I don't know why all of a sudden I thought of Mang Caranto. His face was very vivid to me, his frail frame bent as he pushed his cart made of old discarded pieces of wood with wheels made also of wood held together with strips from old rubber tires nailed around them. Mang Caranto was a familiar figure around our neighborhood in Marikina Heights in the 1990s. He collected empty bottles and soda cans and pieces of metal to sell at a junk shop. He also collected old newspapers, which younger junk collectors pay for, but the households just gave them to him for free, knowing that he could sell them to the junk shop, as a way of helping him and his family. We met Mang Caranto at a low point in our life when we lost much of what we had worked for. We considered we were fortunate to have met him. We saw in him a person who bore his hard situation with patience and manifest acquiescence to the will of God. He barely spoke but conversed with us politely when we talked to him. We had a lot of respect for him. We knew he was a good person with a simple heart because he never uttered a word of complaint about his dire straits, nor could he take advantage of or hurt anyone. He was always appreciative of the small things we did for him like when we shared food and gave him small jobs so he could earn more money. When Mang Caranto died, we went to his little house, more like a shack, to pay our respects and give a little "abuloy" (donation) for his burial and a small help for his family. He lay in state under a tent made of an old blanket in a simple wooden coffin made by a carpenter neighbor. There were many neighborhood people gathered praying for him and providing comfort to his family. I knew that Mang Caranto had finally received his eternal reward, where there is peace and joy, where the Father has wiped away tears from his eyes. (Rev 21:4) For us, life goes on. Remembering Mang Caranto, I know I have no reason to complain nor fret about what I don't have. Nor should I desire what will not help me attain what I am meant to be and what I desire to be forever. There are things in life that are not what they appear to be. Mang Caranto did not have much in life. But I know that he had a good heart . . . for others and for God. I believe that is all that matters. That is all that really matters.
That alone is enough for me. #