Chronic bitterness syndrome

Published by rudy Date posted on January 21, 2009

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is certainly sick.

By her account she must be suffering from “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” which she blames totally on former President Fidel Ramos. That something is wrong or has gone wrong with “Tita Miriam” is something I can certainly agree with.

How else can we explain her transformation from a really nice, idealistic, uncomplicated person to a complex ball of anger and emotions? What happened to the champion of the youth who walked in our midst and instantly inspired and lifted their souls? What happened to our Joan of Arc who stood unfazed and unaffected by weapon and foes, staring down enemies with her integrity and commitment?

What happened to “Tita Miriam” whose faith was so great, she trusted God to lead her in many battles great and small and even to dare to run for President of the Philippines? From a woman of faith, what has caused her to question, dissect and debate God and religion?

I certainly tempt fate simply asking such questions knowing the catastrophic consequence of “Tita Miriam’s” ire. But sometimes there are questions that need to be asked, hopefully to find answers. Often in asking such questions we also find revelations to our own lives and things we did well or failed to do.

From her days as a judge up to the time she became Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, “Tita Miriam” was the ideal of what a civil servant should be: highly qualified, intelligent, brave and a skilled communicator. Her next best asset was her ability to cast her vision and develop a network of equals and influential people who gladly shared and supported her vision and willingness to serve or lead.

Back then she was our female version of “ a change we can believe in”. Back then she was the epitome of “audacity”. It seemed nothing could go wrong for “Tita Miriam”. But they did. “Tita Miriam” by her account was “cheated” out of the presidency.

In terms of practical politics, the analysts could conclude that “Tita Miriam” was cheated out of the elections. Historians might say that she was cheated out of the presidency; spiritual folks might conclude that she was cheated out of her destiny.

I certainly can’t blame “Tita Miriam” for her anger because it is not simply about losing the presidency. For a woman, it is equivalent to being violated. It is not merely about right and wrong but extends to truth and justice, and involves the divine will of God. How is it possible for God to allow such farce and injustice?

In the end it also raises the question: “where are the people who shared the dream, who fought the fight, where are they in the hour of the greatest challenge and great tragedy, why are they silent? Why are they absent?”

Governor Grace Padaca calls it “the Burden of the Brave”. Teeming masses may surround you and lift you up because you represent the dreams they live for or the ashes they live with. You are their champion whom they lift to the arena and cheer in combat. But when confronted by defeat or deceit you stand alone with the Burden of the Brave.

Then you discover that teeming masses idolize champions because they have no stomach for pain and designated you for the suffering. But the tragedy does not end there. Losers have no power nor influence so they desert you. Sadly as in all of us we crawl into our emotional corners where even the most loving of parents can’t reach. The tears, the defeat, the anger creates such emotional turmoil we won’t even hear heaven itself.

Deceit is the shovel that digs our heart, hurt is the seed that comes to life, and bitterness is the disease that takes root in our souls. Individually and as a nation we have allowed the bitter root to grow, or nurtured it mistakenly.

Out of friendship we feed the anger of others by telling them they are in the right. Out of fear we distance ourselves from the pain of others because it may become bothersome or a burden. Out of ignorance we brand others as angry or insane without bothering to simply be a friend, much less try to heal the hurt.

Yes “Tita Miriam” is sick. She’s been hurting all these years because when she needed “us” we were not there. But when she went ballistic, we cheered her anger and her performance. This is the revelation into our own lives I mentioned earlier. If we ever dare to face the truth about ourselves, I reckon that we will all be a lot humbler and a lot gentler to each other.

Let’s all stop from turning our leaders into substitute gladiators or “performing monkeys” for our amusement or to express our frustration and anger towards others. Let us stop feeding the bitter root because even by her own account, “Tita Miriam” shows us and confirms that it is tiring. Chronic bitterness brings about chronic fatigue. It is not a syndrome, it is a reality; a tiring not only of the body but especially of the soul.

Lets all encourage people like “Tita Miriam” and pray for her complete healing.–Cito Beltran, Philippine Star

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