9/03/2008

The Greatest Love of All


I used to be so sick of this song. Recently though I have been singing and humming it a lot. All because I needed to talk with the vice-mayor of Cebu City, Mike Rama. And you go, HUH? Yup, you heard me right.

The company I work for was being harassed by the Office of the Building Official there over our new building. To cut the long story, the plot of extortion and corruption was starting to thicken everyday. Our meeting with the vice-mayor turned into not just a cry for help ( from ruthless crocodiles) but also an inspirational talk, a singing lesson and a grand tour of the newly renovated city hall.

I do not enjoy business trips to Cebu because just the trip from the airport to our office makes me so depressed. Sure, Cebu is the Queen City of the South, it's historical but I also see a lot, A LOT of poor people. What tugs at my heart are the street children and beggars. Once I saw a very handsome boy of maybe around 9 and he was begging amidst the traffic. I wanted to cry because he reminded me of my own son. My son who is at home, doing homework, playing with his trains and reading his dinosaur books.

All I have about Cebu are questions. Why does it have to be this way for these people, these innocent children? How they live, eat is beyond what I can imagine.

But answers are beginning to slowly light up in my head after speaking to the vice-mayor, answers that came from him through the words of the song, 'The Greatest Love of All" by Stevie Wonder. the vice-mayor told us this song should be sung from the heart. (thus the singing lessons...) And the song begins,

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of PRIDE to make it easier

The vice-mayor believes that when people are proud of themselves it empowers them to become more. Pride should be nurtured in all, especially the poor, the children since they don't have much.

And another part of the song goes...

Everybody's searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs
A lonely place to be and so I've learned to depend on me.

If only people know that they have it in themselves to become, to grow, to shine. Again, to have pride in themselves.

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

So the vice-mayor organizes a free-for-all night market (among his other projects) along Colon Street, the oldest street in the country, which he visits and where he enjoys a bowl of lugaw. He shows the vendors, the visitors of the market, the poor that their vice-mayor finds dignity in their life, in them. Solidarity. It is a word not foreign to an old girl ( graduate of the red school) like me, I understand.

The poor cannot be ignored. We stare at the face of poverty everyday in the Philippines. They are our brothers and sisters. Give them a sense of pride so things will be easier for them, your house helps, your nannies, your cooks, our janitors, street vendors. From a simple smile, a warn greeting, a heart-felt thank you, a prayer to a passionate public servant - will surely get through and light up some love. I have nothing but admiration for people who not only love the poor but also show it. They deserve to learn to love themselves as God loves them through the love we show to them. They deserve the greatest love of all.

...and if by chance that special place
That you've been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your self in Love.....



2 comments:

Gorio said...

Your story about the street children of Cebu reminded me of my experience with them years ago. After a heavy dinner in one of its restaurant, we had our many leftover food doggy bagged (thinking of giving it to the carpenters at the jobsite). At the door, several street children were begging for money, we gave them the leftover food instead. The boy who got the bag ran away leaving his other mates behind, probably not wanting to share with with them. No thank yous...
Such a pity....

spiCes said...

can you believe it, i heard this song in the car radio a few weeks ago after a very long time, and it made me cry! haha! hey, you've got one great blog here! keep it up!:) and i'm linking you now;)
my website is here