2012 is nigh. If we are only to believe that cataclysmic events will highlight the date 12/12/12, then there’s not much time left.
Not for the environment. Efforts to mitigate the effects of global warming are starting to gain strength, but the effects might not be felt by nations and islands that are being literally swallowed by the seas inch by inch day after day.
Not for world peace and hunger. As Somali pirates continue their ferocious attacks on ships, rebels with armed struggles with governments displacing millions, children being orphaned by these wars and AIDS, and more families in various nations as they pick up the shattered pieces of their lives after the devastations of deluges, volcanic eruptions and earth temblors.
And, definitely not for human relations. As Jesus once said he came to earth not to bring peace but with a sword, for sons to rebel against their fathers, daughters against their mothers and daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law.
In my daily interaction with people and being a constant observer of the things that happen in our world today, three things I have observed to be in its decaying state.
1. TOLERANCE. The Americans were doing great since the civil rights movement. Laws were passed to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to have access to public services and even private ventures regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, affiliation, etc. However, I see more and more people having no tolerance with other people who may speak, look, or act differently. More and more people who have the thinking that everything in life is a race that must be won. An accompanying trait that also becomes scarce is patience. And with it we start to build walls… high walls.
2. FORGIVENESS. As I hear from more and more people I know, forgiveness is one act that is getting harder to do. It seems like people are making grudges their comfort zones. I can also confess guilty on this one. However, it is still an exhilarating feeling to forgive those who have caused us pain. Forgiveness does not necessarily equate to “forget-ness” but breaking from this chain frees us and allows us to move on and to create new and stronger relationships.
3. CARE. There is a tradition among Roman Catholics in the Philippines when multifamilies bring their small children to church for a simultaneous baptism that once the priest finishes with the rites and blessings, the mothers/fathers would literally race (babies in tow) towards the exit. It’s a belief that whoever gets out of the church first will be the “luckiest” among the babies baptized that day. Sometimes, it is us parents who are to blame when our kids grow up trained as “survivors” – that only the fittest would make it. This disenfranchises a child to learn how to care and be a responsible and responsive member of the society.
In line with this, people are getting upset or nervous when their comfort zones are threatened. I see concrete examples of people,regardless of affinity and blood relations, who just show how uncomfortable they are when the status quo is messed with. Or, won’t even lift a finger to help those in need. I am amazed at how we fail terribly in this litmus test of human relations – that no man is an island, no man lives alone and we are all part of the whole tapestry called “community.” We all have responsibilities to one another, and accountability to each other.
It is disheartening to see how we adults show a bad example to these little and young citizens with whom we owe them their future. We train them to be warriors instead of builders. We raise them to survive instead of to live. We encourage them to accumulate instead of to share.
As a result, we sell out our honor and our name and worse, our souls. We are being known to be selfish, insensitive or apathetic and our kids see that. We walk away from commitments and we become paranoid that others are out there to get us.
Yes. Man is set against his father. Daughter against her mother. And daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law. But, Jesus also said that whoever causes one of these little children to sin, it is better off for him to hung a millstone around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Those who have ears, listen!
“Forgive us, Lord, for our un-forgiveness. For our intolerance. And, for failing to care for our neighbors. Help us to make it better next time. Amen.”