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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chapter 2 - The Journey

Chapter 2

The Journey

                What a journey it has been for Nong Clioneo. Life was like one hell rollercoaster ride full of ups and down but elated having survived unscathed albeit all the blues met coming his way.
                 “For as long as you’re holding on to your sanity, have sound moral persuasion and maintain consistent integrity and identity, you’ll survive. As every mile starts with a single step similarly everything starts with the family. How could you give that which you don’t have in the first place? Thus, discipline, industry and above all love of God – should be manifested at home,” he recalled strong principles openly enunciated by his father reminiscing the thought  playing around gazing through cluster of blue clouds below  forming into pleasant  kaleidoscope  seen through airplane’s glass window.
                 In this journey has been Illa Crispe who in all his travel was there providing the necessary lift  needed. Their mutual trust, respect  and cooperation enabled them to survive every twists and turns of event life gives standing triumphant amid hardships and difficulties. The harder and difficult the road the better and greater the challenge to travel, they both agree. As Desiderata would say: just be true to yourself. Don’t faint affection. Be humble as humility is the precondition of all other virtues and you’ll never lose your way.
                  Never mind  all harassments in  whatever forms they come your way. They are temporary and would soon die too their natural death. Take  them one at a time in stride for once you pass them, they are  all considered  life’s badges of honor. In a way then, there are no failures in life as setbacks are merely tools you have to use towards fulfillment and liberation. Yes, indeed failures are our best teachers. They are success turned upside down. Face your fears, Nike’s ad clarifies. Once you conquered it, what is  there left  to fear anyway! Face them as they come but don’t force the issue when you can’t manage. Treat them as challenge instead and find your way around how to handle it. Just be passionate and stop only when you finally feel you can’t take the weight of the world anymore, exhausted exploiting all what you’ve got succeeding and convinced you have already delivered your best shot.. As much as possible, never leave your accomplishment without any imprint of standard  stamping your identity and character..  Your mark of excellence is such very important imprint  in the end defining the trademark of your name you’ll carry all the way to the grave, he learned getting the wisdom from Best Seller  life guru Og Mandino.  Remember the dictum: “Where the heart is willing it will find thousand means. But where the heart is unwilling, it will find not just thousand, but millions of excuses,” recalling the quotation from a bookstore. The book of Psalm is even more emphatic. “ Where your heart is, there’s your happiness also,” the thought playing in  his mind!
                 Just do it anyway and put your trust to Him and He will be there to protect you. Precaution and prudence though should be observed  though when you translate that to human trust or you’ll be in big trouble.
                  One  such instance was when his service as pump boat operator was hired by three young men  allegedly on very important mission – ferrying them to Tipisan  to be in one of his passengers wife’s side who would be delivering a baby. The request no would refused. The incident however turned out  a disaster when military men in uniform swooped  over  them cordoned  them off instead before their pump boat could reached the shoreline early evening from a tip of an asset. Before long, they were hogtied, blind folded and forcibly dropped in a van and brought to a far secluded place. Hell broke loose as systematic torture was administered in the ensuing interrogation. San Juanico Bridge, electrocution of genitals, Russian roulette, rag stuffed into their mouths,  eating of human waste and all that were administered as interviews were conducted one after the other. Deprived of food for many days, one of his passengers finally spilled out the beans – they were on the mission of collecting revolutionary taxes in the area! It was all Nong Clioneo gathered as he never heard their voices  again.  
                 The experience was one hell of a ride for survival dancing gingerly with death. It was tough,  absurd, infernal and just one step before  an end. Losing almost his senses, the ordeal was complete package allowing him to save recovering his comprehension just on time before he thought was his end. He never knew the interrogators, place and circumstances of the event as if constituting an episode, a portent of doom probably to come he was unaware of. Freedom only came as he finally saw daylight when he took off the blind fold upon instruction from those who abducted him on  the count off of  ten in the same seashore he was hired just few meters from his makeshift fish port, few meters away from his residence!

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                  Excesses of on-going hostility? This is it, a perfect example how innocent persons caught on cross fires not of their own making are sacrificed. Truth is  indeed the first casualty in war. Who suffers most anyway in any civil strife? Not the military or their perceived enemies but civilians. The statistics in two World Wars and those fought against Terrorism until today vouched the validity of that claim. Displaced civilians, innocent children, orphaned sons and daughters – these are some of the prize paid and the irony of it all, division still thrives giving credence to what then PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat would later wailed griping  “it is easier  waging war than forging peace.” That in the context of long-drawn battle between the Israel and Palestine. But even then its spill-over of atrocity in different parts of the  country is similar. As Ninoy Aquino would say it all later: “In war there are no victors, only victims,” he wrote in his Testament from the Prison Cell. Need to say more? The question that woke Driarco up from his deep slumber  the plane touched down the tarmac of  Manila, Philippines.          

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                 “No use begging the question of death. Any eschatologist  is so emphatic about it.  We may be disappointed questioning or even rebel against its occurrence, bargain even more not to strike any loved ones.  Okay but barring its inevitability is simply a wishful thinking, the synthesis of the subject reminded him he hurriedly breezing through against moving well-wishers  happy to be finally home at  Manila International Airport.
                  You can’t just really sit down and philosophize. The fact is, we are experiencing death ourselves everyday ironically without even conscious taking its toll.  Think of every seconds, minutes and hours taken away from us.  That’s tantamount to gradual and calculated move towards impending extinction accruing from accumulated growth and maturing over time.  We grow old, get sick and soon perish coming to terms of our lifespan, the thought lingering in his mind doing his last ditch effort lifting  light personal luggage passing X-ray inspection..
                 “But that’s precisely how  beautiful  life is when you relate it to death. The catch is, nothing in this world lasts forever.  Nothing permanent not even the word ‘change.’ And that should be the lesson we should draw wisdom from. Love is never love until you give it away and returns back to you.   That  continuum spells out the difference. We have to go to grow. It’s just a matter of time and it’s pretty real good ultimate experience indicating that all in life actually is fair relegating us back to the ground later as fertilizer of other creation of mother earth. That’s the  time  when the Grim Reaper does the favor allowing us to experience that special stage of growth taking place cutting off the bond that is life through death but connecting us anew to greater life beyond. What an excitement meeting finally face to face with God and be with Him forever,” he relished the insights he had on the subject finally stepping on the hollowed ground of his beloved country.
                 “We have to die to be born again.  Unless the grain of wheat shall fall on the ground and dies, it shall remain a single wheat and not gives life,” the wisdom of a song sang during Lent lifting all the more his already sagging spirit up never mind momentarily releasing those pent-up emotion down the drain.
                 “Immediacy of time is what you should actually  focus on.  Time is just like snowflakes.  It melts away while we’re even discussing how to use it.  You can play with money but never with time. Right? Other didactic maxim came rushing like globules from his palm.  True enough, time is our hope, our security and the mirror in which we see eternity,” he recalled Paul Tillich, that great American Theologian, beautifully crafting treatise of time from death’s perspective..
                 The book of Ecclesiastics was even more uncompromising.  Just like Yinyang dichotomy, we’re subject to two inseparable season. First enjoy while there is still sunrise savoring those sunshine on the way facing with dignity sunset of your life when time comes. But in all of this, just take your time and  keep the most of it rising early working doubly hard in the day finding oil and digging  wherever you can.  No need to hurry as there are seasons for everything. There’s a time to be born, to plant, to build, to laugh, to dance, cast away stones, seek, keep, rend, love and most importantly build peace.  Corollary to this as life is not always sunshine yes there is time to pluck up what has been planted, to weep, mourn,  gather stones together, to lose. To sew, hate, wage war and finally to rest or die after all those years of hard labor, he reflected with relish the work of Qoholeth.
Time is fleeting as the air.  Like Thief in the Night recalling similar title of fiction the author narrating how Pope John Paul I, the two hundred sixty third Smiling Pope and reigned ironically thirty three shortest days ever  must have died mysteriously probably short of conspiracy as his reading glass was still solidly perching on his nose when discovered the following day dead smells just fishy.  Who knows given the politics working inside  Vatican and masons working surreptitiously using their trademark scheme – infiltrating their subject and delivering  their coup de grace – poison.
                 “Great reflection,” he thought.  But whatever happened that it’s as if he’s spirit-possessed his thoughts wandering subconscious included drifting somewhere. However, who knows if this strong  feeling of  great sensation is his father’s spirit  guiding, would only rest until  fast resolution of the case is met.  Why really not when one’s spirit deserves similar human treatment as man’s body is his inherent temporal   abode securing its peaceful rest there until  home liberating his soul away for good through natural death.
                 Sadly that of his father’s death is yet subject to inquest though to determine its valid conclusion.  No question  about it. 
                 “Death is simply beautiful when allowed to occur  passing through its natural process.  But allowing it to happen out of the blue is not only ugly but more importantly; suspect,” he completed his long reflection while staring blankly inside the taxi neon lights of Manila blinding his eyesight.
                 “Why not give a chance,” the thought propelling at the back of his mind giving himself benefits of his doubt.
                 “Why really not   taking the initiative of conducting my own post-mortem. Where the heart is willing, it will find thousand means; but where the heart is unwilling, it will find not just one thousand means but millions of excuses,” an engrossing idea coming back enlightening him again.  
                 “Never mind  an Atheists promoting Babism, New Panthesim through their flimsy excuse of women empowerment, environment protection  and reproductive health package  actually looking at Christianity more  as losing religion.  Why all these people have balls promoting materialism equating Religion with politics and money? How could their unbelief be compatible with Resurrection, the heart of Christianity in the first place,” the inner voice telling him building all the more his confidence?
                  Had God grant him one more wish, it could have been his fervent prayer his father would reach or overshoot man’s average lifespan of 86. After all, didn’t the first Patriarchs from Adam to Methuselah and Noah to Abraham seen beginning in Chapter 5 to 25 in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament enjoyed the highest lifespan  as gift from God  (Psalm 91:16) registering  the highest close to thousand or 587 lifespan on average the lowest 148 by Nahor and 175 by Abraham. That was how generous YAWEH back then allowing man to live as long as he wishes lasting as long the days of a tree some by thousands (Isa.65:22). Unfortunately, that privilege was forfeited with Adam’s disobedience. And that was the start of corruption taking heavy toll, a cancer passed on the rest of humanity, lifespan gradually lowering down over time making it 70 years average (Psalm 90:10). It is like a mist appearing for a while and then disappears, the prophet Job tells (14:1). Today the highest is  86 years on average enjoyed by Japanese. The lowest thirty six among women in Botswana, Republic of Africa. The highest one would reached today is 116 years. Eat and sleep and vice versa is how a  Japanese world record holder does.
                 Relevant  statistics on record though revealed an amazing account of 256 years old enjoyed by a herbalist Chinese. Just reading this dramatic anecdote living to that proudest long years old validating and reminiscent of how Yahweh back then gives us privileged  long life span  recorded in the Old Testament simply engrossed the young returning priest. His secret of longevity. This man had 20 wives and produced more than 200 children and grandchildren. His winning surefire longevity formula – jealousy, lying, aggressiveness, reticence, cruelty, conflicts, apathy, rude, anxiety and greed are all deleted from the equation - . Apparently, the existence of these psychosomatic illnesses is all in the mind! Therefore, securing peace and contentment  in your mind will eliminate those problems. Pure and simple. No ifs and buts. How to do this? The author gives three ways to live healthful lifestyles – start monitoring your thoughts, think more about things that make you happy and meditation. Wow, Driarco just can’t believe it becoming Thomas the Doubter’s double. But the reference were there, the thought playing in his mind again as the cub further negotiated its way through maze of traffic in its way to Bus terminal for Batnagas in Cubao.
                  But who was my father God would give his fervent wish. Besides, there’s devil ever willing to spoil that earnest request through his cohorts on earth, the thought playing anew in his mind as the bus  was on the road for his next leg of travel. From Batangas,  the boat would take him to Tablas after an overnight sail.
                 Few minutes more and home at last What a weird feeling for the first time what with those thoughts of tragic family homecoming . Nevertheless what  could he do? He is only captured person being party now and at the mercy of an incident not out of his own doing, almost unacceptable event shoved  forcibly to him. But that which he had no control from happening except of one disturbing query who could have done it. This he felt like sick joke engulfing him bracing himself anew of accepting life’s reality even hurting him most..
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