Teresita Bacani-Oropilla, MD
ne day in 1945 was especially
bleak and windy. Giant waves
crashed against the Philippine
Pacific Ocean shore in the dark-
ening twilight. One could tell it
was the season of the “amihan,” the north
wind, in full gale force. And, out there at sea,
in a rickety reconstituted LST (Landing Ship
Tank) was a former surveyor turned small business man, ferrying
food and essentials to small towns in exchange for copra (desic-
cated coconut meat), and abaca fiber (rope material). He had to
make money to send his children, delayed four years by WWII,
back to school.
Meanwhile, his anxious wife awaiting his delayed return was
sick with worry. “What if the LST had flooded or dashed against the
rocks?” To which a visiting Canadian missionary, himself making
rounds of the post war villages, commented, “Do not worry. It may
Now, New Year 2018 is upon us. We look upon it and the future
with hopes of new beginnings. The anticipation of children or grand-
children to be born, the joy of coming graduations or weddings, the
possibility of a husband’s promotion, an executive finally landing
that big contract, maybe the last payment on a student loan or a
house mortgage. How about the end of a successful chemotherapy
or anticipating making new friends on that long-promised cruise
to Europe? We prepare the kids for their missions for Habitat for
Humanity or a trip to Appalachia, and are pleased that patients are
getting better every day, or at least being comforted in their ailments.
We hope fervently for peaceful solutions to political problems at
home and abroad. It is true that despite our good wishes, political
unrest, new ideologies, regional wars, and natural disasters have not
ceased. Nevertheless, brooding on such disasters without learning
from our mistakes is never of value. If anything, it only prolongs
Happiness and peace in life are everyone’s goals. We seek them
for ourselves and those that we love. It is a bonus, that the anticipa-
tion and pursuit of such is part of the joy of the final achievement.
Realistically, comparing yesterday’s world with today’s shows the
tremendous progress that has been made for the benefit of mankind,
and the march is still going on. As an aside however, we could make
corrections on the missteps we have made.
We should not hesitate to dream big, either. Just as the fear of
the imagined insurmountable dangers to her husband failed to
materialize for the solicitous wife of old, so would ours. Just carry
on. This family eventually lived in a relatively peaceful, progressive
post-war period, realizing their dreams and taking their fruitful
places in life. The lessons being:
Have Hope. Relish present blessings in every circumstance.
Have Faith. Anticipate the best outcome always.
Do not worry. Your fears may never happen!
Wishes for a peaceful and prosperous year!
Dr. Bacani-Oropilla is a retired psychiatrist.