I’d like to believe that my dad is a walking fountain of well-meaning wisdom. As strong and as silent as he is, my dad doesn’t hold back from giving advices to those around him, he feels that this is his mission in life, to share what he has learned as much as he can to those younger than he is. As his daughter, these words of wisdom are often dispensed during our morning car rides while my brother and I tutor him on The Weeknd and other new artists (he hates listening to what he describes as ‘old people’ music).
One of my personal favorites is when my dad reminds me to be grateful for all the things going right in my life whenever life takes a bad turn. My dad is not a man who takes whining lightly. For one thing, he survived so many things growing up and for me to complain about mundane things frustrates him to the core. Ironically so, my dad has taught me to “man up” and pushed me to see how I can help make the world a better place instead of constantly asking, “what’s in it for me.” For him, life is not perfect but there’s always something to be thankful for and somebody to help.
This is the reason why I got overly excited when Absolute Distilled Drinking Water invited me to visit Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila. As many of you know, Fabella Hospital is known to take in mothers who do not have the means to give birth. September is a rather busy month for them since this is the month that produces as much as 70 babies a day. Fabella, while recognized by the World Health Organization as the model maternity, still needs all the help it can get in order to ensure that every mother who goes to them for help is attended to. Absolute wanted to make sure that the hydration of the mothers and babies are well taken care of by giving away tons of bottled water. Truly, a little goes a long way.
The team was briefed prior to visiting the maternity ward. We knew that sometimes up to four mothers, along with their babies, share two beds and this has become such a common occurrence that people are no longer surprised, but I was. I must admit that in the weeks leading up to my visit to Fabella, I have been consumed by situations that I shouldn’t have even wasted my time on.
And suddenly, in the sea of mothers who were just trying to ensure that their newborn babies were taken care of even if it meant surviving in a cramped and rather hot room (Fabella is doing a great job in taking care of the mothers although maybe a little more help would be great, can someone give them air-conditioning already), I realized just how selfish I was. These mothers, who were sweating while breastfeeding their babies, were actually smiling, as if oblivious to the plight of their lives. Most of them didn’t know where to get their next meals or where to get the milk to feed their babies and yet, they smiled. It was as if they didn’t have any care in the world. They didn’t ask why life was like that; they just knew that at the end of the day, they will be okay. They trusted in the goodness of life and it made me wonder why I had such a hard time believing it.
It is often said that we help in order to make the lives of those less fortunate around us better but in truth, in helping them, we truly help ourselves.
My dad was right, if we learn to look beyond ourselves and life’s petty problems (most of them we created ourselves), there truly is a lot to be thankful for.
And this is what keeps us going even on our worst days.