Through my eyes luxury was defined as expensive cars, five star restaurants, and high class living. But through theirs it was clean running water, a safe home, and enough food for the day. When I first saw this community, I was shocked, I had no idea people could really live like this. Worn clothing frayed at the ends, callused feet that was tough as leather, and soulful brown eyes that made up every one of them; and they were only children. It was my first missions trip to Soong, Philippines when I encountered these young ones. What they saw as home was what I saw as scraps; dirt acted as the cement to hold the bits of decaying wood for the walls, and was held together with a rusted tin roof. Along with this style of living, these kids hardly ate during the week, which explained why they were so small and malnourished. To top this all off, their parents were drug addicts. Along with being hungry and poorly sheltered, they were raised in abusive environments with the influence of drugs. Life would seem unlivable. Even more so, how could one even tolerate these conditions? But as I glanced around the room, their faces shone with pure contentment. With their rags they smiled. With their hunger, they rejoiced. With drugs immersed into their lives, they found joy. Seeing these children made me question my own life, how were they so happy with their conditions? Especially with nothing to put their name to?
As the afternoon rain drizzled across the horizon of makeshift houses, I pondered these thoughts, replaying them inside my mind. Shades of blue rain weaved its way across the whole village, drumming the tin roofs loudly. Their mud caked feet pattered across the unstable terrain, splashing the puddles of murky water under their callused soles. I watched them hurdle over stones and tree branches, as the shower doused them from head to toe. I stood alone under a roof safely protected from the shower. The question kept haunting me, “How were these children so happy?” Before I could unsuccessfully answer my own question, the light rain shifted into a tropical downpour. As huge drops of rain pelted the earth, the other volunteers ran for cover, shielding their heads with anything they found. The waters seemed to flood the horizon, punching the soil as it spread. But still, the splashes of mud puddles and laughter merged with the sound of pouring rain came from the make-do village. The children cheered with glee as I watched with a humbled amazement. Brown dimpled faces smiled with pure contentment while the clouds poured out. Their hands stretched towards heaven, relishing every single drop. It was a sight I will never forget. Here in front of me are children who have nothing, yet they are so at peace. Then it hit me, like a push into reality. They enjoyed the rain and didn’t run from it, even when it poured. Instead they found joy in the midst of despair and held on to it. With nothing, they were content with what they had and longed for nothing more. I realized I had to do the same. To find joy in sorrow was what needed to be applied to my life- as a matter of fact, every life. As the silver clouds drifted, spreading through the darkening sky, I saw through their eyes. With storms that come across our wellbeing, we must know that it will eventually end; with gladness we must accept the trial that has come across our paths.
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