Saturday, June 4, 2011

Options...

Ever since I was a young kid and was allowed to access the forbidden section of the library where the most precious books are, I have read about foreign lands and the wonders that are in there and dreamed of visiting them someday.

Reading Heidi's adventures made me yearn to visit the Swiss Alps. Reading about Antonio Stradivari and Michaelangelo made me pine for the classical beauty of Italy and made me want to visit the banks of the river Po and retrace the steps of these great masters.

I was captivated by the awe and wonder that was ensconced in the writing of various authors who made my imagination soar to unprecedented heights. I was able to visit lands that I would never have dreamed about through the pages of literature. And I was able to go beyond the limitations of what I saw around me. At an early age, I knew of the world.

In a way, I was formed by the books that I lived with. When other boys my age were chasing girls during the heat of puberty, I was dusting off old books from old storehouses and antique chests. While friends started hanging out with older youths in their nightly ‘anag’ (courtship) sessions and learned the finer art of wooing women, I was at home or at school deep in the vast worlds of fiction and non-fiction books. In a way, I probably lost something there. I wasn’t really able to learn the subtle ways of relationships. It is something regretful... but I would not have it any other way.

And then I grew up and I started to learn about the truth. Fairy tales and general fiction gave way to politically loaded novels and ideological books. I read about the apartheid in Africa, the revolution in China, Tibet’s Fall, economics, the Cold War… among many other topics which broadened my vision. The romantic ideas I had in high school about lands full of wonder were tempered with the evil that is also inherent in the hearts of men.

In the process, I learned about the Peace Corps and dreamed of being one of them. Of course, I needed to be an American citizen first, in order to qualify. That practically made the dream impossible. That was then, of course.... Now that I have the chance to get citizenship north of the border, other options became possible. Within four to five years barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’ d probably qualify for the CUSO-VSO program or Greenpeace. Not the Peace Corps probably but something similar.

And the idea is both exciting and terrifying. Terrifying in the sense that I actually have a chance to do it and also exciting because that would mean taking the road less traveled. It probably means going against the usual path that a man of my position would take and that decision, if ever it comes to that, would be something that that would be very hard to make. And I don't know the answer to that possibility...

But if life continues to throw curve balls, there will come a moment in the near future when I have to face my own life and evaluate what it means to me. I have to have my reason for living... Now, I have the same fears as everyone else. The only difference, perhaps is that I recognize it and I am willing to act on it.

Other people have the luxury of having distractions. A career to take their mind off things, a hobby or a passion. I can have those, yes... but they are rather hollow undertakings when you get to think about them. While I am enjoying something in the line of a lucky streak in terms of career, and I do have a passion for writing and photography, I might not be contented in just being another cog in this big human machine and lose myself in it's prison...

The desire to do something worthwhile with my life weighs heavier and heavier on my mind with each passing day.

Of course, the greatest distraction and the only undertaking that would equal volunteering for these causes would be a family but that is probably something that might not happen, or it might happen… I don’t know. You try not to dwell on those kinds of things. Since wanting to does not often translate to getting it. Even when you want something so bad, the world might not be willing to give it to you.

And if that doesn’t work, I have to think about what my life would mean. The number of years left over for me is a small number. Twenty or thirty years at best. And then, there is the prospect of my body failing me and then I must contemplate on  retirement somewhere or that last sunset.

One thing I've resolved is that I won’t go out like a dog on some sterile hospital bed relying upon the small mercies of strangers. I hope I won't, that's a tragedy I cannot bear.

....

You know you are old when you start thinking about your place in this world. It is funny and rather distressing once you get to think about it. Life begins at forty. Buh humbug! As Ebenezer Scrooge would have said it. That was probably true when men live to eighty. Now, men live to be sixty and they’re lucky if they grow that old. It’s more like fifty five and then one starts hitting the downward spiral that ultimately leads to the inevitable punctuation in one's life.

That thought is quite sobering when you get to think about it. 

And you have to do something about it.

Or you’re a moron.

And you also get to think about God.

..........

I was raised as an Anglican. I would probably die as an Anglican.

Ever since kindergarten, I’ve lived with theology and religious studies. I’ve been a sacristan and a model Christian kid, sung the praise songs and prayed to Jesus. Sometimes though, I wonder if it was too much of a Christian education. As I aged, I found myself gravitating towards the pitfalls of human philosophy and other schools of thoughts that made me question my faith. But after much introspection, of course, I've realized that every human thought about existence and religion is flawed at best.

So one returns to the source and go back to the fundamentals. The word of God is a comfort in the days like this. When you get to see the world as I did, you will soon come to realize that it is human interpretation that is the cause of all the madness.

Priests and pastors, nuns and spiritual leaders are flawed human beings who see the world through a narrow viewpoint. Matthew 7:15 says ‘Beware of false prophets, they come to you in sheep’s clothing but inside are ravenous wolves’. People who put on the cloak of holiness are often demons when you get to see how their minds really work (but I won’t go into that). And men who tell you that you are saved should be tempered with what Proverbs 3: 5,6 ‘ Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and He will make your paths straight I’ll trust in that and not in the words of proselytizers and take heart in the innate sense of right and wrong and in the stark truth presented in a bound Bible. James 1:5 ‘But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him’ 

Now, I may not qualify for heaven. That is not mine to say (Matt 7:21 ‘Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven’). That I will leave to God and not to man. But I try my best to live my life as straight as I can and put my trust in Him.

And I guess, in ending, that is the only thing I can do.

Whether it is marriage and a family that awaits me down the road or a non-descript career in this cog of life or a life spent volunteering for a worthy cause, I leave all in the hands of God.

And I think that it is the only thing I can do…

2 comments:

Earvs said...

Hi I’m Earvs! I’m currently doing my MA Thesis at UP Open University. My thesis will focus on OFW blogging. I would like to invite you to be one of my respondents. Should you be available and interested in this benchmark research, please email me at ecabalquinto@gmail.com. Thank you very much.

elstupe said...

Thanks for the invite. Sent you my response email to your email. Don't know if it went in though. If not, just email me at jdomawa@gmail.com

More power to you!

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