Zen Ed

Zen Ed
ZenEd. Now that Ed is sixty-four, he has Zenzest for life. People tell me how lucky I am for having Ed as partner, para daw nananalo ako sa lotto,like winning in the lottery .Of course I reward them with a balato – smile and then segue way into how I came to be the secret twinkle in Ed’s eye. There is a story that I share Ed with three other women :Inay, his mother; Yen, his sister and Ayen, his daughter. All three carry the family surname dela Torre. I am the only one with my father’s name Villariba and rarely addressed as Mrs. Dela Torre. Ed has agreed to live by this arrangement and am quite pleased.

What is a day like with Zen Ed? When you wake up with a man who sees beyond the natural order of things, you have to prepare yourself for a wide range of choices and chores. Ed wakes up with sms as his first order, then cheese and crackers, and sips his coffee while cuddling his cellphone and reading the news. He is never without his cellfone, day and night and carries it like another wallet. I begin conversation with “Tatay, what is your schedule like today?”Ed smiles at me and then enumerates meetings with all kinds of people. When Ayen was four years old, she observed how meetings formed the core of Ed’s daily routines and came up with the line” Si Tatay , di mabubuhay kung walang meeting ( Father cannot live without meetings).”

This perception is so descriptive of Ed. Ed works to meet and talk with people. According to the Secret Language of Birthdays, a person born on July 11 is a person “who gives unsolicited advice.” He likes to learn about people and is always generous with his thoughts and ideas. But there are people who do not agree with his ‘advice’ and found Ed confusing after the Edsa dos and tres events. He gave several conjunctural analyses on Edsa 86 and accepted a job in government, in TESDA in 1998, then became a community-based technical and vocational education advocate. He discovered alternative learning systems (ALS) and decided to train people to build ALS as a parallel system of education to the formal system. From being a Fr.Ed, he became a Pop Ed and then a E-Net Ed. From sunrise to sunset, Ed is in the midst of all kinds of people. I have to decide whether I will go learn with him or do my own errands because he meets interesting people in the power grid. When he comes home late,he will go to his computer and surf the net. He will blog, read his email and finish the evening with a new idea from a new website. Zen moments are quite profound with Ed. I don’t know if he has reached kensho but there is that part of Ed that makes me feel zenful even when we are in the midst of dangerous times. In sixty-four years, Ed and I have sailed through perilous waters and have reached safe harbours. We are secure with anchoring ourselves in a shared life of compassion and courage. As for Ayen, Ed is the man who gives his best so that we have a “marangal at maalwang buhay, an honorable, simple and comfortable life.”



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