Saturday, April 7, 2007

Holy Week Special

Holy Week ends tomorrow as we Christians once again celebrate Jesus Christ’s rising from the dead. Americans call it “Easter” and celebrate the day with egg hunts, bunny mascots and jelly beans. I really don’t know how those three are related to the true essence of the occasion. I just know that they’re there because, as part of my job in a greeting card company, I get to be flooded by boxes of Hallmark Easter Cards coming from the US. All three elements are almost always present on those greeting cards. Sometimes, there’ll be a crucifix design, too.

Easter also means the end of a long weekend for all of us, a long weekend that is originally intended for praying and contemplating one’s Christianity. But for people who spend the year doing loads of things, the Lenten season tends to become a legal right to go on a vacation.

Being used to a fast-paced life, we cannot do nothing for the free time we are entitled to just by inhabiting a predominantly Christian country. Nor shall we spend it re-witnessing Charlton Heston part the Red Sea for the Nth time. That’s when having too much time in one’s hands becomes a challenge.

Last Friday, I was planning on ironing as much clothes as I could to make my time productive. Mommy discouraged me though. She said it is not right to do heavy work on lent, especially not on a Good Friday. She added that I should reflect instead.

Little does she know that I reflect all the time, so much that it’s all I seem to do. Besides, since I hate ironing and any other household chore for that matter, I would have done penance just by deciding to make the most of my time. Then again, my mom’s suggestion to put off ironing is so hard to resist, I ended up cleaning our refrigerator instead. If only I could regain the will to iron before the weekend ends.

* * *

As a religious practice, the holy week is the time for fasting and abstaining from food or sex or whatever people overindulge themselves with these days. But since I am not all that religious, I hoarded and indulged—hoarded DVDs to watch, and food to stuff me and my brothers with; indulged in DVD marathons and in eating the non healthy kind of food to provide me and my brothers something to keep us preoccupied with. If doing both is a sin then boy am I another step closer to hell! And I would have dragged my brothers with me. Nyay!

Of course, I can choose to discuss what we have been watching and what I have been learning to justify that my hoarding and indulging somehow made me a better person. Allow me, then, to absolve myself from my somewhat sins.

Last year, it was Steven Spielberg’s Taken that took my Lenten time. This year, it is the first 18 episodes of the first season of Tim Kring’s Heroes and the first six episodes of the third season of J. J. Abrams’ Lost. In all three TV series, it is apparent how time is of the essence for every character—how one’s past brings him to where he is when we meet him, how he deals with his present, and how he may do in his future.

Somehow reality goes that way, too. The things we’ve done in the past make us who we are in the present. But it is how we react in the now that defines us in the future. And in that trip from the past to the present and to the future, it really is OK to make a mistake. Sure it will cause a dent to the present you but you always have the present to react to your life thereby giving you the opportunity to make a better future.

I sound like a copy for a bank or an insurance company ad but, heck, that’s what I’ve arrived with this holy week. The way I see it now, I guess in life, we just have to do what we think we have to do. We commit some blunders along the way. We certainly cannot erase them but we make up for them. That’s how we become better persons. That’s how we make our stories. Maybe not as perfect as Jesus Christ’s story but a story worth-telling nonetheless.

Now with the eating part, I plead guilty for gluttony. In a way I am getting what I deserve for biting more than I can munch. If this intermittent gushes of stomach pain which I’ve been having since last night will neutralize my not fasting or abstaining, then well and good.

* * *

I first thought I could end this entry like that but I feel that I should try to say something which must be relatively enlightening just because I am calling this piece “Holy Week Special”. No more confusing clichés for my conclusion.

From a non-religious point of view, I’d say that given ample time to ponder what we have been doing in our lives, I guess we should try to think about improving ourselves, not just to make us ourselves progress but also so that we can give back to the people around us.

Let me end by sharing this: A kid who’s at one of the early crossroads of his life has persistently invited me to go visit his blog. When I finally read what he has to say, I chanced upon an entry where he tells his readers that he’ll be gone for a while to try to do some things. He then names a few and probably for dramatic effect ends his list with “dying.” In the hopes of pulling him out of his drama, I left him a comment and part of it goes, “As long as you’re alive, you have no right to die.”

Maybe that’s something I’ve learned by just by living—something that may help me improve and something I can share to help others be better, too.

I end here.

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