Sun.Star Cebu

G for gratitude

- Leticia Suarez-Orendain

Ihave heard a story about a little boy, and how he struggled to escape poverty. It’s worth retelling, but I will tweak it a bit to make this fiction more fresh.

The scrawny boy, whose nickname was Jake, lived with his six siblings and his widowed mother. He was enrolled in the village public school and had nothing for school snacks and class projects.

One day, he told his mom Daisy that he would collect the garbage of some houses in the village in exchange for any amount house owners would give him.

“I’ll throw their garbage for them at the village dump site, Mom,” he said. And so this is how Jake spent his time a few minutes after classes ended each day. One of the villagers, Mrs. Grace de la Cruz, was especially kind to Jake.

Although she didn’t know his real given name or family name, Grace showed Jake kindness. Every day he showed up, she would give him a tall glass of ice cold milk. Jake liked milk very much and he would often shamelessl­y ask for a second serving.

In the days that passed, Jake tried to show gratitude to Grace by bringing her some of the wild flowers that grew in the backyard of his house. Daisy would tie the bunch of flowers with a string and a note of thanks.

Every day, Jake showed Grace his gratitude and in return she thanked him and praised him for his good attitude. Then one day, Jake told Grace that his family had to move to another city in Cebu. And that was the last time they saw each other.

When Grace was 68 years old, she found herself struggling to escape poverty due to some changes in her financial standing. On top of that, she had to undergo a delicate surgery but could not afford it. A friend of hers referred her to a surgeon and she received the treatment that promised to save her life.

Grace was worried. The surgery would cost at least a million. But when the bill came, everything had been paid for by a surgeon named Dr. Jonathan Merced. The receipt said “Paid in Milk.”

Yes, the doctor was the little boy whom Grace no longer recognized because he was all grown up and handsome.

She may have forgotten how Jake looked but Jake never forgot her image of kindness. Gratitude never forgets the face of kindness.

It is with gratitude that we can pray. An ungrateful heart will find it difficult to pray. All those years Jake kept gratitude burning in his heart. His dearest prayer was to meet again the woman who gave him grace and self-worth. And he got his wish.

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