The Home Maker

I visited my grandparents in their resting place one hot morning. As I was leaving the memorial place, I have recognized him from afar. With his dark skin, curly hair and bright smile, I could not be mistaken.  It was Manong Carlos or Manong to all of us at home. He was working on a mausoleum nearby and smiled even brighter when he saw me. He stopped working and approached me.

“I’ll start working on your house again next week,” he began in Filipino.

“Are you sure? Will you still be able to rest?” I asked knowing that he has customers left and right. He assured me he will return to our house to finish the tiles on the first floor.

We had quite a chat and I remember teasing him not to drink liquor anymore. I was particularly concerned with his health because he just works so hard.

Manong is our ever dependable, talented and coolest carpenter. He works with precision and would never cheat people on working hours, materials and quality of work. I say he’s the coolest because he’s funny and light. He would occasionally make jokes and laugh at his own remarks. Hahaha!

Whenever we needed something built, created or repaired, there’s only one name to call – Manong.

He was the one who built our new simple house and many other houses in our province/town. He was the one who advised me which tile to buy, what size and how many pieces. He was the one who made my bookshelves!

After finishing the second floor, he stopped working at our house because he has been called by a long-time, big-time customer who needed his services for the expansion of his huge green ‘events place’. And also because we had to save funds again for the completion of the house.

The week after our meeting in the cemetery, he truly came back and worked on the tiles and finishing of the house’s exterior. I remember watching him taking naps during lunch break while I thought to myself all the hard labors he did all these years. I observed his calloused hands and feet, his breathing that seemed almost laborious. I thought he was probably tired of having to work seven days a week, with all the pounding of the hammer, sawing of wood, cementing of walls and more.

But you know, whenever he wakes up again, none of his exhaustion will be seen in his face. He would still flash his white teeth with a wide smile.

 

Today while traveling back home from an official trip, my sister popped a message over my mobile phone expressing her sadness over what happened to Manong. Although I knew in my heart what happened, I still asked. My sister just confirmed what I thought and I know we both shed tears while our fingers find the words to honor him through our exchange of messages.

Manong had a heart attack yesterday and it instantly took his life away. Even until in his last breath, he was working, tools on his hands.

 

I would like to honor him today for being the best maker, not only of houses and structures but also the builder, provider and care taker of his own home. I know it was his family that made him smile no matter what. I know that it was his family that made him face each day and work hard.

Praise the Lord for his life and the wonderful works of his hands. May his soul rest in peace and graciously return to Him.

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PS

Thank you for reading. My reason for being recklessly emotional in writing this right away is the thought that readers may help me raise funds for Manong’s wake and interment. The chapel where his remains lie has only chairs and mourners, no food and drinks yet. Manong’s burial clothes were only provided by the funeral parlor. Something just moved me to do this and try my luck in helping others help Manong and his family.  Thank you.

Reach me through nerisatorres@gmail.com

#ChooseKind

Lionsgate Movies has recently released the movie trailer of Wonder, author R. J Palacio’s (Raquel Jaramillo) debut novel published in 2012.

I haven’t read the novel yet but I think I have encountered a good review about it in the past. Too bad I never had a chance to buy and read the book then. And so while I am composing these words in my mind, I am also imagining myself rushing to the nearest bookstore on my way home today to buy.

*3 hours later*

Tadah!

 

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Thank you to Powerbooks Trinoma for the very efficient book reservation service 😉

Watching the trailer though gives everyone a clear picture of what the story is all about. If you haven’t watched it yet, don’t worry, I’ll do the narrating for you, but if you have watched the trailer already, be patient with me now. 😀

Wonder is about a 10 year old boy Auggie Pullman and his adventures on his first year at school in 5th grade. Yes, he only came to experience mainstream school at 10 because of the many surgeries he had to endure for having this rare medical facial deformity. His mother had to home school him ever since.

Now, we can watch the movie or read the novel altogether to know the rest of the story. What I want to talk about on this blog is the hashtag that RJ Palacio made popular along with her novel – #ChooseKind.

“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.”

 

For School and Office Bullies

#ChooseKind is a message for bullies in school (and since I am an adult now trying to make a decent living out of my writing) and in the office.

Getting bullied is terrible. It is something that is forever etched in a bullied person’s mind. And if you have been watching a lot of superhero movies, we can infer and agree that most of the villains were bullied while younger. So yes, bullying may cause external violence and internal conflict to a person.

I remember when a classmate from high school sent me home crying. I wasn’t crying because I got humiliated in front of our other classmates, I was crying because she was mean though I haven’t done her wrong. I can still remember the scenes on that day, the look on her face and the painful silence of my seatmates just watching. Awful memory. Good thing is that getting bullied in high school did not made me plot to steal the moon or conquer the earth.

For the bullies out there, please #choosekind because you will soon reap what you sow. I’m sure we would all want to reap good things in life like gladness and peace and generosity.

I sincerely hope that parents will also serve as good models for their children in choosing to be kind always.

 

For Everyone Reading This

I firmly believe that #ChooseKind is a message for everyone, may it be the bully or the person being bullied, for you who’s reading this, for the difficult person seating across you, for the jerk who broke your heart, FOR EVERYONE.

Sometimes when I look at people’s eyes or situation, I imagine how life can be hard in their shoes. I imagine how hard it is to still work your ass out at 70, I imagine the hard work of sending your younger siblings to school after losing your parents, I imagine getting hungry because there’s no one to bring food on the table.

Living and facing life each day is hard work already. Everyone’s going through something that we don’t know about. And the least we can do to lighten each other’s load is to be kind.

If a person is mean, choose to be kind.

If a person is impatient and grumpy, choose to be kind.

If a person lacked charity and bumped you on the way, choose to be kind.

We never know what they are going through – maybe despair, death, discouragement, or darkness of the soul. Maybe it is something that we would give up on if it happened to us or something that we would never wish to happen even to our enemies.

Be kind always. We never know how wide the ripple of our kindness can go. 😉

 

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