The funny thing with not appreciating what you have is you come face to face sometimes with small reminders that (in spite being your ungrateful self) you are still more blessed than others. I was reminded of this while on my way home from a really ‘exciting” day at the kaisha. Again, I am the lucky recipient of the Bi-centennial Man’s long list of litanies and woes. I tried to take everything in stride, and just shut my brain from the chaos, but the day was ruined enough for me.

On the way home I saw the giant billboard near the MTR Shaw station announcing that no one won the 6/55 Lotto draw. As mentioned before, I always try my luck with lotto. As soon as I place a bet, my brain will go on its usual daydream spree, counting the ways on how I will spend my millions should I be given the chance. Obviously, I haven’t won anything yet and I am still a glorified corporate slave. While stuck like an unfortunate sardine inside the cramped MRT, I kept on wondering why I haven’t won the lotto yet. Why should a long time New York resident win close to PHP350M, and not me–a lowly office worker?

While going down the long flight of stairs towards the jeepney terminal, I think God gave me his answers:

On the second to the last step is an old woman, her back bent so low due to old age and poverty were asking for coins from the passerbys. Beside her, she made a makeshift altar, with little statues of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Family. Her palms were outstretched, in an act of quiet supplication. Every now and then, you would hear her call out faintly, “neneng, totoy…pangkain lang po…” I approached her, determined to give her the glass of gulaman which I bought from Master Siomai, plus a few coins. When I told her, “lola o…” while gesturing for her to take the plastic glass, she replied that while she appreciates the gesture she would want to be given coins instead since it will buy her grandchildren rice. I told her that aside from the glass, I will also give her coins. That’s only when she accepted the drink I was offering her.

I think that’s when I realized that I am being selfish, more than ever.

Here I was, worrying how to raise money for my Singapore trip; money to further fix my teeth (my face has swollen by the way due to an errant tooth); money to buy me new shoes cos the one I bought is now two months old; a way out of my everyday misery at the kaisha; worrying on why I wasn’t able to procreate yet in spite two years of marriage… these are my everyday worries.

But the old woman, she has the world on her shoulders.

Isn’t it ironic sometimes?