PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, July 29, 2011

 

It's true! Love is everywhere.

I haven't seen the Hollywood movie Love, Actually, but I'd like to, even if I'm mostly turned off by Hollywood movies (unintelligent, shallow, violent, vulgar, schmaltzy, Disneyfied, treats sex maliciously). I am attracted by its simple thesis: Love is everywhere if we but look around deeper. A rundown of my major stressors of late tells me that this is so.


The doctor who told me in a blunt, irritated way to relax and watch my diet was actually not annoyed of me. I forgot that I was seeking treatment (like Ed P. reminded me), not a major sermon, so I didn't see that he was actually concerned about his last (and distraught) patient for the day: me. Oh, I have a fault here, I remember: I didn't tell him I was having some withdrawal symptoms, and my hypertension could be one of them. Anyway, I rediscovered vegetables, even recreating the five-vegetable soup I enjoyed at Le Coeur de France, but this time adding lentils, which I discovered at SM Bicutan, and without MSG and too much salt. I have also rediscovered the joys of cooking, with all the common sense chemistry and aestheticism it demands. As for my deteriorating health, I should thank my body for giving symptoms, so I could do some repair work in time and not when it's too late. I should also thank God for these hard times because I am forced to learn what it means to surrender my life, each day and each moment. I am also thankful to have conversed with a friend (Cynthia), who is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor. The way she handled it all gives me strength. I told her I have a deathly fear of death (due to childhood traumas), and she told me that trusting God is a decision, a hard but doable one.

The gang members who pickpocketed my wallet containing cash and IDs and cards in Pasay Rotunda one stormy Friday night must have done it because they were desperate to feed their family, one of whom might be ill. No amount of neediness excuses them for their crime, but I can't also discount the possibility that they were so desperate they went for the easy way. Have they asked, I would've gave them some.

The taxi driver who refused me a ride at the same time was just protecting himself from the horrendous traffic going to my place. His refusal had nothing to do with me.

The Banco de Oro call center employee who gave me wrong info about blocked ATM accounts was honestly doing her job. She said, wrongly, that I could get my card in three days and I could withdraw my money over the counter any day. But she made an honest mistake by not asking what kind of card, because it turned out BDO cash cards that are issued as a corporate account are processed differently.

The HR people at the company were just committing an honest mistake too. They were not trying to annoy me on purpose when they said BDO needed two IDs for identification (I only had one left after the ordeal!) and claimed I had to wait for 10 working days for processing, only to make me wait for almost another extra week. It turns out they needed the extra week to update my account, so they could transfer the old balance to my new card. The HR guy on the corner wasn't being bitchy to me when he gently admonished me, "Sir, don't lose it again, please," so I need not retort that I didn't lose the card -- it was stolen from me in such an unsavory way.

My brother's refusal to lend me emergency money was not the unkindest cut of all that I instinctively thought it was. He was just being honest because he just gave everything to his wife over the weekend, and besides, he knew I had so many other options. He didn't mean to be mean to me. He just didn't know how to say it properly. Maybe he was irritated that I figured the third time in that kind of crime. Maybe he didn't realize at once that being a victim on the street wasn't the least of my ardent wishes as a commuter. It could also be that I misinterpreted him big-time and have cobbled together an already complex story that ensured me a lifetime of resentment. Anyway, what was I griping about when I had at least a hundred possible to borrow money from? Besides, he also exerted an effort in bringing home some wonderful meals like that homecooked curried fish dish (the exotic kanduli, a saltwater type of catfish species) with lots of turmeric bits. Now that was very, very delicious. (The last hard-to forget fish dish I ate is trevally (talakitok) in miso soup and Chinese mustard.)

The two friends who owed me a sum were not being insensitive louts when they were borrowing money from me at the exact same moment that I had just lost everything. Most likely, they were desperate as well and had no other recourse.

When another person who owed me a big amount just said "Noted" and didn't care to do a followup, it could be that he really didn't have cash on hand and must have been equally agitated at my sad fate. I am pretty sure I will hear from him in the near future, as I always have, and he will be profusely apologetic.

I couldn't fault the Paranaque branch of SSS either, when their people turned down my application for a new ID ever so casually. The guard said my official address is Pasay, and they only processed Paranaque residents and employees. Why should I assume they should know I wasn't feeling well and still traveled all the way from my place? At least the guard gave me two options: to reapply at either of two branches in Pasay.

The guard at the Pasay Taft branch was just doing his job when I found him too brash upon my inquiry. He was apparently just after order and discipline and security, and this applicant might be yet another swindler he had to swat like a pest. It's not about me -- it certainly is not, and I am not being sarcastic here (unlike before).

The clerk assigned to process new IDs was not being stupid and mean when he found my middle name on their database to be misspelled to Simin, so he demanded my birth certificate on top of the usual two IDs for verification. I know it was not my fault -- my middle name has been Simon all through those years that I've been an employee and regular contributor, but most probably the mistake was unintended, in their bid to revamp their system with the help of a new IT provider (as reported in the news). Good thing I had updated my birth certificate as well earlier.

The proponents of the Reproductive Health Bill, which I have always deemed evil at the outset, are vehement in their support because they really want a prosperous Philippines, a declogged Manila free from ugly squatter colonies and smelly and grimy streetchildren. They want to have a good life, for a change. They don't want to be burdened with too many children they couldn't afford to feed and educate decently. They are tired and don't wish to see misery anymore everywhere, like we all do.

The atheist freethinkers and secularists who hate my Church of imperfect people so much probably do it because that's how they see their side of reality: a bumbling, medieval, politically meddling, ignorant, antiscience church. What can I do when that's their most honest interpretation? In their own view, they are fighting for what they think is right and they are advancing a better world for it.

The gay priests and bishops (and all other erring clergy) who have embarassed the Catholic faithful to bits lately must not be doing it on purpose. It must have been their idea of loving that made them do it, although they probably didn't realize until it's too late that it's wrong. Like the rest of LGBTI, they must think they can't help it because "it's in their nature," no matter how I insist they are mistaken.

As for God, I couldn't accuse God of punishing me severely with this unfortunate string of 'misfortunes' either. He is allowing everything for His own mysterious purposes, I'm sure. I take it in faith that everything is for the best and for my own good; I know and believe that He loves me.


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