Musings over train ride: A child’s smile and a gesture of hope

A heavy downpour, suspension of classes, and a train ride on the way home made this day the most amazing day of October. I took the usual route every day for the past five years of college life, but today, seeing him with his father changed the way I see my train rides. The father was carrying his son inside a pram, and looking at the son, my heart broke a little because he was diagnosed with epilepsy. I decided to take the seat next to them, and for everything that happened in between, I am grateful for it.

The passengers kept giving the father and son furtive glances, as if not knowing on how to express sympathy for the sick child. I was one of them. The father, probably used to the sometimes hurting stares, just kept quiet and continued to attend to his son’s needs. As I am the one sitting closest to them, I realize how loving the father was, for taking care of his son, for looking at him with love in his eyes.

When his son was finished with the milk, the father gently patted his son’s back so he can burp and breathe easier. At that moment, I looked at the child, and he flashed me with his wide and toothy grin. I could not help but return that smile. He is happy, that’s all I know. His radiating smile changed the gloom inside the train and made his father beamed back at him. How could not anyone love this sweet and innocent child? His father took out an almost-empty medicine bottle, and then I really felt sorry because there are probably quite a few pills left for his son.

Silently in my head, I was praying that the weather be more friendly because it seems like the father and the son still had a long way to go. I was hoping I brought food with me to share or I had extra money at that time to give, but all I did was mutter a short prayer for them.

A few more stations later, a lady–dressed simply in white shirt and jeans–sitting across the father suddenly took out her wallet and drew PhP 500 cash to give to him. God bless her, she did not say anything else but this: “Sir, kunin mo na ‘to. (Sir, take this.)” The two young girls who were beside the lady and were busy laughing at their own conversation suddenly became quiet. It is almost as if time froze and all passengers were touched by the lady’s simple gesture of help. The father humbly accepted the money, “Salamat po, salamat. (Thank you, thank you).”

Initially, I thought this lady was one of those passengers who would just give a couple of stares to the father and child. But out of her desire to help, she did not hesitate to extend the money for child’s medicines. The way she even handed the money is not “show off”. She wasn’t staring at the child out of pity, she was gazing at him of pure love.

At that point, my eyes were brimmed with tears of joy. Literally. I don’t want to embarrass myself, and it was a good timing too that an old lady came in so I can give her my seat. I stood up two stations ahead my stop and saw the elderly lady engaging the father in a conversation to wipe my tears away. I gave the kid one last glance and he just smiled back as I stepped out the train’s doors.

Today, I would like to honor all the fathers and mothers who would give up anything and everything for their children. Their unconditional love shows us that as children, we are also called to love others unconditionally. The lady who gave out her money could have spent her cash on something else. Instead, she selflessly shared a part of her own so that an innocent child may continue to live. Like her, we should use our blessings to become blessings for others.

The child’s face is always smiling and his eyes are windows of hope for everyone to see. He reminded me of how we, adults, see life as difficult, thus we tend to look at our situation in a negative perspective. Yes life is not easy, but it should not stop us from approaching it with a smile. His story gives me hope, and I am glad that today, God granted me the opportunity to sit beside him and his father. Sometimes, even if we have lived here on earth for so long, a child can teach us more than what other people can’t.  Indeed, a smile warms the heart and soul. Thank you dear child for reminding me that even in the most difficult situations, we can still smile with life.

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About nadineestrella

A passionate leader. A driven learner. A life lover. I believe in God. I play hard, I work smart, I pay attention to details. I always try to see the beauty in life and the goodness in others. I love reading books, exploring places, and experimenting with food. I play different roles: a true friend, a loyal sister, a loving daughter, a faithful woman.

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