SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Human is born grasping, and dies with open palms towards the Heaven. The baby bursts forth from the mother’s womb from darkness into the light, gasping and grasping air.
In survival mode, the self-centeredness is compelling, though given life by its perfect soul. I, me, mine. The tug-of-war between the imperfect flesh and perfect spirit starts. Until the baby grows old and learns to share and care, more to give than to receive. Then the old gives way to the new. The old passes away open hands, open palms facing heavenward, ready to be transported from the physical reality to the metaphysical or dream reality.
(No, Caloy my friend, I am not pulling your leg again. You are now very well-versed with the dialectics of the mind. Any attempt to pull a fast one over you is mere child play to you now. I learned the insight from Prof. Delfin Dalisay Estolloso of Silliman University. He who of a pure (dalisay) heart my mentor informally adopted me as his son in my SU days and years. I learned also from Sir Estolloso that human is born imperfect. Therefore, any system or form of government human creates is also imperfect.)
With Arnie, I visited my home country again early this month. It was the third homecoming in three successive years. This time, I felt I have arrived at last. I felt a warm sense of belonging, especially with my families, friends, high school classmates, and alma mater. I felt like Sir Launfal roaming o’er and far in search of the Holy Grail, only catching a glimpse of its vision when he returned home.
Rath Memorial Institute’s principal and our Literature class teacher Sir Carlos Somosierra taught us well. He etched well in our young minds what the author of the lyrical poem James Russel Lowell intended to mean. Somosierra told us the poem means that opportunities lie close at hand (close by in time or space). Whew! That was some 50 years ago.
Arnie and I found joy as Lilia, her sister-in-law in San Pedro, Laguna, guided us to the home of my HS classmate Bob Maymay in Marikina. From there, Bob and his wife Babe gave us a tour of Silang, Cavite, all the way to Tagaytay City, one of the tourism spots of the Philippines.
In her excitement and exuberance, Arnie simulated to fly like Supergirl high on the Taal Vista Lodge Hotel veranda overlooking the Taal Volcano. Babe’s camera froze the moment for posterity.
We felt the same joy when my nephew and niece Loloy and Agnes Abuzo drove us on his car to the home of Juan and Esther Pia in Oroquieta City all the way from Butuan City. We made a brief stopover at the Maria Cristina Falls Hydroelectric Plant in Iligan which generates electricity for Mindanao. Arnie had a grand time having his picture and video taken with the roaring waterfalls and river rapids as her pic backgrounds.
In Oroquieta, Juan and I were exuberant in retelling our DYSR days. I used to call him Johnny. As DYSR Radio Station manager, Johnny initiated me into news writing by simply throwing me into news transcription. Transcribing foreign and national news started me on a news writing path. It awakened in me the writing talent by giving my best. I learned from father that whatever I am doing, I always have to give my best shot heartily. It was some kind of a reunion of two members of a Christian radio station, which went about doing the business of the Heavenly Father.
But what turned to be unforgettable for me was my chance meeting of an 87-year- old matriarch in Cavite. Viring Caparal still moves like a 60 year old. She is full life. She is exuberant with joy. Driven with passion to educate her children, she now enjoys the fruit of her husband’s and her passions. All her children are now successful professionals raising happy families, most of them now in the US of A. With the success, she is now living her life of thanksgiving for Divine Providence.
Something there is in old age makes Viring Caparal closer to the Creator. I saw it, too, in the eyes of my 75-year-old sister Mana Toyang, who I visited in Butuan City. Several weeks ago, she was confined in ICU at a hospital in the city. Her eyes shone with joy of heartfelt gratefulness seeing her brother and Arnie from Sydney. I saw it in Inday Mosot’s 87-year- old mother. We stayed in Dr. Lod and Inday Mosot’s home in Tomas Oppus when we visited my hometown. It was heartwarming to listen to Inday coaxing her mother to sing her favorite song Usahay. When they broke to a duet with her mother as second voice, it was a joy to behold.
Something there is in old age makes us closer to God. Something tells us that once we were born naked. Something there is in old age reminds us of Job who, with unyielding steadfastness despite overwhelming reversals in life, declared naked I come, naked I go.
Something there is in old age transports us from this world to our souls’ dream reality.