Monday, March 7, 2011

Life's Ads

While watching TV, I became aware that it’s like using adulterated ingredients in cooking. One can never watch a whole story or newscast or any program without interruptions of not less than five between segments. But those interruptions called "ads" are really very necessary because they pay for air time so that TV programs can reach our homes.

By the way, when and where did ads begin? If we will reckon it, is there an earlier time and more specific place than in the garden of Eden? Why did Adam and Eve listen to and heed the ads of the serpent? Did they want an alternative lifestyle to the unparalleled bliss of Paradise?

Did the ads stop there? Or are they still in the here and now?

At this time in my life when I am living my bonus years (many are supposed to be dead before 70, as some ads say) I have the luxury of recalling and gladly enumerating the ads that have shaped my life from birth to my present age of 74 by April 18 (I am one day older than former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada).

Surely, the first ads in our lives came from our mothers or mother-figures because as the saying goes, “Mother knows best!”

As we grow older, we become aware of other ads coming from those around us to name a few: kins, neighbors, classmates, teachers and other school personnel, priests, nuns, pastors, ministers, bishops, popes and other church authorities and even saints; professionals (so many of them to enumerate); artists; entertainers; media; internet etc.

Of course we do not “buy” all that the ads say all the time. Sometimes we do, but later on we don't anymore. Matured children especially those who have finished their education will not believe anymore that parents know best more so when they cannot understand and operate cellphones, computers, i-pod, and other advances in technology.

Recalling ads in the early years of our lives will be boring because almost all of us have the same stories to tell ad infinitum...

But it is a different story when you are in your bonus years. We have to answer the question, “Whose ads are you paying attention to, now?” The answer depends on who is the current VIP in your life. Who is He? How did you come to know Him? When? Where? How? Why?

The first question I prefer to answer is “How?" His charm came to me through music when my heart became aware that “All Over the World the Spirit is Moving.” I always craved for the noon break in our government office when after lunch we could go to our auditorium to listen to some pastors, ministers, priests and other preachers who cared to proclaim the Good News.

To this moment I can still feel the joy in my heart whenever I sing any of them in different situations I am in. Can one guess what a person in her bonus years feel when she hears “Come, Holy Spirit I Need You", "Yahweh, I Know You Are Near", "Till the End of My Days, O Lord", "Create in Me a Clean Heart", "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace", "I Will Give Thanks to Thee", "I’m Free", "God is So Good." There are still so many worship songs, which I personally call "song-ads" in my soul to last me a lifetime in the here and now and till eternity. Do you have song-ads, too?

Besides song-ads we can also find ads to live by in books, newspaper columns, magazines, cellphones, computers and anything readable. We also can hear ads in homilies and preachings over the radio, TV, etc.

Today, I find it very consoling to affirm positively Jesus Ads found in the Gospels, most especially those beginning with “Come…” and “Ask…”

I also love St. Paul’s message to the Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for good...”

In the Old Testament, Malachi 3;10 says "Bring the full amount of your tithes to the TemplePut me to the test...” Our family can assure you that God’s promise is true in all circumstances of our life.

My personal favorite in Proverbs 16:31: "Long life is the reward of the righteous; gray hair is a glorious crown.”

Stanzas from poems also provided ads in my life. Examples follow:

“It is’nt the thing you do, dear
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of sadness
At the setting of the sun."

( I don’t wonder anymore why I was once a workaholic. Are you, now? So what!)_

“Lie is real, life is endless,
And the grave is not it’s goal;
Dust thou art to dust returneth,
Was not spoken of the soul."

These two stanzas are foremost in my heart although I can’t remember their authors anymore. Other poems come into memory in different occasions.

What else does a woman who has lost her husband of almost 50 years (December 24, 1960) do after his death? Listening to his favorite songs, “Born Free” and “Unspoken” and recalling favorite poems, reading books, magazines and everything readable did not suffice. At night after evening prayers, Lea, my "Isnak"("isang anak" or "only child", the only one of our 4 daughters who stays with me) and myself watch soap operas until 11 p.m. Sometimes, I try quarreling with her whenever she says that she won’t leave me alone because I might elope with her Pops (father). What else can one in my situation do after doing the household chores? I never go to chat with neighbors which most often result in gossip. So Lea asked me to write anything I want. And being the obedient mother that I am now, I have to give up the fear of old age because we have accepted our society’s ads that old people are useless due to physical deterioration. Must it follow then that our minds will also deteriorate with age? What can we tell about Socrates, the Greek philosopher who learned to play musical instruments when he was 80; Michaelangelo was painting his greatest canvasses at 80; Alfred Tennyson wrote a magnificent poem, "Crossing the Bar” at 83; Isaac Newton was hard at work close to 85.

Following are some quotations that I live by:

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

"You are as young as you think you are. You are as strong as you think you are. You are as useful as you think you are."

"You grow old when you cease to dream, and when you lose interest in life."

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