For once in my life, I didn’t mind if the MRT train I’m riding on would suddenly shut down. It’s not that I’m used to it, but yes, I won’t.
I was on my way home from a successful event at work. Minutes after I said goodbye to my officemate, the faceless voice in the MRT announced that there was a technical problem, which simply means that everyone should get off the train and take another public transportation. In an ordinary day, I would be like, “tang ina naman oh. Malas.” (F*ck. How unlucky.) Not tonight. Tonight was different. I was different.
Instead of cursing, my mind was preoccupied with how thankful I am to be where I’ve always dreamed to be. Instead of thinking of rushing to get home and sleep, I let myself cherish the moment — the moment that everyone wishes to feel. That moment of contentment, happiness, and gratitude.
Amid the negative reactions of the MRT passengers, the looming threat of going home late, the pain throbbing in my legs, for the first time in my life, I felt contented with who I am and where I am. I felt happy with what I have. And I felt grateful with how God made everything fall into place, so that I can live in that moment.
Finally, a train arrived. I rode it with a mob of people who cannot wait to get home and rest. My bag was heavy, I got squeezed that I can hear the crushing sound of the three packs of chicharon (pork rinds) inside my bag. But all the time that I was standing there and unable to move, my mind was wandering. And it did wander too far. It flew so high that I said to myself, “I gotta write this down.”
I was looking at the faces of the passengers in the train. Their faces spoke of exhaustion, sleeplessness, and hard work. To be inside a train with them makes me feel like I’m one of them. Them employees who work hard but earn small. Them employees who wake up early but go home late. Them employees who have debts here and there but still strive to live. But what made me different from them is that, all the while I was smiling. I was smiling inside. I was dreaming. I was seeing my future in my mind.
I saw myself working for the Filipino people, several years from now. I tried to imagine myself living in the US, just as how I thought I wanted to be, but the thought didn’t delight me. Instead, I saw myself working hard, riding the MRT late at night, but with a happy heart. I saw myself talking with children, sharing dreams with the unadvocated, and really being part of the movement of building a better, a healthier Philippines. In my mind, the words “you always have a choice” were on loop. Right then and there I thought to myself, I’m choosing this life over what’s out there.
I’m choosing a life of service. Not everyone will understand why I’ve always chose to work with a foundation. I actually didn’t plan it in the beginning, but now, I feel like it has always been my dream to be with one. In the words of our hired PR expert before, ayokong sayangin ang ganda’t talino ko kung magbebenta lang ako ng kape o ng mamamahaling tsinelas. (I don’t want to waste my beauty and intelligence if I will just sell coffee or expensive slippers). Like her, like my teammates, I want to work for a purpose. I want to spend my days doing fulfilling work. I want to live a meaningful life. A life of service. A life that is lived not only for myself, but most importantly, for others. I’m glad that I made this choice. Delete that. I’m glad that God included this particular choice in His options. He really knows better than us. His plans are indeed greater than our dreams.
With everything that I’ve realized just because the MRT trains were unoperational, I wouldn’t mind experiencing another one. It has always been about looking at the brighter side of things. It’s all about being grateful of what you have and not worrying of what you lack. It’s all about trusting God and His plans. It’s all about making Him part of your life.
*** Author’s Note: I wrote this in March last year, and labeled it “Unpublished.” But last night, as I was riding the cab at around 12am after yet another successful event at work, I felt exactly like what I wrote above. Exhausted, sleepless, hungry, yet I was happy. My heart was full. That’s why now, I am publishing it. I’m so happy with where I am right now and I wouldn’t have it any other way.