Wenceslao: Fear, worry

Bong O. Wenceslao

I USED to lead a life of living dangerously, specifically from early to mid ‘80s when I joined the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. I remembered that dawn when the farmer, the owner of the house we were resting in, put us on alert considering that government forces had entered the village. That caused among us fears and worries regarding our security. We rovers massed in the yard to prepare for any eventuality. I was wearing maong pants and a jacket over a t-shirt but somehow I felt cold. I was talking with a friend when somehow I could not prevent my body from shaking mildly. My friend smiled, obviously suspecting that fear was taking over my frame. “Tugnawa uy,” I muttered, feeling a bit of shame.

I have since been able to manage my fears and worries, with the realization that everything begins in the mind. My years of living dangerously lasted for a few more years and the experience provided me with lessons about faith, fatalism and objectivity. Despite the obvious dangers, I managed to survive with my sanity intact.

I was a Catholic faithful before I went underground. I thus learned to turn to God when faced with life’s challenges.

We Cebuanos have a phrase for that: “Pagbuot sa Ginoo.” It’s the Catholic version of “que sera, sera.”

Whatever happens, happens. If God wills it, like when death visits, then amen to that. When one does not believe in God, then fate becomes the refuge.

“Kun ato na gyung panahon, aw, wa na ta’y mahimo.”

Faith and fatalism allow us to gather the courage needed to counter paralysis brought about by fear.

During a skirmish, with bullets flying everywhere, a warrior may stand up and go on the offensive with the thought that if it isn’t your time yet, those bullets won’t hit you. Of course, the thought could make you reckless to the point of inviting death. Objectivity, of course also eases fears and worries. Fear of the unknown is a feeling rooted in subjectivity.

I remember during the height of the anti-insurgency campaign in Cebu when the then Regional Command 7 was headed by a master in psychological warfare. This general announced on radio that he had deployed thousands of troops in the mountains to comb the countryside and flush out the insurgents. I was in the mountains when a friend, a woman, expressed her worries about what the general said. I told her to turn the radio off and walk with me outside. The countryside was calm and only the rustle of the leaves gently caressed by the winds could be heard. We watched the deserted road visible from afar. “Where are the troops?” I asked her.

“In times of danger, we need to be objective and refrain from imagining things. Faith, fatalism, objectivity. We need those as we are being bombarded by reports of the Covid-19 “pandemic” that already has many wallowing in fears and worries that have threatened to push us into paralysis. We need to be prepared against the virus, true, but we still have our lives to live.

The balancing act is difficult but we have to do it.