Whenever you feel exhausted, you look back and think why you're doing things in that manner. Giving all your time, hard work, passion, energy-- you stop and think why put in all these effort. For what cause? For what purpose? For whose benefit do I do this for?
Then there are the opportunists. People who try to have their whole lives and family depend on you (and other political offices for this case in my thoughts.) I had a message sent to my office email loop several weeks ago, ranting about a family who for our concern in this office, have depended the education and every trying sustenance of their family in our office and still want to exhaust us dry. Not that we have extended a six figure amount to this family, but a four figure value for education have been extended and there are others that we have to extend our hand to also. If advocacy will be our basis, I cannot even say that the course of the child is within our advocacy even. Hotel and Restaurant Management is not up our ante. AGHAM is Filipino for Science, but still we extended our hands because we didnt want a child to stop education especially when its her senior year in school.
Then there are those whose little gestures warm your heart so much.
One of our scholars for this Second Semester went back to our office and shared with us a couple of books as a thank you gesture for including her in our educational assistance program. She and her father thanked us a lot and wished us God's blessings in our everyday lives.
Requests are common in our office and we try to extend to some of them. A High School student whose mother sent us a request letter for her daughter's participation in an international competition. I took the letter and kept it with me for two weeks until after the Christmas holiday I took it out again and told the mother that she can pick up her request after the New Years. It has been a week and the holiday course got to me and made me forget a bit that I asked her to come by when office resumed. So when she came by I just took out a couple of what was left in the office budget and handed it over to the mom. It wasn't much, just a four figure amount that turns to two figures when you convert it to US dollars.
Three weeks ago, my office mate sent an email for a draft resolution commending students who won an international competition. We'd like to appreciate the representation that they did and the performance that they showed in the competition. Then I encountered one of the top medalists names. My short term memory forgot the first name of the child we helped but I said the last name sounded familiar. To make matters a little off, there was another child in the winners list who had a similar last name.
Yesterday the student dropped by. I never met the kid since it was her mother who went to our office before. She handed me a letter for my boss. After she left I opened the envelope and browsed through the letter. There I knew that she was the student we extended help to, and there I knew that she will be one of the recipients of the commendation we drafted.
In the letter she thanked my boss for extending help when they needed it most. It was a great experience to join a math competition and was extra sweet that she together with other students won the competition. As I read more of it, I cant help but feel warmed by this. The little things that you do for others can contribute greatly to some people.
As I think about her and all the other kids who we've helped, and all the other people we've extended our time, effort, thoughts, money and support to, I cannot help but appreciate the job I go to everyday. I entered government service for the love/ appreciation of politics (as seen in my educational background) but once youre in it, you realize that there are deeper reasons to it. PUBLIC SERVICE... you appreciate it and it also can make you frustrated. The softy in me has that tendency to want to continue extending her hand to everyone who deserves it and feel the frustration when they start crying or getting mad at you because you cannot extend anymore. Because your well of opportunity only holds as much as it can handle at a given time. But this is where you get to toughen up also, discerning may be the better word for it, because there are people who take the opportunity to dry the well and still forget that they should be thankful for the little or big things that you've done for them.
I hope there is balance in life, truly, but when the opportunists of this world of public service tries to frustrate me, I will try to think of the ones whose lives we've touched and think of their little gestures that have made a big impact in my life, in our lives, and in how we continue to do this service.
We must've done something right to deserve the movers in our lives and in our hearts.