Why do good stories always stay with us? Most good stories I’ve come across don’t have happy endings but they stay. They stay because they leave imprints in the mind and in the heart. Such is this story which begins: "The diffrense from a person and an angel is easy. Most of an angel is in the inside and most of a person is on the outside."
I still remember the time I first read it. I was in fifth grade and our class was lucky to have an amazing woman as our homeroom adviser: Mrs. MJ – feisty, pretty, astute Maam MJ. She was new to the school. But she captivated us and we took to her like fishes to water. She was one of the ‘radically wonderful’ influences of my young life.
Having noticed that I was a voracious pocketbook reader, Mrs. MJ called me to her one Friday, after homeroom, and handed me a thin little book. It was written by a certain Fynn. She told me it was a book worth reading and that I should read it. I took her word for it. I borrowed it for the weekend and couldn’t put the book down until my mom called me in for lunch and dinner. It was the story of a five-year old girl called Anna and her straight-from-the-heart matter-of-fact view at life, and learning math, science and philosophy with Fynn’s help. It tells of this girl’s simple yet direct answers to mostly adult’s ponderings and ruminations on age-old questions about the universe. Most of all, it tells of Anna’s personal and intimate relationship with Mister God.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV) Anna sure had faith. But she never made eight years, she died by an accident. "She died with a grin on her beautiful face. She died saying, 'I bet Mister God lets me into heaven for this', and I bet he did too.” I bet Mister God measured one’s worth into His Kingdom by one’s faith and by no other means.
Twenty-two years since then, I chanced upon Mister God, This Is Anna once again. This time, in the Inspirational Books Section of an almost empty little bookshop where too few customers venture into. I snapped up the book, happily sat down on a little corner and was soon contentedly immersed in the world of Fynn and Anna.
When I look back to my childhood, I can easily say I was far from being like Anna was. Firstly, I was the timid silent type growing up. Plus I did not have any level of confidence to start with. I would not be able to confidently engage in philosophical dialectics with adults the way she did. But then of course, that is not to say that my seemingly quiet and timid projection belie a certain precocity that only my parents could understand back then.
I’d say I had a pretty firm foundation for my faith. I grew up believing in the tenets of Christianity that I imbibed from school, from church and from my family. I’m proud to say I consistently received an award on Best in Christian Living every end of school year all through elementary. I was a member of Student Catholic Action in high school. But College was a different story.
College was a voyage of self-discovery. It was a time of asking questions, trying out different things, and then asking more questions. It was a time of discovering so many things about one’s self. Being on my own, it was a time for making my own decisions, and I admit not all of them were good ones.
My life’s journey has not been smooth sailing. I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. So many times have I fallen down. But I have learned to pick myself up every time, too. And it was during those times that I have gotten to know Mister God more intimately and on a deeper, more personal level. I continue to make mistakes for I am, after all, still a work in progress. And I look forward to so many more changes and character-molding challenges ahead. I bend willingly in the Artist’s hand so I can fully be as I embark on this journey called life. I am comforted by the fact that I have loving family and friends and Mister God to guide me on my way.