Love at home and abroad
I wrote this to my mother on Valentine’s Day when I was living abroad:
I wish I could wrap up love and mail it to Father and you. Happy Valentine’s Day to the family.
This is not the usual hi-and-hello note you normally receive from me. In my three-year stay here in a US naval base on a faraway island, I can really assess the meaning of remote living, love and work. Do I sound sentimental today?
I haven’t forgotten what you have shown, and not just told, us about respect: that respect for oneself and for others should not be confined in one’s home, that charity should begin at home but not end there, that love isn’t intended for humans only but for animals, too.
Let me talk about respect first. I’ve observed that some seem to lose respect for themselves when they are away from home. Their excuse is that one should be tough when living alone and be concerned for oneself first. I think that in so doing, they also lose respect for others. But don’t worry, I’m not letting disrespect for myself and for others defeat me. Respect is still in my heart and mind.
And love. Like charity, it is better given, as you said. I remember our poster at home of five puppies with a caption: “If you love somebody, show it.” That proves to me that showing love and care is important to those you love, but even more so to those who seem to ignore what loving and caring are all about.
Do you remember Lighter, my brown puppy? Lighter had his share of what “love” is from someone who is supposed to be protective—a human being. Last year, a day before St. Valentine reminded everyone to spread love, Lighter’s anonymous “lover” gave him his share. He was given a warm bath, but what a bath it was! He was splashed with gasoline, which made him sick. I thought he would die. Thanks to my friends’ care and love, he lived.
I can’t believe one would find satisfaction in hurting people or animals just to please one’s passing whim, or bestiality. I wish a person could be more “creative” in showing love, perhaps in a gentle way, as you taught us.
And remote living? What the first Filipino Miss Universe Gloria Diaz said is true: that travel, no matter how brief, broadens one’s outlook. Contrast that with what your fa-vorite actress Amalia Fuentes (the most beautiful face in Asia, in your estimation) said: that travel shows the insignificance of men.
Travel, especially in a distant place like ours, widens one’s insights. One gains independent living and sense of belonging and wellbeing in an environment exactly opposite to what one has been used to. It shows the very significance of men’s existence. Just imagine older people working abroad so they can provide decent living to their families back home. Their chances to work overseas are equally significant as their motives.
Anyway, I’m composing a poem titled “Thumb mark.” Isn’t a thumb mark visible proof of the significance and uniqueness of men? One has only to look at one’s thumb print to know that it’s one of a kind and can’t be identical with anyone else’s, not even one’s twin’s.
Bye for now. Please take care and keep my love and prayers for all of you there.
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Pit M. Maliksi, 64, was Most Outstanding Professor for 10 years at PUP-Santo Tomas, Batangas. He founded Mga Apo Ni Tomas, a civic society of 1,000 young professionals.
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