About two years ago, a month before my birthday I went for a 2 day trip in Cagayan de Oro City. I stayed in a posh hotel & enjoyed my “me time”. Even if my body is enjoying, I have this strange feeling inside that something is lacking. I honestly thought that my being single for almost 4 years was causing my heart to yearn. We all feel it randomly, right? Especially during rare times when you really got to sit and chat with your inner self and it was very timely that friends introduced me to some single people as they hope I’d date one of them. I did have an evening with someone smart and special encounters but I easily quite figured out that it wasn’t what I wanted. In fact, I didn’t need a relationship at all.
After splurging & touring around CDO I decided to cut my short vacation. I headed home for a 6 hour trip from CDO. My usual eureka moment happens in a bus so I decided to take a bus going home. I was lucky because the bus wasn’t filled with passengers and now I could not only have a restful trip but a moment of moving reflection as well.
I sat down while the bus slowly starts to move & as I look at the view in my window, I found myself beginning to pray. I heard myself thanking God for blessing me with many temporal things & career achievements. My prayer goes on and on while watching the passing view outside as if looking to a moving picture of my past. It was both a humbling & solemn moment for the soul.
After 2 hours, we stopped by a bus terminal of some alien place. I ate some cookies I bought & once again look outside the window. My attention was suddenly caught by two young little children, a boy and a girl sitting in the corner of the unpaved road. I can say that the boy is older than the girl, must be her younger sister.
If you don’t like dirty looking children then they’re not the most encouraging sight to see because they do not only have old, rugged filthy clothes but dusty hair & dark scaly skin as well. Being a person who pampers my skin well, I can say that those were skin that might have not been touched by soaps for years. The little girl was relentlessly crying and what his brother did touch me profoundly inside. Her brother went closer to her sister & slowly rubbed her sisters back trying to comfort her & asking her to settle down. It was a very human scenario right there in front of me as if a scene in a film played within the four corners of the bus window. I am used to seeing siblings rubbing each other’s back to show comfort but that scene just registered to me prodigiously different. I am also a brother of my two beautiful sisters and I surely would do the same thing to them.
I suddenly recalled that I still have about Php800 of cash left in my pocket that I won’t probably need anymore since I would be home in the next 4 hours. My spirit compelled me to give them Php500. If I only have time I could have probably bought slippers for them as they were just barefooted. I turned to the window again, and this time I saw a not so old man wearing old clothes, with a backpack made from an old overused sack of rice on his back & a bolo on his side. I knew that he is the father of these little children. On his left shoulder he hangs a sack filled with vegetables. I understood that the man could be a farmer in the uplands & went to the market to sell his harvest. I am just not sure if that’s all the vegetables left for the day or if he hadn’t sold anything yet. I continued observing them and then the father slipped his hands inside his right pocket and handed over a 1 peso coin to the little girl leaning towards her and asking her to stop crying.
I was moved and for just a short while I began asking myself, how could I be so calloused all these time. I spent left & right, ate in an expensive restaurant, left without even finishing my meal and yet I missed the opportunity of giving back. Something I used to do when I still have less and now that I am more than capable, I have already forgotten to share. My mind was in a battle in the next seconds in deciding if I’ll go down and hand over the money but I also got a lot of “what ifs” in my mind. One of my crazy “what ifs” are what if the man will be offended and strike me with his bolo, what if I will need the money in the next few hours of the trip. When I have finally decided to give it, the bus slowly starts to move. Honestly, I could still ask the driver to stop for a while but another what ifs starts to play in my mind; what if my offer of help will be rejected and the passengers in the bus will see me. I did nothing after this what ifs, until the bus finally accelerated far away from that old father and his two little children.
In the bus, I told myself that I have missed that opportunity. And a very deep loneliness covered me without me noticing that I was already teary-eyed. I wasn’t sure if that was due to me not giving anything what I was asked to give or that overwhelming feeling of humility. In prayer, I told the Lord; “God I missed you so much. I ask you that whatever next blessing I am supposed to receive from you, you’ll give it to those little children.” – my self-sacrifice for them.
I don’t know if that was very smart of me to have a kind of deal with God in such a way but I did it anyway.
I reached home without using my spare cash that a while ago I was thinking to give. After 2 weeks since that one fateful day, the whole family received big good news from my uncle. A property that we wanted to sell got a buyer. The property was appraised at a very large value amounting to 7 figures. Everyone was very happy, in fact my mom came up with a plan how we could better use the money for business. I was also told that I am going to have substantial share which I decided to use to infuse more capital in my own business. The entire family packed to leave for Manila as the proper papers and payouts will be done there. Everyone was in a festive mood. Everything just seems to be perfect.
One morning, I woke up because a visitor came by. I was smiling meeting this visitor and told myself if I could only share to her my news today, I would love to. I looked at my mom but I could no longer see that distinct happiness in her eyes, although physically she was smiling at me. I knew that something was going wrong. I could not concentrate talking with my visitor as I was thinking about my mom’s peculiar reaction that morning. So when my visitor left, I ran through the stairs as fast as I could to the second floor. I saw my mom in one of the couches anxiously asking me to sit down. Without much ado, my mom broke to me heartbreaking news. My uncle lied to us. My world seems like crumbling left and right. I got this tunnel vision and before I may eventually pass out I snapped myself back in and told myself to settle down as I don’t want to let my mom see how devastated I was. I know she was also going through a difficult undertaking so no matter how hard I want to shout, it just couldn’t do it (at least not in front of my mom).
After consoling each other, I went back to my room and knelled down to pray. The first thing I asked God was, “Why God why?” “How could you let this happen to us?” “How could you give us hope and left us hanging after?” My questions seem endless until after pouring out my emotions to God, I remembered my pledge in the bus. I asked God that time to give my next big blessing to these children since I did not give my Php500 when I was asked to give it away. I then told God, if this is the reason why my big blessing did not push through, then I hope you’ll help my family heal from this daunting test. I asked forgiveness too that my family got involved in this.
Last year about the same month, I went back to CDO again; I was really hoping to see those kids again and this time I will do what I was not able to do. I said that if I would just see them again, I will definitely recognize them. But I never saw not even a shadow of them.
However, I don’t know if was a coincidence but I was sitting in the bus terminal waiting for the next trip an old man sat beside me. A few minutes later an old man about 72 years old sat beside me. I talked to him and found out that he hadn’t eaten yet so I offered him a warm coffee & bread. He was very thankful and he shared to me some of his life’s experiences as if telling me that God has a wonderful plan for me. In about a few minutes, an old lady without denture, wrinkled skin and old brown dress passed by and smiled to me sweetly. It was smile like this lady got no problem at all. Though a bit shy to be rejected, I asked her to join us and offered her the same courtesy I gave to the old man. I noticed waiting passengers in that busy place was transfixed to the three of us. We talked for a few minutes and suddenly the old lady said thank you & when I turned back she was no longer there. I just can’t find her anywhere so I just decided not to mind it. After a few minutes I told the old man that my bus is about to leave I said goodbye. Going to the bus, I realized I have not even asked for his name so I turned back to asked even his first name. And again, the old guy was nowhere to be found.
Now that I am already sitting in the moving bus, I told God how good He is. I comprehended that in my pursuit to find the little boy and girl a year ago in my previous trip, God gave me 2 old people instead. This time, I got a chance not only to offer them kindness but to talk to them as well.
Still in the bus, I got this reflection:
- If you would ever have a deal with God, be sure of it and take it seriously because God will also take your offers and sacrifices seriously.
- Do not forget to be human. And being human also means to have the ability to give back and share. If you don’t do that, do not wonder if your life will be lonely because we are all called to share.
- We do not own anything that we have right now, we are only stewards of the bounty of God. Allow yourself to become a channel of His blessings to other people.
- If you were asked to share, shut off all the “what ifs”. If God would ask you to do something, He will empower you to do it too.
- Be kind to everyone you meet.
- You can talk to God anywhere, even in a moving bus.
- If you ever did make a genuine sacrifice to anyone, take heart because God will reward you in secret.
- We may not know, but the stranger we met might be an Angel. Be a good host of Angels. (Hebrew 13:2)
- Let good use you anytime as a vessel of grace for other people.
- God is a Rewarder. Any good deeds you do, comes back to you as a reward.