His fellow students at the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) called him the cricket (el grillo). They awarded him this moniker because of his version of “The Fable of the Cricket and the Sea,” the famous Guatemalan song he delighted in singing as he made unrequested advances on the women at the university.
Perhaps, it was the nickname or maybe mere coincidence that his life followed the story.
The cricket as the story goes was renowned for his performances. He delighted crowds night after night with his moonlight chirping, offering a brief interlude to the haste and tragedy of daily life. The man too drew crowds who worshiped this idol who presented himself to them in all his golden glory.
The crowds, driven by the emotion of their music, urged them both – the cricket and the man – to seek glory – one to the sea and the other to the government. The familiar trap closed, the last temptation of Jesus in the desert, Satan offering rule over nations, taking both what is Caesar’s and what is God’s. It was the temptation that Jesus rejected, accepting his life of humility and sacrifice. But like the cricket, the man plunged ahead into the trap, assured of the glory he would find.
But the sea could not be so easily pleased like his audience at home. The cricket had to soothe it, fill it with visions and lies, misleading it with fear and false promises of love.
And like the cricket the man sang a siren song, seeking to enchant waves, movements of people raging against a strange shore. He showed his willingness to latch on to whatever passing fear or moment would rally the crowds to his side and trust in him as a messiah come to save them from breaking on the beach. Even though the breaking was inevitable, guaranteed by greater forces, they trusted and believed in him, and again he was accepted as an idol, worshipped blindly by the wave.
But neither the cricket nor the man loved the sea. They only wished to control it for their own glory. Without love, true love, the song was no more than a resounding gong, a clashing of cymbals. Sure it made noise, but it could not last. For in the end, when generations move on and what we have built is dust in the wind, what is left is love.
And those – like the cricket and like the man – who live a life of fear and hate, will have nothing.
Of course, their paths diverged. The cricket, unable to master the sea, returned home. The man fooled at least part of the sea, tamed it and controlled it, sending it to break on anyone different than himself.
But the story does not end there. Like Paul I have faith, hope and love. I have faith in the sea, in the people who can’t be fooled forever. I have hope for the future, a future that presents dignity and respect for all. I have love, love for my fellow citizens and for those who are vulnerable to the raging sea. And the most important of these is love.
Like all fables, this one has a moral: we should learn from the sea and the cricket’s end, ignoring the faint chirping, preferring instead to form our own wave, our own movement that leaves behind the cricket to sing his siren song to the void.