I have been going to a Christian church for nearly 6 months. Yet it was at a cafe that I found the comfort of Jesus when I needed it most.

Funny thing happened today. After the service, I stood amongst the crowd in church, missing my discipler Jenny. I awkwardly greeted Audrey like I often did, she’s a kindly woman. I looked around a bit then I sort of just walked slowly through the happy crowd, down and out into the streets. Then my usual half kilometer walk to the mall supermarket. Halfway, I could no longer help it and I started crying. I managed to make it to the mall but I just couldn’t do my usual errands. I sat on the bench and quietly cried drenching my shirt. I texted Jerry to pick me up and bring me to Chido Cafe. I dreaded going there because Trevor and I ate there often, but I went anyway. I didn’t know where else to go and I didn’t want to go home just yet.

When I walked in, the waitstaff Coy and Mik were there all smiles. Silly me I was still crying, I smiled at them and I told them it was my husband’s 1st death anniversary and that we often ate at Chido. Coy immediately asked if she could give me a hug.

I asked how they were, with the new management. I told them how happy I was that the cafe hadn’t changed! There’s still the flavorful menu and the wonderful staff. I ordered coffee and food. I thought I wouldn’t finish my food with all the crying but I did! When I got up to get some hot water to top up the french press, I asked to talk to the manager. Turns out I was already talking to him!

His name is Ben, Malaysian-Filipino. Such a chatty lovely fellow. He speaks 10 indigenous languages, including Tausug, Chavacano and Sama-Badjao. He learned Tagalog to work in the Philippines! I told him how happy I was that they kept the place as is. I started crying again then he reached out and wiped away my tears. I was so surprised. They weren’t afraid to go near me and touch me because I was crying and crazy! He said I could join them Fridays when they have a little get-together in the afternoon.

I’m glad I went to Chido. It’s wonderful to meet such warm and compassionate people! I think I know how it feels to meet someone like me. You just want to hug them and say I’m sorry about what happened.

Today, Jesus met me in a cafe and not in church. He’s never gonna let me go.

By Fatima

Artist, Writer, Farmer. Born in Manila, lives in Bohol, Philippines.