Be careful what you wish for

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By Evelyn R. Luab

Light Sunday

Sunday, March 23, 2014


HOW many times have we heard this statement from others or perhaps even from ourselves: “I wish I were like her. She has no problems!”

Be careful what you wish for because you might just get what you desire, only to find out how wrong you were.

The novena prayer of our Mother of Perpetual Help has this line: “The troubles and trials of others are sometimes greater than our own.” If we really reflect on this line, we become aware of how petty we often are.

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Remember the saying, “I cried to God because I had no shoes until I saw a man with no feet”? It is during Lent that we become aware that suffering is a case “to each his own.” Let us also remember that God is with us always—even in darkness.

One cannot compare the pain of heartbreak, the days of tears, the bloated eye bags plus sleepless nights because of memories invading one’s thoughts, to the pain of starvation. Which would you rather have? You can have hunger pangs that make you double up in pain. You can also have the humiliation of going from one relative to another to ask for help. Often you even undergo the embarrassment of being turned away!

There really are all kinds of sufferings in each of our lives. It often is brought about by wistful thinking that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Couples of long standing, even 20 years of being the pillars of a solid family, succumb to tales of fi nancial successes from overseas Filipino workers who come home.

We often hear of salaries of P16,000 a month or P25,000 a month for a contract of two years. What we do not hear are the mishaps, the exploitation that occurs abroad.

Let’s take this particular case. The wife of a man who earns about P10,000 a month was enticed by a close family friend to watch over the newly born baby of her daughter abroad, and earn a salary of P16,000 per
month. They had been happily married for 20 years, with two grown-up kids plus a young daughter. After two years of separation, life was never the same for them. Broken families rarely get into the headlines.

We were once told that in a seminar. The exercise given was to put each one’s respective suffering on paper and to put it in a basket. After all the papers were in the basket, everyone was told to pick out a paper just to see someone else’s paper. During the discussion of the exercise, the majority of the participants opted to get back their original papers. Many exclaimed that their sufferings were trivial compared to others. One participant complained that her teenage son was cutting classes to play
computer games near the school.

The paper that this same participant pulled out spoke of a jobless husband who was not only an alcoholic but was a drug addict at the same time. When she compared the two sufferings, she confessed to feeling humble.

So many people grumble against their employers and even start the day by whining or complaining at their desks. Today so many people queue for job openings, wishing they could get the same kind of job some people are vehemently complaining about.

Once upon a time, I wished that I could be a bird, because they just soar and play all day. Today, I’m glad that my wish had not been granted. I get to watch a fl ock of birds daily from my window and discovered that they too work like us the whole day. They look for food, build their nests, look for shelter from the rain and they migrate when it is too hot
or too cold. They also get shot at.

Wishful thinking never did anyone good. You wish you were well? See your doctor and drink your medication. You wish to be successful? Work hard to reach your goal. You wish for a solid marriage, one that will last? Don’t
jump hastily into the married state. Choose your spouse well, one who will complement your relationship. Get to know each other well especially when it comes to values.

In these present times when an airplane can disappear in thin air or when death comes like a thief in the night, let us not live to harbor this particular wish: “I wish I had spent more time with her or him.”

Relationships and bonds of friendship can still be nurtured before it is too late. Spending quality time within your portion of the fence like your family and your close friends will not make the grass look greener beyond your fence. Don’t just wish!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 23, 2014.

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