Life is quite a funny thing sometimes.
For those of you that don’t know, I work part-time at a tutoring centre in my town (city, whatever, idk at this point). It’s a fun job and I truly enjoy it, however, it is not close to my side of town, and I have to take the bus to get there.
This week I’ve been working at the tutoring centre’s summer camps, and have had the privilege to ride the bus to/from work. Public transit scares the crap out of an anxious soul like me, but life is life and sometimes you gotta just do stuff! After all, I get some $$.
Today, one of my worst nightmares took place. I remember clearly the first day I took the bus to my piano lessons at our local mall. My lesson slot was too early in the afternoon for either of my parents to take me, so I had to take public transit for my own for the very first time. I remember the stress and anxieties I had, sitting on the bus by myself in a secluded seat tucked away at the back of the bus.
What if I miss my transfer?! I wondered to myself.
And I didn’t. Nothing particularly bad happened at all. I made it to piano in time, my dad picked me up from the mall, same old, same old life.
But of course, today I had to miss my transfer for the first time.
There was a huge rush of people when I got off the bus. The GO train had just chugged into the station and the loading dock for the buses was absolutely flooded with commuters on their way home. My poor heart nearly fainted.
I clutched my transfer ticket, scoping out the buses. I was looking for that prominent number 4, that I knew would take me home. I really don’t understand how they decide to line up the buses; considering the 2 is behind the 6, which is behind the 5, but whatever.
Anyhow, I stood at the spot where my bus normally parked. People were flying past me, obviously in a rush to get to their car, their bus, or whatever. I really just wanted to get on my transfer to ease my tachycardia-prone heart.
After a few moments of flurries, my bus never pulled up. In a panic, I began to run along the loading station, but could not find that number 4 I desperately searched for. Then to my horror, the long train of buses started to pull out of the station.
There’s something eerie about standing at a bus station all by yourself, when moments ago, it felt like the loudest, most crowded place on Earth.
I was standing at the deserted bus station in utter horror. I’d missed my transfer bus.
And it wasn’t coming back for another half an hour.
At this point, I really wanted to cry and questioned whether or not I would die. I texted my best friend, trying to play it off as cool, but maybe I didn’t do it well enough, because he texted me simply: “just chill”.
So I guess I did what any anxious person does to chill, I sat down inside the bus shelter, and opened Pokemon Go.
(I can’t really use the app to its fullest potential because of my lack of data, but that’s another story.)
In my futile attempt to catch Pokemon using the crappy GO station WiFi, a small elderly Spanish lady came inside the bus shelter and sat beside me on the bench.
She was one of those grandmother type people, a friendly, open face, with deep laugh lines. Her clothes were just the slightest bit too large, that swallowed her body and made her look so tiny. She grinned and said, “Hello…. you speak… Spanish?”
Her accent wasn’t too thick. Spanish is very reminiscent of Tagalog, and it was easier for me to pick up her broken English. “Hm? No… Sorry,” I replied lamely.
She smiled, much like my own grandmother did when I asked her to teach me how to make her famous birthday cakes. “Ah… no Spanish…” She looked at my again with this thoughtful expression, “Are… Filipino?”
I was surprised she figured it out so easily, since most people tend to think I’m Chinese, due to the tiniest bit of Chinese blood in my family, and my body’s ability to take in every single one of those genes. “Yeah, I am.”
“I have…. what word…. daughter….. daughter-in-law. She Filipino.”
I hummed thoughtfully, not really sure why she had decided to tell me this, or strike a conversation with me really, but I didn’t have the heart to tell this sweet old lady to go away. Besides, I had 30 minutes to kill before the bus came back, so I might as well listen to what she had to say.
There was a pause.
After a few moments, she posed a question for me. “Do you know the truth?”
Here, her Spanish accent really came out, because I wasn’t entirely sure what she was saying at first. She had to repeat it for me at least 2 times, and at that point I didn’t really know what she meant at all.
What did she mean by “truth” exactly?
I shook my head. “No,” I replied sheepishly, not wanting to say yes, since I didn’t really know what she was talking about.
This grandmother sat up straighter at my response, “Ah… no… I see.” She looked into her bag before pulling out a pamphlet, written half in Spanish, half in English. And this random woman who I had never met before, who barely spoke English, tried her best to evangelize to me.
She began telling me about how Jesus died for my sins, adamantly with a tap of her hands showed how he was nailed to a cross. She talked about how we have life because Jesus paid for everything.
About 30 seconds into her speech, I realized what she meant by truth. She meant the Gospel. As a Christian myself, I wondered why I hadn’t caught on in the first place.
At any point I could have told her that I actually did know what the truth was, I just didn’t have the heart to tell her because she looked so happy that someone was willing to listen to her. She told me about her granddaughter who didn’t seem to have an interest in the Gospel, and how she wished they would read their bibles every day.
I was stunned by how much she was willing to share, even if I was a random stranger to her, that was sitting at the bus stop.
It was quite the humbling experience really. I’ve been a Christian my whole life. I was born into the church, raised on its teachings, yet I didn’t and still don’t have the courage to speak about the wonders of the Gospel with anyone, especially strangers. To think that this little grandmother who barely spoke English, who didn’t even know who I was, sat down beside me and decided to share the “truth” with me is incredible.
It was a great reminder to me that some Christians in this world are bold. They go out to be the salt of the Earth, as the Gospel commands us to be. However, in comparison to this Spanish grandmother, I fall desperately behind.
What’s stopping me? Fear of rejection? Anxiety? Pride?
It was quite convicting to me, and prompted me to take a look inside my heart. I hope I can one day have the servant’s heart this old woman had to be able to share the Gospel and my faith with all those around me.
And to think, all this happened because I missed my bus transfer.
Life is strange like that.