If Grace had a face

It was an ordinary day for DA, a seasoned driver with more a decade of driving experience under his (seat) belt. It was bumper to bumper traffic in Taft Avenue when he was jolted by a loud thud coming from the back of his car. A jeepney driver stepped on his brake too late, his bumper kissing the rear end of DA’s car.

A traffic enforcer quickly entered the scene and penciled in the report after listening to both sides of the story. After the uniformed man has left, DA extends the conversation with the jeepney driver. The mid-fortyish man tells DA that the vehicle isn’t his and he has not made the day’s boundary yet.

Though upset and inconvenienced, DA manages to ask another question, “Have you eaten already?” “No, I was supposed to go park somewhere and eat in a carinderia before the accident happened.”

“OK, how about we eat?,” DA offers.

And so the two, whose lives intersected in a busy thoroughfare, share a meal. Before they part ways, DA reaches for his wallet and pulls out a couple of bills—to pay for the lunch and to dole out to the jeepney driver so he can make the day’s boundary.

“I don’t want to go home anymore,” the teen confided to her friend.

She couldn’t face her parents whose anger would surely pulverize her to bits. Her finals week has just passed and she missed taking the exams. The money her parents gave her, which should’ve been handed to the cashier of the college, was given to a waiter instead. It shouldn’t have happened that way, though. A friend who owed her money failed to show up in the bar and she had no other means to pay for the food and booze she and her girlfriends consumed. Settle the bill or spend the rest of the night in jail? She had no choice but to part with her tuition money.

Wracked with guilt and remorse, she texts her sister: “Pls tel dad&mom sory. Used tuition money 4 sumthin els. Wil jus find a way to fnish skul. Wil get my clothes l8r.”

Several hours later, when she thought her parents were gone, she returns to their house, sneaks inside her room and scrambles to pack her clothes. But before she could zip her backpack, her dad enters the room.

“Your sister told me about what happened. Your mom and I talked to the dean, and settled the outstanding balance. Your professors will give you the exams tomorrow.”

The young rebel—too stunned to say a word—burst into tears. She expected a slap on the face but felt the warmth of a hug instead.

In this world tainted by greed and hatred, grace is like the tiny plant pushing its way out of the crack in the pavement. It can show up in the most unlikely places, in the most unexpected instances, and displayed to the most unworthy people.

Between giving and receiving grace, which is the greater challenge for me? One side asks me to turn the other cheek, swallow my pride and extend my hand to the enemy. The other asks me to admit my shame, bow my head and feel like a beggar.

Lord, may I never be too proud to think that I don’t need You. And Lord, may I never be too miserable to think that I am beyond hope.

*One of the stories above actually happened.

2 Responses to “If Grace had a face”
  1. Daphne says:

    If not for His grace… Hay. Thanks for this post, Ate Beng–beautiful! And oh, I uttered your prayer too 🙂

  2. Beng says:

    Thanks, Daph! 🙂 Who doesn’t need grace? We all do. 🙂

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