Do What You Can To Help, Where You Are NOW
There Is Opportunity to Help Everywhere
Had dinner with my cousin, Kat R., on Saturday evening in Poblacion (aka Backwell) which is one up and coming neighborhood in Makati that has character. It feels lived in, real, a tad bit raw and well, “quirky”. After dinner, we had coffee at Bucky’s on the ground floor. The café was packed inside so we opted to sit outdoors, by the sidewalk. Now, being both an ex-New Yorker and a Pinay living back in Manila, am always a little alert when I’m sitting outdoors with my belongings around me. Not because I’m paranoid, but because I’d like to be careful. As my Mother says, don’t leave your things unattended in private or public. Some people might be tempted because it’s sitting in front of their faces for the taking and they just happened be in dire need. Practical advice!
An older man who must have been at least mid-sixties approached us to sell us men’s hats. I still remember his face, filled with the experiences of many, many years. He actually had a very kind expression on his face, a little weary but not defeated by the challenges in life. Since my bag was sitting on a chair in front of him, opened, the defensive part of me got a little bit uncomfortable. When he walked away, I felt a stirring to call him back. I wanted to hand him over some cash for dinner. But I didn’t! Oh dear, the regret that was going to ensue from this hesitation to help him….. Especially since I have a soft spot in my heart for older people.
Do Not Hesitate To Help
The day after that, I felt extremely guilty for 1) being defensive when he was standing in front of our table and 2) for not giving him money for dinner. It wouldn’t have changed his life circumstances but it would have made him happy to get a hundred or a few hundred pesos to buy dinner, maybe medicines or something else he urgently needs. It definitely would have allowed him to smile about something that evening, wouldn’t it?
The lousy feeling of knowing I had the means to help and the opportunity to help was eating at me while I was watching a musical about orphans. Perhaps, in my noble goal of changing things big time, I did not value the ability of changing things in a small way, immediately where people could feel it. After a few internal conversations which involved self-forgiveness, I make a promise to myself that when the opportunity arose again, I would help with what I had then & there, where I am at that moment….. I am truly grateful to be blessed and I shall use those blessings to share with those needing my help, who are brought my way.