It is still dark but I know he is nearby. I didn’t see him but I smell him though. His stench breaks the fresh morning air at my porch. I sneeze twice from the pungent odor of a man from the mountains of trash and garbage.
As I walked through the front yard wading my lamp in front of me, I finally glanced over his face — black and dirty. An oversized t-shirt fell to his knees paired with an undersized boxer shorts. His clothing were thicken by dirt and grease. The foul odour is obviously from days without bath.
I brought my lamp closer to his direction. When the light unveils the shadow, I saw a teenage boy armed with a 12-gauge shotgun. The barrel in his mouth. His two hands holding the rib and the forestock. His left toe finger anchored on the trigger. He was sweating and trembling.
I stepped closer to calm him. But before I could utter my first word, he pulled the trigger and blew his head off. My face and shirt were instantly covered with blood and fluids.
I remember screaming when the first help arrived. I was on my knees, clutching my eyes, thinking I was hit too. When the emergency responders arrived, they instantly surrounded me and conducted a routine exam. My blood pressure was up, pulse was crazy, my breath was catching one after the other.
The story hits the headlines of the morning news. His name was Mando Talusig, age seventeen, garbage scavenger. He lost his parents when parts of the Payatas landfill collapsed in 2004. It buried hundreds of people alive including all his seven siblings. His sole guardian said the boy chose to stay at the landfill hoping to find at least a trace of any of his family.
Like Mando, many of us seek hopes on the mountains of painful memories. But it is an impossible adventure — never worth the journey, never worth the efforts, and never worth the time.
Many of us refuse to step forward. We spend time living in the past or thinking too much of the future, forgetting that what matters to life is only today. Life is this moment we are living right now.
If you want change, you need to redraw, replan, and recalibrate. Using the same formula on the same people under the same circumstances while expecting different results are patterned from the manuals of the fools. Forgiving the same people, following the same plans, and pursuing the same goals but expecting different results are not how battles are won.
Do not seek for those that fate has obviously denied for you. Reprogram your priorities with what you have and not on what you don’t. Nurture, embrace, and be happy with what you have. Move away from the filths of other people, find the grassland of new opportunities, but dwell in the valley of true forgiveness.
Only then will your mind finds harmony, your heart true love, and your life genuine fulfillment. Then you shall taste the fruits of the new land and the promises of the horizons of possibilities.
Life’s roads are not always easy — some of them rough, most of them rocky. Sometimes their ways are not as easy as they look. Most of the times they demand the traces of our tears, the marks of our pains, and the scars of our wounds.
It is a road paved with countless distractions to delay you. But when your directions are clear, your bearings set, and your goals identified, no bigger storm can set you off course, no strong wind can blow you off-grid.
But carry the memory of good things that came out of those difficulties for they will serve as proof of your abilities against the multiple faces of challenges and obstacles. We all die, yes we will. Yet our goal is not to live forever but to create something that will.
Walk on and press on to the direction of your dreams to live the life that you wish for and to grasp on the success that you yearn for. Don’t give up for the greatest disability in man in not his blinded eyes, crippled feet, or paralyzed arms but his bad attitude. And if your feet are tired, start walking with your heart.