I Was running in the trails North of Manila one cloudy morning in muddy grassland with an endless mountain view on my left and lahar on the right. I chanced upon a Bahay Kubo sitting on top of a hill and noticed a little girl come out and wave at me. I waved back returning the gesture then, to my surprise, she called out motioning me to come over. Without giving it a second thought, I did as I was told seemingly mesmerized by this little girl. She then led me to a little bamboo bench situated just outside her home where we sat comfortably and there she began to talk animatedly about her parents, her home, the chores she had to do for the day while showing me her ducks, chickens and baboy damo. She was the sweetest girl I've ever met... always smiling oftentimes giggling while she spoke about herself and her life. Her innocence and positivity was so endearing; never once showing a hint of hardship or exhibiting any envy or want for material things. Never once did she complain about her circumstance seemingly content in the simplicity of the life she lived. After about 15 minutes of chatting with this little girl, I told her I had to go and continue my run. As a parting gesture, she gave me a nice sweet hug and waved goodbye. I left the place feeling good (a silly grin on my face) happy and content for having had a chance encounter with this little girl.
Running for me has often been a form of meditation where I can momentarily get away and relieve myself from the stresses of daily life. But once in a rare while, if we take a moment from our hurried pace to notice the things around us, like maybe spend a little time on a bamboo bench, we may be lucky enough to get a glimpse of what life is truly all about; affording us lessons we may never learn from any book or psychologists chair. Oftentimes we can be overwhelmed by real or perceived troubles and misfortunes around us, preoccupying ourselves with things that don't really matter and failing to appreciate the beauty and joy in life's simple pleasures which is essentially recognizing the little gems of happiness that come to us each day and finding joy in the moment. These are the lessons learned by a 52 year-old man from a 7 year-old girl while sitting on a bamboo bench on the top of a hill.
Thank you Jasmin.