(For the firstborn so he can get to discover the wiser ways to the will that does not know the meaning of surrender, so he can have the power to will a will power that overcomes all odds, see meaning where meaning is to be found.)
Poeticizing pain, as abstract as one can get, could be a sober reminder of our dreams worth the pursuit.
Like today, the thoughts of home come clear.
I think of many things, like the continuing persecution of the poor in the homeland, with two deaths of small people, one a leader of a barangay, the other a member of a progressive group.
I think of the 'Martial Law dream' by a sitting president.
I think of the cycles of social and economic injustices in the home country and of the victims of these cycles increasing each day.
I think of the children: the youngest with her will to change milk: not Birch Tree because she is already four years old but Birch Four if her mom cannot find a Nido.
I think of the second born, the first daughter, she with her strumming her guitar, hoping that when I go to visit next time, she can carry a tune with me, perhaps that all-time favorite, 'My Way.'
I think of a firstborn whose spirit has been dampened by the idea that he cannot be a college instructor, well, not yet.
How can he?
He looks younger than the students.
Maybe he is wiser, but pray, tell me, he is in his salad days, and the salad in his bowl is all green, the good kind, to make him healthier in mindset, healthier in perspective, healthier in the way how he ought to take things in stride.
As a teacher for twenty years, I have seen them all, these vagaries of faith, these vagaries of life truly lived to the full.
This is one pain the son has to contend with, accept as it is, and go on from there.
I know the hurts, like that hurt of not winning in a literary contest because the judges are your aesthetic enemies and you do not lick aesthetic asses.
You know you had a better piece, and for the son, he knew he had better capabilities.
But what to do? says the famous line, one suggesting resignation to a greater wisdom from some place else.
For one thing, the game of life is not played fair and square all the time.
Many times, it is even played against us.
The key there is: Play life's game.
Go through its plains and valleys, its rocky mountainsides, its currents, its surfs, its tides, its floods, its storms.
That, to me, is the only way.
Life's full meaning is in the playing, the gaming, the playing it well, the gaming it well with grace and gratitude even if there are bruises, scars, wounds.
Having said that, I welcome the son into the world of adults.
This is our world, sonny, the world of adults who play games many times over we do not want, we do not like, we cannot accept, we cannot tolerate, we cannot love.
But hey, playing by the rules still matters.
When you shall have played life's game fair and square, you shall see the difference between making it with virtue and making it with the aid of a vice.
Then and only will you be able to say: it is worth it, this pursuit of a dream.
The meaning of life's game is in the playing, in your being absorbed to its world of particular and exploratory and tentative truths.
There are no absolutes here except in the rules of fairness and justice.
Start the gaming right, the playing right, and you will never have any regrets. Pains, yes, but regrets, never.
That is wisdom to the fullest.
That is dream pursued, fulfilled, realized.
A. S. Agcaoili
June 7, 2006