As I was taking my regular jeepney ride home one night, I thought of buying canned coffee for myself. I needed some caffeine boost to face a long night of school papers. So I got off my ride and walked towards a convenience store. There, I walked past a mother with a baby asking for alms. I felt a tug in my heart to help them, but before I could even react, a man walking before me stopped from his tracks. He fished some coins from his pocket, walked back a little to them, and handed the coins to the mother’s cupped hand.
I felt my chest go warm and I smiled. I just witnessed an act of kindness in an instant. But I felt quite sad that I didn’t get to do it before the man did. I wished I had some food with me, but God comforted me with this thought:
“Worry no more, young one. I already got someone to help them.”
I smiled and obeyed, but when I took a step further, I saw in my left side an old woman sitting at the last step of a footbridge. She’s staring blankly ahead, her right arm placed on her knee to extend her palm out, clearly begging for something but no one was taking notice of her.
I saw her, but I did not stop. I was only five steps away from the convenience store and I told myself that whatever food that I’d see first, I’d buy it for lola. Before I even entered the store, I already saw big siopaos being steamed inside the store’s food kiosk. Ah, there!
I walked up to the refrigerators first to grab my coffee before I headed to the siopao steamer. I was about to open it when a woman beside me politely asked, “Excuse me, pwedeng patulong?” (“Excuse me, but could you please help me?”) She was holding a pair of tongs in one hand and a bag of groceries on the other.
I smiled–another opportunity to help! “Sure!”
“Kakagawa ko lang kasi ng nails ko, hindi ako makakuha ng hotdog sandwich. Baka pwedeng patulong kumuha ng dalawa?” (“I just got my nails done so I can’t get the sandwiches. Can you please help me get two hot dog sandwiches?”)
The hot dog steamer was just beside the siopao steamer. So I responded, “Oh, sige po. Alin po dito?” (“Oh, of course. Which ones?”) as I took the tongs from her hand. Here, she asked a small girl beside her whom I didn’t notice to be there before. I didn’t get to look at the girl (since I was placing my coffee down first and readying a plastic for the first sandwich), but I heard her say “Kahit alin po.” (“Anything’s fine.”) The woman then pointed to me two jumbo hot dogs and I placed them on the buns. I handed the sandwiches to the lady and she held them carefully, trying not to let her nails touch them. I smiled and she thanked me for more than three times, I think.
I was glad.
Then I proceeded to get lola‘s siopao now. I placed it on a plastic and headed to the counter. In front of me in the queue was the woman and the girl with sandwiches. It was only then that I noticed that the child had some grease and dirt all over her face and shirt. She was quiet, but she looked intently on the sandwiches that the woman held. The woman spoke to her in a low voice, “Ilang taon ka na kasi?” (How old are you again?”) “Four,” the child replied. The woman just smiled at her and it was her turn to pay now. After she did, she handed the sandwiches to the girl and they walked out of the store together. I looked at them as I placed my items in the counter, and I saw the woman give the girl a pat on the head and off they went to different directions.
I smiled again. That’s the second person that I saw that night helping someone. And all of this happened within a span of ten minutes or even less!
I paid for my items, excited to deliver the hot siopao to lola. As the clerk handed me what I purchased, I got my coffee out of the plastic and placed it in my bag. And so I left the convenience store and walked back to lola. When I got close to her, she looked at me with her blank stare. I smiled at her, leaned over, and placed the siopao in her right hand with its palm facing up. She didn’t even look at it, but she slowly smiled at me. Then she looked at her hand slowly and used her other hand to feel what’s inside. She smiled some more. “Thank you, anak,” she said. (“Thank you, child.”)
I talked with her a bit, asking if she was alone and where she would head home. She answered me and explained that she was living at someone else’s place; not her own.
“Ah, naku uwi na po kayo. Medyo late na po.” (“Oh, then please go home now. It’s quite late already.”)
“Oo. Salamat dito.” (“Yes, I will. Thanks for this.”)
I smiled again and she answered it with a weak but sweet one. I felt glad. My heart felt joy… but I remembered the mother and child nearby again. My heart sank because I don’t have enough money to buy a sandwich or siopao for them too, and though I’ve already seen someone giving them help already, I couldn’t shake off my thoughts about them. My heart ached. So I got up and decided to take a peek at them before I leave.
To my surprise, I saw the girl with the hot dog sandwiches sitting beside the mother with the baby, enjoying a whole sandwich by herself while the mother was eating the other one.
My mouth literally hanged open for a few seconds. It took a few moments before everything clicked to me. And then I heard God whisper to me, “Didn’t I tell you to stop worrying about them? I’ve already got them covered.”
“But I was just…”
“I know, young one. But you know, I don’t expect you to help everyone. Just help the ones that I point out to you. I have provided you enough to help one, and you did.”
I was speechless.
“I have provided others to help the others. So stop worrying about everyone–that’s my job. Your job is to obey and to trust me. I’ve already planned your life and their lives. I care for all of you.”
And that is how God reminded me that night that HE IS IN CONTROL OF EVERYTHING and that HE IS MINDFUL OF EVERYONE. That He is sovereign and that nothing is unplanned for Him. That I am a mere tool for His glorious plans.
I didn’t get to help everyone that night, but God did.
And to my surprise, when I got home, I had a siopao waiting for me. Apparently, papa bought one for me that afternoon. I had no idea! It was God’s idea. When mama told me about my siopao, I felt in awe of how God never fails to bless me. Agad-agad! Iba ka talaga Lord!