There is a reason and there must be a purpose for anyone to keep a miniature private diary of names, addresses and phone numbers. It is not only a quick access to communicate with people but also a record of our diverse relationships. We update this private diary from time to time as the people around us come and go, adding new names and deleting old names while retaining those whose company we want to keep for one reason or another.
Updating our personal directory is a process of purging and qualifying. It is a quiet, searching review of our relationship status with no one communicating to us, who to purge and who not to purge, other than our conscience. This process of elimination and qualification is like sowing seeds and plucking thistles in our social and business gardens. Our hearts and minds have secret archives of invisible love and hate stored in our mental logbooks of sweet and bitter memories. As we purge we validate our relationships with a new listing containing a fresh universe of people we can trust and individuals we want and need.
Every relationship evolves with creation, to birth and to association. It has its genesis in our first parents, the first family of creation, Adam and Eve. Our blood relationships emerged from the birth of Cain and Abel and our associated relationships come from our shopping of a part of mankind. Relationships are the lifeblood of our existence, the tender nerves imbibed into the delicate organs of those to whom we belong and care for. A relationship is a blessing in the thought that with it we are not alone, and it is a burden in the thought that without it we are completely deserted.
In our “meet markets” we come in touch with people whose ways and interests we find appealing to start a relationship. The first layer is acquaintance which is knowing someone. The second is friendship which is liking someone. The third is fellowship which is bonding with someone. And the fourth is loyalty which is committing ourselves to somebody. The weakest and the least of these layers of relationship is acquaintance for such a relationship has no roots. The strongest and the mightiest is loyalty for its roots are as hard as a rock. There is hardly any pain in missing or losing an acquaintance but being disloyal takes a lot of torment and emotional distress.
In this heart to heart talk I find no better substitute for honesty and truth by saying that not all relationships are made in heaven. Most relationships are transient with our changing values, our likes and dislikes. They wear and tear, they fade and vanish. No one is indispensable in a disposable relationship. Everyone is replaceable, even the unique. We hold onto one so tightly until someone better comes along. Friends and our association of friends compete to earn better relationships in terms of trust, confidence and intimacy.
Relationships are subdivided into varying degrees in terms of interest and staggered levels in terms of respect. All layers of relationship shift and sway with the thermometers within us. We cannot disprove the truth that within ourselves is an internal alarm system which is a metaphor of mechanisms synchronized with the barometers, thermostats, thermometers and gadgets talking within us and alerting our mental compass to adjust our relationships caused by the external occurrences that shake our sense of balance, our security or well-being. Our human gadgets are invisible computers profiled to react to the biases and prejudices of our personality and character. They store memories and impressions collected from our likes and dislikes of worldly events.
To an acquaintance, we show civil demeanor. To a friend, we show warmth. To a fellow, we show trust. And to him who has our loyalty, we give it all. We are open with all relationships but we don’t display loyalty openly. Our true colors are revealed in our loyalties. By all means we try to keep it and not let others know about it for fear that it might alienate other friends and fellows who dislike the people to whom we are loyal. Yes, guilt by association. The enemy of our enemy is our friend. But some enemies of our friends are our friends and this affirms the reality that those who are not with us are against us.
We dance, wine and dine in numerous social gatherings in the same halls with the same cups and the same tables and yet loyalty hardly comes up as a declassified topic of discourse. It is in bad times, when we are in deep trouble, that loyalty comes to the surface. In good times, when everything is going well, all we show is our smiling faces full of grace, manicured language and punctilious behavior. Our social culture from our atavistic past veils our loyalties as confidential and sheltered by privacy. When all types of relationships are put to test and we are forced to take sides, we rally behind our loyalties for in such trying situations, more often than not, loyalty overpowers the strongest voices of truth and reason.
Loyalty sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil. It imprisons our conscience, enslaves our virtues, corrupts our values, perjures our convictions, poisons our morals, cripples our righteousness, crucifies our souls and abjures our faith. It stifles free choice, it suppresses truth. A child who has not reached the age of discernment is more credible than loyal. He speaks the truth while one who has reached the age of reason and has learned the value of motive builds his loyalty on the ashes of truth. It is easier for a judge to believe a child than to believe the testimony of a wife for her husband. Our relationships conjure with time and circumstance. They are formed to decay. As time withers our youth, so do our relationships flower and depreciate with time.
People and friends come in and out of our lives and our relationships come and go with them. Our lives are a lottery, a game of win and lose, of sowing and reaping, of joy and sorrow, of success and failure, of first and last. For a good period of time we are made whole by a bundle of rewarding relationships and only time can tell us when our wholeness falls apart with broken relationships one at a time. We are girdled in a web of relationships cultivated in our social foxholes. In joining others we don’t define them, we define ourselves.
In the end it is not the quantity but the quality of the relationship that matters. It is not the duration but the donation of such relationship that counts. People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. Every relationship is either a blessing or a burden. What some see as a burden is perceived by others as a blessing and what others perceive as a blessing is seen by some as a burden, all because our upbringing and values are the eyes of our hearts and minds. Every relationship starts young, and it is only when we see those we love and those we care for as a burden that it has grown old. It is our relationships that make us live and learn the art of living for without them we merely exist like domesticated beasts of the field. Fidelity has both the good and evil side. Each side has exponents and therefore no one wins, no one loses. Life is, after all, a big draw. And it is summed up in three words: life goes on.
PARTNERS FOR CHANGE. Undersecretary Joel B.Maglunsod and OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac, together International Labor Affairs Bureau OIC Director Mary Sol D. Dela Cruz, meet with the group of repatriated workers from Saudi Arabia who sought assistance in claiming their unpaid wages and benefits from their employers.
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