February 2, 2015

The Meaningful and Relevant Life

Lola Nena was an old woman. She lived with her son who luckily bought a house and lot in a subdivision of busy people. Mang Kanor, Lola Nena’s son was once a busy person who held a good and stable position in the company where he worked for almost all his life. Not long after he bought the house, he had a stroke and was forced to retire. Now, he was receiving a small pension which allowed him to live frugally. Compared, though, to other people’s, Mang Kanor’s life is better off.
Since Mang Kanor was the most comfortably set among the siblings, he was elected to take Lola Nena in. Though she ate only very little, Lola Nena was considered by Mang Kanor’s wife a burden. She was just an uneducated old woman who didn’t talk much and messed up with plants every single day of her life.
Yes, Lola Nena loves to plant. She usually wakes up before every one else does and plants into pots, cans, old plastic containers, old cooking pots and any thing that she thinks a plant could live in. She would cut old mineral water bottles, fill with earth, plant shoots and hang by a wire in the gate and fence.
A few years of living with Mang Kanor’s family, Lola Nena could no longer find a space to put her plants. So, she started to hang them in the neighbor’s fence. The neighbor didn’t mind, in fact, she, herself, likes to plant, but she has no time because she is busy with her work in the office.
Lola Nena didn’t know it but she was beginning to decorate her neighbor’s front yard with her various plants. On rainy season, Lola Nena would just watch as the rain pour down on her plants and with contentment written on her face, would take a nap on the terrace. On summer days, however, she would fill a bucket and patiently water every pot and every can of plant.
When the neighbor’s front yard was already filled with plants, Lola Nena moved on to the next neighbor, and to the next and to the next. After several years, Mang Kanor’s neighborhood was the prettiest, greenest, and coolest street in the subdivision, each house decorated with lush and thriving plants that Lola Nena grew with her bare and arthritic hands.
Then one day, Lola Nena didn’t wake up. She died in her sleep. She had a simple funeral and only few people attended it. For her daughter-in-law, Lola Nena was just an insignificant person who lived and died unnoticed.
But after several months, some people from a magazine arrived. They wanted to feature the Green Street in their magazine. They interviewed the people and took photographs of the beautiful plants and flowers. They felt sad when they learned that Lola Nena has died and that they didn’t get to know her. So, they just asked for a picture of the old woman who singlehandedly decorated and beautified the beautiful green street that was the cover of the next edition of their magazine.
Lola Nena may not have a high level of education, she may not have a lot of money, she may not have won trophies and medals for academic, sports, music or even arts competition but the neighborhood, green and cool and alive all throughout the season was the living proof of how meaningfully and relevantly Lola Nena had lived.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)

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