Yesterday was a very important day for many Filipinos, even though I admit it’s a bit superfluous if you ask me. We commemorate the day we received our independence, only for us to be enslaved by yet two other juggernauts, the US and Japan.
However, yesterday was enough reason for me to celebrate as well. For one, EDSA wasn’t very crammed with cars. And as we were inside my brother’s car, talking about nothing in particular, I heard something which gave me a profound insight regarding what we ought to really consider — and disseminate — as good news.
My brother knows a certain person who once belonged to what we would usually regard as trash in our society. Yet, for some reason I don’t know, he changed his ways. Now, he works as a construction worker and strives hard to provide for his family. There was even an instance when he was nagging his employer to provide him with an ID asap just so his mother would believe that he actually has a job. He knows many others who have similar stories to tell — drunkards, drug addicts, as well as many men who we think wouldn’t amount to much — who are willing to do anything just to break away from the miserable lives that they lived. Thankfully, there are others who are willing to entrust to them very critical tasks. And as my brother pointed out to me, these people we regard as undesirables are, if given enough trust and supervision, able to build towering skyscrapers.
I imagine that there’s a good chance that a recovering addict or a homeless man built this very building where I’m happily writing at. I owe the comfort I have to them.
This is not news to me. However, I have just realized, with a fresher conviction, of what we Christians were called for. I have done terrible things, and I consider myself as trash. However, someone restored worth to my being and entrusted me to do something. He does not treat me as I deserve, and he stubbornly believes and hopes against hope, that I — even I — can do better.
I need not look hard in the Bible to read stories of unclean people being touched by Jesus, or of the hopeless being given second chances. I can easily identify myself with them, and through their stories, I can dare to believe that God is not yet done with me.
That is why I do not agree with our government’s campaign against drugs.
Almost a century ago, American soldiers needed strong doses of morphine just for them to brave the storms of war. Many even commented that as the soldiers return home, they will be populating the country with drug dependence. However, that was simply not the case. A good number of them did not need drugs any longer since they were smothered with love by their families.
And I think, in silent contemplation, that any man can be good if given two things: love and purpose. Because if Jesus could raise even the dead to life, then maybe that same power given to Christians could give the hopeless enough purpose to live for and by, and the undesirables great love for them to want to forsake their old ways.
I remember most of the bad things I have done in the past, and I feel bad for those who feel condemned and persecuted and hanged just because their flaws were included to the list of those that our society deems unacceptable. And I feel a tremendous gratitude to God, for giving me unlimited chances to do better.
I am tired of living my old selfish ways. God sees my plight even now. And maybe, that’s the only criteria he needs to entrust me with a ticket to a better life.
And really, I believe no one can really call himself a Christian if he hasn’t been desperate enough to be saved from his miry condition. And I know that the only freedom that matters to God is that of being able to love, and being able to live the life that one dreams of.
“Love is life,” said Leo Tolstoy in his book War and Peace. “All, everything that I understand, I understand because I love… Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”
In spite of everything, may the Philippines live long. And, even though it sounds foolish and overly dreamy, but I wish for love to finally live in our country, and may it live longer.