FAST FORWARD

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.

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