One morning, I got an S.O.S. text from my son who needed help in getting some costumes. Because of horrible road congestion, I was concerned that he would not be getting his costumes in time for a scheduled shoot. I agreed to meet the source halfway and that would be in the business district of Makati. As I drove down EDSA, nearing Makati, a scary thought dawned upon me, “You are coding.” (For those who don’t know what this means, it is a traffic regulation that disallows cars to go on certain roads, on a particular day depending on your license plate.)
I felt the stress immediately. Though I was relieved for a moment because I was travelling EDSA within the window hours (a specified period where coded cars are allowed to go out, usually from 10am-4pm), but it was short-lived. My destination, Makati, had no window hours. Uh-oh. I was getting very uncomfortable. I felt the mini-van I was driving become “minier.” I could not turn back. My son needed those costumes. I just had to take the risk. I couldn’t resist, “Lord, be gracious!”
I thought my stress level was at its height, then, I realized that I was ticketed a few days earlier for obstructing traffic (that’s another story). My license was confiscated. What a dilemma! My imagination was running 100kph. If a Makati traffic enforcer flags me down for driving on a coding day, he would ask for my license. Oh how I dreaded the scene! I would pull out and show him my ticket! Ugh! Earth, swallow me this minute! There is the added pressure of being recognized. “Ah kayo po ba yung nasa TV?” (Aren’t you the one on TV?) Quite a scene! “Lord, shield me!”
Like a mouse scurrying into a cat-infested zone, I turned into Makati and called the driver of our source. I purposely avoided looking at the traffic officers, who thankfully ignored me. Unfortunately, there was some delay as to where I would meet up with the driver. So stressed, I was having a hard time thinking straight, missing turns and going in circles.
Finally, I met up with the driver, I got the costumes and I made it out of there. What a major, major relief that was and I couldn’t stop thanking the Lord for having mercy on me.
It was still a challenge to drive back because of terrible traffic but my mind was now at ease. I was even able to discover alternate routes that allowed me to meet up with my son sooner than I calculated. As I handed over the costumes to him and as he thanked me, I whined, “Oh son, don’t do this to Mama again. Entered Makati on a coding day. I was frantic.” Then he looks at me with an odd expression and corrects me, “Mom, the car is not coding today. It’s Thursday, not Monday.”
That moment was a face-palm moment. I interchanged the coding days of the cars we use. I could imagine our Father in Heaven amused at how I had complicated my life that morning all because of what my mind dwelt on. I was so sure, so certain, so sold to a lie. It was a perfect illustration of the truth found in Proverbs, that as a man thinks, so is he. What a self-induced ordeal!! So, how much of what is stressing you or me is actually without basis?
My lesson that day: “Felichi, mind what is in your mind, examine what you believe because it affects, not only your disposition but your choices and how you behave.”
This New Year, take some time to reflect on what occupies your mind. Use God’s standard in Philippians 4:8-9 to determine whether your thoughts should remain or be renewed. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.