I can't seem to take out of my mind the memory of a small little girl we met as we were refueling at a station along Commonwealth last Sunday. She approached the driver side of our car as we opened our windows for ventilation as we shut down the car's engine. Bearing a few strings of rosal, a sweet smelling flower similar in scent with the sampaguita (jasmine), she asked us if we could buy just one string of rosal. My defense mechanism kicked in and I told her we weren't interested and that we only had money for gas. In my mind, I was asking myself how many children like her were selling flowers - a hard sell these days when most cars would have fresheners. Yet somehow, there was something in me that convinced me to pick up a few coins and give it to her. I remember telling her that she didn't have to give me a string as I handed 2 five peso coins to her.
As I began to talk about how many kids were like her being forced by circumstances and usually by their parents to sell flowers they probably plucked from somewhere, it was the Clairvoyant who pointed me to the little girl placing a string of rosal petals around the hands of an image of Our Lady just across from our car at the gas station. It kind of struck me that this little girl was quite different from others like her. She willingly and voluntarily gave something that to her was quite valuable that she essentially gave something of herself as shown by her actions. I really felt something touch my consciousness and called the girl to our car. She meekly approached and as I handed her a 20-peso bill, she tried to hand back the coins I gave her earlier, probably thinking I was taking them back. I realized my voice probably sounded hard or tough to her and so I toned down a little as I looked into her eyes and explained to her that I was rewarding her for her gesture to the image of Our Lady.
This perhaps was an example of what Christ told us about children and how we should be more like them. It is their innocence that allows them to look at things without the biases we have developed over the years and without over-analyzing things using these same biases and others that have allowed us to insulate ourselves from the sad realities around us. I now look forward to seeing that girl again at the gas station where we usually refueled during the weekends. I do hope her faith in God will become stronger and that she eventually grows up to be a good and productive person despite her environment and the various influences of people around her...God bless, keep and protect her.