This is me- and I count.
Count: to determine the total number of a collection of items.
All my life I have been counting like a pettifogger- counting my grades, the number of friends I have, the occasional calories I consume, the not so occasional hours I spend on a treadmill, and to be honest, the time I spent composing this post. With all of the wrong numbers I count day-in and day-out, I realized that I forget to count the right numbers- the things that matter most.
The weekend I spent away from numbers was the weekend I learned how to count. This is the weekend I call my Days with the Lord. With no time to check, no money to spend, and barely any hours to sleep, I saw myself in a whole new light- in the light of Christ. Growing up in a Catholic household and equally devout school, I memorized Jesus’s life like the back of my hand, but it was not until that weekend that I finally got to know Him. I met Him in the stories of the speakers, who one by one bravely shared the most intimate details of their lives to 41 complete strangers. I met Him as we went through the Way of the Cross- realizing that even without a hammer in hand; I continue to crucify Him through my thoughts and in my words. I met Him as I opened up to Him- with no more secrets, fears nor worries, and as I met Him, I started to see myself. I started to see how undeserving I am of His love- hundreds of people who were more talented, smart, or important but He chose to choose me. He chose to bless me with a happy family, good health and so much more things in life than I could possibly need. This is how I learned how to count. I spend hours everyday worrying about the numbers that make up my report card, add up to my savings account and make me feel more beautiful that I forget about the numbers that I am made of. I forget about the number of people that love me, the countless number of blessings I receive every single day, but most of all, I forget about Him. My Days with the Lord experience may be long over, but I know that my weekend with Him has only just begun, a few years have come and gone and still, I continue to count.
Count: to take into account; include.
In the count-off of leaders and trailblazers, I was always at the back of the line- not thinking that it was my responsibility to be of service to others. For years, I armed myself with a self-made armor that let me shy away from every opportunity that came my way, thinking that taking the back seat is the only way I could help. I then realized that letting fear take first gear only makes the world one indispensable person less. I refused to be that person and finally realized that it was time to stop counting myself out and time to count me in.
School organizations was how I decided counted myself in. In high school, I became a part of an organization. As a student-led organization that aims to bridge the gap between my high school community and our less fortunate brothers and sisters, I was given countless of experiences and opportunities that for 4 years, have been igniting my passion and purpose to serve. More than anything, the school organizations have given me a source of inspiration: the people. John Lucas, a regular 8 year old with a not-so regular difficulty in math, was one of the first people I met and one of the first people who inspired me. I was his tutor that day. Assigned to teach him how to divide fractions, we spent 2 hours buried in math exercises until he finally learned how to do it. We both learned something that day and while for him, it was a lesson on how to divide fractions; for me, it was a lesson on life. I saw in John Lucas’ eyes the desperation to learn. I saw in him a kind of hope and pain that I never thought an 8 year old could have. While John Lucas taught me lessons on life, Ate Ramona, a resident of Tuberias whose entire life is stored within the four walls of her tiny home, taught me a lesson on simplicity. I spent that Saturday morning in the home of Ate Ramona- doing her laundry, cooking lunch and eating a meal with her family. It was then that I really got to see the difference of the two faces of the coin, that I finally understood the injustices and imbalances that are present in our society. John Lucas and Ate Ramona were just two of the many reasons why I decided to count myself in. I counted myself in because I wanted to count them out- out of poverty, out of hardships and out of the undeserving lives they lead. Since then, I have dedicated my life service and now, I take part in as many organizations and causes that help me to count myself in.
Count: be significant.
I am just one out of 7 billion people, just one out of 7 billion lawyers, doctors, millionaires, and teachers. I may not be anything special, I may be nothing of extraordinary but I am one of out 7 billion people. I am one out of 7 billion people, who are alive, capable and important. I am one out of the 7 billion people that count.
I learned the most important definition of myself during the death of my grandmother. Her untimely death taught me two things: the first is that no amount of white flowers nor free meals can ever make you feel better about losing one of the most important people in your life, and the other is that a single person can touch hundreds of lives- just like my lola did. To a person walking down the street, my lola was just another stranger; to her employees, she was the big boss; to her friends, she was the mahjong-queen; but to me, she was my lola. She touched different lives in different ways. This is how she counted. She counted in the ways she affected other people. She counted as a boss, a friend and a lola. Most of all, she counted as a person. I then realized that I count, and while to many, I may be just another face on the street; to others and to the ones I give the most genuine of service and attention to, I am a sister, a daughter or a friend. I count because of who I am and what I believe in. I count because I am me.
I count. I count the blessings I undeservingly receive every single day, the moments that make up my life, and the very numbers that I am made of. I count myself in on love and service, on counting others out of helplessness. Most of all, I count as a person- as a loving daughter, a caring sister and a loyal friend. This is me- and I count.