The past, present and future are all interconnected
– Dr. Bill Gould –
I had the opportunity to spent the last Christmas and New Year in my home country, the Philippines. And every time I do get the chance to go home, I try to create memorable events for both me and my family. I blogged about my community activity with my son before the turn of the new year and it was quite an experience. However, there was one experience that really moved me, one that I didn’t have to create.
I was on my way home after delivering a presentation on SQL Server Failover Clustering to a healthcare company in Manila. As always, I try to take the public transport as much as I can when I’m in Manila. As I got off the light rail transit, waiting for the next jeepney ride that would take me home, something caught the corner of my eye. There it was, a signage very familiar to me and my wife almost 12 years ago. It was that of a pawnshop. Within a few seconds, it was as if I was taken back in time and my past being replayed right before me. I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed within that short span of time.
Now, you might be wondering why.
You see, that pawnshop has seen us more times than we could remember. I remember having to pawn several of my and my wife’s jewelries just so we have something to eat for the next couple of days, not knowing if we will ever see them again. I remember arguing with my wife to not take her valuable possessions to the pawnshop. She, on the other hand, would always reassure me that everything’s going to be alright and that our marriage was more important than those valuables. A few blocks away from the pawnshop was where we started our family, the place that I was talking about in a previous blog post – the place where we slept in a small-sized bed with barely enough cushion to soften our backs and the buzzing sound of mosquitoes that kept us awake when we didn’t have electricity. I remember feeling a sense of self-pity about not even having any means to support my family despite having a degree from a prestigious university. And, as supportive as she can be, my wife would always tell me that the time will come when all of our experiences will simply be stories worth telling others.
And in a span of a few minutes, I was brought back into my new reality as a jeepney stopped right before me, waiting for me to hop in.
Every time I have an opportunity to do so, I tell people about our stories and our journey as a family. It’s my way of encouraging others that no matter what situation they are in, there will always be a brighter future if we simply look forward to it. More important than telling the story, I take time to revisit my past to remind myself of where I came from. The reminder keeps me grounded that even though my wife and I can now afford to have dinner at a fancy restaurant or travel anywhere we want, we must never forget our humble beginnings. It is those tough experiences that led us to where we are right now. The Holy Book talks about persevering under challenging circumstances and those who do so will receive the promises of God. In our experiences, that proved to be something very real and tangible. We’ve not only received what we believed God has promised us, we’ve also had the wonderful opportunity to share out stories with others.
Having gone into the first few days of 2013, let’s take stock of our past year (or even years) and revisit our experiences. Are we using those experiences to help us shape a better future?