Here’s the thing: endings usually start with disappointments. I think it’s the red flag and you’ll probably see it coming. Sometimes, it takes an abrupt decision, like the batting of an eyelash. Sometimes, it takes a long turn until you finally raise your hands and say, “I give up.”

I had a few of those moments; times when I felt I wanted to run away from things I don’t want to face, or maybe, specifically, don’t have the energy to give my time to. Dropping responsibilities isn’t actually my forte; I hold on the longest, until a vein or two breaks. But when it does, I dash off far, far away—away from the broken pinions, broken trusts, broken feelings, and then start anew.

I always believed in the power of clean slates. And in the magic of new beginnings.

I wasn’t able to write my Weekend Closing, so I’m including it on today’s post. It was intense; I had a whopping splurge on a new gadget last Saturday, and a night church exploit on Sunday. Let me tell you the story!

Saturday. It was my brother’s first drive to the traffic jungle of Manila, well known for extinguishing every driver’s patience. Most of the locals will say this: if you made your way through this city, you are an excellent driver. The explanation will sound distasteful, but don’t let the bad traffic jam keep you from visiting this urban zone. It’s actually pretty awesome!

We got lost because we missed a U-Turn, but the longer the ride, the better the experience. The reality of not being able to go where we want to, when we want to is bitter—there’s a lot of rerouting happening in the city and it’s not fun. We reached our destination an hour later (than our desired time) and we got there on a whole.

I had two things planned in mind back then: to redeem my tickets for the 2016 OOR concert, and if my money permits, to buy a new phone. Now, I listed this as a goal earlier this year, because my current Blackberry is looks dismal, although it is still wonderfully working. I had my eyes on a new Note 5, thanks to the S-Pen features, and with the help of my brother, we scoured into the shops.

Unfortunately, my debit card will only allow me to use a limited amount of money (I’m not a credit card user yet). My brother eagerly lends me some of his own, but the amount is still a bit higher than my initial expected price. Although not getting the phone now would be a Tsk! feeling, I didn’t feel all too bad, because I can find some other ways to purchase. I’m looking at you, online store.

However, God allowed me to have both nice things the same day. My dad says he’ll use his credit card, but I have to pay him sooner. My mom was shaking her head at my really huge money drop-off, and I myself had some qualms, thinking if this is a worth-it purchase. In the end, I had my new phone with me, along with the tickets that will make me watch my favorite band come next year.

Oh, I must tell you this: while I was in the line, there were a few girls and a dad purchasing tickets for the 5SOS concert. But when they discovered that most VIP spots were covered, one cried. The only available slot is the GA. Immediately, the girls grabbed their phones and saw local hawkers selling tickets in higher prices. Ah, the price of a fangirl.

Now, Sunday. Our home church, Atlag UMC, will be visiting NV9 for a mission trip come afternoon. We’ve gotten all prepared for this (I’m even psyched up to face the bad heat). At 2 PM, many kids and mothers came! We sang songs and I entertained the kids with stories while EE presentations took place. The curious part: the closing time. There were no lights in that area, meaning, we have to go home before dusk, which did not happen. Other than we rambled in the dark, one bad accident happened, which include the loss of Ate May’s wallet.

She said she might’ve lost it along the way. Maybe the house where she went. Maybe somewhere else. But for the first time ever, I saw her turn paler than she is. When she and her team were trying to trace back where it could’ve fallen, we have uncovered one important info: a group of girls who went with them.

These same girls come in our little mission point every Sunday, and sadly, they have a reputation. Not a nice one, to be precise. I may have mentioned something about my money being stolen, and it wasn’t just once. There was a point when I caught one of the girls, Trixa, unzipping my body bag. I didn’t rebuke her just then; it was during worship. I just grabbed my back and pretended I did not see her cowering down while silently pick-pocketing.

But in this latest mishap where they were involved, I could not keep silent. In fact, everyone in the crowd suspected it was them.

I work with Ate May as a Worship Coordinator (which role, um, I am hardly able to fill in, full-time, these days) and I felt disgusted to have these things happen to her. For one, they visited our mission point with great intentions, and went on from house to house to share the Gospel, only to end up with this! But we couldn’t just tell the girls to bring the wallet out. No—plainly accusing of someone just because of mere suspicion isn’t the right way. So my dad and the rest of the leaders told the girls, since they went with the team when they were forbidden to, to help out in finding the wallet.

Two girls, Monica and Trixia, were known to have stolen many things in tandem. Parents are already arguing, because they knew there’s a big probability that the kids did it. Inside stories came fluttering. Opinions came flying by. We were starting to get hopeless upon hearing that the girls may have only taken the money and have thrown the wallet—which was the most important thing—away.

They went back and forth. And note this: it was already dark. The only light we have is from my dad’s car, and the little flashlight the girls held. The four girls, Monica, Trixia, Carla and Claudine probably had their legs worn out with all the walking. We hoped that God will give them a nudge to bring the wallet out, but to no avail. Then, lastly, when they discovered that as our final move, we’ll be going to the police, one of the girls broke down and admitted the whole thing.

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It was Trixia, and her cry was like a loud howl. She said she was so, so sorry for what they have done, and she did it with another’s command. Monica had a hard, poker-face expression. The two other girls, to our relief, were innocent.

Ate May hugged the little thief and prayed for her. The rest of the team talked to Monica as well. We said that “Tomorrow, God will start in you, a clean slate!” We urged the community not to judge the girls, but to help them.

This is the first time their actions came to light, right before my eyes. Trixia was flat-out honest, and to be frank, when she cried and told the truth, the first thing I did was to give her a pat and say, “Thank You.”

I thank God for that miracle—a miracle of sin and secrets in full view, and a hope of a new beginning after that bad fall.

Today, a Monday, I chose to go for the miracle. I woke up with criticism, but I acknowledged my faults and flaws, and relayed my thoughts kindly. A connection is more important than work, especially if it’s with someone I have been with for a year. Today, I relinquished a role which could have gotten me a good feature. But right now, I just sigh in relief with the knowledge that the part may not for me, and someone else out there will benefit from it.

I won’t forget that God has boxes with my name on it, and I’ll keep on holding to that hope.


Caris Daily. The daily grace by Caris Cruz