Clarity, Courage, Compassion

by Jose Ma. Montelibano

“Turda Gorges” | Photo by bortescristian/Flickr via Creative Commons

A new year is best started with clarity. If there is something, I would like to leave behind in the book of 2020, it is confusion. I understand that fear dominated the past year but I also know we cannot just wish it away. The COVID-19 virus is still very much around and, in fact, a new strain that has much stronger transmissibility is spiking fear levels. Confusion, though, is easing up. And consequent, so will the fear.

I would like to begin 2021 with clarity. I do not mean predictability because that requires a higher-level routine to set in. The impact of a global pandemic is yet to be identified and measured, preventing routines to form. But enough lessons have been learned and makes clarity possible. Clarity is number one in my wish list for the new year.

This is what is clear to me. The pandemic is not over. Even its worst may not be over. But what we know about the virus so far is that it is controllable, containable, and conquerable. A few countries have been without new infections for several months. There are more actual models of success that we can seriously study. Of course, the Philippines needs the right people to study them and formulate doable recommendations for our country.

Within the realm of many lessons, the many failures and the few successes, there is enough clarity to see our way through this year. Rare would be the possibility of long-term plans but pathways for the best two years appear available for the innovative.

Clarity does not guarantee success, but it is not confused at all. There are many moving parts in an ongoing pandemic and the art of seeing a whole from several important parts is primordial for clarity. The unpredictability of life does not deter clarity; in fact, it is enhanced by it. Clarity accepts and welcomes mystery because it senses the universal framework and absorbs its intent.

We are carving out the framework of the new normal, or we can if we have clarity. Otherwise, the painful lessons will not cease to force change the way life wants it. Only clarity can minimize the pain, enhance the learnings, and guide the unfolding of tomorrow until an undeniable pattern emerges with a high degree of acceptance from humanity.

“The unpredictability of life does not deter clarity; in fact, it is enhanced by it. Clarity accepts and welcomes mystery because it senses the universal framework and absorbs its intent.”

Clarity will not necessarily mean that the hardships will disappear. Clarity, however, will make us see the reasons why building the right framework demands discipline and determination. Only with these can the new normal have the firm basis to exude stability and productivity. That is why courage is my next wish. Clarity may lead us to the right pathway but courage will give us the strength to build from the unexplored. Without courage, clarity will be a mere mental exercise, a theory afraid to manifest.

In our imagination, is our wishful state, many new images will appear. These are the possibilities. Clarity allows us possibilities and opportunities because it lights the unchartered pathway. But only courage will give us the will to build intelligent and purposeful designs and structures so necessary for a new lifestyle, for a new normal.

The combination of clarity and courage has always been the primary force that drove humanity toward understanding material progress, the vision, and the mission at work. But my third wish is a third and crucial virtue – compassion. The lack of compassion in the planning and building of our todays and tomorrows has always made us pay a high price in the face of injustice, poverty, and extreme material inequality. Human insecurity, instability, and resentment guarantee conflict. And this is where we are now.

“The lack of compassion in the planning and building of our todays and tomorrows has always made us pay a high price in the face of injustice, poverty, and extreme material inequality.”

Philippine society is the arena of all Filipinos. I know that my three wishes and the effort to make them my daily guide to life as a citizen and a human being are but one of more than a hundred million others. I remember a most challenging wish years ago that I continue to strive to fulfill – that I will strive to light a candle rather than curse the darkness. Clarity, courage, compassion, and to light a candle, 2021 is made out for me.

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