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.

Growing Up

I fought through this long journey

with stacks of innocence.

I went through the road with nothing on me

but knowledge of others’ wisdom gleaned

through long years of monotonous rote

learning through reading and hearing

of possibilities happening to journeyers like me.

As I went through the road with

almost nothing on me, the gleaning along

pointed out to me in shock and in

envy, in fear and in worry, that

either I’m on the wrong road, or on the

wrong side of the road, or behind

the road, or on the road that

leads on and on.

As I am going through this road

with very little on me, I know

I have my own with me;

what precious very little I carry I earned,

paid with precious shattered innocence.

(15th July 2002)

Photo on top by Isaac Wendland on Unsplash

Photo by Keenan Barber on Unsplash

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!

Fight and Live to Tell

This post is my tribute to choosing life and heeding the wisdom of one’s elders. The featured scene is from Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends (2014). I will only speak about Kenshin and his teacher here, and then no more, except what is relevant to this post.

Kenshin was the best assassin of the past government. He had since sworn to not kill anymore, carrying a sword that has the sharp egde at the wrong side.

The new government has asked for his help to kill a rampaging ex-assassin, who is threatening the safety of the land.

Aware of his weakness after a recent duel, Kenshin asks his teacher (also called “master”) to teach him the ultimate sword tehnique of their school so that he can defeat the enemy.

His teacher agrees. They fight-train —physically, mentally, emotionally— a holistic approach.

Teacher tosses a real sword to Kenshin. It is a real fight with real swords today.

He’s figured out that he’s afraid of neither his teacher nor of death.

But his teacher has warned him that if he cannot figure out what’s wrong with him, then he will not be able to defeat the villain. Moreover, he might even die in today’s training-duel, without having learned the final technique at all.

He resolves that he will not die just yet, and fights back. After some time, he eventually slashes at Teacher and scores a point!

His guilt has made his fighting resolve distorted. His guilt has numbed his positive purpose for fighting, which was why he was defeated recently — his sword broken, and was not able to rescue Kamiya Kaoru also.

His fierceness in fighting will not return if he continues to be weighed down by the guilt of having killed so many people before.

He has to embrace his guilt, forgive himself, and be positively fierce again in order to defeat his enemy, who is also the enemy of the people whom Kenshin is trying to protect.

(This has something to do with his failing to rescue Kaoru. She was shouting at him to look after himself, to fight fiercely but to stay alive, but he was distracted by his fear for her safety . So, Teacher seemed to be saying that being on the defensive position, on the side of the helpless people, has somehow weakened Kenshin’s fighting prowess).

(I wish I can understand Japanese!) Teacher seemed to be saying that Kenshin has denied his life-loving fighting self—his innate positive personality, and his life’s discipline and upbringing with his Teacher—ever since he resolved not to kill anymore. Indeed, his Teacher never trained him for the purpose of killing, but so that he can protect people. However, he made choices that led him astray and caused him to kill even defenseless people. The senselessness of his deeds caused him to gamble with his life many times—fighting fiercely without regard to his own life. So now, if he can resolve his guilt and embrace again the purpose of his life’s training, then he can fight the villain and live to tell about it.

Teacher’s important lesson: YOUR LIFE IS AS WORTH AS OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES.

Hitokiri Battousai the famous assassin passes away from existence, and in his place stands a very alive Kenshin, the life-loving defender of the weak.

Himura Kenshin and I learned something very valuable from Master today.

Domo arigato gozaimashita. (That’s a very respectful ‘thank you very much.’)

Finally, I Begin

Written in February 20, 2014.


beach (1)

Three years I surfed the pages,

arms extended, fingers outstretched,

the gray continental sky indifferent to my need for light;

beach (2)

Three years I paced the shore,

back and forth, tracing the break’s contour,

shifting, ephemeral, undulating;

beach (4)

On the beach on the sand that is my brain,

lets information, like water, in,

pass through, then away, soaked;

Three years the troughs and crests and I

kept holding hands and letting go.

beach (5)

The other day I traced the shore at the bus stop.

Concrete platform undulating like lapping waves.

Cigarette butts like flotsam lining the pavement.

beach (7)

I saw the sea foam in my mind.

I smelled the salty air.

I heard the rush and splash.

I felt the breeze in my hair.

beach (8)
A fisherman cleaning his net.

Three years came to pass and I arrived

at how it should have been all along. I have beached.



Today is July 15, 20021.

It was a tremendous relief when my Doktorvater, my dissertation supervisor, finally agreed with how I envisioned my research work to proceed. When I wrote the above meditation-verse, I was celebrating with the sound of the sea in my ears, the wide sky looking down on me and the extensive beach, and my feet getting ready to wade through the vast ocean of information ahead. I knew that I had a very long way to go.

Landing on the beach is also a picture of restfulness. I felt that I have reached a base after a long time of aimless wandering. That was a great happy time, just me and my beach in my head and the almost empty university bus-stop, newly constructed, in Regensburg, the concrete platform edges gently undulating before my downcast eyes as I gaze, in my usual fascination, at the cigarette butts strewn all over the pretty pebbles.

It was a dreary winter day but I felt spring light my spirit.

My Prayer (For Positivity)

By 2016 I’ve already had many cycles of deep despair and heedless hope pass by me. I have witnessed many episodes of miracles as well as devastating disappointments. I was also in the middle of an important life’s work, my [doctoral] dissertation. My brain cells have been bashed around and rejuvenated again and again.

Just before the New Year’s celebration, for the arrival of 2017, I paused and breathed in hope, and was encouraged anew to keep on with life.

I prayed:

I am calling on all of the efficacies of prayer,
on all the collective love of all sincere hearts that selflessly wish for only goodness to all of humanity and all living creatures,
big and small in the biosphere, in all parts known and unknown,
from the deepest of the ocean floors and caverns and cliffs
to the highest of the habitable atmospheric layers that can sustain metabolism…

I am calling on all pure intents for the support of life, love, freedom, respect, celebration, sustenance, generosity, humility, understanding, acceptance, goodwill, health, mutual dependence and mutual giving,
and thankfulness…

I am calling on all the powers of LIFE and the celebration of life
and acceptance of all peoples…
Let us bless the earth, let us bless one another,
let us pray for each others’ lives,
let us focus our wishes on each others’ wellbeing and inner happiness
and continuous hope
and never-ending supply of strength for the will to live and let live…

I call on all powers of life to curse the greed that is enslaving the systems of this earth…

I call on all greed to be found out and to be defeated and to be banished…

May it all happen. May it be so.

It will be so. It is.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Photo by Sam Kolder on Pexels.com

Chiaroscuro = light-and-dark

Meditate.
Live purely.
Be quiet.
Do your work with mastery.
Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds!
Shine.

(I have yet to make sure if this is really the Buddha’s)

The power of the above group of words, put together, is enhanced by its bareness.

It is so powerful that after reading it one is compelled to blessed quietness, and so rest.

My picture here is not of the moon, but of the yang, the active sun, searing and unforgiving.

Nevertheless, it cannot force its way all the same through kilometers upon kilometers of cumulonimbus thickness—however gossamer this body of suspended water is.

Such contrasts is what makes up our earth, and meditating on our inadequacies side by side these contrasts may help us chance upon the courage to break out of our own heavy and dark clouds.

The constant will to shine is what makes us alive.

( Update 14 July 2021. I have the same post put up in my sacadalang.com blog. I just discovered that search engines might label either or both of my two blogs as “sploggers.” I hope not! )

Thanks for visiting and have a great day, Everyone!

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: