Running in the Empty Space between San Pedro and Binan Laguna (beside Colegio San Agustin and very near to Splash Island) for 3 years now is one of my favorite routes. Every time I do have hectic schedules, this is the place where I usually do my short runs to make my day complete. Since I’m a regular runner in this place, almost all of the faces are familiar to me. Here, you can see many joggers, bikers, walkers and real runners as early as 4am until 9am.
There is this guy, a regular mainstay of that place that I need to acknowledge in this blog. Allow me to hide his name to protect his identity. Let me call him Mang Tony. Well, Mang Tony is not the type of guy you would aspire to become as a running buddy. He is not a runner or a jogger. He just walks every morning. But everyday, he is always present, wearing a t-shirt, a maong pants, an old rubber shoes and a vintage cellular phone attached on his waistline which I don’t think is properly working. He stands 5 feet and 4 inches tall, maybe around 60-65 years old, with graying hair, very thin and with a frail and slouching body.
Since I normally run alone in that particular place, it’s my common practice to greet every one particularly Mang Tony. I don’t know why he’s special to me, maybe because I admire him for his consistency.
One time, I saw him so I decided to stop and walked with him. I greeted him first and told him to run with me, but he just said that he will just walk because he can no longer run the way I’m doing. We conversed for a while and he told me some of his life stories. I listened intently without saying a word and when he’s done talking, I encouraged him to continue his quest and journey in ‘walking.’ And if ever he will be needing my assistance, I instructed him to just look for me in Empty Space and even invited him for a cup of coffee in a nearby convenience store. He declined but said something like this, “You know Ronnie, I’ve been to this place for more than 2 years now, but no one dared to talk to me like that. All of them were avoiding me maybe because of my situation now. Those joggers, runners and walkers-whenever they were talking among themselves after their practices and I tried to bath in, it seems all of them were ignoring me. I felt like I’m worthless and useless…until you came!” (Glory to God!)
Now, I’m not sharing this to boast something but I pity those people who are in the same scenario like that of Mang Tonys’. As a human being created after God’s own image, we must not show any partiality or favoritism among our peers. Not because someone is poor, with physical defects or whatever, we will not treat him reasonably. Everybody deserves fair treatment regardless of sex, age, race, nationality and status in life.
Jesus said that if you have feasting in your house, you must invite those poor, needy, and hungry right there in your home so that God will reward you later on. The problem is, it’s awkward and it seems only few have the guts to do it.
I admire my friend who is doing something extra-ordinary! Every payday, he normally invites a beggar to dine with him in a fast food chain, usually a child or an old man or woman. For him, it’s an act of thanksgiving for all his blessings particularly his payroll. And when his birthday comes, he goes to a charitable institution, donating 10% of his annual net pay to those less fortunate children.
There are so many “Mang Tonys” in the world today. We see them in our churches, Empty spaces, at work, and in our neighborhoods- people who are mostly alone. I believe they’re among the people with whom Jesus was identifying in Matthew 25- “I was hungry…I was thirsty…I was a stranger…I was naked…I was sick…I was isolated…I was in prison…I have no friends…”
You reach out to them in the same way Jesus said: “You gave me something to eat…you gave me drink…you invited me in…you clothed me…you visited me…you listened to me…you came to me…you made me your friend…
You can touch the lives of others with a simple act of walking with him and listening to his stories.
And if you really pressed for ideas.. buy him something to eat in a fastfood chain. I know he’d like it-and you’d really like him.
Remember, Mang Tony needs you!
God be Praised
RUNNING TIPS: To help prevent a hamstring injury-one of the most common and frustrating ailments known to runners-strap light weights to your ankles, lie on your belly and bring your heel toward your butt. Do three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions, three to five times a week.
EXPOSING THE WORKS OF DARKNESS: The ancient considered the world as a living being. The sun and moon being its two eyes, the earth its body, the ether its intellect, and the sky its wings. When man was looked on as the world in miniature, it was thought that the movements of the world and of man correspond, and if one could be ascertained, the other could be easily inferred. Hence arose the system of astrology, which professed to interpret the event’s of a man’s life by the corresponding movements, etc..of the stars.