Nothing is without complications

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2020 - 12:00am

Life is simple, right? Never any big complications. If we assume that March 15 was the first Sunday of the quarantine, then we are now on the 28th Sunday of staying-at-home. If you are anything like my husband and me, then it is the 28th Sunday and all the days in between of sitting down. That’s a lot of exercise. Be grateful to God for the quarantine. It teaches you what and how it feels like to be seniors.

Maybe starting late in August I began to get seriously bored. I had a healthy massage and wrote about it. Juliet, the masseuse, got barraged with requests. They came almost from Aparri to Jolo, most of them way outside Metro Manila. How could she possibly service all of them? But people texted even me, asking for me to intercede with her. I had to tell them, I’m sorry. I gave you her number, you take care of the rest. For some strange reason, they seemed disappointed in me.

Last week I wrote about making rosaries for Christmas, wondering if I might sell any. Immediately I sold four to a friend. Then someone ordered 10 to be sent to Pampanga. This taught me that 10 rosaries should be my minimum order for delivery. If they have to pay for the LBC delivery charge, it makes sense because you spread it over 10 pieces. That’s also because the LBC delivery charge does not change between the weight of one rosary and 10 rosaries.

But something rather odd happened. A man, a total stranger, called suggesting we get into business together. He said he read about miracles brought by praying the rosary. He suggested I write something like that, then maybe we could sell rosaries together.

Of course I said no, thank you. First, how can I get into business with someone I don’t know? I don’t even want to get into business with people I know. Second, is he seriously suggesting that we sell rosaries on the basis of their being possibly miraculous? I would never dare say that. True miracles can happen to the people who pray the rosary, but does that mean the rosary is miraculous? No. It only means your prayers were answered.

But if you believe it was the rosary that wrought the miracle, you would have to prove it. You would have to pass it on to many others with sick children and have them healed by the same prayers you said and always get the same results. Also you would have to give another rosary that will not heal another batch of sick children to prove that it was the first rosary that was miraculous. It is not easy to have a rosary declared to be miraculous.

I would never dare to make anybody think that the rosaries I make are miraculous. My ambition is just to make rosaries that are easier to use and are prettier than the other rosaries of the same size in the market. I make them as a person whose hobby is stringing beads together. I would not dare be so presumptuous as to claim miracles. I am a human being, not a holy person. To become a holy person I must die first and then, once dead, go to heaven and then search for the rosaries I made and make miracles through them. That will take many, many years. Please, we can’t make a business out of that.

On the other hand, someone ordered 15 rosaries for Christmas but asked if I would put my name on the rosary. Once, a few years ago, I had a tiny label with my shortened nickname “Twee” that I put on the necklaces I made then. I wondered if I could order those labels again. But if I did that it would raise the price of the rosaries. Then it hit me like lightning — would that not be like branding the property of the Blessed Virgin Mary as mine? The concept of the rosary is hers alone. We are just free to interpret it in terms of design, like make rings and bracelets that serve the same purpose, but I don’t think that includes attaching our own label to it.

I now think I would be embarrassed to label a rosary that way. Fortunately, when I told her that that would raise the price of the rosary, she suggested I just include tiny calling cards in the package. Whew! Putting my name on a rosary would have been pretentious of me. Putting little cards in the package that say I made the rosary with my own two hands will do the job.

Why am I writing this? It just goes to show the complications that one person experiences trying to do something useful during a quarantine. We like to think life is simple, ideas are easy, but here’s what I learned: Nothing is without complications.

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