VOICE FROM THE SOUTH
By FR. EMETERIO BARCELON, SJ
All the plans and goodwill are of no use without action. There must be action from the early morning when we wake up. To get up is often difficult. St. Ignatius used to say That it would help to think of our bed on fire to get us out of bed. We need to force ourselves to move and operate. As the French adviser used to say, we have to repeat: Every day in every way I am getting better and better and better. We have to move to action. Many good intentions and projects do not get done because of lack of action. After that we must review our actions if they are also of service. Are we serving our neighbor in our action? As Our Lord told us: Do unto others as you would others do unto you. It is positive action and not just the negative of not doing evil to others, as we do not want them to do unto us. Act. act, act. Many wonderful projects are left undone because someone failed to act.
Dorothea Brande’s advice is: “It is impossible to fail.” This has been helpful to a lot of people to keep reminding ourselves that it is impossible to fail. Failure is temporary. And in the end we will succeed if we keep trying. Try and try again. Success is assured. Sometimes we need courage to act. We can be afraid. But we must overcome fear of the unknown. And the slogan: ”Just do it” is helpful. Forget that it may fail or that it may have dire consequences.
Two potential problems are forgetfulness and postponement. We tend to forget, especially if it is difficult. Writing it down and using post-it or stick paper. Postponement or the habit of “manana” is a common defect and we have to overcome it. Postponing something that has to be done, does not help at all. Finally making sure that the project finds its end. In the Filipino languages, the final syllable is unimportant. Perhaps that is an indication of our tendency not to bother about endings. We have to make sure that the endings are to our benefit. Filipinos tend not to bother with endings. We are careful about beginning and middle of words. So also we are careful about beginning and middle of projects but endings is something else. We tend to ignore it. And this is not good. A project has to have a successful ending. We cannot just ignore it as we do the ending of our words in the local languages. This shows up when we try to learn another language that is careful about endings, as in the Romance languages. In English the endings that matter are few but still rather important. The final “s” and final “d” is often ignored by the Filipino learner. But it makes lot of difference. Fifty percent of the mistakes of Filipinos in learning English are in the final “s” or final “d.”
Act, do, serve, courage, and just-do-it helps. It is impossible to fail. We need to see that our plans and activities end up well. And after scrutinizing it, we start all over again. (A Dios rogando con el palo dando. — Still praying but with sledge hammer swinging. <[email protected]>