In addition to working at EnergyCAP, Inc., I’m also involved in helping people from the Philippines.
Our partners are local pastors, who despite other opportunities, have decided to live in a slum of Manila called Tondo. They do this in order to serve the “scavengers” or “slum dwellers,” as they are called.
Tondo is a notoriously violent place where there is little protection. So it shouldn’t come as a shock when the innocent are affected. But it shocks you anyway.
A few weeks ago, a street vendor was selling mangoes like he had been doing for years. A customer walks up and asks for mango. The street vendor gives him some, then asks for payment.
The customer says he has to go get something, vendor assumes payment. After a little while, the customer returns, but instead of paying, he aims a gun, shoots, and runs off. The street vendor dies on the street, just trying to make a living for his family.
Then just yesterday, a glimmering-eyed girl named Josephine went missing. She was 12 years old. She was a “regular” in the feeding program that our partners lead. When my family was there in August to ladle out soup, we fed Josephine.
But next time we’re in Tondo, Josephine won’t be there. They found her little lifeless body this morning. Josephine was raped and then she was killed. I can’t imagine—don’t want to imagine—what her last moments were like.
Horribly, the lives of the street vendor and Josephine were cut short. Let their lives speak to us now.
Death comes to us all, so:
Be mindful of who you’re with, and be with whomever is in front of you. Put down the electronic device and talk. Enjoy the moment. Take time to listen, not just respond. Give some room for silence. Look into their eyes and see them. You have but a moment, so make the moment count. There will never be another moment like this, when you are as you are and they are as they are, the world being as it is.
In writing class, the teacher emphasized, “Show not tell.” Don’t just tell the reader something—show them. So with your loved ones, don’t just tell them you love them, show them. And do it often. Spend time together, make them something with your own hands, give them something you would only give them, bear hug them off their feet. Let them have no reason to doubt how absolutely head over heels, your life is way better because of them, deliriously thankful, you are for them. Then repeat.
Howard Thurman said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” And Annie Dillard wrote, “You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment.” Discover what you’re good at, what you love to do, and what makes the world a better place. Then go after it. Find a way to live in that intersection. Life is too short for passionless living and too important to slog through. This is your chance. So go for it. If you fall, get back up and try again. Wage the risk.
Live your life well for those who didn’t finish when they wanted to.