Estremera: Always be kind

Spider’s web

THERE’S a Facebook meme that says always be kind because you never know what the other is going through or has gone through.

I admit, I’m not a saint and I’m not always kind, especially when something about the other person irritates me. But life has this funny way of forcing me to learn my lesson fast.

Entering a fastfood restaurant to have a leisurely dinner with a book on hand, a familiar face hailed me from afar using my nickname that only those from my childhood use. True enough, she’s a kababata of an elder cousin and we haven’t seen each other since I was in high school. She invited me to join her table and then started asking about family and personal stuff I wasn’t comfortable about sharing because it’s been 40 years!!! (Yes, I’m old, thank you). But she kept on anyway, and I just have to bear it, I told myself, giving just the little information I was comfortable to share.

From that conversation I learned that she is now all alone having separated from her husband several years ago and losing both her children when they were already adults. They both died. One at 28, the other at 30. It was one big ouch! You wouldn’t really know the loneliness a person hides in her heart until you are privileged to take a peek.

I walked home reeling from a mix of sadness and awe of the woman’s strength.

But life wasn’t through with throwing wild pitches at me yet. Thus, the following night at dinner with a bubbly, happy philanthropist that you’d think has only joy in her life, the conversation took a turn again, with the lady talking about the humbling experience of going hungry and relying on the goodness of the heart of random people far away from the comforts of home for four long years when she escaped from an arranged marriage at 18 years old.

Again, I was reeling from mixed emotions, almost silenced in disbelief at the same time awed at her strength of character.

Like the woman the night before, you will never even know what she has gone through if you just look at her. Looks can be deceiving.

Indeed, there is wisdom in always being kind, because you do not know what the other is going through or has gone through.

I’m working on it. I can’t promise that I can get it right away, but I will give it one darn try. Heave-ho! Wanna join me?



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