18. One train ride, two weathers

“I find it fascinating how the train’s doors can be one’s windows on this journey.”

EVERYDAY, I ride the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) to go to work. Most of the time it’s crowded. But sometimes, seats are empty, the existence of air conditioning units can be felt because of the cold breeze coming out of them, and the passengers vibrantly chatting to each other; men and women and children, all collected in a closed, moving machine.

But in a rare occasion, while cruising through the highway, I observed how weather changed. At the Guadalupe station, it’s raining so hard that you can imagine yourself enveloped in your white, comfy bed sheet in your room. The vehicles on the street are stuck and wet. Small and large, private and public, they have the same fate. But four stations later and after few kilometers, the concrete road below seems untouched by a raindrop. It’s like you’re looking at a different world. And with wonder, you realize that you became a link to two dimensions.

I find it fascinating how the train’s doors can be one’s windows on this journey. They say that the MRT reveals who we really are. But I think it also reveals the variations in different places, the weather, the people, the clouds above. It reveals the complexities of the things around us, that what’s happening to one place can’t be expected to unfold to another. Nothing is really the same or equal. We can choose to think of all the complaints that we wanted to address to its management whenever we’re informed that a defective train causes the delay or we can choose to just enjoy the ride.

And at the end of the day, it all boils down to our perception, to our eyes, to us.

7. A stranger got you covered

“More importantly, when did you last imagine yourself in the place of others who are suffering or in a challenging situation?”

YOU’RE ON your way home. It’s cold. Rain started to thunder the streets. You were excited as someone who sees the sentimentality that every drop brings. It was fun at first but you realized that you have no umbrella or coat with you. You searched for a cover but you couldn’t find one. Open area. Noise. Smog. And then a stranger with an umbrella came along and asked you: “Do you want to join me? We’re headed to the same way, maybe?”

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? How many times have you asked someone who’s exposed to the pouring rain if they need help and whether they wanted you to share your umbrella with them? It doesn’t happen that often. We all have our reasons and I completely understand that.┬áThat little touch of kindness, which is a bold gesture of empathy and compassion, speaks a great deal about a person’s values. Yes, it’s unsafe sometimes but it’s still a good act that some of us forget. “I don’t know who they are, why should I even care?” is our favorite line.

But what if that time comes that it’s you who need help? What if you’re on your way to work to attend a very important meeting and it suddenly started to rain and you’re hindered because you forgot to check the weather forecast earlier that day in the area and you didn’t bring your umbrella? What if you cry helplessly inside for but nobody cares? More importantly, when did you last imagine yourself in the place of others who are suffering or in a challenging situation?

They say that real heroes lie within us. We just have to recognize them and believe that they exist. Sharing an umbrella is a heroic act. Do it. Don’t hesitate. Wait ’til it’s raining cats and dogs again.