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Saturday, February 1, 2014

WHO’S going to take care of me?” That’s the question Blanche Gallardo lobbed. She lived and worked in Hong Kong as a writer, editor and publisher for nearly 35 years. She retired here. Now a widow, she is in her early 80s.

A  University of Santo Tomas graduate, Blanche moved from Philippines Herald to Asia Magazine. She crafted various publications with her late husband Bert who worked as art director for Asia Magazine. “I wrote under the byline of Blanche Blanquita being virtually unpronounceable in the then British Crown Colony.” Here’s her latest essay:

“Providence says that a year isn’t just one loop around the sun. It is a forward journey along a timeline over which God stands at the start and simultaneously stands at the end, and at every point in between.


“It is as if God were viewing a parade—but not as we do, standing in one place, watching each event pass us. Rather, God’s
perspective is like a person standing on a tall building, simultaneously viewing the parade at its start, middle, and end.

“For that band in the middle of the parade, there is a definite past (That spot where two of the trumpet players fainted) and an anticipated future (Are those kids ahead holding water balloons?). But the person on top of the building sees everything, all at once.

“Providence comes from the Latin word meaning ‘to forsee.’ God looks ahead, in other words. His vision is like the wheels ringed about with eyes that move to and fro in the visions of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel.

“God’s eyes are not the like spots on a pair of dice that turn randomly up and around and over. This day is more than the breathless hope that the dice will come up in our favor, only to watch them thrown tomorrow again. The only people who think it’s okay to look at life as just a big gamble are those who have not done very much gambling.

“Here’s a word from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that we would do well to ponder within the first waking hour of every day: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

“‘Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?’ (Matthew 6:25-27). It doesn’t get any more practical than that.

“In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made some of the preeminent statements in scripture about the providence of God. He was addressing one of the universal pressing questions we all ask: Who is going to take care of me? At your 80th birthday that question might have a special urgency, but in truth it is no less urgent when one is 20.

“The answer?

“‘Your heavenly Father knows you need them.’ So don’t get caught in the rat race or, we might say, the pagan chase (‘the pagans run after all these things’). There is a better alternative, in other words, to living a life of hoarding.

“As someone said, the problem with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat. Our security does not come from the bank statement telling us how much we’ve saved up, or from the number of suits in the closet.

“Food in the pantry is a good thing. But no matter how much any of us have to eat or wear, drive or shelve, we will never know security until we see the face of providence: the God who clothes the lilies of the field and who tends to the birds of the air. And he knows. He knows what we have and what we need. He knows those days when we have less than we think we need, too.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 02, 2014.


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