Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Kapayapaan! Peace be with you!
This social analyst and guru of self-realization already discoursed on the ‘peace project’ in so many previous articles (academic, spiritual, blogs). I will re-echo the ‘peace project’ as a fitting message for the Christmas holiday, an event that had already begun in the Philippines with the dawn mass or simbang gabi.
I will focus my peregrination though on the family aspect of life, on family peace, which admittedly was left behind in my past discourses. My previous writings were reflections about meta-narratives, about macro realities of war, peace accords, hostilities, discord among classes, ethnicities, and nations.
Wellness and the absence of it take place at many levels, so does it take place at the family level. Since this morph of wellness involves social relations and their affective manifestations, we will refer to it as psychosocial wellness. The term sounds like health-related, and it is: total wellness is the characteristic jewel of health, and health characterizes the quality of family relations.
Christmas celebrates peace in its universal sense, so does it celebrate family peace. The absence of hostilities at the family level—both nuclear and extended families—isn’t the only focal goal to attain as a wellness challenge. The greater challenge is to sustain healthy relations that will redound to growth-inducing bonds.
In philosophical terms, family living should strive to veer away from ‘death principle’/nihilistic state and traverse towards ‘life principle’/creative state. The family should be a ground to take stock of and repair the imbalances and disordered state (relative to dysfunctional) that all members invariably suffer from, rather than a ground for mere passive acceptance of each one’s weaknesses and defects. Coming to terms with such a state is the challenge of family living.
To substantiate my point, let me share to you a narrative about an old friend of mine who is couples of years my junior. Let me call him by a code name Phoenix. I met him in my campus dorm—at the University of the Philippines (Diliman)—while I was in graduate school in ‘84-‘86, he a young man who was intellectually inclined and ambitious. We instantly clicked with one another, became discussion partners and developed a lingering friendship. We both dreamt of authoring our own books in the future, a goal that both of us have already achieved.
While intellectually capable, I noticed that he couldn’t demonstrate his love for a woman and build a granite-strong Eros. A female student shed tears before me, as her love for Phoenix seemed burnt right away in the cold heart of the man. I have to appease the young woman no end, as she kept coming to me for comfort and let me read the poems she wrote for Phoenix (I was already into listening-counseling vocation then).
To my real shock, I found out from Phoenix’s own tongue that he grew up with a father who showed no compunction in beating him up. From childhood through his college years, Phoenix was cruelly abused by his father, who was without mistake a dangerous sociopath. Were it not for Phoenix’s own high-achievement predisposition, his learning could have been badly impaired by the demonic hostility of his own father.
Phoenix eventually finished his masteral degree, took up law which he also finished (U.P. College of Law), became a successful professional, and authored his book (it was published later). Good looking and conversationally engaging, he was the epitome of success that a woman would find in a man. But the shock of it all is that his capacity for Eros, for loving a woman, had been impaired forever by the arid child-rearing he received from a sociopathic father.
There are too many persons out there whose life trajectories are similar or parallel to Phoenix’s. Many of them may have built families of their own, but chances are that, with the dysfunctionalities in them remaining un-addressed (via psychosocial therapy), their families could have disheveled. Some who parented kids have committed crimes of killing their own children/babies, others have committed fratricide, and still others killed their respective spouse. Truly catastrophic endings for families begun with good intentions!
If the personal imbalances in each family member remain un-addressed, they will become the cause of absence of peace internally and among family members. The dense energies within each one will simply keep on recycling and manifesting in hostilities and even suicidal ideation (intrapersonal hostility).
Christmas is a very fitting occasion for renewing bonds. Though bonds may be renewed without preconditions, the reunion during a Christmas occasion can serve as fitting moment for therapy. If each party to the reunion would attune to thoughts of delight founded on devotion, then the occasion would be subtly therapeutic.
That’s why Christmas is so important an occasion, not only for Christians but for men and women of all faiths and persuasions. As I declared in another article, Christmas should be globalized as a multi-cultural holiday. No matter what happens, let there be Christmas holiday every year, as it contributes to building psychosocial wellness at the family and friendship levels (friendship is marked by fraternal bonds).
So for this year’s Christmas holiday, let there be family peace unto all families on Earth. Let this family peace be a timeless testimony to our personal efforts to build peace at all levels of life.
Peace, love, Light unto all of you!
[Philippines, 16 December 2010]
[See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com,