Talking to my Friend
Somewhere in Milaor, Camarines Sur, there lived a fourth grade boy who would follow a certain route to school everyday. He crossed the rugged plains and crossed the dangerous highway where vehicles were recklessly driving to and from. Once past this highway, the boy would take a short cut by passing through the Church every morning just to say Hi to God, and faithfully say his, "Good morning", in province dialect.
He was being watched by a Priest who was happy to find innocence so uplifting in the morning, "How are you Andoy? Are you going to school now?" the priest would ask.
"Yes Father." Andoy would flash his innocent grin, the priest would be touched.
The priest was so concerned that one day he talked to Andoy on his way home from school. He advised, "do not cross the highway". You can pass through the Church and I will accompany you to the other side of the road. That way I can see that you are home safe. Andoy replied, "Thank you Father."
"Why don't you go straight home? Why do you stay in this church after school?" asked the priest.
"I just want to say Hi to my friend God." the boy said, and so, the priest left the boy to spend time beside the altar, talking by himself. But he was hiding behind the altar to listen to what this boy had to say to his Heavenly Father.
"You know my math exam was pretty bad today, but I did not cheat, although, my seatmate is bullying me for notes ... I ate one cracker and drank my water, my father had a bad season and all I can eat is this cracker. Thank you for this.. I saw a poor kitten who was hungry and I know how he feels so I gave my last cracker to him ... funny but I am not that hungry. Look.. these are my last pair of slippers... I may have to walk bare- footed next week. You see this? It see this is about broken... but it is okay ... at least I am still going to shool ... some say we will have a hard season this month, some of my classmates have already stopped going to school ... please help them get to school again, please God... Oh, you know, my mother hit me again, it is painful, but I know this pain will pass away, at least I still have a mother. God.. you want to see my bruises? I know you can heal them... here..here and... oh blood... I guess you knew about this one huh? Please don't be mad at Mother, she is just tired and she worries for the food in our table and my schooling that is why she hits us... Oh, I think I am in love..there's this pretty girl in my class, her name is nita ... do you think she will like me? Anyway, at least I know you will always like me, I don't have to be anybody just to please you, you are my very best friend. Hey your birthday is a few days from now. Aren't you excited? I am waiting till then.. you see... I have a gift for you.... but it is a surprise.. I hope you will like it.. Oooops, I have to go!"
Then he stood up and called out, "Father, Father, I am finished talking to my friend ... you can accompany me to the other side of the road now!"
This routine happened everyday. Andoy never failed to come. Father Agaton shared this on Sunday with the people in his church because he has never seen a very positive look at negative situations or such pure faith and trust in God.
One day before Christmas day, Father Agaton was sick and he was sent to the hospita so he could not make it to the Church. The Church was left to four old women who would chant the rosary 1000 miles per hour, who would not smile and would always find fault in what you do. They are also very well versed in cursing if you irritated them.
They were kneeling, saying their kilometric rosary when Andoy, coming from his Christmas party, playfully dashed in... "Hello God."
"You... kid! You know that someone's praying!"
Poor Andoy was so terrified. "Where's Father Agaton? He is supposed to help me cross the street... and to be able to cross the street I will have to pass through the back door of this church... not only that, I have to greet Jesus..it is His birthday! I have a gift right here....."
Just as he was about to get the gift out of his shirt, the old woman pulled his shirt and threw him out of the church. "My God! (does a sign of the cross fervently) Get out or else!"
So the boy had no choice but to cross the dangerous side of the road in front of the church. He crossed. A fast moving bus came by. There was a blind curve. The boy was protecting his gift inside his shirt, so he was not looking. There was so little time. Andoy died on the spot. A lot of people crowded the poor boy, the body of a lifeless young boy ...
Suddenly, out of nowhere a tall man in pure white shirt and pants, a face so mild and gentle, but with eyes full of tears .... He came and carried the boy in His arms, He was crying.
Curious bystanders urged the man in white, and asked, "Excuse me sir, are you related to this child? Do you know this child?" The man in white, His face mourning and in agony, looked up. "He was my best friend" was all he said.
He took the badly wrapped gift from the bloody chest of the lifeless boy, and placed it near His heart. He stood up and carried the boy away and they both disappeared in sight.. The crowd was curious.
It was Christmas Eve and when Father Agaton learned of the shocking news. He visited the house, and wanted to verify about the man in white. He consulted the parents of Andoy.
"How did you come to know that your son died?"
"A man in white brought him here" sobbed the mother.
"What did he say?"
Andoy's father answered, "He did not say anything. He was mourning. We do not know him and yet he was very lonely at our son's death, as if he knew our son very well. But there was something peaceful and unexplainable about him. He gave me my son, and then he smiled peacefully. He rubbed my son's hair away from his face and kissed him on his forehead, then he whispered something."
"What did he say?"
"He said to my boy..' the father began, 'Thank you for the gift... I will see you soon... you will be with me." The father of the boy continued, "and you know for a while, it felt so wonderful... I cried, but I do not know why.... all I know is I cried in tears of joy... I cannot explain it Father, but when that man left, something peaceful came over me, I felt a deep sense of love inside. I could not explain the joy in my heart, I know my boy is in heaven now, but, tell me father, who is this man that my son talks to every day in your church? You should know because you were always there... except on the time of his death."
Father Agaton suddenly felt the tears welling in his eyes, with trembling knees, he murmured, "He was talking to no one but GOD."
After all, praying is just that.... talking to your friend, God.