Where you are
CTALK - Cito Beltran () - January 4, 2012 - 12:00am

This is the week of personal plans, resolutions and finding game-changing ideas. It will also be the week when so many people will miss the “target” because they think that change is all about getting away from where we are and being something more than our “ordinary” selves.

Call it human nature or failure, but many people think the best way to start the year or have a better year is to start somewhere else or by being someone else. Unfortunately we fail because we don’t accept who we are and try to understand why we are where we are.

I lived my life that way for many years, hoping and dreaming of becoming someone else and being somewhere else. For many years I wondered why God did not fix things so I could migrate with my Dutch wife to the Netherlands? That to me would have been the logical ending.

One day, I received revelation in the most matter of fact tone. If I had migrated to the Netherlands, chances are I would have had to take on a job much lower than my current status or be sidelined for a year until I had a working knowledge of the language. Migration would also cut me off from established links particularly Church and such a combination would certainly leave me vulnerable to depression.

And since I have had a historical weakness for western members of the opposite sex, it would not take long for me to fall and bring down my family with me. That’s why I am “where I am” for my own good.

Another burden I had on my back was my hesitation to embrace my “profession”. Ever since martial law, I swore never to be in media. In college I was “forced” to take up Journalism and although I graduated with the degree, I never pursued it until after my father’s death, when I once again received revelation that I would be following in my father’s footsteps. I may have followed but I did so grudgingly for many years.

I don’t really know what happened, but just like an Ox yoked to the millstone, one day I simply decided to embrace my destiny and that changed the entire game for me.  

I could quote you chapters upon chapters from the bestselling book “Purpose Driven Life”, but you will probably dismiss all of it as “religious” perspective. So instead I’ll simply share my personal discovery over the Christmas week when I discovered that simply being your self could actually produce more results than trying to be something else.

When I decided to spend Christmas as a volunteer in an evacuation center in Cagayan de Oro, I left Manila with some cash, a credit card, and totally no idea where I would stay and how I could help. I simply went because I felt that was “where I needed to be”.

Being a member of Media and being “where I was” I ended up working like a match-making service as I introduced NGO people to government officials and influential people from the corporate world. Those “personal referrals” helped facilitate the transport of relief goods, medicines as well as information without cost.

This was the first time I could proudly say that I was an “Influence peddler” for the good of the people.

When we reached our assigned evacuation center, I immediately knew why I was “where I was”. The North City Central school of Barangay Puntod evacuation center was so dark that we kept slipping or stumbling in the dark on our first visit.

Having been a resort developer in my past life, I had the necessary background on what was needed and the ability to work with laborers as well as skilled professionals, in spite of my bastardized version of Bisaya. In a matter of hours the entire place was lit up and our small contribution lifted the mood and the spirits of everyone.

But the biggest revelation of them all was when I simply told the story where I was.

Whether it was inspiring, dreadful or depressing, I told the story. I confessed that there were times I felt ill at ease and as I learned later there were one or two people who questioned my motives. “Why does he have to write about his trip?” one asked. Another questioned the accuracy of my reports after I mistakenly wrote the name of Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz.

Yet I have no regrets being “where I was” and doing what I could. People responded in so many different ways, many made commitments to do their part, send more goods or to simply “spread the word”. A rare breed and bold few, decided to “come on down” to CDO and Iligan and be shoulder to shoulder with the disaster victims.

In a light moment someone wrote about how he and his girlfriend quarreled because the lady who happened to be a nurse decided to spend Christmas in CDO to help. Unaware of the situation on the ground, the boyfriend was concerned and against the idea. This led to a heated argument and an unexpected break-up.

Long story short, Prince charming got to read my column about spending Christmas in CDO, felt so remorseful and asked me to let lady love know how repentant he was. They are, as the Eddie Peregrina song goes: “Together…Again!”

In terms of humongous, I learned from a reader that one of their clients have decided to be involved and will be making generous donations to a CDO hospital in terms of equipment. 

It’s not about the storyteller but simply the stories. 

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E-mail: Utalk2ctalk@gmail.com.

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