THIS is not a prediction or an imagination of a fortuneteller but merely some thoughts on what lies ahead for us Filipinos, specifically for the Negrosanon. The Chinese say this year is Year of the Pig but I don’t believe that the characteristics of the pig will determine what 2019 will be as in the past when each year is designated under the influence of an animal with different features and inclinations. What is certain however is that many will be inclined to even dress like one.

What I do believe is that there is a God, the Lord of Providence “Who guides the destinies of men and nations” and this guidance has been there enshrined in the heart and mind of every human being. Sure, this law was initially written in stone but when man threw away the stone to decide for himself the Creator wrote His law in everybody’s heart so that nobody can claim before the Final Judgment Court that they did not know. Ignorance of the law is not a defense; even the human court does not accept that more so when the law is etched in every heart.

The late Msgr. Jose Silverio once told us that what we are is the sum of all our decisions. Others are mundane – we are what we eat. Well, that is correct. Those who eat like a pig really look and oftentimes act like a pig. But it is still a decision – being a pig. Indeed if we look back and contemplate the events, or more precisely the decisions we made in our lives, we charted our journey to what we are today.  There are definitely straight paths and bends and corners, but whether we will move on or take the turn, is a decision. Some end up well, others not so.

In his book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again (2015), now US PresidentDonald Trump  made this practical advice, “If you keep on digging and get nothing, stop digging”. He was talking about failure and the importance of accepting that failure and starting again on something. From a man with a reported US$10 billion to his name, that advice is worth millions of drops of tears.

By now millions of people around the globe had consulted with their Zodiac signs to find out what lie ahead for them this year. They check on the stars and the messages from astrologists, long dead and unknown to tell them what to expect. Indeed, people often said, “it is in the stars” or “it isn’t.”

In Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare wrote of the comment of Cassius, a co-conspirator in the murder of Julius Caesar, to Brutus who complained that Caesar was getting all the honors: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” Truly we make what we are and not because somebody or something else did.

I remember Benildez “Belding” Familiaran, the father of Bacolod’s Vice Mayor El Cid, rephrased the words of Cassius. Belding said. “It is not in ourselves that we are stars but in our underlings”. What wisdom and he is right – there are fawning underlings who make their boss the star no matter how ridiculous the claim. Belding tried several times to be President of the Negros Press Club, but the “elders” kept on telling him to wait. He never became president because he was not an underling who made some people stars.

The stars can never predict the future, but we can chart it; nobody else can for us. The decisions determine the outcome. Cassius and Brutus chose to be underlings, afraidof Caesar.Reacting to Cassius’ remarks, Dr. Lawrence J. Peter said, “The greatest question is not that you have failed but you are content with failure.”

So, what lies ahead for us? As I wrote last Saturday quoting G.K. Chesterton, the choice is ours, not the dictates of the stars or the chopstick or the wad of money, but ours.

This year’s election is crucial. Is there a need for change for the better or are we content with failure and just murmur?Or shall we dare what Hamlet wanted but failed: “to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them?”Our decision will shapewhat lies ahead.