Thursday, August 03, 2006

75. Philippines Two

The friend that I'd written that letter to wrote me back today and I thought I'd share some of what he wrote. He is one of the wisest people I've ever met, and honestly, reading this letter has really helped me, so once again, I thought I'd share.

God sends us experiences I think in the hope that we will wake up and really allow ourselves to be touched by another person and their lives. It sounds like she needs a Friend and Hope more than anything else. It must be so hard to have to live a life as someone else doing something you despise. I can't imagine how alone that life would feel, without the knowledge that it's even 'worth it'. I'm sure you've helped enormously by just seeing and accepting her for who she is. Most of the people she meets probably use her and/or consider themselves morally superior to her. Condescension is a nasty weapon...

I hope you're feeling better than you did when you wrote me. Pray for the strength to see the pain and suffering in the world and still find hope; to share joy with the world around you. Remember to smile at your Shadow. Don't feel guilty for what you have. It's true that the wealth of the world is unfairly distributed and people suffer great harships while others (us) have amazing opportunites and resources. Guilt won't make it better. Guilt is just us serving our own woe-is-me ego needs. I'm learning that we need to have fun, and serve; to truly come alive and love; to leave the world better than we find it; and most importantly to just fucking reach out and touch another human being. We are social animals. We cannot survive without contact with another life, another being. In the space that you created together, she let you see the real her with all her joys and woes. You've been touched by her. And it's okay to fall apart from time to time and perhaps we can learn to pick ourselves back up (maybe not in the same order or pattern as before) and Serve something bigger. We are made in God's image, and honouring another person, being with them, maybe is service, is worship.

Do you see why I'm friends with this guy?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

74. Philippines

I'm actually writing a post from the Philippines, I can't believe this. We are here during monsoon season, so it's been rainy for most of the time so far. We had planned to stay away from the more touristy places, but with the weather being the way it is, we decided to head to Boracay because then even if the weather is sucky, there will be something to do.

But I have something to share... We started off on this little island and went out dancing our first night there. The club was a blast -- an excellent live band. But inbetween the band's sets, there were these dancing girls. They were nearly naked and they would just grind on stage. They were all very beautiful, but they all looked so depressed that it actually felt really wrong to look at them, like we were violating them somehow. But there was one dancer who got my attention. I was actually avoiding looking on stage when I heard a crash and looked, and there she was, in the splits... she stood up again, and did this kick thing and crashed down into the splits again. Beyond any level of sexiness (which I will admit was there) it was just impressive. We all applauded. When she was done her set, she came over to us and we started a conversation. She asked if she could join us 'for company', and of course we said yes. We danced together all night, (which, again, I will admit to enjoying), and then invited her to come and hang out with us the next day.

It was rainy, and she didn't show up when she said she would, and the others didn't think she would come, but I was pretty sure she had really wanted to. And I was right, because of the rain, she hadn't been able to find transportation, so she was 2 hours late, but so happy to join us. We hung out all day, and at night we were playing cards and... well, I'll just cut and paste portions of a letter I just sent to one of my best friends.

Well, my beloved, I'm back and I'm broken hearted... though not in the way you think.

She did come and spend the day with us. She was as beautiful as she had been the night before, and just as sweet. We didn't do very much -- it was rainy, and the sea was really rough, so we mostly just sat around and drank (well, other people drank, I sat around). Later, at night, we went back to our hotel padio and were playing cards when she burst into tears, and continued crying for well over an hour. It would take too long to transcribe the conversation, but the essence was this -- she is a 20 year old precious person who dances half naked at a club so that dirty old men can decide if they want to rent her for the night... and she does this so that she can put food on her parent's table. Do you know what the most stressful thing had been in my life lately? That I was going on vacation with a bunch of skinny chicks and I wouldn't look good in my bathing suit. She is hooking to feed her parents, and I'm worried about my weight. I hate the world.

And I'm angry with myself because I gave her money, but I think I could have given her more. I'm angry thant when trying to figure out how much to give her I thought about how much I needed for the rest of my vacation. My fucking VACATION!

I've been praying so hard -- that one word prayer that I'm left with in times like these - "Please!". And when I can't do that anymore I find myself just cursing. I'm sobbing my eyes out in a ferry terminal as I write this. I hate the world. It just hurts.

I need to stop writing this so that I can compose myself. It's almost morning, we've been here for 4 hours and I think my friends will be waking up soon.

We all gave her our email addresses, and are hoping that we can keep in contact. S. has relatives here and so we will try and get them to help her out. It seems kind of futile, because she is just one person, but it has broken my heart. I keep finding myself on the verge of tears whenever it comes to mind. I can help her maybe. There were dozens of girls there, though. And I'm sure there are many more just on that one island that I didn't see.

Anyway, I thought I would share this. I have never felt such a pull before. A pull to do something... to help in some way. I give to charity, and I put money in those little change boxes by the cash register, but this is a person I now know. It's different. This is going to sound strange, and I don't know how to express it properly, but oh how God's heart must break. I knew her for 36 hours, and I am crying. He knows us all so intimately, and He sees people backed into situations like this poor girl. She was working as a house cleaner, and then her father got sick and couldn't work anymore... so this is what she has been forced to do.

I'll say one completely selfish thing... this certainly puts my life and my issues in perspective.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.