The 8th Sin







For ease in remembering, someone taught me this: the sins of the eye are called envy, gluttony and greed; the sins of the flesh are lust and sloth  while pride and anger are the sins of the heart. If I were to add the 8th its called not listening.

Discovering joy and excitement as a child, running and playing with other kids my age were all I could remember growing up. From playing hopscotch, jackstone, jumping rope, I soon discovered  I could roam blocks  away from my own limited neighborhood and circle of friends, to meet other children and keep on playing.

My mother realizing I couldn’t be contained gave me rules to come home when its time to eat and when its getting dark. With no watch of my own, the specific instruction was to keep an eye for the sun, when it peaks high up its noontime and time for lunch and when its setting down, pretty soon it would get dark then its time to come home.

Our country lies in the equator, our days and nights are balanced 12 hours each.  Dawn breaks  an hour before six, noontime is when the sun is at its peak, its scorching heat penetrating our callous skin enough to rid people out of the streets and a good reason to indulge in one of our luxurious daily habit we inherited from Spain, siesta. It’s not just a 30 minute nap, but an hour or two sleeping. Then everybody wakes up when the sun cools down and everybody’s back to business, children back on the streets to play.  Then the sun  sets before six at night everyday it’s time to go home for dinner.

However, as children we experience unlimited fun and oftentimes I’d decide to extend, but, amid  the joyous laughter I’d hear my mothers’ voice, long and shrill, Aiiiidddddaaaaaaaaa, and its a scold warning, hearing my real name is a message, I have been ignoring her call for the longest time  as against when my nickname is used, I need to do little favors.

Perhaps after so many children to take care after me, I wasn’t called anymore. Soon  I discovered this freedom to play wherever and whenever I want,  but voluntarily appearing and showing myself in my mothers’ presence at the originally appointed  time. Much later and in my  independent 20’s, I overheard her telling neighbors, compared to my other siblings I am always home before it gets dark.

This freedom I realized actually made me  sensitive to that long and shrill sound only coming from one person I know. Which I would hear at noontime and the setting sun. That unique voice, the timbre and tone I could recognize at any time, anyplace and among all other voices and noises around me became a timer that goes off in my brain when I am out playing in the streets. Then I’ll go home. It surprises me even more when I came home once that I wasn’t called.

Through those years listening to her voice calling my name,  it would become  a voice of reason when I am in a middle of my decision making.  It is also a reminder that I have all  the freedom to do anything I could but I have to be  responsible for myself.

Psychologist says our listening span is only 30 minutes, more than that nothing gets absorbed. Whatever we hear in those 30 minutes ends up in our data bank, our brain, where we pull them out in case of emergency. If we don’t learn to listen in those 30 minutes where the real lessons of life begins, there is nothing to pull  as needed, because anything after  is garbage and is of no use.

<a href=””>The Eighth Sin</a>


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