April! We have blue skies and bright sunshine. But it’s too hot. It is the kind of weather that makes you want to stay indoors.
Outside the glass doors I see my Mary Palmer bougainvillea in full bloom. They love the heat. At last they are tall enough to cover the hideous barbed wire installed by Maynilad on top of a wall they built behind my casita. For a while there it looked like I lived in a “stalag.”
But the pink and white flowers are now reaching for the sun in riotous abundance. And they make the view from my couch just a tad less than stunning.
On the other side, the pool man skims dry leaves that have fallen in the water. When he looks up I realize he is not the same guy we’ve had for many years who whistled while he worked. I always knew he was at his job because I heard him whistle, quite in tune I must add, and his repertoire was varied. He apparently stopped coming because he suffers from hypertension. The intense heat must have aggravated his condition.
His replacement is a deaf mute man well past middle age. I am glad he has a job. I salute companies that hire older people with handicaps. Mabuhay, Locsin Pools.
It’s almost Holy Week and I hear friends and family planning road trips. Don’t they know that Manila is the best place for that time of the year?
I look forward to “Walkway,” now on its 11th year. I try not to ever miss it. I round up my church group and we make an evening of it. It is the best way I know to spend Holy Week.
The installations are inspiring. They make you reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You understand what happened on the Via Dolorosa and why. And you meditate on what it means to be a child of God, unconditionally loved and forgiven.
It does not matter what you usually do on Holy Week. Let me invite you to make the time to visit “Walkway, Reflections of the Stations of the Cross.” It opens at 11 a.m. on April 14 and runs through midnight, Easter Sunday, at the Bonifacio High Street Grounds, from Fully Booked to Shangri-La at the Fort. It is an awesome experience.
In the meantime, don’t worry about what to give up for Lent.
In school we were always asked to make a list of sacrifices, what we wouldn’t eat or do for Lent. Aside from the days of abstinence and fasting, we were encouraged to give up every day the stuff we liked or enjoyed to better remember how much Jesus suffered.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
But wouldn’t it be better to instead look for opportunities to show kindness and grace, or ease someone else’s pain?
We must make this our way of life. And Lent is a good place to start.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you will never know how soon it will be too late.”
Somewhere in the Philippines, a fisherman was hurrying home on his motorcycle with a bag of rice in the back. In his rush he rear-ended a car. His bike toppled and the rice spilled on the pavement. He was dismayed seeing his family’s dinner all gone.
He then approached the man whose car he hit and hastened to take the blame and apologize, all the while expecting to be berated and punished. The owner was enraged and got out to view the damage.
What he saw was the rice and the contrite look of gloom on the culprit’s face.
Instead of venting his anger, he took money out of his wallet and told the man to go get another bag of rice.
The police and onlookers were shocked. The fisherman broke down in tears.
The car owner, Sayd Omar Morales Akmad, explained that his grandparents had taught him about compassion. He said: “You can always replace lost things, but not lost respect or love from others.”
Let us pray that in every season our hearts may be filled to overflowing with love and kindness.
A wise man once said: “The world is full of kind people. If you can’t find one, then be one.”