July 1, 2013 § Leave a comment
I learned something important the other day from an event that could have happened any other day. I’ll write it down here because I don’t want to forget this.
We were parked in front of our gate in Makati while my mom was talking to her secretary standing outside with the car door open. We were all quite preoccupied, when suddenly a middle-aged woman who looked unkempt passed by. Unexpectedly, she suddenly positioned herself behind my mom’s secretary and proceeded to ask for money, quite adamantly. Now it’s easy to give to the needy when they look pitiful, but most people are repulsed when they encounter aggressive beggars who seem to think they have a right to get what they want just because of their situation. I am honestly like that. Naturally, my mom wanted the woman to just go away…and frankly, she was quite scary. We couldn’t do that however because the woman positioned herself between the door and my mom’s secretary. The woman persisted and so my dad got a few coins and gave it to the woman to finish things. Unmoved, she forcefully stretched her hand and insisted na “kompletuhin niyo ito. wala tong mabibili, kailangan sampu. wag kayo magbibigay ng kulang”. Don’t we always hate encountering beggars like that, those stories that they turn their backs on people who will give a measly amount of coins, or when they shun away food and demand cash? To put an end to it, because my mom was clearly disturbed by then, my dad handed her the necessary coins to complete the 10 pesos and the woman subsequently took off.
What’s the lesson behind this? It’s very easy to love our friends, and that’s exactly why we’re friends with them. But what’s hard is to love our enemies, because we naturally hate them. We hate them because they did something bad to us, we hate them because they’re evil in our eyes. This woman wasn’t even our enemy, but her behavior almost eradicated any possibility of us showing her any sympathy. And this is exactly the challenge given to us by Jesus. As my dad explained, “Jesus said, ‘love your enemies’, hindi naman niya sinabi ‘love your friends‘”. And I guess that is again one of the aspects of true love. True love is hard, it’s a conscious effort and it isn’t easy. Aren’t friendships always put to the test when it goes through trying times? Aren’t relationships rocked when couples have problems? True love is staying when all you want to do is walk out of the door. True love isn’t when you’re infatuated with your partner, it’s in sticking with your partner whether he balloons to 300 pounds or experiences a massive breakout. This reminds me of the quote I saved from a newspaper article for my friend, Hya. “The true essence of marriage is not in finding the right person to love but in loving the person we found even if we can’t seem to find any reason to anymore“. We live in a generation where we want everything to be easy. It’s a sad truth but what our parents observe is really the reality. We don’t want to look for obscure information in the library, we want information at the tip of our hands. We don’t want to wait in long lines, we want service served at our demand. We don’t want time wasted on asking while travelling, we want the directions to our destination right away. We don’t want to work our way up from blue-collared jobs to white-collared jobs, we want prestige and success the moment we start working. In the same way, we have a tendency to expect that loving is easy. We don’t want complicated relationships, and more often than not we tend to dignify this intolerance with our so-called “rights”. It makes we wonder that maybe the reason why there are so many single people nowadays is probably because people don’t want to make a commitment if they don’t see an assurance that it isn’t going to be hard.
We failed in that test that day. We were all taken aback at how that woman demanded more than what we gave. But it was a valuable lesson on love that we learned afterwards; that love is purest when it’s hardest.