LIFE is as you see it.
by Ron R. Lacson
Have you ever walked aimlessly?
Have you ever danced under the moonlight?
Have ever recited poems in front of the sea?
Have you ever sung while you were waiting for a ride?
Have you ever looked at the sky on a very starry night, and asked yourself when you could ever touch one of those glittering stars?
Have you ever climbed a tree and thought of settling yourself up there and never go down?
Have you ever felt so out of this world and thought that you are living on another planet?
Have you ever tried to help people while they thought you are out to hurt them?
Have you ever?
What do you think others would think about you if they see you doing some of those things?
Will they perceive you as a lunatic? Crazy?
Or just different?
Life is all about discernment, perception and paradigm.
What you perceive as true and real can be completely different and even unrecognizable to others.
It depends on how you see and interpret the situation; or to put it bluntly, it depends on how you react to a situation based on what you have experienced in life.
A certain scenario could be colored by your brushes with life and your many journeys in the troubled world.
I was waiting for a 61M bus in Tuen Mun. I was already late for an appointment. I was occupied with my thoughts and was standing in a queue, when someone tapped my elbow and started to talk to me. The man was wearing a white polo shirt and a yellow jacket. He started to speak in Cantonese.
I then started telling myself – “Here we go again; another person speaking to me in fast Cantonese, which I barely understand. How shall I make this person go away quickly? Shall I turn myself into the ’Incredible Hulk?’ ”
I’ve had this kind of encounter many times before.
Whenever I start to offer help by saying “Would you kindly speak in English?” (with a smile 😊), the person would turn his back away from me (even though I brushed my teeth and gurgled with Listerine); as if there was no conversation that just transpired.
And I mused, “hmmm… that kind of exchange would happen again, so I better be blunt this time."
After the elbow tapping scene and the fast Cantonese discourse, I already knew what I needed to do. My objective was to get him away immediately from my face so I could get back to what I was thinking. I wanted him to understand me. So before he even finished what he was saying, I interrupted and said “Can you speak English?” (this time, without a smile).
I said it awfully soft showing him intentionally that I was annoyed. It was also obvious that I was not looking forward to the conversation he might have wanted with me. I expected him to go away immediately. But he didn’t. Bakit kaya? (I wonder why).
Instead, he followed up his statement with the kindest words I have ever heard from a stranger on an early morning; and in English! “Oh, I am sorry. I am just wondering if you can let me flick away that caterpillar on your shoulder. It is going to crawl on your nape, and it could give you a skin rash.”
A ton of adrenaline suddenly rushed from my head to my knees.
And in my mind, I said “What!!? A CATERPILLAR!!?? (wahhhhh… HIGAD!!!).
On my neck!!? Actually it was still on my shoulder, but I swear that at that time my thought was all about my neck.
Although I was screaming inside, I looked very calm outside. I was processing the situation. While doing that, I noticed that several ladies have stepped away from me. They were behind me in the queue, but they were afraid of the caterpillar so they moved about 4 to 5 feet away from me.
They knew what would happen if a caterpillar lands on a human’s skin. I also knew too well. I’ve had my share of a caterpillar falling on my nape when I stood behind a tree years ago. And it gave me an agonizing feeling. Rashes and itches were all over my neck. I had reddish nape and neck which made me look like I had gone to a poor waxing job below my head. It was awful.
And I realized that I would again go through that same dreadful experience if I would make a wrong response to the man who just spoke to me with a smile and with an obvious intention to help.
So I replied with an embarrassed and sheepish smile – “Yeah…sure. Thanks”.
And while giving him my shoulder so he could perform what was needed to be done, I saw from the corner of my right eye the shadowy shape of the caterpillar on my black jacket. It was almost on my nape.
So he flicked the caterpillar with his forefinger. I then followed the caterpillar’s trajectory flight and saw from a glimmer where it landed. The caterpillar crashed on a soil and its fate will be unknown to me forever. I was safe from potential rashes and red skin. There was freedom again from stress and anxiety.
And I realized that the man who I almost yelled at; the man who just saw the demonstration of my annoyed look; the man who I almost belittled because I thought he could not speak English; … was now the man who had just bestowed me the greatest kindness on the most unorthodox subject. He just saved me from the angst of a caterpillar effect.
So I said – “Thank you very much”.
He responded just by waving his hands as if he was saying: “It’s nothing. You’re welcome. No problem.”
But there were no words spoken. There was no need. He was finished talking. Then he turned away and went back to his post in the queue. And I didn’t mind anymore that he just turned away and did not speak. He has done something that already spoke volume.
I learned a lesson.
I learned not to judge and color a conversation by my past experiences.
I also learned that being kind and nice to people must always take priority over being late for an appointment. 😊
Have you ever judged people?
Have you ever jumped into conclusion too quickly?
Have you ever tried realizing that most of the time, you see things differently from the others?
Have you ever?
LIFE is as you see it.