A Perfect Birthday Present

(This story is a re-post from my facebook blog 3 years ago.) 

It was another bright sunshiny day in Dubai. I said to myself, “What a wonderful day it is – fine weather and temperature, is just right. I’m feeling good vibes about this one. I’m sure God will let me pass my test today. After all, today is my birthday.”

 I was on my way to my driving test, about three years ago, June 23, 2008. Actually, it was my seventh attempt and hoping it would be my last.

 So I thought.

Everything I had expected to happen became a disaster! So, I went straight back home grumbling and was ready to explode. When my mom and my nephew (he was only 7 at that time) saw me walked in with a terrible face, they asked me, “What’s the matter? Did you not pass your driving test?” I snapped, “Yes! And I don’t want to speak about it!” Then I locked myself inside the toilet and cried.

I poured out all my emotions to God. I prayed, “God, it was such a simple request. It’s not a big thing for you to do. Why did you not give it to me? Besides, it’s my birthday today. That was now my seventh failed driving test. Don’t you want me to be happy on my birthday? I’m tired. I’m broke and I don’t want to take another one!”

In the middle of my serious confrontation with God, my nephew came knocking on the door, “Tita Pia, Tita Pia, open the door please.”  Irritated, I yelled, “Go away! Did I not tell you that I don’t want to speak to anyone right now? So, go away and leave me alone!” Then he replied, “Ok Tita Pia, but please don’t take too long inside because I have a surprise for you.”

When he left, I carried on talking to God but this time I was a bit more calm. I prayed, “Father, there’s no point grumbling. What’s happened had already happened and I couldn’t change it anymore. Father, I’m not letting it ruin my birthday. You gave me a fine weather today and it’s still a long day. Please Dad, can you comfort me and take away this bitterness in my heart? Will you open my eyes so that I see all the wonderful presents you have in store for me today?”

I felt peace slowly settle in my heart. Then all of a sudden, I heard a loud knocking on the door again. It’s Waki again. “Tita Pia, Tita Pia, can you come out now please? I have a surprise for you.”  I hurriedly wiped my tears, opened the door and came out. When Waki saw how red my eyes were, he asked, “Why are you crying, Tita Pia? It’s your birthday today. You should be happy. I have a surprise for you. But first you have to wear this.” He handed me a piece of cloth and tied it around my head to cover my eyes.

Waki at 7.
Waki at 7.

He slowly ushered me inside our room. Then he said, “Tita Pia, you may now remove the handkerchief.”  When I opened my eyes, there I saw the most touching and most beautiful work of art a little boy could do. My 7-year old nephew, out of his own little hands cut out from scratch papers and pages of magazines, formed letters and pasted them on the wall: “Happy Birthday Tita Pia! Love, Mama Ging, Mommy, Daddy, Tita Odess and Waki”.

Then he held my hand and ushered me to sit down on a stool placed in the middle of the room which he covered with crumpled blanket to form like a royal throne. After I sat down, he handed me a rolled paper which he made out of scratch papers pasted together – which when you analyze carefully looked like a scepter. After giving me the ‘royal scepter’, he then sealed his beautiful surprise gift with a ‘royal crown’, which again he drew carefully and cut out from just about any pieces of papers he could find at home.

As he slowly placed the crown on my head, he, looking so proud of his own work, whispered to me in his most sincere husky voice, “Wow! Tita Pia, you look like a princess!” He then smiled at me, my eyes already welling in tears. I couldn’t find the right words to say to express how much I appreciate his beautiful present. I gave him a tight embrace and said, “Thank you, Waki. This is the most special gift I have ever received in my life!”

I have always wanted to become a princess since I was a little girl. And that day, on my birthday, a little boy just made that dream come true.

Just when we thought we have already figured out what will make us happy, God has actually thought of something even better. I thought getting my driving license will make me happy that day. Little did I know that God wanted to surprise me with his most pure, sincere and untainted gift – the love of a child. If you just like I was, have been grumbling and complaining about something that was not given to you right there and then, ask God to change your heart. Besides, above any material things this world could offer, still the best gift we could ever receive is the love that can only come from the Father. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

To those who might be wondering when I passed my driving test? Well, I finally got my license from my 10th attempt! And that’s another story! 🙂

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