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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Cup Runneth Over

I really love connecting and re-connecting with my family and friends but sometimes it can be so tiring! I think as I got older, I became more adept at avoiding negativity especially coming from friends and acquaintances. I’m having difficulty with family. That’s how it usually is with family though. I understand that. They are not as easy to just let go.

As much as I love having friends, superficial friends are usually very easy for me to let go without even missing a breath. I had a friend that I liked very much when I was still single. We did a lot of partying together and just had fun times. I wouldn’t put her in the category of close and intimate though, just party and fun friend. When the time came for me to get married, my true friends and most of my family were supportive of my decision and my choice. When I announced my plans to this friend she made one simple and glib comment: “oh, but your house will become dark now”. No, she wasn’t lamenting the end of my bachelorhood; it was a sly reference to the fact that I was marrying someone who is black. No, I didn’t get mad at her then, I didn’t bother trying to change her mind either. I just made that be the last of our conversation.

While visiting the Philippines the other month, a matter of fact comment was made that has stuck with me since like an itch I couldn’t scratch. While going through the ritual of catching up; asking how is so and so, and how are they doing, where they live now, how many kids, etc. Out of nowhere, someone commented rather casually to me, “I heard Sister O is the luckiest of all you three”. Huh? Now I have never very been very quick on the uptake and it usually takes underhanded comments to sink in with me, so this time was no different. I suppose I should have asked for clarification what they meant by that comment. But, knowing the source, I can only deduce that by ‘lucky’ she meant ‘wealthy’. So I said, “if you mean that she has the bigger house and the bigger bank account, then I suppose yes, she is the luckiest” and left if at that. Now I wish I hadn’t.

I wish I had said that all three of us were lucky. We’re lucky because we are still alive and relatively healthy. We’re lucky because we have been blessed with square shoulders for our normal sized heads to sit on. We’re lucky because even when we’ve been unlucky in life, we never used it as an excuse to hurt someone else. We’re lucky because even though we don’t have riches, what little blessings we have in our life we earned by honest means. We are lucky we were blessed with bright and independent minds that do not need validation from others. We are lucky that we genuinely love each other as sisters. We are lucky that we are surrounded by people who love us and accept us for the people that we have become.

I wish I had said all that and more, but I didn’t. I sat there and agreed because I didn’t want to be rude. But I should have, because the more I think about it, it was rather crass. Maybe I am a bit defensive too, that I didn’t get picked to be the ‘lucky’ one in their eyes. I hope not.

I hope I am not that shallow, because I do consider myself quite lucky. Nevermind that my house isn’t as big, my cup still runneth over. The third stanza to this poem sounds like it was written with me in mind.


I've never made a fortune
And it's probably too late now,
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's journey
I'm reaping better than I sowed
and I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Don't have a lot of riches,
And sometimes the going's tough.
But I got three kids that love me
And that makes me rich enough.

I just thank God for his blessings,
And the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Oh, I Remember times when things went wrong
And my faith got a little bit thin,
But then all at once the dark clouds broke,
And that old sun peeked through again.

So Lord, help me not to gripe
About the tough roads that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

And if God gives me strength and courage,
When the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
To help another bear his load
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Written and copyrighted
John Paul Moore in 1970


Dexie said...

i have experienced through the years that some of our fellow pinays do not know the concept of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". either that or they're just plain stupid.

i'm wicked so if i was in your position at that particular moment i would've said something meataphorishly speaking on what a retarded human being that person is. LOL.

sexy mom said...

your cup are blessed. so sad, why nowadays, most people only see material possessions as the gauge for success. it won't hurt to remind others, esp if they are our friends how lucky we are, how lucky they are, not only for the wealth but for the health, blessings of family and friends.

SisJo said...

And you wonder why I don't want to go home? It's a good thing I wasn't around, I might have said something rude to that person! You know how "insensitive" I can be......relative or not! Oh, well! Love ya!

vernaloo said...

Hi JMom :) Bloghopped from Toe's.

People who are envious most of the time resort to giving hurtful comments. It's like their way of getting back at you for the blessings you received. You haven't wronged them but that's just the way they deal with their own insecurities...they take it against you. I wished you could have said all the things you mentioned in this post. But on second thought as long as the people that really matters to you know how lucky you are, then that all that matters. Besides if these people are envious, even if you tell them those things, they will still find a way to twist it or something :)

MrsPartyGirl said...

those comments are really hurtful, so i can't fault you for being defensive. i would have probably said or done the same thing, especially if it comes from family - the people whom we most trust and expect to accept us for what we are (and what we have).

anyway, i think each person has different standards of "success". small-town mentality begets small-town expectations, i guess. but, what's important is that you KNOW you are lucky and blessed and loved. as long as you have that in your heart, it shouldn't matter what anyone else says.

Omom said...

Hiya Sis,
I soooo agree with everyone's comments. Some people simply don't know the meaning of insensitive, appropriate or crass. Aren't you luckier that you do? As for me, whatever is dished out is returned in kind. LOL! So there were quite a bit of shocked looks on some people's faces while I was there for 4 days. As if...

rhodora said...

I share the same sentiments. I don't like being compared with my siblings more so when the point of comparison is about how wealthy they have become and how less I have acquired in terms of material things.

I mean - hellooo... can't we just be happy to see people after a long time and not zero in to how much they are worth? Very sad, indeed.

But heed not those people, JMom. They are not worth your while.

HiPnCooLMoMMa said...

my my, why can people be sooo insentive of other people's feelings...sad to say but there are a lot of that kind out there. minsan ang sarap patulan, or dapat talaga patulan para tumigil at matauhan.

tintin said...

Wow! Talk about crass. You could have also said, "We're all lucky because we were taught good manners and tact by our parents. No one would ever call us crass."


But I admire how you handled it and yes, you are verrry lucky!

JMom said...

LOL! dexie you are like my sisterO. She would have had a quick come back for that person. I try to teach my girls that mantra "if you can't' say anything nice, don't say anything". I try to live by it too.

hi sexyMom, that is so true. I like the poem because it alludes to perceptions. Just because you see someone drinking from their saucer doesn't mean they couldn't afford a cup.

hi Sis! that's what I thought of when I heard why can't sisterO or sisterJ be here at times like this so they can put this woman in her place? lol!

hi vernaloo, I think you are right, that comment probably came from envy. She and her sisters can't get along because they are always trying to outdo each other. I guess it's hard for her to imagine that my sisters and I get along even though we have different life styles.

hi MrsPartyGirl, yeah, the more I think about it, it really is really was just a small mind thinking aloud. :) I shouldn't let things like that bother me. It's just harder to take when it's from someone who says they care about you.

LOL! SisO, I can just imagine the confused looks after you got done with them. They probably don't even realize what hit them until you are long gone. haha! I just wish I could think fast on my feet like you do :)

Hi rhodora, thanks. I hate people who make comparisons too. I try really hard not to do that with my girls. They are all individuals and what works for one person will not work for the other.

haha! girlie, mas masarap batukan. lol! Kung mas mataray nga lang sana ako, sarap patulan :)

Hi Tin, yeah I guess people like that will always be around. Just have to learn to tune them out. Just wish there wasn't so many of them! lol!

Chateau said...

That 3rd stanza could have been written for me too :D
Coming from a huge family of 6 siblings, I am often compared to my other sisters. Of course I'm never the richest or the most successful or the luckiest. But I agree with Sexy Mom. People measure success with material wealth. And it's just so wrong!
But oh well, if they think that way, they're missing the whole point of life. Wawa naman sila. What a shallow way to live and measure life. tsk tsk
Have a great day. I hope you don't run into any crass people haha :D

Joan said...

Sorry you had to go through that. Situations with family are the worst. Do you think the "lucky" comment had any thing to do with that person being from another country and having a different idea what "lucky" is? I dislike the concept of "luck" more and more. I still wish someone "good luck" but I almost feel it's sacrilegious.

BatJay said...

the cliche is true... you can pick your friends but you can't choose your relatives.

you hear from them all the time - why don't you have any children, why are you so fat, etc. etc.

from the mundane to the ridiculous to right out stupid questions.

JMom said...

chateau, you're right, kawawa naman sila. They hadn't progressed from their base needs as a means to measure their life's worth.

hi joan, you're right. I am not a big fan of 'luck' either. It means that your fate is somehow out of your hands that you have nothing to do with altering it no matter what you do.

hi jay, yeah, with family I guess we are more comfortable to be rude :( when it should be the opposite because these are the people we say we identify with and love. oh well.... I wish I have one of your snappy comebacks :D

Toe said...

Great post JMom! I, too, have lost some friends because they disapproved the person I married. But I think your experience was so much worse because it reeks of bigotry. A terrible thing.

And you are right... money cannot buy happiness. Still a Filipino trait I guess... comparing the size of the house, the number of cars, etc.

vina said...

it's sad, but some (or most?) people do think that everything's about the money, and that a person getting married is considered lucky if he/she snagged a wealthy partner.

if and when i do get married, i would just want to be able to live comfortably, but overflowing with fun, love and respect.

now, if only my boyfriend would propose, haha!


JMom said...

Hi toe, i wonder if that is only a Filipino trait, but we we sure do it a lot. Basing one's success in life on how much material wealth they have.

JMom said...

hi vina! lol! then I shall wish you luck that your bf will propose soon :D