[Sigh, another stream of consciousness rant. Thanks for all the kind (and less kind) comments, the well-wishers, Christmas greeters, and if ever I’ve been able to give you reason to take a deep breath, forget the day’s troubles, and smile, it will have been worth doing this for me. Merry Christmas! ]
Dear kabatch, brods, kabayan, schoolmates, officemates, Huttmates and friends :
EVERY DAY IS COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS DAY. Apart from other occasions, there is no set time for doing this, and there are practical reasons for such : (1) you gain blessings everyday and therefore it seems logical, NOT superstitious, for doing it. Of course, you may lose blessings as well, but that’s besides the point. (2) for those who believe in positive energy and related stuff, if you affirm receipt of blessings and thank a Higher Power for them (whatever your faith, and whether or not you have a faith, you’ve gotta believe in a force in the Universe other than yours, responsible at the very least for Intelligent Design, not necessarily personally interested in you, but that’s for another conversation OK?), chances are, positive acts and events beget ditto, and while I’m not recommending lying supine under the bayabas tree, recognizing blessings is sometimes its own blessing. (3) and last, you never know what will happen tomorrow, this afternoon, or even an hour from now. You may lose that all-important opportunity to acknowledge, even if only for yourself, that you’ve been one lucky person most of your life. Enough said :
I’m thankful that no disaster has personally rocked my world. The most clueless response I can think of whenever I come across news of a major disaster like the one that visited Mindanao last Sunday is, omg how horrible, but that could never happen to me could it??? Let’s admit it : our breathtaking naivete, smug conviction that awfully bad things happen only to other people, and the law of averages all combine to tell us that while we can condole and sympathize with the unlucky ones, we can safely reassure ourselves that we are somehow immune from such misfortune. Nothing could be further from the truth. Part of the tragedy last Sunday was that typhoons hardly ever visit Northern Mindanao, but it happened. High tide, the lack of absorption from the soil, the fact that the flash floods occurred late at night, all point to the mentality that a catastrophe of such magnitude was furthest from the minds of leaders and those responsible for preparing for it. Even in Christchurch, New Zealand, where government and the Kiwi culture are known for disaster-preparedness and safety consciousness, and where a previous earthquake was enough warning, no one could’ve imagined the death and destruction that visited one of the worlds’s most beautiful cities last February. Among many culprits? “It can happen, but we have time to prepare.” Returning to my own little world, I know that disaster can make its personal mark on me anytime, and I’m just grateful it hasn’t.
I’m grateful I have a job. Period. No complaints about it being overseas (and away from kids) and the wage rate (not high but not too low, either). The reason being that so many people are unemployed, underemployed, employed in shabby circumstances, exploited, exposed to hazardous conditions and substances, or worse, hate their job. The hours are not-so-great, there is some manual labor involved, some tasks are tedious and boring, but I could do a lot worse. I can do tedious and boring, especially after a week of helping pack 20-kg flour bags when the mill went into slowdown early December and Bisor and moi packed the equivalent of 18 tons (bag by bag of course) into paper bags one damp and dreary night. I know a lot of people, especially locals, would kill for a job like mine, where the pay is steady and the company is stable. That only makes me more grateful, and glad that I can get along with colleagues and superiors.The fact that my work visa status gives me even less employment prospects (I can only work for the employer stated in the visa) makes me even luckier as (for now) they’re not slave-drivers, communicate with the union as often as time allows, and try not to take advantage of migrant workers like me.
I am grateful that I’m in reasonably good health. Once a week or thereabouts, I wake up with a gout attack (or whatever it’s called) caused by more than a glass of red wine, or a little too much red meat in my lunch or dinner, a dip in temperature of more than a couple of degrees. All of those are avoidable, so I have only myself to blame. An ophthalmologist -friend (Atty Fe Makalinao, thank you) tells me that I, along with a few billion other middle agers in denial, suffer from presbyopia, which is a type of nearsightedness caused by age. This is on top of regular myopia and astigmatism, but just like my job, I could do worse. I have early onset creaky knees, aggravated most probably by my insistence on running around the block on warm days, early onset narcolepsy ( I wait up for my favorite shows only to start snoring even before the same is half over ), and endure high blood sugar and high LDL cholesterol, understandable given the wild excess of my youth. Otherwise, I’m in relatively good health and have maintained my weight and fitness, as long as I don’t abuse my body’s longevity, durability and forebearance. I need to add that probably 90% of the maintenance and upkeep, especially on the cosmetic side, I owe to esposa hermosa, who has done her best to update my appearance for the 21st century and hopefully the succeeding decades. For this I am doubly grateful ! 🙂
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You believe me now when I say I’ve so many things to be thankful for? By no means is this list exhaustive, there are probably a million other blessings I must one day record, acknowledge and pay forward. In this season of thanksgiving, giving thanks is only half the equation, and acquires more meaning when you pass it on (the blessing) to someone else, especially someone who needs it badly and who least expects it.
Maligayang Pasko my friend, thank you for your readership, and a blessed Christmas to you and your family!