The inevitability of human oblivion-A A +A
Saturday, February 23, 2013
EHEM. Staring at my title for this Sunday’s article just gives me mixed feelings.
The. Inevitability. Of. Human. Oblivion.
Sounds really serious.
A topic one cannot toss in the air nonchalantly and forget about.
Well, we all want to be remembered. We always talk about leaving a legacy. Something to leave with the world when we pass on. Right?
I understand why anybody would want to achieve this to the best of one’s ability. We all want to make a mark in this world and it would be a great thing to know that people would have a way of knowing that indeed, you have been ‘there’. Sometimes though, I wonder if one wants to be remembered for selfish reasons or as an endpoint of a selfless act. That, in itself is where hamartia can develop its nidus. We need to be aware of the driving forces of our actions to be guided as we maneuver through life.
I have to admit that this piece had me thinking long and hard about how I feel about being forgotten as time passes. I am almost immediately brought back to every All Soul’s Day observance since my father died. In our country, venerating the dead on their special day is both a celebration and a time for recollecting fond memories. We take time out to prepare--clean the grave, set up the tents, order flowers, offer masses and then we spend days keeping our dearly departed company amidst funfare, kiddie mascots, food everywhere and camaraderie among family, friends and grave neighbors, old and new!
And then some. Away from the merriment and the light from candles and glow sticks that ignite the dark sky, I see unattended tombs. No flowers, no candles..no one. I cannot but help but wonder: “whatever happened to the living?” I cannot help but feel a bit sad and sorry. I am sure that there must be a good reason why no one is there, but still..
So here’s what I think. It is indeed possible to forever be lost to oblivion. Sure, you have friends and family who will always think fondly of you and remind others of your goodness but you really can’t expect them to always do that for you, ALL the time! People have their own lives to live and their concerns and issues are likely to take front seat to those of yours. In this way, no one is really to blame for any ill-feelings that may arise from being ‘overlooked’. People can forget you just because..uhm, they’ve become busy with their lives that they have to move on without you. And then there are some who just don’t care anymore. Sadly, it happens (but take it with a grain of salt). Or, they may have moved away or simply, moved on to the ‘quieter plane.’ Generations can die out too, you know. But that’s how it is, nothing is permanent in this world but change. It is in a constant state of flux. People move on and move away both temporarily and permanently. Accept it. Make it easier for yourself.
Geez. What a sombre topic for a glorious Sunday! This has taken too long to write than I expected! But you know what, things need not be dismal even when you feel (and believe) that there can be no other emotion that can be possibly attached to it but dread, drab and dreary.
Let’s just take it as it is. So, being forgotten is inevitable. Fine. No use fighting the inevitable. If it is how life flows, then so be it. I paused and thought about being forgotten and well, at first, I have to admit that it didn’t feel right. It felt unfair! But then again, who am I to demand to be remembered for all time? I really would not want to live my life feigning anonymity!
I think what matters most is how we face these facts that can be difficult to accept. After all, when all is said and done, what matters most is our perception of things. It really does depend on you, how you see, treat and deal with all the challenges and dictates of life. Most specially the ones that we cannot control.
Don’t fight what has become an unwelcomed ‘given’. Yeah. There are things that become a part of life, whether we like it or not. Whether it is problem with work, love, health or family, try to keep your cool without losing your head or your heart. Yes, it can take a gargantuan effort but it can be done. In my case, it was colon cancer about five years ago. Needless to say, it was scary (still is), costly and depressing not only to the one with it, but also family and friends. It takes its toll on everyone as it wields its ugly head but you have to learn to live with it and to accept the realities that come with it to make things a bit less stressful than it already is. Life challenging situations like this should not threaten the way you want to live your life. Of course, there will definitely be limits, but when you try hard enough, you really can have good days in an otherwise bad situation. Our life has many facets so don’t stop living when one aspect (or probably more than one) is compromised. Try to find that silver lining in every gray cloud.
Appreciate beauty in all its forms and sizes. It may be as simple as having the sun shine on your face or being able to get eight hours of sleep without any form of interruption, but appreciate the fact that you are able to bask in the beauty of the opportunity to experience it! We live exciting, fast-paced lives that sometimes we neglect the simple things that really make life more special. Be open to experiencing the simple pleasures of life because it makes our existence worthwhile. Whatever it is, be thankful for it, that you had the time to go through it because there are people who are not as lucky as you are.
So what then, if you disappear into human oblivion? The most important thing is that you made your life matter to you. You did what you could and all you could to be the best person that you can be so that other people can also benefit from your existence. If they forget you, it’s okay. It is knowing that you did something good in your life that will propel you through feeling contentment that you had lived a life well spent and with absolute purpose and meaning.
Happy Sunday Everyone! :)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 24, 2013.