When my mother's car abruptly burst into flames as we were riding in it, Mom and I quickly bolted out the doors, but Ma Aguing stayed put in the back seat, eyes closed, fervently twitching the beads on her dried-rose-petal rosary. I had to climb back in to get her out.
When an earthquake struck our old home in Fort Bonifacio, Ma Aguing closed her eyes and turned to her rosary again, oblivious to the fact that she had chosen to do this directly beneath our heavy, spiky, sharp-edged crystal chandelier, which tinkled ominously above her head. I had to yank her out of the way before she was either crushed or impaled.
When the electric post on our corner caught fire and threatened to spread the conflagration to our house, the whole family went outside for safety. Instead of standing in the street like everyone else, though, Ma Aguing elected to go to the garden and water her plants! "This way, they will be too wet to burn," she explained as my mother dragged her away. "Good thinking, save the plants," Mom muttered sarcastically.
To this day, I can't decide whether it was faith or foolishness that motivated (or failed to motivate) my grand-aunt. I guess faith won out in the end since, despite her Penelope Pitstop nature, she died peacefully in bed at the age of 90-plus. Sometimes I think I got my so-called 'Zen calm' from her, but at least I know to get out of the way when the occasion calls for it.
Because there's faith and there's fate, and mostly there isn't enough time to spot the difference.