Disturbing the Peace

You know the cliché “things happen for a reason”? Call it incidental. Or random. Or whatever. But they do. They really do.

Some of you may have known, through Facebook or kwento, how excited I was with my new work. I even told some of my friends that it’s like a dream job that came knocking on my door. Yes, I am only one and a half-month old here but what’s not to like? It’s Advocacy work for education. It really felt as though my 31 years was a big preparation for this one.

But then there’s this guy.

Prior to my meeting with him, however, there seemed two far out, unrelated things that I never suspected.

The first was a former colleague’s chat status that had been there forever. It’s the first stanza of a prayer by a certain Sir Francis Drake:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

I see it whenever she’s online but I just often ignore it. I doubted the prayer. I am pleased with my job. No need for disturbance of some sort.

The second was getting hooked to a morning radio show over at 99.5 RT. It has been my constant companion since I started this long commute to my new workplace. It was only a recent find and it took my attention away from The Morning Rush on RX 93.1. I think it’s the quality of the conversation and lesser commercial load that keep me tuned in. Anyway, I initially thought that it’s called The Sam and Gibb Show but Google search revealed to me one day that the program is actually entitled, “Disturbing the Peace.” I have no idea what they meant by it but disturb my peace it did for I was an avid follower of Chico and Delamar until I came across it.

Two separate events through Wednesday morning when along came this guy.

He wanted our office to help him in his advocacy for the coconut farmers involved in the coconut levy fund issue. So, after a few email and text exchanges we agreed to meet over lunch, Wednesday. The short story of it was that my peace was disturbed after the meeting. The long story involved some kind of introspection.

A 31-year old lawyer working at the Presidential Commission on Good Governance. He was incensed by the Supreme Court’s questionable decision on one aspect of the coco levy funds thus he took it as a personal mission to help the coconut farmers. He was hoping to connect with us because he believes that the public should be engaged in this discussion and that schools are where this should be happening.

The disturbance came when during the course of our conversation, I gradually found this guy admirable. He was humble, sincere, and passionate with what he’s doing. And never missing in his words was his profound relationship with God. In his email to our President he said, “I have taken this challenge as a personal advocacy; that it happens to align with (even if its no longer within the scope of) my work, I attribute to Divine Providence, more than anything else.

It is not about me,” he told me. This work is about the poor farmers who have been fighting for their rights for four decades now. The task was just to help them get there, much like Moses who was just contented to see the Promised Land but was not destined to enter it.

We agreed on a somewhat general plan of action before we parted.

When I got back to the office, I had with me some degree of unease. I felt lacking. The feeling of contentment was challenged.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that the first two stories had meaning. Maybe that’s what this whole disturbing the peace is about. Maybe it was a message that the universe was trying to put across–that I should dream bigger and aim higher. I need to be something more. I need to do something more. And more importantly, I should be praying more deeply and profoundly so as not to easily get jaded by routinary everyday rituals.

I think this applies to everyone as well. It’s a creative, healthy tension that we can all entertain… to make ourselves better and the society, too.

Things really happen for a reason and I’m glad that this has happened to me at this point. The prayer after all is wise and the program nice.


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