29 years
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News Magazine
Operated by couple Eddie Flores and Orquidia Valenzuela
News and Views of the
Filipino Community Worldwide

By Jorge D. Lomboy
June 18, 2016


A blessing is broadly understood to mean anything conducive to one's happiness or welfare.  The pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right borne out of life and liberty.  And to secure these rights governments are instituted to install police power as one of the sovereign functions of government.  Happiness means good fortune and prosperity.  It is a state of well-being and contentment, a pleasurable or satisfying experience. What makes people happy is a matter addressed to individual values, a question that could never be responded with a complete answer.  But whatever everyone is looking for in those places where people give so much of their time and labor provides a clue that money is the main source of happiness.  Money is both a blessing and a burden for to those to whom much is given much is required.

Life had never been the subject of intensive debate and prolonged discussion until the right to life became a borderline issue on a woman’s right of privacy and personal liberty.  Two schools of thought and two conflicting ideologies splintered society with one group advocating the unborn child as a piece of property in the name of privacy and personal liberty.  This is what we call pro-choice.  The other group believes that the unborn child has the right to live, a right to life that overrides privacy and personal liberty.  This is what we call pro-life.  It is unfortunate that the right to life is an issue that will never be laid to rest for it depends on the reversible jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.  At one time the right to life was held sacred until 1973 when the unborn child was virtually regarded as a piece of property in the case of Roe vs. Wade.  Life is both a blessing and a burden for we live to let live.

Anyone in captivity is not happy. A bird inside a cage is not happy, a wild animal confined in a zoo is not happy. A person kept behind bars is not happy, a prisoner of war is not happy. A slave is not happy and one who is kidnapped is not happy.  On the contrary an eagle in the air is happy, a person released from jail is happy.  A liberated prisoner of war is happy, an emancipated slave is happy and a person ransomed is happy. The saying that we don’t live by bread alone is a scriptural verse that underlies the value of liberty we have always taken for granted.  Liberty is both a blessing and a burden as there is a price we pay for our right to be free.

It is the craving of many to acquire, hold and possess something of value.  We work all lifelong to make ourselves feel secure and to make sure we are not free from want when we could no longer work because of age or sickness.  We append security to property and acquiring property left and right is what we work for to the point of working to die instead of working to live.  Ownership of property is the measure of wealth and a towering symbol of prestige.  Property has always been the yardstick everyone uses to determine self-fulfillment in every category.  We feel insecure when the only property we have is our physical body even as we have life and are free.  In essence, property is both a blessing and a burden for it is a source of pleasure and a liability to government and others.

Knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through education, experience or association.  Knowledge is light in darkness and power in dilemma. The light of knowledge gives us the ability to know what is right and what is wrong.  The power of knowledge enables us to distinguish between truth and lie.  Experts and specialists speak with authority for they have superior knowledge, having more and more about less and less.  The knowledgeable are a frame of reference incase of doubt.  They are a point of reference when people don’t agree, when things are not well-understood and when the same circumstances are viewed differently.  As for me, I cannot stand listening to people who have a beautiful mind but an ugly heart.  In this context, knowledge is both a blessing and a burden.

I intend to jog your recollection by saying that you have lived with people who are too near and yet too far.  Candidly, I have to confess that I have lived with people who are too near and yet too far.  In your case there is a strong foundation of your relationship with others.  In my case there is no foundation of my relationship with others.  That foundation is what we call trust which is the most important lubricant in every configuration of relationship.  Confidentiality, privacy and secrecy are out of sync in a fiduciary relationship founded on trust.  Trust generates full disclosure, melts distance and ushers a free flow of information and candidness.  But trust, like respect, is not asked.  It is earned.  It takes years to build trust and only takes a minute to destroy it.  On this predicate, trust is both a blessing and a burden for loss of trust will close the heart we need to help us in time of need.

We all make mistakes no matter how wise and how intelligent we are.  Errors of mind and errors of heart are indelibly embedded in our imperfection.  We are all guilty of wrongdoing we may not be aware of until someone brings it to our attention.  We are predestined to be wicked and we are predisposed to blunder for not one man is holy for being religious.  Only the dead make no mistakes and are free of wrongdoing.  It is easy to make a mistake and do wrong but it is not easy to forgive.  Many of us find it easier to ask others for forgiveness but find it harder to forgive others.  This paradox is what makes forgiveness both a blessing and a burden for it impels a waiver of justice.

No man is an island for no one is born free but is everywhere in chains.  From birth to death, from cradle to grave, we are enchained to a caravan of kinship by destiny and relationships by choice.  A long line of ascendants and descendants is a blood relationship representing the first order of relationships by destiny. The second order of relationships by choice comes with affinity relating to parents in law, brothers and sisters in law, stepchildren and adopted children.  The third level of relationships by choice refers to friends, classmates, playmates, associates, co-workers and fellow worshippers. We cannot choose our relatives but we can choose our friends.  Parents cannot choose their children and children cannot choose their parents. With relationships we will never feel alone or be left alone. And on that note a relationship is both a blessing and a burden.

I have no patience with those who cannot see the wounds of the downtrodden and I am sorry for the person who can’t feel the whip laid upon another person’s back.  Years of destitution and desperation caused millions of people from the Third World to flee their countries through immigration in search of green pastures.  Time and time again the green card is the only hope for a better life out of the unbearable yoke.  I rehash the sentiment of immigrants and rehearse their obsession when I say that having a green card is heaven on earth.  More than 12 million undocumented aliens are determined to crawl in pursuit of a green card.  No other blessing but a green card is good enough to provide a strong sense of security that is free from want.  No other bounty is big enough than the opportunity to be all you can be with a green card.  The variety of benefits drawn from immigration and the onerous detriments cast in greener pastures certify that the green card is both a blessing and a burden.

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