Some people try to relate their talents, abilities and interests based on drawing a parallel between themselves and people of notoriety.   Being it Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Gandhi,  or Albeit Einstein but I found in a little hairy rodent (‘The Rat’) a great lesson to be learned.   As I sat in a well known coffee shop in a Metro Manila suburb having a business discussion with my colleagues we happened to notice this rat.  He sat in the corner minding no one and apparently not particularly disturbed with the activities that were taking place around in.  No one else seemed to pay him much mind either and I suspect he enjoyed this bit of solace to either a busy night of foraging for food or some other activity that is a part of a rat’s normal nightly routine.

Sir Rat, because a degree of respect should be given to all things big and small, was quite unassuming and non-aggressive.  I’m sure some of you are thinking about how they are a filthy and disease ridden scourge but his unassuming present gave little concern to us as we continued our discussion.   After some time he decided to venture out and see what the world about him had to offer.  At first he moved towards us, we made a fleeting bit of eye contact to which he returned to his corner.  Obviously discontent at the lack of scenery he started looking all about in a very purposely way.  Captivated at the movement from the coffee shop and the seeming unending flow of treats being taken by customers he decided to want a piece of the action.  He jumped from the floor, onto the chair and finally onto the table.  All the while he keep an eye on the happenings that were taking place inside the coffee shop.  To my amazement he decided that the temptation was too much and decided to take that leap of faith and make his entry into the shop.  Unfortunately for him he overlooked that there was glass between him and the inside world.  As he floated through the air with the grade of a flying squirrel he made full contact with the glass and plummeted to the ground.  A bit shaken as he tossed his head side to side to shake out the cobwebs he  came to the realization that what within your grasp is not always attainable by the most direct route.   As minutes passed, the security guard and maintenance personnel saw the rat and chased him to the other end of the mall.  Moments later he returned to the sanctuary of his corner.   Once again they chased him off but he didn’t flee with wild and reckless fear, he took his time and sauntered off at his own pace.

I found aside from the comedy of the whole episode a certain degree of admiration for the rat.   The rat was,

  • Unassuming,
  • Feared/loathed by most but based on stereotyping and not necessarily based on who he was,
  • Observant,
  • Willing to take risk,
  • Unfortunately overlooked barriers but at least he tried,
  • Knew when to leave and never gave up when it mean being at peace in his place of comfort, and
  • He worked on his terms regardless of who or what was trying to make him move in a particular direction or at a particular pace.

So while some of us try to relate and be like an person, often because of the acclaim or achievements, I found inner meaning from the Rat.  Thanks Mr. Rat (I am assuming the gender) for making my day yesterday…. you made me laugh,  you gave me inspiration to share your story and it gave me rise in looking for the inner virtues.