Saturday, December 11, 2010

And So It Begins...

Here I am at LAX waiting for my flight to Tokyo and I find myself ruminating about the Little Guy. Two weeks ago, I finally read with him the Star Wars book that I got him. When I unveiled the book, his eyes lit up, but in a very controlled repressed way, like he almost did not want to allow himself to feel a little elation, a litte excitement. The way I would think little people who, at such an early age, have developed these protective mechanisms to deal with life's disappointments and pain. I should have known it then.

One of his most favorite things in the world is Star Wars. One of his least favorite? Reading. So I thought if I got him a Star Wars book, he could see the possibilities of reading for passion. He enjoyed the book and he gifted me with a little bit of the spark, the fire, that he allowed himself to feel. At the end of the session, he was looking longingly at the book and I told him that he cannot have the book yet. I had the brilliant plan of waiting another week to give it to him as some kind of incentive, to make him want the book so much that he will really work on his reading.

The following Thursday, I came to see him at our usual time. He wasn't in school. In fact, his teacher did not think he was ever coming back. His parents had divorced and his mother had taken him to Virginia City or something like that. Last she heard, the Little Guy was not yet re-enrolled in school. My face fell and I was filled with disgust for myself. Had I known it was the last time I was going to see him, I would have given him the book without hesitation.

What a powerful lesson. I always say that my life philosophy is to be prepared to die at any given moment, yet there I was, a colossal failure at practicing what I preach. I lapsed into thinking that tomorrow, next week, another time, exists. I was taught again that it really doesn't except in our heads.

I picked up a Rumi booked last week with The Banker in mind. I hesitated to give it to him out of fear that he would find the gesture too intense, too clingy, too premature, too touchy feely. All these doubts were running in my head. Then I was reminded by the lesson Little Guy taught me. Tomorrow doesn't exist. If you feel compelled, do it when that compulsion strikes for that moment is all there is. That could very well be the last time I see him, so I am in a way left no choice. So I wrote on the first page (and yes, it was kind of a little love note - it's Rumi, for crying out loud), signed it, and gave it to him regardless of how he would think of the gesture, or of what I would think of what he would think of the gesture. Ahhh.. Freedom. :)

If you believe that We are all here to manifest love, then what is the shame, fear, or apologies for that expression of our humanity?

I am excited beyond words about my trip and I have a sneaking suspicion that my life will change again because of what I am about to immerse myself into. I believe that all experiences have the power to alter our existence and challenge us to become better human beings. It will be interesting to watch what kind of me will emerge after this lesson and all the lessons I will yet learn upon my return home. And home? Where is that anymore? I guess I will find out in the next two weeks.

After checking in, I was given a mini dry-run of the Manila that I might have forgotten. A Filipino airline worker started chatting me up and was asking extremely personal questions that you would never hear in a typical American conversation with a complete stranger. I am reminded of the egolessness that lies latent in the Filipino culture. It can be overwhelming since I have not experienced such a bombardment of privacy in a long time. America's hyperindividuated culture has quarantined me from that. But there I was, talking to a complete stranger about where I grew up, where I live, what I do. I had to draw the line at "What is your phone number?".

Oh Manila, this ought to be interesting.

But first, Hong Kong.


1 comment:

  1. I'm praying for the Little Guy. My gut says you will see him again.