector of mine--she embraces everyone, but the world has not always returned her hugs. Nevertheless, she remains a lover, never being sour with anyone.
No one is able to separate us. They may separate us physically (and no doubt the world had tried very hard several times), but we could never be spiritually separated. We live within each other's hearts; we could be oceans away, but we would still be near to each other. She calls me her star, and I, too, call her my star. We are binary stars, ever revolving around each other, never drifting apart. She will never be absent of her fiery glow, and I will forever shine by her side. As long as there is life, there will be her love and mine.
Shirley Cheng (b.1983), a blind and physically disabled author and poet of three books by age twenty (including The Revelation of a Star's Endless Shine), has severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since eleven months old, and received no education until age eleven. After a successful eye surgery, She hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University.