The exciting new year again beckons as a time for our continuous, never-ending renewal and for reaffirming our commitment to our fondest dreams in life. Let us continue to dream.
I view the new year as similar to the cheerful sunrise every morning. It is an inexorable signal of indomitable and imperishable hope amidst any difficulty, no matter how dark, cold and abysmal the darkness of night might seem.
At a recent luncheon of intellectuals at Mama Rosa Restaurant in Pasig City, I was seated beside nationalist 74-year-old geopolitics analyst and retired General Victor Corpus, and he shared this poem, which I believe is ideal for the coming new year. Originally told to Corpus by scholar Joaquin Sy, the poem was written by the late Brazilian poet, novelist, musicologist, art historian, critic and photographer Mario de Andrade (1893-1945):
MY SOUL HAS A HAT
I counted my years and realized that I have less time to live by, than I have lived so far.
I feel like a child who won a pack of candies:
At first he ate them with pleasure,
But when he realized that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.
I have no time for endless meetings
where the statutes, rules, procedures
and internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.
I no longer have the patience
to stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.
My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.
I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
how to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
and who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.
It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow with sweet touches of the soul.
Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.
I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.
We have two lives
& the second begins when you realize you only have one.
* * *
Let me also share this short poem by Maya Angelou on time entitled “Passing Time”:
Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk
One paints the beginning
of a certain end.
The other, the end of a
* * *
Thanks to painter Sherwin Tan for sharing this quote by Dr. Leighton Ford, which reminds me of our need for humility and transcendent faith during these Christmas holidays. Ford said: “Jesus was born in a borrowed manger. He preached from a borrowed boat. He entered Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, he ate the Last Supper in a borrowed upper room and he was buried in a borrowed tomb.”
As we near 2019, I remember once, when my sister Marilou and I were in grade school, a couple of weeks before new year, we saw our late educator and poet mom at home writing brush calligraphy for her classroom’s bulletin board. She wrote this old Chinese adage and explained its meaning in English: “One piece of time is like one piece of gold, but no piece of gold can buy one piece of time.”
Let us celebrate the new year also as a timely annual reminder that we all live here on earth on essentially just borrowed time — everything we are, we own, and every moment we have is temporary and fleeting.
Cherish life and make the most of every moment. Be kind, forgiving, cheerful, persevering, hopeful, generous, prayerful; be of good faith.
Wilson Lee Flores’ writings appear with permission on GoodNewsPilipinas.com Mondays.
(Wilson Lee Flores is a multiple award-winning writer, journalist, Kamuning Bakery artisanal breads savior, and Pandesal Forum moderator. This column was previously posted on his column in the Philippine Star. His “KuwentongPanadero” inspiring stories are found on Pilipino STAR Ngayon. Follow @wilsonleeflores on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.)