Mother Hen” our very caring clerk from the nursery was asking my opinion. I struggled to comprehend, having just come from a grueling 24-hour duty and lacked sleep. Her child had been diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, a condition that causes inflammation of blood vessels with serious complications to the heart if left untreated. We both knew that time was of essence and cure in the form of IVIG that was easy to procure but costly. I bravely assured her that help will come. Mentally counting my co-residents and preparing to pass the hat, I immediately made my way to the ATM and accidentally ran into a consultant and unashamedly asked for a donation. He replied that a colleague had just given him some IVIG vials for free, and they were just sitting in his office fridge. I was more than stunned. In just little over an hour, the problem had been solved. After having handed over the needed medicine and the cash, I ran to the chapel to sob uncontrollably while on my knees. This was just the beginning of what it meant to have a direct hand in saving a life.
“Bring me the other half of this earring!“ It was the annual Christmas party for children afflicted with cancer, and the room was filled with just enough elbow room to wiggle. I was well aware that finding it was beyond futile but so as not to be the bearer of bad news, wasn’t it a better idea to make a game out of it instead? Within seconds of that announcement, a woman triumphantly held up the earring and claimed the promised basket of goodies. As she was about to turn away, I surreptitiously slipped a note into her hand. With a tearful look and in a near whisper, she said, “Maraming salamat po, malaking bagay po ito dahil kailangan na maospital ng anak ko.“ The reason for the momentary loss was more than made clear.
“He wants to be a chef.” This was the father’s reply to my question on what his son would want as a gift. It was eight in the evening and my sister and I had to settle for the mini-kitchen daintily painted in pink. His attending and I knew the chances for cure was near to impossible, but we had to at least try. He stood out for he was unusually reserved for a 5-year-old, and I thought all along that I had not made an impression. Imagine how it felt when his parents called me to say he had passed on and the little boy had put me on a pedestal with his main attending. In his eyes, we were the only ones who always succeeded in making him well. Unknowingly he had just handed me very precious words to hang on to, a lifeline, in times of self-doubt and much needed reaffirmation.
“Ikaw ba ang may-ari ng Jollibee?“ The little boy had just turned seven and was under the impression that our group had thrown the birthday party for him. It was a lucky coincidence that the Christmas party for the orphanage coincided with his birthday. My reply, “Kung ako ang may-ari, araw-araw tayong mag-celebrate ng birthday mo.” Coupling these words with a tight, warm hug, I was rewarded with a look that was beyond priceless.
For each story told, one phrase always rang true, that “It is only in giving that one truly receives.” God will always make time to create those perfect, random opportunities for us to be someone’s answered prayer. What might seem ordinary to you or of little value may mean the world to someone struggling with little or wanting of things that money can never buy.
Let us just keep giving.
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