It's not everyday I tell myself that sort of thing. It's not everyday I step off a bus and breathe a sigh of relief.
But last night was different. Last night, the bus I rode wasn't racing against other buses in a break neck speed. That would have been okay. Because that was normal. Last night, the bus I rode wasn't filled to the rafters. There were plenty of seats left even when the bus reached Ayala. A crowded bus would have been fine last night, even welcome. Because that was normal.
But because of that bombing of a bus earlier yesterday, last night's bus ride wasn't a normal, almost-like-an-amusement-park-ride that I'm accustomed to. Every sound in the bus seemed to be magnified, every passenger pretending not to be tensed, and the atmosphere inside was thinly laced with apprehension. The aircon seemed to be breathing out suspicions, caressing our ears with sssssss that our overworked brains could only interpret as What could be inside your seatmate's bag, hmmmm? I glance at my seatmate from time to time, and he glances at me. I could only guess at what he's thinking of... but I knew what lines it ran along to. I was thinking along the same lines.
We all gave a start when one of the aircon covers fell, and the bus conductor gave a nervous chuckle when he picked it up. "Just an aircon cover," he said nonchalantly, as if to reassure himself.
I looked outside the window, and wondered. But what am I afraid of really? Is it of death? I felt a tiny squeeze in my heart at the word. Morbid. But then again...
I knew, deep down, that it's not really death. I've been assured of a mansion in heaven when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Death, in that case, would be a cause of celebration. It's my gateway to the eternity my Creator has prepared for me.
But my mother has not yet done that. My sister and my brother, too. I haven't even told them properly about Jesus. If I leave suddenly-- if I go at that moment-- I may never get to meet them in heaven. And that, that was what I was so scared about in that bus ride.
I prayed, Lord, please do not let death come like a thief in the night for me. I was not praying that I be forewarned when time comes. Only that if it has to be at this very moment, or that if it has to be in whatever accident, that I would not go out like a candle snuffed out by a gust of wind. Lord grant me a chance to say a last paragraph. I would have said last words, but I don't think a sentence would be enough.
I felt God's comforting presence washed over me when I paused in my prayer. I might even have heard-- no, felt-- a chuckle, but I'm not so sure. You're not going yet, dimwit. Well, He probably didn't say dimwit... but that's besides the point. But you should know what to do when you step off this bus and walk home. Yes, Lord. I need looooooot of help, though.
The bus stopped. I stood up a little shakily, and joined the few passengers getting off at Cabrera (a lot of them evidently relieved).
I survived a bus ride. I survived a bus ride. Now, I get another chance to do what I should have done long ago.
But it's so much better if you can find someone to talk to about it. :)