Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the good of "ondoy"

I called up my cousin after learning that he was finally home. He had been stranded in Cainta, on the second floor of his friend’s house for three days due to the floods that has wrecked so much havoc to the city and its neighboring provinces. As I spoke to him and asked the usual questions (How are you? How did things go? Were you safe all the time? How was the damage?), his voice, jolly person that he usually is, slowly took a more serious tone. He kept mentioning how bad it was, how bad he felt, how mad he was that all of this had to happen. He was frustrated for the damage, for all the loss, for all the destruction. Then he mentioned he got angry with God, but immediately felt sorry that he did, but still… why did He allow such to happen?

* * * * *

I got up early that Sunday morning, despite spending the night before wondering what tomorrow would bring. I guess it was due to all the physical and emotional fatigue I had that fateful Saturday when I witnessed the entire city slowly sink under an unforgiving sea of mud and rain. I fell asleep effortlessly, deep and dreamless. Waking up to the morning sun the next day felt unusually eerie, even out of place to a degree as if i wasn't expecting it to be there. The air was still heavy with moisture, saturated I presume from all the rain that we have had the past 12 hours, notably, as much rain as what we would get for an entire month. My uncle and aunt busied themselves with their usual morning routine. They had just come back from a quick drive around Quezon City to scope out the damage. Basing from their expression, it was no where close to what they were expecting. The drive to church was a quiet one, the silence only broken by exclamations of disbelief as we passed by buildings and homes and meter high walls washed clean by an obviously strong surge. Ironic actually, these structures are now scrubbed spotless by the raging current and yet, in the waters wake, strewn about are mounds of mud and garbage. Tires and debris hung like banderitas on roofs and fences and second floor balconies. The roads had relented to the current and the asphalt peeled off like chaffing skin. Container trucks and mud-caking cars litter the streets as if some gigantic child threw a tantrum in his playpen. People, with empty gazes and expression-less face start emerging, watching dazed as what must have been all their worldly possessions now are reduced to a worthless heap of trash.

Someone prayed out loud that morning, thanking God for the flood and the rain. Someone then prayed, praising God as our wind, our joy, our rest. Indeed, it was a strange prayer, but then I realized, after a fellow brother shed light on our circumstances, that God, in His great purpose, can also use such tragedies as tools to work out His good purpose, for His good pleasure, that is, to save us all. I then recalled the life of Job, and Jonah and that also of Paul and Silas and too eventually admitted to myself, yes, truly, the Lord will work out all things for the good. I said my amen’s.

* * * * *

“why did He have to do this?” my cousin asked again. “why this?”.

“because.” I replied. “sometimes, I think, God gets tired of being ignored”.

“but don’t ever presume, that with our limited comprehension, that He has no purpose nor reason in His ways. God is righteous. Good always issues out from His works, God could even use the works of the devil to carry out His great plan. I have been following tweets these past few days and I am simply amazed as how people have mobilized, like an army, to help out all those in need. It gives me goosebumps reading about all the “good” that this tragedy had caused, a good that I doubt, we would not have seen if it were not for this tragedy. I had a discussion with a friend not too long ago about how I felt we lacked a sense of community in this country. That we practice a culture of apathy. I am glad to stand corrected however, after having witness people being so selfless these past couple of days, even to the point of sacrificing their lives for the sake of others.”

I then told him the story of muelmar magallanes and other tales of heroism and kindness from strangers.

“you are frustrated because you were caught helpless. God made you feel helpless and futile. He put you in your place in the great scheme of things and you did not like that, that’s probably why you feel like that now. But consider this, there are people out there more helpless than you. I suggest you use up all that energy you have pent up inside and do something positive with it. Volunteer. Donate. Do something. Pray even. Pray for good weather. Pray for more kindness. Praise God for His good purpose.”

for those still wishing to help, please contact the national red cross for details. you could also find the nearest donation site to deliver goods to give to those who badly need it the most.

No comments: