“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4
Long before Haiyan, clothes, shoes and bags that were unused for at least 6 months were collected and stored in boxes supposed to be sent to the GMA Foundation in Manila. But numerous typhoons and earthquakes had occurred, still the boxes remain open and unsent.
Excuses? Each box isn’t full. There’s no time to make any effort to fill them up, much less time to have them sent. Besides, there was no sense of urgency nor any need to send them sooner for we could see that there were enough donors to provide whatever the needs were for a certain calamity at any given time.
I have seen it during the tsunami in Indonesia, typhoon Katrina in the US, earthquake and tsunami in Japan, with Ondoy, Pepeng and Pablo back home in the Philippines, but to see how an overwhelming number of lives can be taken in an instant at such scale, which no military intelligence or government spying could have prevented, makes devastation and tragedy real. Not just words, photos and videos from the media. It is REAL. And it is shocking.
I realized that my heartache and grief stood for nothing because all I did was just sit and watch and sigh. I feel sorry for myself as much as I did for the victims because I did nothing. And I passed on those chances to help, be kind and generous. I’m alive yet what on earth am I living for if I would remain passive and useless.
Haiyan is the most powerful typhoon on recorded history. Indeed, it didn’t just wipe out communities in Tacloban and other towns in Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Aklan and other nearby island provinces. For a while, it also reduced the dignity of a people in favor of survival, which is a basic human instinct.
But Haiyan also moved the world. Suddenly, we are all united as human beings towards a common goal- to help those in desperate need. Indeed this super typhoon, not only brought about the worst damage, but also the best in terms of human spirit of brotherhood.
The open boxes will soon be closed and head to where they were intended. They won’t remain where they are any longer. With fervent prayers for comfort, strength and hope, they will reach their destination, and their purpose will be served.
Those boxes represent the beginning of an entirely new perspective on who I should have been all along. Who we should strive to become- purposeful, useful, meaningful.
We’re 8 hours of flight away from where the world is focused on today. From afar, I just pray that each one would think about what Haiyan brought forth. Near or far, this typhoon changed us. If we still don’t get it, then everyday, it would keep trying to. And I hope that it would not take a typhoon or any calamity more devastating than Haiyan for us to finally get it. Filipino or not, Haiyan sends its message to one and all.
From now on, let us pray without ceasing.
Let us pray for healing, as a nation; as an individual, body and soul.
Let us pray for wisdom, to comprehend the profound message of recent events.
Let us pray for souls of those who perished, and those they left behind who die over and over with anguish knowing they lost everything, and not knowing how to start from nothing.
Let us pray that our lives would be “relief goods” to others and not “body bags” that are dead within.
Let us pray that instead of looking out on what other’s are doing (or not), let us look at ourselves. WHAT ARE WE DOING? We don’t know what others are going through, let us not judge. or we’ll be judged with the same measure. If you think or feel, that others are not doing enough, let our God be the judge to that.
Let us pray that instead of adding more negativity to what has already happened, let us find a way to be a beacon to one another to lead each other towards the light. Not back to the eye of the typhoon, lest we revert to our doom over and over again.
Let us fulfil God’s will in our lives. There is a reason why we are still alive and spared from the tragedy that is Haiyan. Let us unite in faith, humility, perseverance, kindness, understanding, empathy, generosity… and put an end to finger-pointing, blame game, doubts, sarcasm, insults, apathy, selfishness, grandstanding, greed.
At the end of the day, it is between me and my God…between you and your God.
Keep the Filipino spirit burning…PHILIPPINES, we can do this!