SERAFIN BERNARDO III Proved that
Self-transformation with Conviction is Possible
By Apolinario Villalobos
Transforming oneself into a better person at will is possible as proved by Serafin “Boy” Bernado III. Changes that happened included his putting a stop to his smoking and becoming just a “social drinker” which is a complete turnaround from his being a former alcoholic. This happened after a simple “jolt” that he experienced.
As the only son, he was “spoiled” compared to his cousins, but which he keeps on denying. He stopped pursuing his college, and instead enjoyed his time when he lived in Iloilo. He left his cousins to whom he was so close and widowed mother in our town to be on his own to prove that he can live alone. He enjoyed the single-blessedness so much aside from the good times that, for several years he thought life was just all about being happy without any plan for the future. He went into various business ventures where he succeeded at a young age until he met his future wife, Denia.
Their meeting resulted to a decision to settle down simultaneously with the plan to pursue their studies. As expected, they went through hard times due to the stacked up expenses, but good fortune was on their side, as both of them were able to finish their studies. Their life was not encouraging in Iloilo so they went home to our town and lived with his widowed mother who at the time already had five children by his stepfather.
To help them through their new life in our town, he tried scouting for a job, until fortunately, landed on one as Barangay Secretary. The pay was of course not much, considering that our town at the time was ranked third class. By the power of determination and thrift, they were able to raise a family, as they were joined by their offspring in time, so they rented a house for their own.
It was while their family was growing that Boy showed signs of impatience. His attitude toward his wife changed, to say the least. Fortunately, his wife was patient and understanding which made her stand by Boy, while crying silently, every time the latter is in a bad mood that resulted from drinking binges with friends. Practically, Boy was having some kind of personality transformation, although, when sober, he was a different guy who showed some kindness. What worsened his situation was his chain-smoking.
One evening, as related to me by Boy, while it was drizzling, he sent his wife to an errand for a pack of cigarettes. But when it was brought to him, he flared up because it was not the kind that he wanted, and practically, derided his wife who silently withstood the barrage of insults. When his wife left him to find solace in their room, perhaps, to cry her heart out, something jolted Boy that made him realize his momentary “madness” just because of a pack of cigarettes that he did not like, and which his wife bought at a store far from their house, while it was drizzling, and despite yet, the pitch darkness of the night.
Filled with remorse, he apologized to his wife but did not promise anything. All he did was act out what were in his mind…things that he wanted to do to recoup the lost days of what should have been a happy family but spoiled by his arrogance. The children noticed the changes that took place but they did not say a word, while enjoying every moment of the transformation in their home.
A cousin and his wife, Nonito and Nenita who were and still, are active in a religious movement approached him one time to ask if he would care to join them, to which he profusely agreed. From then on, he was always part of the spiritual community outreach of the group that went around the province during which he would make testimonies of his transformation. He did the same at the wake of my brother. Practically, the couple, Nonito and Nenita offered their hands to further help him out of the bog of despair.
When he got operated on a serious disorder of an organ, his family was in a difficult financial situation, but help from various sources came. This manifestation of the Lord’s unquestionable presence by his side and his family further strengthened his faith.
With the story of Boy, I cannot fathom how others who got hooked on alcohol and chain-smoking always give “psychological” withdrawal syndromes as “reasons” for their difficulty to change themselves. God gave us an “intelligent will” found in our brains encased in our head and located “above” the emotional heart. It is an indication that if only we can just be strong in our desire to change, we can do it. Boy did it, so why can’t others, too?