All Will Be revealed In The Fullness Of Time

This article from Michael O’Riordan’s column Outside Looking In was originally published on the 25th of February 2018 in the Dumaguete Metropost.

It rarely visits me, but when it does, I’m defenseless and reduced to bawling like a frightened child. Last week I inadvertently stumbled across a video on YouTube about Ireland. It focused on a time when I was a child growing up there. What I felt was more painful than a bad physical beating. And I’ve experienced an overabundance of those in my life.

In those moments, the barriers I’ve carefully erected against Ireland and my challenging early life all come crashing down. I again feel a profound love for that tragic island. I become a child frantically sucking on Mother’s breast. These emotions resemble an avalanche thundering unopposed down an exposed mountainside. I emerge from the experience confused, uncomfortable, exhausted. Fortunately, like all grieving processes, the emotions eventually drift away. Then they retreat to a remote corner of my consciousness. There they will lurk patiently until a future time secure in the knowledge, I’ll again be defenseless and will timidly yield to the assault.

It’s reasonable to say family is the most important element of Filipino society. It’s the glue that binds this vast archipelago. I’m constantly amazed at the affection and closeness shown here by individuals of all ages. It’s a startling contrast to the behavior I witnessed in California for thirty years where broken families were the norm. Here, even when large families live together in challenging conditions, they seem to get along. I can’t begin to understand how that’s possible, but it is.

I have a different experience with my three children. I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever see them again. My eldest Brian lives in Ireland, my actress daughter Shannon in Manhattan, New York, and my youngest son Emmett works on a luxury yacht that sails, depending on the season, between the Caribbean and the east coast of America.

I last saw Brian three years ago in Ireland, Shannon four years ago at her university graduation in America, and Emmett two years ago, also in America. They have busy lives and my living so far away from them does not easily facilitate us meeting. I’m hoping, perhaps optimistically, that we will all meet in Ireland in September before I sail across the Atlantic from Spain to South America. There’s an appropriate Irish expression that says “All will be revealed in the fullness of time.” But even if we do not physically meet, I’ve no doubt about the love we share for each other. Neither time nor distance can ever weaken the powerful connection we share.

I recently drove at nighttime on my scooter for the first and probably last time. Having recently come to terms with the insanity of Dumaguete driving, I suddenly faced the challenges caused by driving at nighttime. It was confusing to encounter so many drivers suddenly appearing out of the darkness with no lights on. In the moonlight that occasionally broke through the clouds, I observed families of four, sometimes five, driving blindly at high speed with no lights on. Surely this was a form of reckless insanity. My first reaction was one of anger at the harm this behavior would inevitably cause. Then I asked myself why do they drive without lights on? Perhaps it’s economics? Maybe they can’t afford to maintain their scooters and motorbikes and they estimate there will be less wear and tear if they keep the lights off? I’ve no idea, but I do know I’ll never drive again after dusk unless it’s absolutely essential.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been targeted by scammers who claim to want to send me millions of dollars if only I give them my personal information including bank account numbers. Seriously. This is part of what has been called the infamous Nigerian scam letter. The sender always claims to have millions of dollars available and only wants to get the money to a safe place. After the phony millions of dollars have been deposited they only want a small percentage of the total amount for themselves. While the proposition is ludicrous, unfortunately it has harmed, and in many cases, destroyed peoples’ lives. Part of their evil strategy is to target the elderly who, unfortunately, are often susceptible to scams.

One tragic example is a former client of mine in California. She had created and successfully run a large company there. Two years ago she was fooled by one of these evil scumbags and unwisely sent money to an account in Nigeria that was immediately closed minutes after she had unwisely disclosed her bank account details. Two hundred thousand dollars was immediately emptied from her personal bank account. Her children then insisted she relinquish control of all business interests and also close all her personal accounts. Humiliated, she died heartbroken last year. I can’t repeat here what I wrote to her family about the evil people who robbed her. But you can guess.

It began yesterday evening and went on all day and through the night. The Karaoke was intense, passionate, often horridly out of tune, and constant. Finally, at approximately five in the morning, it stopped. The folks on the hills across the valley from where I live on the mountain must have been exhausted. But they will, no doubt, be back again later today. This celebration of their saint will continue for a few days. And indeed it should! May they enjoy every moment. I find myself laughing when I think it was only a year ago that I arrogantly drove over to their valley and vigorously complained about the, for me, obnoxious noise. They would have been justified if they’d thrown me down the mountainside. A few days later, realizing the absurdity of my behavior, I went accompanied by the lovely Noreen to translate and also disarm the men with her beauty. Armed with bottles of rum, whiskey, and vodka, I quietly watched Noreen apologize for my behavior. The mountain men graciously accepted the apology.

But now I delight in their celebration! May they enjoy every moment of it. What a positive difference a year can make. The mountain spirits, which have been here thousands of years, and will remain long after I’m gone, are generously embracing me into their consciousness.

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