Kidding PAul JAmesI happened to check an e-promotion regarding a fable. I wanted to subscribe a book for toddlers for three reasons: for a change, for relaxation (a child’s books are my sleeping pills) and for rekindling. I saw a book I wanted to check out because the lesson in it has jogged a lot of valuable memories.
The book is entitled “Three Hens and a Peacock”. The story is basically about three jealous hens and a visitor peacock that happened to attract more customers into their farm. The hens complained they were doing all the hard work. This book teaches a valuable lesson fortified by my experience with Typhoon Haiyan. This book advocates the value of contentment.
Apparently, contentment is lackluster in the society. We are always hungry for more. We crave for something far beyond our capacities. We downgrade our tangible and intangible possessions time and again. We have become polished megalomaniacs. Unpleasantly, we are involuntarily oblivious of these monsters as they consume every fiber of our rationale and reason.
I remember my erstwhile neighbor. She had no job. She had four kids to send to school. Her husband was a ‘moderate’ drunkard and had no permanent work. They survive by means of her husband’s siblings and parents. Yet every town fiesta, they always made sure that the pig’s death was never in vein. Their modest residence was always jampacked with guests and relatives. The prying eyes of neighbors mean that for another year, they made a successful fiesta celebration through money owing. The debt cycle never ended for them, because they never were pleased of a simple celebration, or a smaller and more meaningful family gathering. The debt cycle is my term for sustainable money owing, where a person pays his debts through debts. The debt cycle is common among run of the mill families and couples. If some fail to sustain the cycle, they fall into the debt abyss.
I know a very hardworking co-employee whom I met last year. I learned that she and her family migrated to Canada two months ago. She was actually my superior. She was part of the company’s roster of top business consultants. Her husband was also a co-employee with a higher position. Both of them earned gargantuan bonuses, salaries, benefits and perks. They had the positions everyone is aspiring to relish. Yet, out of the blue, they decided to quit their jobs and transfer to another country to look for bulkier revenue. No matter what angle I consider, I always find their decision quite hastened, unreasonable and insensible.
The two situations are on the ground of dissatisfaction. My neighbor elicited false grandeur. She was never satisfied despite her financial inadequacies. She felt more dignified of sham riches regardless of her dues. My former workmate, despite her more than enough income, was simply not fulfilled. She sought for more in the face of sufficiency. I firmly believe that her act is a covert insult to the poor. Anyone who squanders or undermines resources is insulting those who have none and anyone who is in greed is insulting those who are hungry.
In parallel to this, unsatisfied and discontented individuals are keeping happiness away from their doorsteps. No one will find peace of mind if no one is willing to appreciate what he or she has attained. No one will tell a story of a life well lived if no one is proud of simple hard-earned personal leaderships.
In the same light, this has got to be one of the premium lessons a Yolanda survivor has achieved. The things disregarded before are the things that we lost after the typhoon: shelter, clothing, food, friends, family, and life. These things that we lost are the things that should be valued more from then on, because the simplest possessions are the ones most painful to lose.
I’m glad I’ve realized the premium lesson of contentment as a juvenile. It took my neighbor’s way of life and my workmate’s attitude to understand it, and Haiyan’s wrath to fortify it. For others, I hope the nudge of Yolanda is enough to both understand and put to mind that contentment spells freedom, happiness and godliness. Again, I hear the bible: “But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” (1 Timothy 6:6-7)