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How Katherine Hepburn learned the meaning of giving; nuggets of wisdom from Charlie Chaplin; and gentle reminders from Pope Francis

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
How Katherine Hepburn learned the meaning of giving; nuggets of wisdom from Charlie Chaplin; and gentle reminders from Pope Francis
Katherine Hepburn with Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond, one of her memorable movies

It’s Nov. 7, 2020. Feel-good Saturday. Again, take time out from showbiz for more inspiring, spirit-lifting stories.

1. How Hollywood Icon Katherine Hepburn Learned the Meaning of Giving (shared with Funfare readers by occasional STAR contributor Edu Jarque who said he got it from a book by Hepburn who recounted a childhood experience).

Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.

Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.

There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.

The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement, you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.

The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.

Charlie Chaplin: The six best doctors

The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price.

The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price.

The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?

Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”

Pope Francis: How to be happy

The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation.

He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied: “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”

My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with.

Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.

That day I learnt the value to Give.

The Giver is bigger than the Receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.

The importance of giving, blessing others can never be overemphasized because there’s always joy in giving. Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving.

2. Nuggets of Wisdom from Charlie Chaplin (contributed by retired actor/now business Pepito Rodriguez who got it from a friend, source unknown).

Charlie Chaplin lived 88 years. He left us four statements:

(1) Nothing is forever in this world, not even our problems.

(2) I love walking in the rain because no one can see my tears.

(3) The most lost day in life is the day we don’t laugh.

(4) Six best doctors in the world: The Sun, Sleep, Exercise, Diet, Self-respect and Friends. Stick to them at all stages of your life and enjoy a healthy life…

If you see the moon, you will see the beauty of God…

If you see the sun, you will see the power of God…

If you see a mirror, you will see God’s best creation. So believe it.

We are all tourists, God is our travel agent who has already identified our routes, bookings and destinations... trust him and enjoy life.

Life is just a journey! Therefore, live today!

Tomorrow may not be.

3. Gentle Reminders from Pope Francis (a homily also by Edu Jarque who said that people must have read it somewhere, or maybe in Funfare, but it won’t hurt reading it again and again, so comforting especially during these dark days).

You can have flaws, be anxious, and even be angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.

To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures. It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity.

Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author. It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life.

Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It’s to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a “no.” It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us.

To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes.” It is to have the courage to say, “I am sorry.” It is to have the sensitivity to say, “I need you.” It is to have the ability to say, “I love you.”

May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness... That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence.

Never give up… Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show.

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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