“It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in providence, than to see their real import and value.” – Georg Hegel

ONE OF my favorite classic bedtime stories is about the journey of two monks back to the monastery.

There once were two monks, one in his twilight years and the other just barely into adulthood. While passing through a narrow, steep bend, they came across an old woman who was having difficulty walking. She held a walking stick while carrying a bayong brimming with root crops on her shoulder. At that instant, the old monk volunteered to help. The old woman obliged.

In no time, the old monk carried her on his back. Several minutes passed and they came across a lake, which they had to cross. They traversed down the steep, moss-covered slippery ground. The old monk was losing his balance and his steps became unsteady so he clung to a hanging branch nearby to regain his composure. Finally, they approached the clearing and the old monk dropped the old lady off.

At that point, the old monk became exasperated.

It was then that the young monk blurted, “What you did was very unbecoming of a monk. We should not to touch women. What happened to your ideals?”

The old man looked at him with surprise and said, “I already dropped her off some time ago. I didn’t know that you are still carrying her.”

Many of us are like the young monk who never run out of words to say. Instead of helping, we spot the flaws of others.

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Goodbye

To a five-year old, this story then did not bear much weight until my eyes were finally opened to the realities of this world. And now that I can place the puzzle pieces of life together, it is only now that I can fully grasp the lesson of that story.

I remembered an activity we had way back in grade school. We were asked to draw a big circle and put a dot in the middle. I came up with the biggest circle but somehow, my attention was fixed on the dot. It made my drawing less perfect. If only the teacher would allow me to patch the dot with whitening fluid. My teacher then explained that the dot symbolized our imperfections. Sometimes, no matter how good we are, people will never fail to find our faults. Worse, there are even people who enlarge the dot never caring how big the circle is.

Let us not be like these people. Let us not be like the young monk.

Prayer: Lord, make us instruments of peace. May we always learn to appreciate and highlight the good things in others. Bestow upon us the gift of putting aside our differences to work for the common end that You have planned for us in Your time. These we ask through Christ, Your only begotten Son, Amen.

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