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Lines of communication

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

As the well-known American priest and psychologist Michael Garanzini once said, “Children are excellent observers but poor interpreters.” They observe everything that others do, but they are poor interpreters of these actions; they know exactly what you are doing but they don’t know exactly what it means.

A lady in Saligao once told me of the time when her father had died. She was still a child then, and had observed that her mother did not cry at all on that sad occasion. Many many years later when the topic happened to be discussed, her mother explained to her: “I was trying to keep that traditional stiff upper lip for the sake of the children. I wanted them to know that their father was in heaven and that death isn’t a tragedy. I didn’t want to show my own grief, especially not to the children.” So she kept back her emotions, and her little girl concluded, “You didn’t love my father, did you? You didn’t love him at all. I loved my father and you didn’t!” And so, the little girl landed up hating her mother for years. And it was all based on a child’s excellent observation and faulty interpretation. This lady told me that the incident affected her deeply and she barely communicated with anyone else for many years, until she heard Fr. Desmond D’Souza (from Nigvaddo, Saligao) speaking on “What happens to people when they communicate effectively.”

She noticed a total change began to come about in her life. Colour that was never noticed before was newly appreciated. Music that was not heard before became an accompaniment of life. Peace that was never before experienced began to find its place in the human heart. Of course, the only proof is experiential. To know the truth of all this, one should try it. As the saying goes, “Try it. You might like it.” The lady did and she succeeded.

On the other hand, the suffering of non-communication in a relationship is a very real and painful suffering. Often in our human relationships the lines of communication are poorly erected, and they fall quickly in the storms of crisis. The result is loneliness, the scourge of the human spirit. But when these lines are established again, it is the second springtime of love and joy and all good things. Health and happiness of spirit begin to blossom in this springtime of communication.

 In order to alleviate the sufferings of loneliness and ill-health, two homes for senior citizens were opened in Cotula, Saligao. The Mae de Deus Home and Krist Raj Bhavan are both very well managed by the Franciscan Missionaries of Christ the King. Doctors regularly visit and attend to the sick and old, at the Medical Centre established at Krist Raj Bhavan. It is funded by the Saligao Union of Mumbai (now renamed as the Saligao Association). The nuns act as nurses and keep up-to-date the records and reports. Many have found these homes a haven away from home. Care for the elderly has been a concern in Saligao for many years. We have noticed that in these retirement homes in Saligao, the elderly have begun to enjoy the evening of their lives to the fullest, boosted by the tender loving care of the dedicated FMCK nuns, and brightened by the reopened lines of communication.

5 comments on Lines of communication

  • A nice essay among other beautiful ones on ‘Saligao Serenade’ – one of the best websites of its kind that reminisces its past with breathtaking nostalgia.

  • Dear Fr. Ivo TI thank you and may God bless you,
    fr. nascimento mascarenhas

  • Mervyn Maciel

    Dear Fr. Nascimento,
    Congratulations on your latest ‘gem’ – Land of the Sal Tree’
    You’ve done your co-villagers proud and I daresay your book will be regarded as a valuable contribution to the bibliography of Saligao.
    As a fellow Goan(though sadly not from Saligao!), I feel proud to have been associated with your book.
    Once again – many congratulations and God bless.

    Mervyn Maciel

  • Dear Mr. Merwyn Maciel,
    Thanks for your lovely comments I knew you were from Salvador do Mundo and a great writer too Also knew that Mel did forward you some write-ups of mine but did not know that you have made it more presentable. I was of the opinion that Mel D’Souza did everything for the text Surely I would have made a mention of your good-self in the book. I thank you at least here for associating yourself in the book ” Land of the Sal Tree” Very sorry for the omission I pray for you. Much love fr. nascimento mascarenhas

  • Mervyn Maciel

    Dear Fr. Nascimento,
    Thank you for your kind words.
    My input over your book was negligible;
    in fact it was Mel who did most of the hard work,
    more especially his illustrations which enhance your book immensely. I am sure your book will do well and wish it
    every success.
    With warm regards.

    Mervyn Maciel

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