Give Love

Photo of Shem-shem Pablo
By Buena Laoang

Let me just share you a little story of giving love.

G   od wants us to give love.

I  t is by His awesome grace that once again I was able to engage myself in an activity that aims to add to the laughter and lives of children, and share the joy with their families. (The truth is- it is them who gave me the laughter and joy!)

V  iewing it from afar, Sitio Cataquiz in San Pedro, Laguna, Philippines seems a barren land. You wouldn’t think a community lives behind the tall grasses. Until we were exposed to the number of families that live down the hill. Oh- too many children excited for the day; families waiting for the difference which that particular day of September 22, 2012 will create in their lives.

E  ngaging, energizing, enriching- these may be words to describe the experience. But more than its impact to the volunteers, it’s the fun and inspiration left to the community that counts more.

L  ove has manifested itself in Sitio Cataquiz, thru a variety of ways that day. Love was defined in every child’s face that showed eagerness for new friends. Love for God’s gifts of skill as the children displayed competence in performing to an audience the potentials they got. Love moving every ate, kuya, nanay, and tatay to guide the smooth flow of every activity. Love in the children’s faces with the welcoming innocence as they respond to the story of the gospel and Jesus’ love. God’s love, in allowing clear skies and a very fine sunny weather that particular day.

O  f the many meaningful memories from this activity, it is the comforted and pacified face of a little boy, age one or two, that brought me home with a smile. He was there crying already when we arrived- because his mother had to leave and assist our group in the community. We moved on to our roles. Upon leaving after the playtime with the other kids, though, I saw him, and oh- still crying! What brokenness enveloped me!  All that I did, for me, would count to nothing, if I leave the place without having comforted this little one- this little one who might have been waiting for someone to give love the whole time… I bought something to cheer him up, and I was relieved to see him finally settle, silent, as if at last satisfied. He was too shy to look at me or even give his name, but I could feel his comforted feeling. I hope I stopped the moment I saw him. I hope I had spent more time with him.

V  olunteers went on to the fulfillment of the program and the services it wished to share to the community . The child’s mother went on to assisting our group. There was fun, laughter, joy in every moment. But the ‘vow to love’ missed this little one- left alone at their little home (he was not one of the recipients because he was under age three; and he lost some precious time with his mother because she had to perform some duty.)This made me ask- what is the real meaning of giving love?

xactly the message I got from the activity: “Give love especially to those who need it.” Not simply to those from whom you can get something in return. Not simply to serve a purpose, or to enrich your life, or to extend something to a community or a crowd. It is forgetting the desires of the self and helping your neighbor with what it needs. The volunteers went out of their hectic schedules in the city to give love to these less provided for families and children; the mother sacrificed her time for her own child, to give love to these volunteers; and thankfully, I and my friend Erika were able to give love to this crying little boy, and the other little ones who came by running to us at the end of the activity- though late, that they also may receive love.

Give love. The little boy will always remind me of this, “Give love especially to those who need it, and give it right away… ”

(PS. Many thanks to my dear student Kristia for the opportunity to GIVE LOVE, and to friends and the rest of the Give Love volunteers! May God’s love be magnified!)

About the Author: Buenaflor Laoang-Rosete finished Creative Writing from the University of the Philippines Diliman, and an awardee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Philippines in 2001. She is a mother, public servant, teacher. Her Lifenotes tell of a “once-a-wretch-now-fully-blest” life story, inspiring the advocacy of living simply, fragrantly and richly. She is a Filipino and is happy to be one.