I can still vividly remember how she looked. I can still hear the high-heeled shoes pounding on the floor in the stillness of the morning. Strangely, though, no one was bothered. I looked around to see who was coming. She was dressed in her best light blue laced dress. She had the light blue veil on her head. Her face was adorably well-painted. She walked with poise. Strikingly, I saw the long beads of pearls on her right hand, her rosary. On her left hand was a designer bag that also glittered along with everything in her.
She walked without looking around as if she was the only one in the church. She was not disturbed that no one looked towards her despite the noise that she was making. She caught my eyes and I looked away. I looked again to confirm who I saw. Yes, indeed, it was her. She looked the same in reel and real life. She went to a pew that was empty. She wiped the kneeling pad, the seat, and the arm rest. She was very meticulous in what she was doing. She disturbed me not because she wanted to but because I was entertained with her “out of the ordinary” ways in church.
The mass started and singing ensued. She sang along and I could hear her beautiful voice sincerely praising God. She recited the prayers with a voice that seemed to echo in the church. I was wondering if the others were not disturbed. Or were they already used to what they would see in her?
After the mass, the same sound of her high-heeled shoes was heard as she exited the church. She was met by her security guards and was ushered into her car. She caught me spying on her and I looked away again.
That morning after I attended the mass I got into a realization. Perhaps, it is not fame, it is not popularity, it is not wealth, it is not poverty or the want of many things that defines one’s relationship with our Creator. I have always believed in this “It is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:23). From that perspective, one would look at the wealthy and the wealthiest differently. But that statement may have been true during that time when those who were rich oppressed the poor or cared less for the least in life.
People change and cultures change. Society has changed. I change my view and my paradigm.
People, rich or poor, are now becoming aware of what true relationship with the Creator really means. It is not religiosity. Rather, it is what Mother Teresa had exemplified when she was nursing the wounds of the most ill, the sickest, and the least in life.
Generosity. Love. Respect. This all sum up into Compassion.
Everything starts with giving. Whatever the intentions, giving is parting away with something for someone. When this is done habitually, giving grows into loving. One loves to give. It becomes a part of one’s nature. It is natural for man to love. When love is freely given, one respects the one he loves.
That rich woman in church is a giver. I always heard of her outreach activities in the challenged areas around the city. Perhaps, because she has been used to giving, she has learned to love to give. Perhaps, the author of love has abundantly given to her, too. So, no matter how disturbing she was in the stillness of the church, people around respected her and just allowed her to be herself.
I had been privileged to go to that church where almost everyone, except me, is wealthy and popular. I was the pauper. Perhaps, like that wealthy woman, the others in that church had been disturbed, too, by my presence. “Why is she here? Who is she? A pauper came?” I was a nobody, and no one knew me there. I may had been disturbing to them, too. But they got used to my presence every morning and they respected me for being there even if I did not belong to their community. They respected my presence because they respected the author of love and abundance who blessed them and would continue to bless them in life. “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matthew 12:34).