Kidding PAul JAmes“Simple-minded people sometimes make more sense and understand life much better than those who claim to be intelligent.”

Last week, I talked to a ‘tuslob buwa’ (a local dish in Cebu made out of a pig’s brain) vendor about her life. After I ate my merienda, Nanay Loring unexpectedly sobbed. I was the only customer then so I consoled her and asked what was bothering her. Nay Loring said she was crying tears of joy and despair. Her youngest son is in the last semester of college and will expectedly graduate in October. I asked what was so depressing of his son’s graduation. She smiled and looked at me. Nay Loring said that she has 9 children and all of her elder sons and daughters had graduated and had already married. She is a widow, and decided not to remarry so she can focus on her children. Her youngest son is the only reason now why she’s still vending whatever she can sell. At first, I did not understand why this was saddening for her, because the normal reaction to this would be joy and elation. Everything began to strike me when she said: ‘Unya, wala na ko’y rason para mumata ug sayo, wala na ko’y rason para makapoy, wala na ko’y rason para mamaligya ug maningkamot. Mingawun ko sa kapoy, kay malipayun ko nga nanrabaho ko para sa ila (Then I’ll have no more reason to wake up early, to get tired, to sell things and to work hard. I’ll miss being exhausted, because I am happy when I work for my children).’
I was very tearful after hearing her say this. A woman with no fancy clothes and devoid of life’s extravagance and treats embraced poverty and tore it everyday of her life. Nay Loring said she lived in a simple wooden house with her children, having only few appliances. She can be categorized under the marginalized sector of the society, but with the way she acted and spoke, being poor was just a label for her. Nay Loring was happy with what she had, with what she was doing with her life. “Nay usa ka sa pinakadatu nga tawo nga nailhan nako (You are one of the richest persons I have ever met). I said after cheering and thanking her for sharing her valuable thoughts.
I have met many Nay Lorings before, people who are surprisingly happy despite scarcity of life’s auxiliaries. These people are just plain contented of what they have, and still consider themselves blessed. On the other hand, I also know a lot of people born on silver spoons, well to do and moneyed. Ironically, these people are the unhappiest. These people have more issues and more problems. Money has made their life both comfortable and miserable, because of the consequences, risks and offshoots that tag along with having so much wealth.
In this light, therefore, money cannot necessarily make a person happy. At the same time, insufficiencies do not necessarily make a person miserable. This is one of the fundamentals of life that we have forgotten. As we became educated, cultured and refined, we subtly buried the essence of simplicity and satisfaction. We veered away from finding happiness because we continuously seek for pleasure. We have molded ourselves to be discontented people, and this was our choice to begin with. Simple-minded people sometimes make more sense and understand life much better than those who claim to be intelligent.
I have put to heart an important wisdom of the ages, thanks to Nay Loring. Yes she was technically poor, but across all other life aspects, she was rich. Nay Loring is a living proof that contentment is happiness and poverty is just a state of mind.