Don’t Keep the Good Things by Mariel Gina F. Bello

Mariel at Work

The following speech was delivered by Mariel before her Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas colleagues last Dec. 4, 2006 as part of their Monday Flag Ceremony. She was asked to talk on the topic- Don’t Keep the Good Things and also include a short eulogy for the former BSP Governor- Rafael Buenaventura who had died a few days before. Mariel was particularly proud of this address as she felt she was able to “connect” with her intended audience at that time. Mariel had the ability to “move” people with her words as she wrote “from her heart”, with true compassion and grace.

Don’t Keep the Good Things By: Mariel Gina F. Bello
Most of us are at one point or another guilty of this. How many plates have we bought that are stored because “sayang naman kung gagamitin baka mabasag.” Or how many toys have we bought for our kids which are kept in their original boxes and stored in the cabinet? Or how many mommies have cried out on seeing their kids secretly playing with these toys, “magaling, magaling, magaling- Miguelito, ibalik ang mga iyan sa kahon at baka masira!” Para bang “commercial”? Reminder lang po, ang laruan po ay para paglaruan hindi po para idisplay.

We do not only have the tendency to keep the good things, we also have the tendency to keep good people to ourselves. I am reminded of the story of my friend. He had a younger brother who was very handsome, very intelligent and very kind. One day this younger sibling asked their mom if he could enter the seminary as he wanted to be a priest. The mom’s reaction was one of shock and out of despair, she uttered these words, “Bakit yung pinakamatalino, pinakaguapo at pinakamabait ko pang anak ang gustong magpari? My friend’s heart broke when he heard this. It was not so much that his brother with whom he was very close to was going away to live in a seminary. It was the realization that his mom would have wished that it was he who wanted to be a priest and not the favorite son. My friend said to himself, “ok lang pala sa nanay ko kung ako na lang ang magpari, kung ako na lang ang mawawala, wag lang ang kapatid ko” “Para na rin niyang sinabi na bakit hindi na lang ikaw, bakit siya pa? His mother’s words drove a dagger to my friend’s heart. Imagine the hurt that these words gave to my friend but imagine the pain that our Lord must have felt when He heard this. If my friend’s heart was pierced with a dagger, our Lord’s heart must have been severed with a sword. Our Lord must have said, I do not deserve the best pala. He must have felt like a father who asked and was offered not the best but yung “tira-tira” lang.

If we can be this selfish to God, imagine how selfish we can be with our fellowmen. Let’s us not keep the good things, but let’s use them and share them.

Speaking of keeping good people to ourselves, we have recently lost another good person and this is our former governor, Governor Rafael Buenaventura. Most of us felt sad and said “sayang”, ang bait at ang galing pa naman nung tao. Again, we cannot let go of a good person, even to God; because we feel that he could do a lot more here. But then again, God would have said, I lent him to you for several years and he had done much good. Isn’t it about time he comes home to me and enjoy the fruits of his labor? Please let me enjoy the pleasure of his company, just as you have enjoyed his’.

I do not know the man personally. But I do know that he espoused policies that showed his concern for the underprivileged; an example of which is microfinance which he said was one of best the ways to break the cycle of poverty. The newspaper -The Philippine Daily Inquirer- had an article about him last Friday. There were two quotes which the Daily Inquirer attributed to him that struck me and these are : Gov. Buenaventura said, “I will not have my name on an instrument where only the rich will benefit and the poor will suffer. It’s strange that those who want high interest rates are those who have money.” Another quote is “ I want to be remembered not as someone who made a lot of money because these things pass, I want to be remembered as someone who made life better for others.”

He had a lot of degrees, both from here and abroad. He held various positions from prestigious banks from being President to CEO and ultimately to being Governor of “the bank” – the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. He earned a lot of accolades, a lot of local and international awards and citations. Sure, he will be remembered for all of these – but the most important thing is that he will be remembered for his concern for those who had less in life. In the end, we say “Gov., we know you’re with the Lord right now and you certainly got your wish, We remember you just as you want to be remembered: not as a banker, not as the “Man of the Year” and not even as our former governor but we remember you as a human being who did not keep the good things to himself but who fought battles especially for those who had less in life and certainly made life better for others.

Let us have a moment of silence and offer a prayer for our dear Gov. Buenaventura and for ourselves that we learn not to keep the good things but learn to share these things just as he did.

Thank you and a pleasant morning to you all.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Keep the Good Things by Mariel Gina F. Bello

  1. Joy L

    “Don’t keep the good things.” Yes, my friend, I agree 100%. We both know the background of your story. We shared thoughts and feelings on that touching episode in one’s life. Letting go of something or someone we treasure most is just too difficult to do. It takes tons of courage and a heart so generous to let go of the best thing/s in our life.

    The mother in your story realized that God gave her the best; hence, only the best should be given back to Him. She realized that it was so selfish of her to hold on to a child whom God so blessed with “looks and brains”. She came to realize that her refusal to let go meant depriving hundreds of people the benefit of her child’s service and sacrifice; that in doing so meant depriving her child the happiness of serving God; that in doing so meant depriving God of paving the way for more people to share in His kingdom one day. (Note: That child is now a missionary in a far away country, “introducing” Jesus and Mama Mary to people who don’t know them.)

    The most difficult time for me was the night before I learned from Bong that your situation was not so good. You appeared in my dreams all in grey while other people around us wore colorful dresses. You were looking so pale but with a sad smile in your eyes. I guess, that was your way of saying “good-bye” to me. (I still didn’t know then that you were already struggling for dear life.) I prayed so hard asking God to allow you to survive the illness and let you stay longer with Bong and Sam becaue they love you so dearly and you love them so much. I prayed so hard for God to make you well and come back to the office soon. I guess that was the “selfish” part of me wanting you to be with us longer because we need you. You were so good in your craft and until now I cannot find someone that has the same quality as you when it comes to doing our work. (By the way, one of the group’s projects will soon be coming out in the papers and you, together with TPL and RBB, did so well. I know you poured your heart into it. One of the reviewers even remarked that it was all in order. Just thought to share that news because I know you will be smiling and saying: “It’s such a nice feeling to see your work in the papers and being able to touch other people’s lives.”)

    So where am I? After praying so hard, God still allowed you to leave us. I asked why? After days of meditation I realized that I had to let go of one of the “bests” in my life. I had to let go because in trying to hold on to you I was only prolonging your suffering. Like the mother in your story, I had to let go because God deserves the best.

    God unselfishly gave me one of the “bests” in my life. The time has come for me to be generous and give back to Him what is best. It is because “in God’s garden, He only picks the best.”

  2. Annie

    Hi Mar,

    You did it again… you made me realize what I am doing wrong. I am still trying to hold on to you when I should let go.

    Yes, you are certainly one of the few good people who I could really be proud of to give back to the Lord — you with your pure heart and never-ever failing faith in Him.

    It’s still so hard and it’s breaking my heart… but here goes… Yes, I will not keep the good things: I am letting you go…

    Ooooppppsss! Sorry, I lied… I’m keeping our memories. I know you’ll let me… thanks!

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