Thoughts & Memories:

God, Gift and Wisdom

Last December 2019, we woke up greeted with news that a deadly visitor had entered our country, called Covid-19.

We were heartbroken by the number of lives lost later. We cried when members of our family were lost to Covid. We, too, were paralyzed with fear when loved ones tested positive for Covid-19.

Please pray for those who are positive of Covid-19 or its variant B1.17.

The Grim Reaper is harvesting human beings every minute, every hour, every day in the four corners of Planet Earth. If this pandemic is not subdued by our great scientific geniuses in the vaccine world, what could possibly happen to us?

Vulnerable to Covid-19/B1.17 are older people, more so those with health issues and those who don’t follow Covid-19 protocols. Younger people are not in danger list, but they aren’t exempted. To be safe, they must stay home and wear mask and shield when out on the streets. Sad to know, men are more susceptible to Covid-19 than women. Why? Is Heaven in need of good men than women?

Easy life is the evolving way of living in this time of pandemic, especially in big towns and cities. At home, we use computers in online education for students at all levels. Employees of big corporations like my daughter does her work at home and order food for her meal, merienda and other merchandises delivered by motorbike or Grab drivers. It’s becoming the norm instead of the exception.

We parents see this as capricious, detrimental and expensive on our children’s part as they progress to maturity. These pose health risks to everyone. Over-exposure to radiation and dependence on cellphones bring more harm than benefits, though on some occasions, the cellphone, in matter of minutes to an hour, our heart’s desire is brought to our doorstep.

We are entering a new era, some people call it the New Normal. I cannot visualize the kind of society living under the New Normal. Is this developmental? To bring about growth and improvement to our living standard and economy? Is our society progressing to a Golden Era we once had in the past?

Pray. Let’s not worry unnecessarily every day thinking about Covid-19. Many people have died because of heart complications aggravated by so much worrying. Plan, look for things to do to forget the present reality that is Covid-19/B1.17.

If Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed 50 million people or more and infected 500 million people worldwide was a thing of the past, this Covid-19 will also exit one day. How soon is one day?

“How soon the flame of love can die. How soon good nights become goodbye. You’rr gone now and life goes on now,” as Matt Monro sang in ‘How Soon’. Spanish Flu’s terrifying presence lasted for two years; from February 1918 to April 1920.

Misfortune brings people closer to God, to seek consolation, peace, understanding and answers to things that bother us. This was my personal observation when I went home for a vacation after super typhoon Sening, of October 1970. Every night, the four major streets in Buyo had simultaneous processions of the Virgin Mary, transferring the image from home to home. The religiosity of Buyoans were rekindled and became more alive. I participated on several processions and was able to memorize Latin songs sung during our processions. Many Buyoans who could bear or stomach their losses from Sening migrated to other provinces of the country but the greater number went to Metro Manila. Some brought pain in their hearts, with nagging questions on why they suffered much when they were righteous and religious. They did no harm or injustice to others, so why must they lose their homes? Out of 100 homes or more in the barangay, only seven were left standing, two of which were ours. They came near to questioning the existence of God. Many years later when I visited them, some in Rizal towns and others in Metro Manila, I found them in better economic conditions than when they were in Buyo before ST Sening.

Was it Bishop Nong Solo, “pading” PBM Ed Tanael or brother Romy Zafe who said: “The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisest of men?”

When humans are facing enormous problems and his wits and power become useless, they turn to God for help and forgiveness. We want God to be our raft to bring us to the shore, when we are lost and floating aimlessly with nowhere to go: hopeless, with God as the only hope.  Our conscience make us remember the sins we have committed when we are struck by disasters like terminal cancer. But once we are back to prosperity, it dissolves from memory and we distance ourselves from the Almighty.  Have you experienced this in your life? And we will come to realize that God is the beginning and the end and goal of our life.

God knows what you will need before you were born, be able to stand and walk, like my friend, a fount of meditation. He needs it in his golden years: to help him sleep soundly, focus while writing literary works and straighten his eyes for long hours of use. Another gift was his ability to sing, which he only discovered after high school. He needed it when he worked at an office where top bosses were music-minded.

Search. God has gifts for you to withstand these two recent calamities: Covid-19 and ST Rolly. Try hard, find out these gifts from God: it could be stamina for hard work and dedication to long, rigorous mental and physical undertakings. Start now.

Super typhoon Rolly, the twin brother of ST Sening, visited Catanduanes last November 1, 2020. Without mercy, ST Rolly unleashed ferocious winds, pummeled nipa huts and houses of all types made of good materials, raising our dim memories super typhoon Sening. Pardon me for not describing in detail all the devastation to our beloved Catanduanes by super typhoon Rolly. We have seen it already through mass media, cellphone and television.

Permit me to mention my late friend Mr. Marte (not his real name), my classmate in high school who was deeply shocked and confused after witnessing the massive destruction of vegetation and houses by ST Sening while riding on a military helicopter. They distributed food, clothing and water to three far-flung barangays of Dugui. Years later, he showed signs of mental distress, possibly because of the gravity of what he witnessed; the sheer brutality of ST Sening on hapless people that his intelligent mind could not take.  I write more about this on my next article.

One day, this pandemic will be gone like an ordinary cold. How you act and help your family and community will be a great period in your life, a turning point on how you choose to live your lives. Serve, inspire, collaborate with public officials and always be ready to help others. Tis’ better to help than be helped. A friend told me once that we live a better life than others because we have talents and skills, gifts from God. Be grateful to God’s gifts by being generous, act now while the opportunity is at hand. These will make your image sweeter than the wind breeze coming from Buyo’s mountains. Priceless deeds to Catandunganons people may forget but God will never do the same till kingdom come.

Ending this long narrative, let us ponder on advice given me by my two sisters: elder sis Aida Z. Aguilar and Sister Melba of Fiat Village at the airport before I left for Makati.  In case we live long enough and meet another pandemic: educate our family to be frugal and save money every month; have our children finish college; a mother’s duties, budgeting and thrift must be taken with serious intent; husbands should back out from activities that cause money to evaporate.

GOD bless your family and combat, with the money you saved, the next pandemic.

INSHALLAH (Thy will be done)!

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