Three weeks of vacation is over and as I return back to work in a foreign country, I bring with me a heavy heart as I leave my family and friends. A heavy heart not of sadness but a heart loaded with great memories and with me a renewed spirit and new sense of understanding of myself and the people around me.
I was asked by a very good friend of mine which among the places I visited in the Philippines was the most memorable one. It’s funny that he asked me this because I never thought that after all those trips I visited, only one place really stuck in my mind that really made the biggest difference and it was not what I expected.
Travelling does broaden one’s horizons. And when you take those trips whether it be in an awesome site-seeing tour in some exotic place or some thrilling highland adventure, it all comes down to how you appreciate the journey and making that deep connection to the places you visit and sharing that experience with friends and loved ones will make every travel worth while.
Going to the beaches of Anawangin, Zambales was surreal and refreshing.
And with that rush of excitement and adrenaline pumping experience of white water rafting in Davao’s rapids was just unforgettable.
And even climbing the steps of Mount Pinatubo was simply breathtaking.
But what really struck me as the most memorable place I went was not from these places but from a humble home of a good old friend.
The last time I saw my friend was like 10 years ago on his wedding day. Although we exchanged emails now and then, I lost track of him over the years and when I was told that he had an accident 2 years back and was not in good shape, I immediately went to his home for a visit.
It has been a long time and although we were very close friends before, it seems like we grew apart through the years that passed. And as I make my way to their place, I was already formulating words and trying to figure out what to say to him, some comforting words perhaps or something to cheer him up.
And when I finally made my way through their door and met him face to face, there I was standing in front of him and not being able to find the words to say. The words I rehearsed and memorized were gone and my mind went blank. I was at a loss as I look at him bound in a wheelchair looking thin and frail.
When he saw me, it seems like it was only yesterday that we haven’t seen. Despite his condition, he was all smiles as he saw me. I gave him a big hug and he gave me a light punch in the gut and so, I gave him a quick (“batok”) tap at the back of his head. And in that moment, we were laughing but I was heartbroken at the same time seeing him like this. It was like old times I thought, joking about how naive we were back then. I recalled how we fought our way into something so small and made a big issue out of things. We talked about a lot of things and there’s a lot of catching up. I never thought that after all these years friends will really recall and appreciate the things you did to them even the smallest good deeds and even the annoying ones hehe. I was glad to see him but ashamed at the same time that it took me a while just to pay him a visit.
His high spirits and cheerful disposition was not what I expected though. What I saw in his eyes and on his face was something peculiar. It was not of a man defeated by his disability or a hopeless man waiting for some sort of miracle to happen. He just looked weary and tired but there was no sadness or despair in those eyes.
As we talked about what happened to him, he was never bitter, never making excuses, never looking for someone to blame and never envious of what he cannot do. I asked him, “After all what happened to you why is it that you seem unfazed and still in such high spirits; it seems like you can do almost anything?”
He said, “God could easily have taken my life on that accident but He didn’t. He may have taken away my ability to walk but does it stop me there, no. It’s a beginning of something more than my self now. It’s easy to lose faith and to give in and I have asked myself countless times “why me?” but it all comes down to a choice. And I choose my faith“.
Man! Ain’t that something! Strange to most of us that we seldom appreciate the things that we have and yet, here was a man of God whose ability to walk was taken away from him and instead of harping on what he cannot do and can do and playing the victim or feeling sorry for himself, he is still grateful to God for the blessings He has given him. He was a contented man full of love from his family and friends and full of faith in God that no matter what happens his faith will never falter.
It is so easy to complain on a lot of things even on the simplest things. We often complain about our neighbor, people who annoy us, things that we don’t have and have but the problem is we complain a lot more than we appreciate. Yeah! I know it’s easier said than done but I guess it’s a good start.
Damn, we make our lives so complex that we forget what really matters.
As I leave their place, it’s like I felt the hand of God touched this man’s life and my life as well. He may never have those finer things in life that we crave for or even if no one important ever knows his name, hey! It’s just okay. What really count is that we leave an ounce of God’s love with each person we come across with and make that difference.
We are significant not just because of the good deeds we do to others but in whose name we do these things and that is for God, not for something in return or some personal gratification or even self indulgence but to do good selflessly and unconditionally; that I think will make life more meaningful.
Live the moment
We will never know when our circumstances will change or when our health will falter, so it is important to take those trips you wanted, climb the mountains you wish to explore and enjoy each and every moment to the fullest and most of all remember to appreciate all of God’s abundant blessings and give thanks and glory to God.
It’s not about how expensive your vacation will be, not how much you’ll be spending along your travels, but what makes every vacation memorable is that you spend It with the people you love and care about and appreciate every moment spent will leave great memories that will last a lifetime.
Doubt sees the obstacles. Faith sees the way.
Doubt sees the darkest night. Faith sees the day.
Doubt dreads to take a step. Faith soars on high.
Doubt questions, ’who believes’.
Faith answers, ’I’.
Khris Cruz 🙂