Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Day with Mr. Stephen / Laundry Lessons

Today I had my first real work, which really isn't work: reception. Answering calls, entertaining visitors, etc. Quite boring. But I spent the day talking to an interesting person, Mr. Stephen. He's blind, and he answers the calls, pages announcements, and connects callers. I hate answering calls even at my real job. It just opens you to different kind of people -- including rude, hurrying, and demanding ones. But he was just so patient. He keeps the same tone of voice, "Good Morning, Saint Nicholas Home", which interrupts our conversation often.

We had a lot of things to talk about -- almost everything under the sun -- mostly about the Philippines and Malaysia. The food, the games, the animals, the language. It was really fun. The same goes with other blind people in the home. To be honest, I am tempted to be really careful with them. Like I don't want to ask them how long they've been here, when they became blind, what's their (psh) favorite TV show/color/sights in Malaysia, etc. I mostly stuck to music and food. Also, I have to control my little pity party. It's really hard seeing them walking without seeing anything. It reminds me of the novel I read "Blindness" by Jose Saramago (one of the coolest ones, about a contagious blindness and quarantining them in one building!). But I am trying to change my perspective -- they are not helpless people, but they actually can do many things despite their disability. It was really fun talking to them and I would love to talk more!

Then, my roommate had an explosion. Amanda is a really nice girl, but things easily set her back. Today it was the laundry because she badly needed to wash her clothes, but office hours end at 5pm (coinciding with our end of work) so she wasn't able to do it. And she was so upset she cried to the laundry lady, so that the lady had to open the laundry room. Then at the laundry room, she was still so upset that when the detergent packaging broke and fell to the floor, she threw it in the air and walked out (almost getting detergent on my hair, no). Honestly, I did not pity her at all. Even when she was crying, I couldn't bring myself to comfort her.

A few minutes after that, I called her to have dinner, and it was a struggle choosing to talk to her. I was ignoring her for a while. Until we came upstairs and I told her everything. "Amanda, I think you really have to apologize to Mme. Salachi and Natasha. They were just doing their jobs and yet the adjusted for you and cleaned up after you. You really have to adjust even if things don't go your way. If somebody asked you to stay beyond 5PM for their own sake, how would you feel? If you had to clean up someone else's mess, how would you feel?" And it was a bit of a battle. She was crying, angry, and telling me that maybe I think she's a bad person. But in the end, I was able to persuade her to apologize. She went out the room and looked for the women she might've offended. Great!

And we talked a bit more. It was hard seeing her cry, and she confided that she really feels like everything's a mess, she don't wanna be here, and she's insecure. I told her to go back to the Bible. To pray and seek God. And I meant it. You are only insecure because you are trying to do it yourself and you're not trusting God's sovereignty over circumstance. I urged her to pour it out to God in prayer and reading, and offered that I play worship songs after we go out to buy chocolates (her comfort food) and so we did.

It's amazing. I haven't been so outspoken before hahaha. I'm so glad that God is really sustaining me in my stay here. I mean, I could have been easily discouraged by a crying roommate or working with the blind but I find my encouragement here. Most of the time, it doesn't feel like that really. Going here isn't all fancy-fancy. But there is meaning to it. I hope I make a difference even to the few people I will meet for a short while.

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