Lim: Winning the lottery

Lim: Winning the lottery
SunStar Lim

When I was young, I used to tell Papa I was so unlucky. “Why do you say that?” he’d ask me. “Well,” I told him, “I never win anything, anywhere. Not in the raffle draws I’ve entered or in the lottery.”

“But you’ve never bought a lottery ticket so how do you expect to win?” he’d tell me.

“But what’s the point of buying a ticket when I know I’ll never win,” I’d retort. “I mean, you don’t have to buy a ticket to win a door prize but I still never win, anyway. If you don’t call that unlucky, I don’t know what is,” I’d sulk and say.

For a few moments, Papa was silent.

“Well, aside from the lack of a ticket, I’d say the reason why you’ll never win the lottery is because God knows you don’t need the money.” I was a little surprised to hear this from Papa. I mean, the mention of God seemed uncharacteristic of him.

But I pondered on this. I wasn’t personally wealthy. But Papa was right. I had a roof over my head. I had clothes on my back. I had food on my table. And I had him for everything else.

“But maybe,” Papa added, “God will still let you win big, one day—but maybe only once.”

In the years that followed, I still never won anything, anywhere. But after the incidental discovery of my kidney cancer and the timely intervention that saved my life, I truly felt I had won the lottery.

I knew then that this was what Papa was talking about. It was one of his mad prophecies.

It was Papa’s lifelong goal to live to be 100 because he wanted to collect the P100,000 assistance from the local government. He also hoped he could collect the proposed P1,000,000 from the national government.

But it was not meant to be.

When my sister told him after his 99th birthday that he would make it to his 100th, Papa shook his head. His mad prophecies always made me laugh. But this one did not. Because I knew that if Papa said so, it would be.

It was Papa’s fervent wish to make it to 100 yet God did not grant him his wish. I wondered why till I remembered Papa’s own words to me.

God did not grant Papa’s wish to make it to 100 so he could collect P100,000 and possibly P1,000,000 because God, in all His wisdom, knew that Papa did not need it, too. But God, in all His goodness, still allowed Papa to win big by granting him a peaceful passing.

It’s been a while since I whined to Papa that I’m so unlucky. I’ve since still never won the lottery. But as Papa fearlessly forecasted, I really did win big. And not just once. But so many times since the day I realized what winning big really is all about.

God gave me Papa and Mama as parents. I made it to 60. I have friends and family who pray for me constantly. And while life is far from perfect, God gave me an even more incredible life after cancer. If that’s not winning big, I don’t know what is.

The truth is—I’ve won the lottery more times than I ever knew.

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