i2 have always maintained that once a writer merely writes to please, this is where his identity, independence, and credibility ends.

It is always difficult to go against the tide. Try crossing a running river or even a stream. It would be much easier to just go with the current and see where it takes you. Unlike what is actually  visible across the river or stream. You might be lucky and a beautiful lake may be at the end of the river or god forbid, a huge raging waterfall.    Then you decide and ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” to cross the river, or maybe go with the tide, or just simply stand where you are, safe and sound with not a care in the world.

I could have just sat there in my porch with my ever loyal companions Goofy and Katy and passed the time away enjoying the twilight of my years. Enjoying free movies, travelling with my wife, and meeting beautiful people. But as they say, what is life without its ups and downs. How do you appreciate light if you have not seen the darkness. How can you love if you had not experienced sadness.  Everything and every event in this world of ours merely compensate each other. Why do we value peace? Because we have experienced the horrors of war. Why do we value family? Because we have felt the pain of abandonment. Why do we value life? Because we fear the intense sadness of death.

When Ka Lowell Menorca left the country with his family, I understood with sadness his decision to do so.  Merely in his mid-30s with a young wife and a daughter just starting to see life in this world.  If I were in his place, I would have left the country much, much sooner. I would not risk my family for anything.  But being a young man with ideals and conviction, he tried his best to do what he believed was the right thing to do. And he had a very strong-willed wife supporting him all the way.  Unfortunately, this was not good enough. In a country where democracy means, “the guy with the bigger stick always wins” it would be quite foolish and illogical to go against the system.

Today’s youth are bright, intelligent, and full of ideals, matched with enthusiasm.  But from a guy who had the same qualities some 40 years ago, I have to say that bubbles do break. Not all things turn out the way we would want them to.  Take the case of the atrocities before and after martial law. The bombings and massacres.  Did we learn from the past?  All these inhumanities were committed with the foresight of a better society. But this dream of a new society has never seen birth and will always remain, a dream.

Amidst all this confusion, we on the other hand had an oasis where we all turned to when things would become unbearable.  We had a church where all our seemingly endless problems would disappear even for a moment, and that moment was enough to carry us through our endless journey in this callous world. We had a loving and caring minister who would visit us in our homes and there we would cry our hearts out together and lament our sadness in prayer to our God who would never fail to embrace us. Our spirits though having faltered so many times would always rekindle upon entering God’s chapel, His home. This spirit carried us through.

Today the oasis is gone. The House is divided.  Both sides stern and vocal in their convictions. But God does not dwell in a house divided. Unless we come to terms with each other, the oasis will always be one arms length away. That same feeling Moses must have felt when reaching the promised land but was forbidden to enter despite everything he had done to free His people and lead them to their freedom. An American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr so accurately explained this when he quote –

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  “

And when the air starts to clear, always remember it has and will always be God’s call, and never ours. As it has been since the beginning.

  • William Smith