The kind of peace we seek


In a world where we are daily bombarded with news and images at a dizzying pace it is so hard to find a little rest. We literally have to close our eyes to enjoy a little peace and for a very brief moment we let our minds block the images that we see on billboards, television, posters and from our cellphones and tablets.

The last time I went home to visit, I became very observant. I was like a child observing the rhythm of life around me. Early in the morning the vendors would prepare themselves for another day and by the break of dawn people travel to work taking jeepneys, light rails, taxis and for those who are privileged, they are driven to work.

Life is a drudgery of repetitive tasks that if we are not creative to convert our time off from work into something that can feed our souls, we would literally become extensions of appliances and tools that make us work and work until we are burned out.
For some, they engage in creative hobbies and sports. for others they seek to reach out as volunteers for community events and in the process meet other people. Networking creates a heightened new level of personal engagements that can result in finding a new friend, a soul mate or a hobby buddy. We all pursue different approaches from our time off from work because our lives have become so complex even though we surround ourselves with technology that I believe have further complicated our lives.

How many of us have actually written a letter, or a check? For many of us we now send emails, chat online and pay our bills online. We are caught in a whirlwind of daily activities that extends through the night at home that by the end of the week, most of us are. . . terribly exhausted!

We never enjoyed the peace and the quiet with our parents. I remembered my father so relaxed on weekends as he sipped his tea with the Manila Times on the table: then he blurts out inaudibly his weekend recitation of “what’s happening to the world.”  I smile internally when I utter the same words when peruse at the newspaper Delco Times.

Before I left for the States, I waited for a group of people crossing a “kahon” in the ricefields that spread so magnificently in front of me. They were very friendly and smiled and I decided to follow them asking them questions along the way. They were taking home rice for their families and some to sell to neighbors. As I entered one home, I was dismayed at the lack of almost anything except a floor, a small tv and some boxes on the side. Behind the wall was their kitchen. The man prepared coffee for everybody and everybody seemed to enjoy in black. The children, playing in some kind of a Nintendo some kids in America would never pick up.

“We are so happy here” the man said. I asked him what makes him happy. “I have my family, and almost everything we need is here except we have to go to the city or to town sometimes. And I am thankful that God is good to us.”

I am bewildered at the man who seemed not to have anything inside his house but still say God has been good to him. I went back to the States with questions in my mind about how their lives are so simple and yet seemed happier while ours have become so complex here in America.
Where is the peace that we so desperately seek in our lifetime? Two weeks ago, I learned that a personal friend committed suicide at home when his wife went to work. I thought that perhaps he never found the peace that he wanted and probably ending his life would just end it all and he never have to think about anything. For a moment I closed my eyes and prayed for him. I opened my eyes and thought deeply of God’s love and comfort in our lives.  If we love God and our neighbor and consider ourselves as His disciples, we have to cling to his blessed promise:

[Jesus Comforts His Disciples] “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. – John 14:1 NIV

 

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