Monday, September 19, 2005

Misery and Richness

Nowadays, the words “miserable,” “poor,” “unhappy,” “sorrowful,” “unfortunate,” “distress,” “despair,” and the likes have become a fad to the television screen, radio broadcast, print media, private conversation, or even in the sari-sari store near you. For instance, when you wake up in the morning what is the first information that you would hear in the newscast? Is it “Movie ticket back to P18.00” or “heavy traffic in EDSA- NO MORE”? In reality, a practical Filipino of our days would rather catch their favorite actors and actresses on television screen than spending money equivalent to a whole day baon; or would reasonably choose to be part of a sardine for 10-30 minutes inside the MRT/LRT than be stuck in the long road of EDSA for several hours. For most of us, life indeed is getting worse and worse and worse everyday.

For us, Filipinos, we love to create images of our own mansion in Forbes Park; our own Jaguar or Mercedes Benz; our dream vacation in London; our romantic experience in Paris; or our own condo unit in the most brilliant tower in Makati. And in order to achieve these aspirations we try to dig all our strengths and abilities in every situation. So when these dreams aren’t met, it’s like the end of the world and we tend to blame not just ourselves but also those horrible things that ruin the path of our goals. What most of us don’t realize is that we make our own destiny, we define our own success and we can always choose to be happy. We all have burning ambitions to escape from misery and perhaps be rich (with P5M money in our bank account), but in this day and age, I think it would be better to define misery and richness in different perspective. Let me share with you my experience in VIDES (Volunteers International for Development Education Service) and from this I will give you my own revised meaning of these two words.

It was March 6, 2005 when I first stepped on the ground of Malibay, Pasay City. I was astonished to see hundreds of streetchildren under the scorching heat of the sun excited to hear God’s news and be fed afterwards. Honestly, it took me sometime before I finally realized that I was there to take part for a volunteer mission for kids -something that I have never done before. When the event had started, at the back of my mind I really wanted to hide and run away but because I brought someone with me I couldn’t do that. During those hours, I regretted my decision to join because supposedly I am already watching my favorite tv program (those hilarious and romantic scenes I’ve been waiting for a week). Sigh! But without noticing, I was already having fun with these "less fortunate" kids. Some of them were dressed in grimy, soiled and dirty clothes. But in spite of this, they still manage to have beautiful or handsome faces because they have the sweetest smiles and the brightest eyes in Malibay.

When giving of shirts had started, one first year high school student really caught my attention. She actually belongs to the group but she chose to help us in distributing the shirts. I was amazed how much kindness and compassion she has. And suddenly, I have told myself that this young lady is richer than those seating in Malacañang. She may only have few material properties but she definitely owns a benign heart.

Indeed, these kids have touched my life even in just one day. Through them, I have learned the essence of hope and solidarity. Thanks to VIDES and to my friend who accompanied me. That huge mission had given me a chance to understand that misery is not always a mixture of difficulties and anxieties but it could also be a great source of richness. And richness is not just about material prosperity but it could also be the sum of great love and strong faith. If we could just learn to act like children, as if they are multi-million dollar young men and women of the world, the words “successful” and “happy” would be a nice headline. Don’t you think?

1 Speak:

Nobe said...

some people have all the luck. and some people don't. i'm in the middle.


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