eastwind journals, June 18, 2021

By Bernie V. Lopez,

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Leila was the caregiver of Jason, a wheel-chaired old man. He was the crankiest man on the face of the Earth, at least, in the eyes of Leila, who was beginning to get a nervous breakdown.

He would curse and scream at her at the slightest mistake, watching her every move. She was an emotional outlet for him. He poured his misery on her and made her equally miserable. He believed sharing his pain would relieve his pain, but it just made it worse. He had a bizarre pleasure in pouncing on her. It was his only amusement in his boring life of constant state of deep depression.

Leila nursed Jason three hours a day, every day, feeding him, changing his diapers, enduring the smell of urine. But it was the curses and screams which she could not take. By the end of the day, Leila was a total wreck, her hands trembling as she went home. She spent sleepless night staring at the ceiling in silent tears. She could no longer stand it. She wanted to resign but could not afford to lose this precious job. So she went to a Fr. Ben for advice.

Fr. Ben’s advice was simple, “No one can hurt you without your consent.” Leila went home dejected, not understanding the advice. The words rang and echoed in her mind. She was thinking hard in bed the whole night. Then it hit her like a thunderbolt. She stood up from bed and wept violently, saying aloud, “Yes, of course, no one can hurt me without my consent. The key to happiness is in my hands. Hurt and happiness are a matter of will power. No matter who much Jason screams, it’s up to me to be affected or not.”

The next day, she was met by screams and curses from Jason. She simply smiled. This got Jason’s goat. He screamed harder. She smiled harder and remained completely calm. The realization that he could no longer hurt her and that he had no more power over her, made Jason more depressed. It was his turn to get hurt and have sleepless nights, while Leila slept peacefully. The magic of a simple smile healed Leila totally and instantly.

Leila had kind gentle words every day, unmoved by curses. At first, Jason was silent, not knowing how to react. After days of turmoil and confusion, finally, he said the magic words that would also heal him instantly and totally, “I’m sorry.” If a smile healed Leila (forgiveness), an apology (humility) healed Jason.

He returned Leila’s smile with a bigger smile. The war was over. Peace reigned. Eventually, Leila and Jason became the best of friends. Leila gradually realized nursing care is not just a job but a way to love others. Jason realized Leila was not just a nurse but a dear friend. The secret to happiness is love and humility. They both looked forward to her visit.

They spent many pleasant sunset dinners together. Leila would cook sea-food linguini and Jason would grill T-bone in the backyard garden. They would then talk feverishly of their past lives over a bottle of red wine.

JASON – When I was a Math professor at the university, I never got close to students. For me, they were just listeners to my cold dry math lessons. When I saw them flock around another professor and laugh, I was envious. I wish I were teaching something more human, like philosophy.

LEILA – So let’s compare pains. I was an unwed mother. My daughter died of pneumonia at the age of 7. I have been living alone since then.

JASON – Ooops. Let’s change the subject. Let’s compare our joys instead of our pains.

Their talks, their sharing of joys of pain, were a form of spiritual healing. Jason’s constant deep depression for ten years vanished in the blink of an eye.

JASON – You know Leila. I have realized that forgiveness which heals and anger which consumes are both contagious. And an insult is a double-edged sword. One blade faces your ‘enemy’, the other faces you.

LEILA – Yes, Jason. And the secret to happiness is up to us, not up to the cruel world around us. We are immune to pain by sheer will power.

JASON – Yes. Jesus said if someone throws a stone at you, throw back bread. At first, I thought it was ridiculous, but now I understand his magic formula to the secret to happiness. Not really secret to us now.

READ MORE INSPIRATIONAL ARTICLES AT — or click “HOME” at top right of page.

By Bernie V. Lopez,

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Blogger – ex-Columnist (Inquirer) – Healing Ministry – ex-Professor (Ateneo U) – Documentary Producer-Director (freelance, ex-ABS-CBN) – ex-Broadcaster (Radio Veritas) – Facebook “Bernie V. Lopez Eastwind” / Pages “Eastwind Journeys and Journals” and “Mary Queen of Peace”.


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