PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Friday, February 24, 2012

 

A fire in the neighborhood

The lady who lived across my place was fidgety, telling her kids inside the house to switch off the noontime TV show and call the Fire Department. She was panicky because her son, fresh from roving the streets, just called out to her, “Ma, there’s fire in the neighbourhood, down the next block.”

I was, of course, just as panic-stricken overhearing it. I thought it meant I had barely enough time to save anything except the essentials. What to do, what to do? Which items to save? God, what is happening? Help!

I managed to think despite palpitation and blood pressure. Let me see: The house I lived in was not mine, so I could afford to lose it. I surprised myself that I could let go of everything else so quickly. It might be because I was protecting myself from having a hypertensive attack. Still, I made sure I clung to the barest essentials anyway. And I decided that the most important objects were things that seemed to be of little consequence: my wallet, my folder of personal documents (because applying for copies was horrifying), ATM card, office ID, cell phone, my digital camera (just because it is new and portable), and the shirt on my back. If my world must burn, then the rest could go burn.

Echoing my lady neighbor’s fear, I felt my chest having some mild pain due to imagined heart congestion. I bet my pulse was double its normal rate, and I could feel it. This drove me catching my breath. After I hastily gathered what I thought to be the most important things in my life, I locked the door and went out to join the neighborhood in witnessing the public spectacle of fire blazing.

Along the way, I came across three male neighbors on their way back from the scene with a dismissive face each. A good sign, I thought.

Then I heard firetrucks blaring from a distance. By the I reached the main street of the village, the smoke had thinned out, according to witnesses, changing from dark black to whitish gray now. The fire, now successfully abated by the fire volunteers, turned out to be quite far from us. It struck another place, the shantytown across our place.

I thanked God my place was spared again. Every year, there is such a threat in this cramped village neighborhood.

As I stepped back into my place, I thought about the dread the families affected must have gone through. While hoping no one was hurt among them and praying they would survive this tragedy, I tried to console myself with a mental debate: Since they have even lesser in life than I do, death and destruction of property would be nothing to them. Nothing to lose, so to speak.

Maybe this is a wrong and potentially offensive assumption, even without me meaning any offense. Maybe the loss is even more major because it means losing the only thing they have. That's what I learned from the depressing Italian classic movie The Bicycle Thief: the bicycle owner never rejoiced at his little big tragedy.

I don't know the answer to this puzzle, but I am left with the strong suspicion that much of it depends on the heart of the individual person. I've met wealthy people who seem unattached to material luxuries; in contrast, I'm amazed at how poor people can't let go of certain terribly ugly material things, either for sentimental reasons or for lack of choice. In a destitute man's home, every single item is not an accidental material but an essential; not one item is there for luxury.

In my own experience, I've seen how letting go can be two things at least: I can let go of something because I get tired of it after satisfying myself with it for so long. I can also have the capacity to let go of something I longed for but never had, but only under three certain conditions: a) when I get tired longing for the unattainable, b) after I have adequately grieved the fact to begin accepting my misfortune (instead of not grieving then repressing, which ends in unresolved issues), and c) when I finally learn to choose to be happy and peaceful and complete even with my lack.

If these three conditions are fulfilled after each life's conflagration, I move on, able to let go without sourgraping.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004   02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004   03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004   04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004   05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004   06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004   07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004   08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004   09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004   10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004   11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004   12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005   01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005   02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005   03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005   04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005   05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005   06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005   07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005   08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005   09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005   10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005   11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005   12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006   02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006   03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006   04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006   05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006   06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006   07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006   08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006   09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006   10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006   11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006   12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007   01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007   02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007   03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007   04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007   05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007   06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007   07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007   08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007   09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007   10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007   11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007   12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008   01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008   02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008   03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008   04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008   05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008   06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008   07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008   08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008   09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008   10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008   11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008   12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009   01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009   04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009   05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009   06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009   07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009   08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009   09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009   10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009   11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009   01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010   02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010   03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010   04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010   05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010   06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010   07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010   08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010   09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010   11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010   01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011   02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011   03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011   04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011   05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011   06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011   07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011   08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011   09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011   10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011   11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011   12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012   02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012   03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012   04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012   05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012   06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012   07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012   08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012   09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012   10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012   11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012   12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013   01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013   02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013   03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013   04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013   05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013   06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013   07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013   08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013   09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013   10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013   11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013   12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014   01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014   02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014   03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014   04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014   05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014   06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014   07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014   10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014   11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014   01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015   03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015   04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015   05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016   07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016   08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]