Répondez s’il vous plaît (Tu parle francais Ninang?)
Please respond. That’s the literal translation of the commonly used acronym RSVP. It’s normally used for social invitations. Respond please. And though it’s just a choice between “attending” and “not attending”, many people have difficulty signifying their intention. Probably because of the “maybe”, and the “I’m not sure”- “wait I’ll check”- “oops I forgot” responses. How about the RSVP’s of the challenges and stresses of life? All the more difficult.
We are always called to respond to problems. Even “deadma” (ignoring Ninang? “More of pretending you’re not aware”) is by itself a response. Whether it’s a form of denial or coping mechanism we respond in different ways. We can panic, scream, ask God for the reason why, ask if God really exists. (He does Ninang! “Of course!”). We can be objective about it and do one thing at a time without thinking too much about the ultimate outcome (no feelings at all Ninang? “Suppress your feelings!”). We can be fearful and anxious of the ultimate outcome (don’t think too deeply Ninang). We can be burdened, sometimes irritated by the increased responsibility and work entailed in addressing the problem. We can lash out on others, lash out on ourselves, and make our lives (and others!) really miserable (That’s sad!).
My dad, the ever jolly-good-fellow, always puts humor into everything; it’s annoying sometimes. 😬 (I’m not proud of this reaction.). There was a time I begged my dad to
stop making joke of a situation. “Let’s be serious daddy! No more jokes (“I’m seriously worried”). You’re making things difficult. Serious tayo, serious!” And then how he responded was an eye opener. “Eh di malulungkot naman ako. Mamatay na ako nyan..” (Translation: Then I’ll be so sad I’ll die.). Ok! “Joke time Daddy! Joke time tayo!!! (Knock-knock Ninang?😬). Sometimes others’ manner of responding, though they irritate us, may be their manner of “surviving.” Let’s deal with it, understand them, and just be careful with our own responses.
Eternal complaining, meticulous criticizing, shopping, sleeping a lot, working too much, eating like there’s no tomorrow, soaking in games and television, immersing in koreanovelas, putting on a lot of make-up, dressing up, buying unnecessary luxuries, traveling, writing a hodge-podge blog (Ninang Ko Po!!!), lording it over people, and yes humor, can actually be responses that keep people afloat in the sea of challenges. Let them be. However you feel, whether out of sincere concern or, admit it or not, envy, let them be. Allow them to celebrate life. Better yet, allow them to cope and survive.
We all hope nevertheless for a favorable response from people. One that puts the needs of others above that of oneself– of empathy, love, and acceptance. A response that hopes; and considers, believes, and trusts the one true loving God. One that accepts from and gives love to others, yourself, and God who loves you most. May we give such. It’s called for. “RSVP.”
– Ninang thoughts responding to a heavy heart
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
“That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)