Week 37: Monday


Immigration Cards

In one of those long queues in the airport, a woman approached me, asking if I had a pen. She looked haggard and harrassed. I gave her mine and didn’t ask for it back. I was wondering why there were no pens. But that’s the least of the countless frustrating situations I encounter. Some departing passengers do not even know how to fill out an immigration form, or a disembarkation card. Why were they not given an orientation before leaving the country?

There even was a middle-aged man, clad in a denim jacket and a worn-out cap, being ordered around by an immigration officer who refused to help him with his concern. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t talk to him gently. Obviously, the more she raised her voice, the more rattled the man became. Didn’t she realize that this man must be supporting a huge family with his meager salary abroad? Or was she enjoying the act of bullying someone weak like him? I tapped gently on the man’s shoulder and I whispered to him, “Sir, you won’t get any help from this one. Just calm down and do the next step.”

One of the things I find no logic in are the long queues for airport tax, OFW tax, and travel tax, among others. And they don’t accept credit cards. So if you find yourself without cash, you have to rush out of the airport to look for an ATM so decrepit-looking you’re scared to insert your credit card, fearing it’s one of those monsters that feed on cards, and then come back, fall in line, and go through the security check again. And God have mercy on you if you don’t reach the plane on time.

Why aren’t there enough people in the world who make sure that simple things like this run smoothly?

You see, if there are more people who see to it that there is a system to follow, things will be different. It won’t be perfect, but many will benefit.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4 ESV

I pray, dear reader, that you make yourself such person.

It is really simple when you scale it down to your own little world. You will be surprised at how great an impact it makes for others.

For example, make sure that the coffee in your office pantry is fresh when you leave the pot for the next person… or dispose the trash in your house regularly so that your spouse or parent won’t have to think about it. Or perhaps, refuse to jaywalk and follow traffic rules. Or wipe clean the equipment you just used in the gym…put that grocery basket back where it belongs…or tighten that dripping faucet in the mall’s toilet.

Don’t make it a habit to think “Oh, someone else is gonna do that.” Why do we always have to be paid for or acknowledged or thanked for every little service we do? Aren’t we living in the same earth? Sailing on the same ship, that when it goes down, we all go down with it?

Make it a habit to CARE.

Pick up that crumpled paper under your classroom desk. Fill that glass with more water. Turn off those unused lights at your workplace. Offer part of your sandwich to an officemate swamped with work he couldn’t get his lunch. You see, WE CANNOT BE A PEOPLE OF BIG THINGS WITHOUT PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE SMALL DETAILS that make up our daily living.

CARING is teaching your heart to be human.

CARING is Christlike.


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