2005/04/08

Gratitude to a Classmate and Friend

God works in wondrous ways.

I remember one dark and gloomy morning sometime in January of 2000 when I attended the 7:15 morning mass at the St Joseph Cathedral. After the mass, I spent some quiet moments at the Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Excruciating problems brought me there. I was on my knees, literally begging. I had no job and I needed to support my family of six children and a wife.

Just when I thought God must have entertained my pleadings, I rose and headed for home. I stood outside the Cathedral, waiting for a tricycle. I counted the change in my pocket and impulsively spared one peso for a stick of Marlboro. I was hoping the burden inside me would drift like smoke. I crossed the street and found a vendor at the Plaza Rizal, right in front of the seat of the Provincial Government.

At about the same time, the provincial capitol employees were having their weekly flag raising ceremony and their Monday program. Just as I lit the cigarette to scorch my lungs, the program closed and the participants dispersed. The last man standing was somebody who probably talked last and whom nobody wanted to listen to--The Governor, Hon Rene, a classmate in high school.

Rene saw me and gestured that I come near him. I obliged, meekly. This was no BABOGA, I thought. I was no longer the recognized leader that I used to be. Rene was the Honorable Governor of my Province of Bohol, and I was the lowly subject.

I hesitated, naturally, since a phalanx of the burly, belligerent-looking bodyguards surrounded him. I groped for the old brand of fire within me but failed to find it. I found myself confronting the highest ruler in the province. And I stooped.

Rene was straightforward. He asked me bluntly: “Naa kay trabaho, Jujax?

Oh what a question! I was almost tempted to ask him if he had just conversed with God.

I replied almost inaudibly, “Mao jud na ang ahong problema.”

With Godfather-like confidence, he dispatched me saying, “Go now to the Chief of the Human Resource Management and Development Office. Tell her I sent you to find a job according to your qualifications.”

That was more than four years ago. And I am still on the job Rene gave me. The job, lowly it may be, afforded me the wherewithal in providing food on the table.

There were other good things that Rene extended to me. But the job offer was something special. For it showed how instantaneously God answered my prayer on that gloomy day of January. And Rene was His chosen instrument. (jun)