While the typhoon wind was raging last Saturday, I was re-reading Hagar – one of the most dramatic stories in the book of Genesis, and one that’s truly universal in its portrayal of the complexity of human desires. Hagar was Abram’s Egyptian maidservant. When Abram’s wife Sarai in her advanced age could no longer bear a son for him, it was Sarai herself who told Abram to sleep with Hagar. Round as the Halloween moon, Hagar got pregnant as Abram’s wife. In a very fickle-minded manner, the news of Hagar’s pregnancy angered Sarai and soon despised and mistreated her. Hagar fled into the desert, found by the Lord’s angel, announcing to her a child she would name Ishmael will be born soon, telling her to go back to Sarai’s household and submit to her.
If blogging or facebook had been a fad then, Hagar could have handily hang out online, her FB wall streaming with the sense of betrayal and isolation that Sarai had caused. What could have been her blog titles, intentionally anonymous for the despicable thought that Sarai from the other end, could google her anytime and once found, would craft comments (also anonymously) to further degrade her? Some possible titles:
- The Wife That Never Was
- Desert Rodent
- Hating S.
- Point of No Return
- Missing Abloy
- Laylay Na, Sablay Pa
Haha – you can come up with your own… Our time, our age of information of course, is a point of no return, and is pointless to return, to the time when the world beyond our yards were largely unknown or unheard of. What’s known is known so that denying factual knowledge is like puking food forcibly. The point for this hypothetical set-up is to highlight differences of our time and Hagar’s: ours is a time of increasing speed and space to vent out our thoughts and emotions, a time of growing human solidarity with our personal malaise. Isang note lang sa FB ng sama ng loob at may makiki-simpatiya na kaagad. Hagar’s time must be doubly depressing for its snobbishly hard and isolating landscape. Ikaw kaya mapadpad sa disyerto bitbit ang mo ang yong love triangle drama? Desert life is survival at its extreme.
But hey – i need not be quick to judge desert time especially from the lens of our ‘information time’. One – i haven’t lived in a physical desert. Two – I’m not Hebrew for whom deserts are ambivalent places of struggle with the “demons” as well as transfiguring landscape of dialogues with God. And third – silence and solitude (space and intention to be alone with God) is not the staple habit of our tendentiously noisy ‘information time’. I can only approximate what the desert time was for Hagar in silence and solitude and less through our antsy information time. Every good thing has its own pathology they say. Parang siomai lang sa bagoong alamang pag too much daw.
On the contrary, what was good about the boring indifference of desert time that Hagar encountered was the gift of picking up “hints and guesses” from the Lord’s angel. Sinong gustong makausap ang anghel ni God, taas ang kamay? The problem is even the image of a conversation with an angel appears too mountainous to absorb for our ‘information time’ mindset, even laughable from our literal, scientific, and practical conditioning. But the greater point is in the silence and solitude of Hagar, painful as it was, anything can happen – even an angel’s appearance. Or a burning bush. Or being blessed with courage enough for Hagar to decide to go back to Sarai and face the love triangle drama head-on. Surely, more dramas await Hagar at Abe’s house. At wala pa ring broadband sa kanyang pagbalik kaya wala ring blogging at fezbuk hehe.
Photo credit: Lillylilla