I originally wanted to call this post by the title, “at the mercy of strangers”, until I realized what else God was teaching me.
As it has become my hobby, around 2-3 times a week, I spend at least 30 minutes either biking or jogging. On such days, I would use my Nokia E5’s Endomondo app to record my distance and exercise statistics.
It was probably around 6pm when I decided to call it a day after 10.40km of biking around the UP Diliman academic oval, and stopped over at a dimsum kiosk for a snack (Master Siomai). I remember switching off my phone’s GPS data connection and putting it in my pocket or bag. After eating, I biked home as usual. As I was about to park my bike, I realized that my phone, which doubles as a flashlight, was no longer with me. To top it off, my other phone did not have prepaid credits to call outside its network (Sun Cellular). I realized that I cannot afford to lose my Globe phone, which contains many of my notes for teaching and study related endeavors.
Calming myself down, I went inside the house to get my wallet and some money, and then slowly biked my way back to the place where I last used my phone. I asked the guy at the kiosk if he saw my phone, he said he did see me use it before I ate, but with the many customers, he can’t say If I’d left it or if anyone took it.
After asking around, I also realized that no one in the vicinity sells prepaid credits for my Sun phone. The guy at the kiosk gladly offered his phone for me to use to be able to call my Globe phone. I offered him some compensation, but he politely refused. Thank God for good Samaritans in this day and age.
As I dialled my number and put the handset to my ear, I was praying (1) the phone would ring; (2) someone would answer, and (3) the person on the other line will be willing to give it back. True enough, the phone rang, someone answered, and they wanted to return my phone (Samaritans 2 and 3). The only problem was, they were in McDonald’s Congressional Avenue. It was around 7pm, and I have to ride my bike to get there.
To make the long story short, I exited via Romulo hall, took the U-turn and then the flyover to Luzon avenue, then turned left at Congressional avenue extension. Having reached the venue, I immediately tried to find “parking” for my bike, and then went to find load for my Sun prepaid. Calling friends who could either load me or pass some load did not work, nobody was answering. I was then moved to ask two more strangers (Samaritans 4 and 5),and eventually found an Eatery that had what I needed.
Rushing back to the McDonald’s store, I tried to ring my phone, and as I was walking in between the tables, I heard the all-too familiar tone of Caedmon’s Call’s “Love Alone.”
Looking towards the direction from where the sound was coming from, I saw two ladies who were probably in their forties, dressed like people who went walking or jogging, now in the middle of eating their fast food dinner. I introduced myself and asked for their names, had some chit chat, got my phone and then thanked them.
On my way home, I thanked God for being able to get my phone back, and at the same time asked him what he wanted to teach me. “Was it because I only clocked 10.40km, that you had to add another 10km to my exercise?” “Was it for me to be humbled by being at the mercy of strangers?” Of course, I didn’t think too much as I had to concentrate on evading the vehicles and looking at the stop lights.
Lessons thus far:
1. Never hesitate to ask
2. There are still a lot of good people in this planet.
3. We should always try to be like those people – offering help when needed, even at their inconvenience, and without expecting anything in return.
4. I should have also prayed that the one who picked it up was not that far off yet.
As I was spacing out at church this morning, I experienced a mini epiphany which led to the change in this post’s title: that what I did in trying to frantically find my lost phone was very similar to what the woman in the parable of the lost coin did:
“Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me! I found my lost coin!’ Count on it—that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God.” (Luke 15:810, The Message)
My phone was very important to me, and that’s why I spent such time and effort looking for it. It may be a battered, 3-year old non-touchscreen device with a megahertz level single core processor and QVGA screen, but nonetheless, it contains valuable work and personal life information.
I realized that God was telling me this: that the importance He gives to every individual in this planet, and His desire for them to know him, was far more than the importance that I have shown for my phone, which is by comparison, an inanimate object. If I say that I love God and that the things that are important to Him are just as important to me, then the love and concern that I show for humans, and the effort to make the truth of God’s person be known to them should far exceed the concern and effort that I have shown for my lost phone. Of course, the joy that I should feel whenever someone turns to God should also exceed the joy that I felt when I found my phone.
More than just lost objects, everyday life is a battle for lost souls, no matter how cliche it may sound. People are searching for the Truth about life. We claim to have the answer in the form of Jesus and the Bible, yet we are busy looking for lost objects.
What are your biggest concerns right now?
What was the last thing that made you joyful?
What battles are you fighting?