Pacencia y Fe

The days are long and tiring. The headlines, deeply unkind. I tweet about life feeling endless and my student replies in jest: “Miss, may forever.” 

This is an inside joke among Filipinos, arguably the most romantic people in the world. Forever is real, we insist. Love can last, we declare as we wear our hearts on our sleeves.

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“Forever is a social construct,” I reply. “All we have are moments.”

I know what you’re thinking: what a complete buzzkill.

But I’m in a mood. You see, our political landscape has been especially terrible lately: Misogynists dominate the media. There is a cut-throat divide among my countrymen. Traffic has (believe it or not) gotten worse. The good people are dying and our last strands of hope seem to be dying with them.

“What do we do?” my friends, the determined problem solvers, ask. I shrug. The truth is that I really don’t know. Maybe the answer is simple: we get up, we move forward, we function.

Today I got to sleep in. Fridays are my off days so I didn’t have to wake up to the sound of my alarm. And, y’know, I’ve never described rain this way but it was particularly delicious this morning. Gray skies, soft droplets sliding down my glass windows — the world felt so wonderfully quiet.

When I checked my phone I received the news that my cousin had just given birth. We had been waiting for two days already and it seemed about right that life — his name is Calix, he looks like his mama — decided to finally show up on this beautiful, beautiful morning.

Then the headlines popped up on Facebook and Twitter. Tiny heartbreaks, a series of disappointments. Do I wallow? Do I wallow?  No, I think I’ll go get breakfast first.

I exercised. I dressed up to go to the hospital. I spent time with my relatives. I drove home and took a nap. I finished a poem. I finished my book’s back edits. I downloaded a few podcasts. I listened to Lin-Manuel rap stupendously in In The Heights. I danced a bit, too. I never did manage to sit down and wallow.

Life can feel endless at times. The horrors seem to go on forever. But that is the illusion of disappointment. And when my heart takes a beating I have to remember that there is no such thing as forever. All we have are moments.

So let us be grateful.

Let us be grateful for good mornings and free days; for the silence of a payday Friday; for the smiling faces of loved ones and puppy dog kisses; for coffee and cream cheese sandwiches; for a brand new baby boy, my whole world smiles for you.

Let us find solace in the moments, small though they may be, that take us away from the desolate longness of life. We are alright, I dare to think. We are alright.

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