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By Stella A. Estremera

Spider’s web

Saturday, December 3, 2011


THE ferrets were said to have given human three gifts, read the fable by Richard Bach: the power of fire, the power of the wheel, the power of the written language, and the power of courtesy and respect for each other and for all life. As the ferrets were about to leave, one human asked, “Of these powers, ferrets, which is the first one among them, which would you have to guard us above all others?”

The ferrets replied, the power of courtesy and respect for each other and for all life.

Having heard that, the humans used the three powers to the max while enshrined the fourth power, that of courtesy and respect, in the safest of place and in reverence made no copy of it, its container laden with rare metals and precious stones and then lowered into the deepest part of the sea to be kept safe forever.

You may be chuckling, but that is how many of us regard what is most precious. Where caring means not touching and holding in high regard means keeping these beyond anyone’s reach. And so the value is lost, the reverence is only for the myth of what it was.

In our desire to value what we have been given, we don’t touch it. We put it on some pedestal and worship it. Or… Just peer into any ordinary home and you will see giant stuffed toys wrapped in plastic and displayed in the sala. While in almost every child’s hand is a scruffy one, well-loved and has served long as a source of security. Long after that child becomes an adult, the memories will be of the love for that scruffy toy. The plastic wrapped giant teddy bear or Winnie the Pooh will be nothing but fixtures in faded photographs.

This is the same with talents. Believing we are gifted, we hone our talents to the max and guard our trade secrets with our life turning ourselves into bitter protectors while those who skip along honing some other talents as well and share their skills and learnings to anyone interested are kept in high regard by the followers who in turn share what they learn.

Why it takes wisdom to know that can be the result of the competitive world we were brought up in. Even as kids, we were honed that way. Being first honor or valedictorian is a coveted plum and the one who gets it gloats along with his or her parents. The same goes on way into adulthood. Rejoice and gloat in one’s individual victories. But who’s having fun? All those who shared the joy of learning and made a lot of friends in the process. Never is it a lonely world.

In a recent gift-giving to the Matigsalogs in Marilog, a friend who saw the place up close for the first time felt heavy of heart for the poverty he has witnessed. But friend Betty, who has spent years with the people have another way of looking at it, having interacted with these same people and imbibed their unconventional wisdom.

“How can you live for so long with so many problems?” she once asked, the poor folk replied, “We’re still alive.”

And thus she told our new friends, they are not bothered, you are. Therefore it is you who have a problem.

The poor live life to the fullest, we anticipate difficulties and pore over problems.

But most of all, they live as a community where sharing is the norm. We guard our possessions. The toy each child was holding in reverence will not stay in his arms for so long because it is his to share. Indeed, there is joy in being the one to first hold the toy, but real joy is derived in the sharing. saestremera@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 04, 2011.

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