1. The beach
2. Kids (well as long as they are cute. lol)
3. And random acts of kindness
Last Wednesday, while on my way "somewhere" (hmmm, I should add this "somewhere" as one of the "things" that make me smile...), I was given the opportunity to practice what I preach.
First, a guy approached me a couple of meters from our house and asked if I could spare him some change for his fare home. He said that he was applying for a job and he got short on cash. I knew that there was a manpower agency near our place and so I willingly obliged. I knew that this was no scam and the guy was in real need. After handing him some coins, the guy thanked me and coyly walked away.
Still en route to "somewhere," I then saw an old lady - the type that sells packed lunch in offices - dragging a stroller down the underpass. It was actually quite painful to watch. In the sea of hurrying suits and corporate wear that is Makati, this old lady was slowly pushing down her things one step at a time, careful not to go overboard lest she slide down the stairs body, baggage, and all. Everyone was minding their own business, a handful handed quick glances. And so, since I was in my best suit ever - shirt, shorts, and flip flops - I approached her and volunteered to take her stroller down. At first she was hesitant, saying that her baggage was heavy. I was actually taken aback by that statement. Here's an old lady dragging her things down a flight of stairs. Here comes an "able-bodied guy" offering her help. And then she hesitates because her things are heavy. Really, what has the world gone to?! Anyway, I insisted and she thanked me when I met her at the stairs' landing.
Random acts of kindness. In truth, they do more for the doer than the supposed recipient. For ultimately, the opportunity to help is humbling and priceless. When I was younger, I had this fire to be somebody. I saw myself as a game changer, someone who'd make a marked impact in the world. That greatness seems to grow in abstraction as time goes by. Meanwhile, these small things - the very real opportunities to help - stare at me, at us, on a daily basis.
Life is difficult. But still, I am blessed.
On another note, one my parents' friends passed away. He and his wife are my parents' churchmates and it was inevitable for everyone to know each other's families. I remember him asking how I and my siblings were doing whenever we met on the street. And now that I'm reminded of how fleeting our earthly life is, I really am scared. Scared not of dying but of losing people whom I've shared my life with. I am reminded that for the longest time I've been a sheltered boy. And that life still has much to offer, opportunities, grief, joy, pain and all.