Help others
FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (The Philippine Star) - June 23, 2019 - 12:00am

Sometimes I wonder what God put me on earth for.  Is it to take care of other people? Maybe by introducing them to StemEnhance Ultra, whose single side effect is it takes away approximately 10 years off your looks. I did not expect so many young people to call. It’s supposed to give assistance to those who are sick and possibly dying. But the response is largely from the standpoint of vanity.

I always remind my husband, who is unabashedly vain, that vanity is one of the Catholic Church’s seven deadly sins. He loves it when women tell him how handsome he is. He is handsome but I did not fall in love with him or marry him for his looks. I married him for his character. Since that is invisible to most eyes, I suspect sometimes he would prefer it if I said I married him for his looks.

But who knows what good things I sometimes can do? Remember I wrote about a housekeeper who was looking for a job? An acquaintance asked me for her number and now she has a job. I’m beginning to suspect that maybe one of the reasons why I write is because occasionally, without meaning to, I accidentally extend help to someone who really needs it.

A few weeks ago, an old friend of mine called me and asked if I might have coffee with her and her daughter. So I did, wondering as I walked over to where we were meeting, What is this about? Is she going to sell me insurance? Theater tickets? What? I had not seen her in a long time, in at least 20 years. Now she and her daughter wanted to see me? What can this be about?

After all the niceties, my friend said, “I wonder if you could help my daughter. She needs a lawyer.”

“Why me?” I asked. Because I married one? But my husband is retired.

“Tell her your story,” she urged her daughter.

Nina, the daughter, not her real name, is in her 50s, like my daughters. She had married a man I knew very slightly so I just assumed they were married happily enough. She told me her husband was mayabang, a showoff. They — her husband, she and their children — had lived in their rented house for a long time. Once she helped him in his business but he was always shouting at her and was rude to her so she left the business and found herself a good job that, from the looks of her — she was pretty and well-dressed — I would say her job paid her well.

She said for years she had been spending on the house and on the children who were now pretty much grownup. In fact her daughter just turned 18 and her husband hosted a debut for her at a restaurant. She said she and her husband had not had intimate relationships for a long time and she knew he would get it from elsewhere but she hoped he would keep that discreet. Yet lately he had found himself a girlfriend who was related to a mayor and he was very much in love with this girl, it seemed, and they were often seen together.

The girl had been to their office frequently. The office was in their house. They owned a beach house somewhere and the person in charge there told her that her husband had been there a few times with this woman. The last straw was at the debut of her daughter when he shouted at her, told her to go home, and told her his girlfriend, whom he loved very much, was paying for the party, so she had no business being there. Now she wanted to leave him, but she needed a lawyer who wouldn’t charge her an arm and a leg to fix the separation papers.

“That’s why we came to you,” her mother said. “You’ve been through something similar. You had a lawyer. Maybe you can help her find one.”

Here I am face-to-face with my past again. “Once I had two lawyers,” I said, “Dakila Castro and his aide Roger Panotes. I did not win my case anyway because it was martial law and the party I was suing had all the power.

“But times have changed. Now there is the New Family Code and many lawyers who can handle your case. All we have to do is find one who will charge you only a little but one who will be more than willing to help.” At their request I did not mention their names. They fear that if the husband finds out he will resort to doing wild things. So, if you’re a lawyer and you want to help, text me and I will refer you to her. We — the lawyer and I — might just be doing what God put us on earth to do. We might be helping others.

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