I turn to Candy and say, “He won’t make it. He’ll be late.”
It was 5:30pm, and Fr. Michael was scheduled to handle the 6PM mass over in St. Paul the Apostle along Mother Ignacia. We were over in St. Bridget’s where Fr. Michael had just said mass for the first death anniversary of a family friend of Candy’s.
Normally, I’d say the trip was barely doable in the time required. But it was 530pm on a Saturday, and it had been pouring for almost an hour. Ask any Metro Manila traffic veteran and he will tell you that it couldn’t be done. The trip would take at least 40 minutes with lots of luck involved.
He comes over, and asks if I can get a cab for him. And of course I tell him that we will just drive him over. Fr. Michael has been a good friend of the Inciongs for some time now and so there is no question that we should forego merienda if the kind Father needs our help.
Father Michael is Indian and so we really have this conversation in English.
Me: ”Father, I don’t think we can make it there by 6pm”
FM: ”Don’t worry, I will show you the way.”
Now, when a priest tells you that he “will show you the way”, you just have to shut up.
It is dark out and it is still pouring. It seems more like 8pm than 530pm. He asks me to take a route that I’ve just recently learned via Waze and I know that at some point we will have to pass the market, where passenger jeepneys would likely be clogging the street, but again, when a man of God wants to show me the way, I let him.
And the jeepneys are there as I thought they would be. We are stuck for about 10 mins and I can see the Father glancing too frequently at his watch. It is less than 15 minutes to 6.
We soon hit Anonas and he asks me to take a left through one of the “K-” streets. Those “K-” streets can be pretty tight, almost just big enough for a lane going and a lane coming. It’s in a residential area and since it’s a weekend, parked cars on either side make it practically a single lane road. We are soon at a crawl again, and I spy a “someDriving Institute” car ahead of us. And I’m amused as I catch Fr. Michael muttering something like, “Student Drivers should get off the road”. Then the leftmost lane is suddenly clear of parked cars for a bit, and I instinctively overtake, making it by probably less than a foot. I hope I did not scare the student driver too much.
The road ahead is clear, except for the pouring rain, and I floor it, remembering to ease off at the intersections. No real close calls. As soon as we cross EDSA he asks me to turn into Scout Rallos. Scout Rallos’ entrance is just big enough for one car. Should a dog decide to take a dump in the middle of the street, then I will have to think about running the poor thing down. But there are no crapping dogs. The road widens a bit ahead, but cars are parked left and right and I dread having to play chicken with any car coming our way. The dashboard clock says 5:54.
I soon realize we will have to cross Scout Tobias, a street I had been avoiding for many weeks now because of ongoing road work. I tell Father Michael that I don’t think we can cross Tobias. He says I will just have to slow down and cross slowly. I nod and say, “OK”. Mentally though, I steel myself and prepare to hear my front spoiler scraping the asphalt.
We reach Tobias, and the road is now smoother than I thought and we make it across without any trouble. We soon stop and Father Michael is getting off and thanking me. We are at St. Paul’s the Apostle with 5 minutes to spare.
Why am I telling you this story?
For sometime now, I’ve had this habit of looking for meaning in seemingly random everyday events. I started doing this, I think, when Luth had gotten sick and I was struggling to find answers from everywhere. Call it self-indulgent if you will, but I think it helps more than it hampers and I’m just happy at some of the realizations I’ve gotten and maybe sharing them could make a little difference in someone’s life.
We sometimes have doubts and a darker outlook simply because things have not turned out the way we wanted. But keep your faith and trust in God, and He will take you where you need to be, with five minutes to spare. It sometimes feels like things are at a crawl, and one obstacle after another is placed before us, seemingly testing our resolve. In the end you realize that what makes everything really stressful are just all your fears and negative thoughts. But trusting God doesn’t mean that you throw out all care and everything works like magic. Over the years my driving skills have taught me to recognize when it is possible to risk a tight maneuver, and when one shouldn’t, and how I should take a turn so that I have room should there be an oncoming car. We are given the skills. Learn them well, apply them wisely, shut off the negativity, and God will take care of everything else.