By: Ely Lagajino
But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better. Philippians 1:23 (NSAB)
I found a career as a tricycle driver in my hometown during the college break. The owner oriented me on the dos and don’ts in driving his new trike.
One day I saw several tricycles parked on the roadside. Some muscled men signaled me to stop as they surrounded me and told me to park in front of the convoy. I asked them why, but they never answered.
Later a man loaded a small coffin into my sidecar. I objected to a violation of the owner’s rules; “I could lose my job,” I argued. But they ignored my words.
“Your trike is new and painted white so you lead the procession” the coordinator insisted. I couldn’t do otherwise, in front of those big guys, but I strongly, rejected carrying the flowers, so they loaded them in the next tricycle—a teen who carried a cassette recorder rode on my back seat as he played the loud, yet sober music. I demanded to turn the volume down. Deep inside me I asked God for guidance, protection and wisdom in the middle of the dilemma.
Then I drove as fast as possible, to maintain a wider physical distance from the flowers, and to break away from the convoy; which challenged the overloaded trikes to catch up. When we reached the church, I kept myself hidden as I observed. Some angry relatives punched the seat of my trike for violating the traditional protocol of slowing down in a procession for the dead.
On our way to the cemetery, again I increased my speed. Upon reaching the graveyard, I walked away from the scene and returned only after the relatives carried away the coffin.
Some tricycle drivers came up to me laughing. Others slapped my shoulders, teasing me as the fastest funeral vehicle driver, ever. I said “sorry,” but I needed to leave because after the emotion calms down, commotion might follow.
“Hey, wait for the payment!” the drivers chorused.
“Never mind”, I can only thank God it’s over, as I sped away to hide the trike the rest of the day.