Job, resurrected*

A letter from Tara’s friend, Abby. Abby is a victim of narcissistic abuse by certain family members and has just found out about it.

(featured image is Job and His Three Friends by James Jacques Joseph Tissot)


Tara, dear,
I’m beginning to question why I am being alive at all. Is my purpose to be abused by my family? Did God put me here so that I can be the receiver of abuse? Is this why I was created? I get born, I get to be abused, and then I die without having rest from the abuse?

Just now I was listening to my housemates conversing over our morning cup and the conclusion is that they hope we’ll get together again, the family.

My God, they have no idea how this family destroyed my life, and they can only hope that I be “humble” enough so that we all get “reconciled.”

My God. I will never ever have the chance to have a life as me, Abby, I’m gonna die being used all the way. My being a good person, a good daughter, a good human, has trapped me in this abuse. There’s no escape from it. God Himself allowed me to get this abuse. I have always followed God’s rules and this is the outcome. Is God happy that I ended up like this, and only a decade or two before I die? And then, what, does heaven even exist? What is the sense of my consciousness? Why was I even allowed this awareness? Is God happy that I suffered because of my generosity and humility and understanding and kindness and empathy? I can’t believe it all. God does not make sense.

You know me, Tara. I don’t speak unless I mean it, so may God forgive me. He already knows my thoughts before I wrote down everything.

I’ll see you soon. Until then, take care.
Hugs,
Abby

* The Book of Job, in the Bible, tells of the character Job who suffered unimaginable loses despite his adherence to God’s rules as was taught in his day (this was around 4,000 years ago, as is believed by many scholars, in the Arabian region). Job expresses his hurt and existential questions to God in the hearing of his wife and friends. The book is so much worth reading and/or researching about. It tackles one of the most difficult questions of humanity: a suffering that does not make sense.

Tara’s friend, Abby, is experiencing a similar agony to Job’s, though not exactly. I thank Abby and Tara for sharing the core content of Abby’s letter. This letter, together with the thoughts and comments by the readers (that’s you, dear friend), which will eventually contribute to the overall content of this post, will surely help the many persons around the world who are undergoing a similar experience as Job then, and Abby now.

May the posters below be of help to those who are seeking answers. May God bless us all.

Thanks many times to the owners of the posters! (uhuh, I don’t own any of them) Be well, my friend.

Beach Life (1 and 2)

Beach Life. Part 1. Reason: Mom at 83.

Mommy is a frail 83 year-old lady who had pneumonia eleven years ago. This meant being very vigilant and extra careful regarding the present covid pandemic. What we did was retreat from our formerly crowded community and retreated to our rural home.

But, alas, the idyllic spot hid some camouflaging snakes of the worst kind (opportunistic humans who prey on the unwary). This, together with the distance from mom’s other family members, made her feel unsettled. It took a toll on her nerves and health. She was always worried about this and that.

So, at 82, mom once again gathered her strength to transfer the entire hosehold stuff accross the sea, to the house where she raised her children.

But, alas, the idyllic spot hid some camouflaging snakes of the worst kind (opportunistic humans who prey on the unwary). Mom named the snakes and in return she lost her good health. Her bones and muscles and heart ached, and she longed for the beach once again.

So, at 83, mom got to the beach that was the birthplace of her dear husband, my dad.

She is recuperating, and we hope to enjoy our new beach life. As God wills. Amen.

Beach Life. Part 2. Reality: Heaven Despite Poverty.

Because mom is still recuperating, then I can’t post her picture. Instead, I have here pictures of paradise.

The snakes in this paradise are harmless to us. We have personal immunity against them, so to say. We are free to go where we want in this little beach place, the thought of which is kind of next to heaven.

But don’t let the scenes mislead you. This is rural Philippines. The bottom line is poverty. Always always always. Don’t let the kids’ laughters and the adults’ smiles fool you. In the houses of families who have lived next to the beach for generations, many go by a one-day-one-eat existence. Eating twice a day is almost the norm. Many have lifetimes of debts, incurred for the family’s food’s sake. When torrential rains come, the earth-floors turn to stamping-earth-pads of bare little feet that can’t be stopped from romping around. Sweet innocent souls—muddied arms and feet and gleefully chattering like the noisy morning birds.

Don’t let the blissful looking beach trick you into believing that there can be no sadness in paradise, here on earth. Yet all who come to the water’s edge will say, “The sea breeze does wonders for the soul.” Mom and I will have lungfulls of this sea breeze and she’ll say, “It is best to let one’s mind ripple like water over the cares of this world.”

Alas, many will agree with her.

Lack of Words

When there’s a lack of words to put up an architecture

of my feelings I spread out wide nets of gropings

out about me, my sensitivities vigilant

to that rare abundance of inspiration.

Like today when the air is dry enough for perpetual

non-awareness I try to squeeze out from the

molecules themselves instances of wisdom that

have been recycled for ages.

Though I must say I do not see at all a

positive correlation between an abundance of

feelings and an abundance of words.

Like that time when I let go of Daddy.

I knew it was a day when my net of feelings

choked me into chitinous silence,

when angry glares and pursed lips were all

I could manage just to stay calm.

And for years now my wellsprings of expressions

where this monotonous pause is concerned has been void

of promptings, though my rhetorics have been abundant,

string upon string of them passing through my temples.

There’s still a lack of words, though bits of my theatricals

have been shamelessly aired to two handfuls of

down-to-earth trusted friends

Jalex, Nonoy, Atan, Toto, Magal, Nene, Emilio, William,

and you.

(written 5 years after Daddy died, missing him)

See You in Heaven, Lolo, Daddy

Heaven exists. I go there someday to see my grandfather and father again. I refuse the idea that there is no heaven because otherwise I will not see them again.

They are the strongest influences in my life.

Grandfather, my mom’s father whom I call Lolo [which is from the Spanish ‘abuelo’], was 103 when he died. He was waiting for me but I did not get to him on time. He was helathier than many 40-year-olds today except for cataracts in his left eye and a very bent back. He had perfect hearing, perfect memory, sharp humor, gentle disposition, active daily in the garden, almost never sick.

At 82 he alone, with his hands, put up the bamboo fencing around our house. He prayed the Rosary every dusk without fail. It was my pride to dedicate primarily to him my doctoral dissertation. He never studied beyond the first grade. He was illiterate. He would rather pick guavas and lounge around at the back of his water buffaloes, away from his strict teachers, when he was kid.

When World War II happened, he was a regular at the American barracks, free to get in and out anytime he wished, because he was a favorite and a friend of many American soldiers. He would cook and do the laundry for the officers. They gave him many parting gifts and photographs when it was time for them to vacate the country.

Lolo was a kind and uncomplicated man, industrious, independent, helpful and generous, and did not tolerate wastefulness of any kind. He refused to eat chicken because he raised some himself. Thank God chicken isn’t served in heaven.

Mommy and Daddy, in their fifties, taken before 1998.

Daddy was the only person I felt fear for, in the sense of not wishing to face his displeasure when I break some house rule. His disciplinarian ways was normal in their generation, having experienced a more strict regimen from his father himself. He was already 27 when he was in his 2nd year of high school (this is the Grade 8 of Junior High today). Nevertheless, by sheer determination and industry, he eventually became an engineer.

Mostly self-taught in whatever he’d put his hands on, he developed a habit of reading so that he accumulated paperbacks of the Robert Ludlum genre. Before working in the construction industry he was a public transport driver, a common laborer, a candy maker, a printing press assistant. After semi-retirement he raised poultry, cultivated his own rice paddies, operated a bakery, and himself drove public transportation again. He was making building plans again, the civil engineer’s blue print, the year he started to suffer in his lungs. He was smoking since he was in his teens.

I thought he was Superman when I was little. I remember being thankful to God for giving me such a good life and good parents. I was just maybe 4 or 5, happy of a life that didn’t lack provisions. I was a contented kid, counting the many fowls that my father raised around the house: chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese. Much later we also had a fishpond that had fishes one can eat. We had goats, pigs, dogs, cats, birds, and in the midst of all this were relatives and friends living with us, helping with our income-earning activities.

My respect and love for books came from him. I was holding his hands when he took his last breath. I assured him that we will see each other again, when we’d finally get to where he was going, in heaven.

If there is someone you love who has died and you miss them so, and you want to see them again, just hang in there. We’re in this together.

Amen.

(In the featured photo on top, Lolo was around 100 years old then.)

If you wish to read an academic discussion about resurrection, you may click on this link. In there I summarize from the book of the Prof. Dr. [Rev.] Hans Schwarz, of the University of Regensburg Institute of Protestant Theology. Just FYI, the former pope Benedict XVI (Ratzinger) was a faculty member of the University of Regensburg.

Have a great day!

Do Parents and Elders Deserve Honor?

In the Old Testament, the expectation that children honor their parents comes with the understanding that parents have fulfilled their responsibilities towards their children.

This was a matter of consequence because parents were the only ones who could function as provider, protector, and educator. This honoring implied all that comes with it in the context of the familial parent-child relationship, most especially attention and deference, where parents were figures of authority in almost all aspects of life.

It was a given fact that the parents were responsible for the well-being of their children, being the primary movers for the procurement of provisions for the entire family.

This family was part of a bigger or extended family that could include everyone in the community, and that the rearing up of children was a corporate responsibility of this bigger family where everyone was interconnected with each other in personal relationships. The adults in this bigger family were responsible for their collective children. There were no other agencies that may take this responsibility away from the parents, unlike today where the state may.

The parents were answerable only to God in all their responsibilities to their children. If ever the angle of the “state’s” interference can be entertained at all, the hierarchy will be negligible because the “state” itself was answerable to God since its authority was not absolute but rather sprang from God.

The Fourth [or Fifth] Commandment [that is, the commandment to honor parents] was a reiteration of the adult children’s obligations towards their parents in view of the natural course of human life that leads all parents to aging. It was an assumption that children will eventually be the ones who will take care of their parents.

This was the natural course of life for all within the context of the bigger family, which was the same with all [the] other communities.

There was no question about whether parents deserved the honoring because had the parents been irresponsible in their duties as parents, then none in the consequent generation would have survived to later become responsible parents themselves.

It was in this context that the rabbis interpreted the commandment to honor parents, that the honoring is due by virtue of parenthood, as God had commanded it, and no other requirements were needed. It was assumed that parents deserved honoring from children. If the question would be about the honorableness of parents in the way they performed their duties, then the children’s being able to survive into mature adulthood was itself proof that the parents had fulfilled their responsibilities to their children.

an excerpt from my published dissertation: Siacor, Mona Lisa. The Significance of the Elterngebot (Iloilo City: CPU Press, 2017).

The question of how to honor narcissistic parents deserves another major research altogether (uhuh, I don’t have it in my dissertation, though I certainly do want to find out, and fast ! ). What’s more important is that one has become aware of the situation, and so start from there. . . It certainly is very tough going, to be in the middle of this. . .

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Are Parents Still Relevant?

I’m writing a book and I’m calling it, “Are Parents Still Relevant?” Wish me the best!

My answer to that question is this: “Yes.” That’s my conclusion after years of figuring out the what’s and how’s of the not so oft-repeated maxim to “respect one’s parents.” A mind-baffling suggestion to both those who are already doing it and those who do not have the inclination to do it at all.

I tried to trace the roots of this imperative—which is nowadays considered a psychological-emotional imperative, or a “powerful suggestion to the conscience”—that one better be respectful to one’s parents. Not having a “respectful” relationship with one’s actual parents opens up a myriad of questions in one’s head, eventually. Such a genuine concern to real people brings out unique emotional responses or triggers that have to be dealt with individually, specifically, and with utmost care. This being so, the question, “Ought parents be respected?” becomes an essentially valid and existential question. Answering it belongs to the essence of our humanity.

This question, “Ought parents be respected?” produces, by consequence, the equally valid and existential, “Ought bad parents be respected?” Fortunately, there are a myriad books and treaties out there precisely on this concern. This amount of materials out there show that the problem on respecting bad parents call for a separate and deservedly serious treatment. Why so? Because the existence of “bad” parents is a deviation from how parents ought to be, in its essence.

Parents ought to be life-giving, life-nurturing, and life-sustaining. Not meeting these categories already produces for us a cycle of “bad” offspring who themselves, in their turn, equally likely and not, become “bad” parents. Any “bad” cycle may go on until a generation breaks it and starts off with how parents ought to be, and so produce offspring who will have more potential to become parents themselves in the real sense—life-giving, life-nurturing, and life-sustaining.

We have also seen “good” parents who have produced “bad” offspring in any of the varied ways possible. Veering our discussion away now from matters of personal and life choices, of psychological factors such as the environment, we go back to the generic question, “Ought parents be respected?”

This book I’m working on now will try its best to answer that. However, there are areas where I am out of my depth and so will not be able to do justice to discussions in these matters. I share with you one good example: https://www.quora.com/Why-does-everyone-just-assume-that-parents-deserve-respect-Arent-you-supposed-to-respect-to-be-respected-What-should-you-do-if-your-parents-dont-respect-you-but-think-they-deserve-your-respect-Also-does-respect-mean-obey-everything-they-say

Update 1.August,2021. The question of how to honor narcissistic parents deserves another major research altogether (uhuh, I don’t have it in my dissertation, though I certainly do want to find out, and fast ! ). What’s more important is that one has become aware of the situation, and so start from there. . . It certainly is very tough going, to be in the middle of this. . . I’ll try and answer that, hopefully I can, in this new book I’m working on, knowing that it’s one of the more difficult areas in psychology. Wishing the best for us all

The Honoring of Parents is Fundamental to Humanity

M with James Bond

The following is an excerpt from my legally copyrighted doctoral dissertation

    “It is not only the descendants of Abraham who know how to honor parents.  Indeed, we have not heard of a culture where people do not honor parents.  Yet around the world and throughout history the way aged parents are treated by their adult children comprises a wide spectrum.  Though no culture today can be categorically described as not honoring parents, the fact is that for many individuals the honoring of their parents is not placed among the priorities in their lives.

     In a 2004 article in a Bible study website four factors were cited that lead to the tendency of “undermining” the honoring of parents in the U.S.A.:

   1.)  There is the impact of technology.

   2.)  Because of the rapid increase of divorce, children are often called upon to honor one parent and to despise the other.

   3.)  If it is possible to pin the blame for our problems on someone else, it is also easy to pin the responsibility of caring for aging parents on someone else.

   4.)  Honor is due to more than just parents.[1]

     Not long ago an article in an online British newspaper said of the famous actress Dame Judi Dench,

‘Judi Dench has lambasted “inhumane” care homes, suggesting families should take in elderly relatives instead. […] The sight of pensioners being left with little to keep their minds busy was, she said, particularly distressing – and a prospect that made her desperate to carry on working.’[2]     

In many countries now, the care of elderly parents, pensioners, is a situation involving many issues, such as psychological and economic.  The two illustrations above may serve to show that if only a perfect way can be found then the honoring of the elderly is rather hoped to be more satisfactorily met than it is being done now.  The present dissatisfaction in many parts of the world in this area somehow suggests that the act of honoring parents is a fundamental consistency of being a human.”


[1] Bob Deffinbaugh, “18. Between Child and Parent – Honoring Father and Mother (Exodus 20:12),” in Bible.org (May 13, 2004), http://bible.org/seriespage/between-child-and-parent8211honoring-father-and-mother-exodus-2012 (accessed February 6, 2012).

[2] Liz Thomas, “Dame Judi hits out at ‘inhumane’ care homes: We should let our elderly live with us, says actress,” in Mail Online (January 31, 2012 [last updated]), http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2094122/Dame-Judi-Dench-hits-inhumane-care-homes-We-let-elderly-live-us.html?ito=feeds-newsxml (accessed March 29, 2017).

Dame Judi Dench with Pierce Brosnan, in James Bond’s “Die Another Day”

I greet you!

For us, kamusta or kumusta simly means “How are you(?)” and it may not even expect an answer as it also serves as a generic greeting, regardless of gender or age. Hence, a ? or an ! may go with it.

Kamusta!

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