My Problem with Yours

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


ONE of my outrageous fantasies is to have a shrine where troubled people can place their problems (and petitions) on a table where other people's problems are similarly brought.

The idea is to barter your problem in exchange of another which you may choose to pick. The grass is always greener across the fence.

During a bizarre dream, I took a cursory survey of the problems listed by fellow barterers. The instant knowledge sent my scurrying to where I placed my own. Quickly I grabbed it before someone else would take it and leave me no option except by jumping from the frying pan to the fire.

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Lists of the petitions asking help and solution atop the barter table were common everyday troubles that are inherent in the human condition.

I do not have an idea as to my reader's own private and secret demons that he may decide to exchange, hopefully, for less lethal ones.

A number of the petitioners cited financial troubles as top of their travail, including impending bankruptcy, accumulated debts that would lead to foreclosure of property starting with the residence and other collaterals.

A few mentioned terminal illness and the enormous costs of hospitalization, with no sight of probable cure as prognosis. Someone has to undergo a four-section heart bypass or a kidney transplant.

A mother petitions help for her domestic woes- a drug addict son, another sibling is a murder suspect, and the only daughter has an unwanted pregnancy. A mother with four children has been abandoned by her husband.

One petition mentions the head of a large family who was apprehended by US immigration agents for overstaying. He is facing deportation. Who would feed the large brood when the displaced father lost his keep?

Several supplicants are losing hope after long periods of joblessness; with them are those who are bedeviled by weariness of spirit, lack of enthusiasm to strive and find their place in a dog-eat-dog world.

A distraught father wants solution to the death of his only son, a graduating college student who was shot by motorcycle-riding killers. One mother bewails the blank wall on the case of a missing teenage daughter.

A few parents are in desperate situations as they report daughters-nurses in Saudi who were victims of sexual molesters in workplaces.
A few are known to be positive of MERS-COV.

Lovesick petitioners listed their personal woes as their failed relationships, with hurt feelings, loneliness and grief. Some cited defeated ambitions, hopelessness, and unrequited love.

No matter how heavy our burden, however severe our suffering, or desperate our needs, these can never match the problems of other people. Yet you are blessed and fortunate in your own misery.

How can the loss of your job or lack of it, a failed business, a death in the family, indebtedness, sickness, heartbreak and separation compare to the tribulations that befell Job?

If Job listed down his suffering from pestering boils, domestic disputes, damage, loss of property, the death of his children and his wife who turned against him, nobody would exchange places with him.

On the barter table are the more numerous sufferers of self-inflicted pain. These are the people who feel ashamed, humiliated, and belittled when comparing themselves with contemporaries who appear to be more successful, efficient, or powerful.

Yet we never know the secret anguish of the men of success. They have their bitter experiences, frustrations, and personal demons that cause them unseen grief and remorse. Spouse betrayal is viral among them.

Remember that success is relative and each of us has God’s gift on our DNA. As Emerson rhapsodizes on the quarrel of the mighty mountain and the tiny squirrel:

“Talents differ; all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut.”

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 30, 2014.

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