Lessons from Yolanda

As the heavy rain and wind battered the entire Philippines last November 8, 2013, I was at the office, submerged in plenty of paper works, I can barely breathe normally. My sister and cousins kept on messaging me, updating me of their situation in the Province of Aklan. Early morning, they said that only strong wind is being felt there and there were no rain yet. Mid-morning, that’s when the rain poured, they say. At around noon, I received a message from Mommy, informing me that our roof had been blown away by the storm. And my heart was crushed. Not because of just the roof, but at that very moment, I wished I was there with them. 

I was never the type of person to show my grief in public. Anger and joy, that I share with everybody. But not grief and pain. I kept on rereading my Mom’s message and emotions washed over me. First, thankfulness and relief in the knowledge that they are safe still. Next came the painful thought that we have to rebuild our house again. That structure which me and my Dad had earnestly worked hard to built last year. It meant a lot to us. It signified the fulfillment of my dream to find a good-paying job and a successful career. We were able to renovate that house as a family – my Mom and I’s financial investment, my Dad’s design and my sibling’s whim. And it was blown away just like that. As the hours passed by and the day draws to an end, the more painful it was to think about it. The thought of “we have to start all over again” kept flashing on my mind. Sleep was elusive that Friday night. 

The next day, I prayed so hard to have the strength to talk to my folks. I know how attached they were to our house. So, I gathered every bit of strength I could and dialed my Mom’s number. Relief washed over me when I heard their voice and it was ironic that it was them comforting me instead of me comforting them. Again, my folks had shown me great strength of character and determination. My Dad kept on saying, it’ll be okay love. Don’t think too much about it. But what my sister said struck me the most. ” Sis, we are still blessed. We’re all safe. We still have each other. We might loose this house, but we will never loose our home.”

And that’s when I decided to exhaust all means that I have in helping the survivors of Yolanda (International name : Haiyan). I am blessed because my family survived that storm. And I want to share that blessedness to those who were not as blessed as I. 

I know that plenty more of storms will come, but as long as God holds us in His hands, we will be still and safe.

God bless everyone. Rise up, Philippines. Bangon Pilipinas. 

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