Monster Typhoon Haiyan, locally called Yolanda, the strongest typhoon in recorded history, has left me heartbroken. I can neither comment nor look at pictures because my eyes well up and I begin crying. Our nation mourns. Everyone feels the pain brought by this tragedy. Our thoughts ponder on it, visual images tear our hearts to shreds. I have to physically stay away. I feel guilty.

My mom, a truly brave woman, is bound for Tacloban this 20th of November. This trip was scheduled before Haiyan’s devastation yet, she decided to push through.  My aunt, her travel companion, is having second thoughts. I can’t help but wonder if God is at it again, “Lord, is this another test? Can I say no more or not yet please?” I cannot have my mom travel alone to endure the sorrow that fills the atmosphere in her hometown. If need be, I will be travelling with her; to see her across Tacloban to Hinunangan, a four hour drive from the airport and later, to help gather news about relatives she hadn’t heard from after Haiyan. I am very afraid.

I told my daughter last All Soul’s that she need not be afraid of the cemetery because people laid to rest there are God’s champions who successfully accomplished their task here on Earth. Loved ones we pay respect to are ancestors who paved the way for us to exist and enjoy life. She took it to heart and offered her prayers bravely afterwards. With that, I will find strength to face the countless departed and grieving families; to not allow fear and grief encroach me once I’m there. I have to be ready.

Saul Bellow said, “You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.” We cannot have wonderings or regrets take hold of our future. We have lost many happiness, opportunities and truths to cowardice. We have to act when action is needed. If it is God’s Will that I go, I shall go to not miss the lesson or task He has set for me. I will be brave for my mom. I like the idea of a brave ‘me’. Perhaps, God is reshaping me along with most. Transformation is always a painful process. May His Will be done.

Storms don’t always come in typhoons, eventhough they feel as such. Most are personal battles that either disable, break or make us. When we give them control, we lose sight of things that matter most here and in the hereafter. Most times, all we can really do is trust that He holds us and our future. Then, live purposely for His honor and glory because it is the right thing to do. When we surrender, we witness His mercy more clearly.

From local and foreign aid and humanitarian efforts after Haiyan, we witness God’s hand at work. He has been very very busy. Even China, with whom the Philippines have current political and territorial disputes, as of yesterday, considers giving more support after having already donated $200,000 as stated by Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang. With this, I feel as though, He’s telling all of us directly to be courageous and to trust Him even more. He has given us hope.

Whenever situations seem desperate; when we see dead ends — our Father opens doors and finds a way. Let’s take into account, airdrops of relief goods in currently isolated areas to battle logistics failure not only in Leyte but other affected provinces like Cebu, Samar, Iloilo, Capiz, Palawan, Calamian Group of Islands, Southern Occidental & Oriental Mindoro, Aklan, Antique, Iloilo, Romblon and Guimaras. Here, we see how everyone is important and how He makes things possible. May everyone, affected or not, see Him in this light and heed His call. Our situations differ but He is calling each of us to bridge gaps, withstand anarchy and bring hope in the spirit of brotherhood.

May we become carriers of His light and let Him shine through us specially during times of darkness and calamity. May we exercise gratitude and not unjustified criticism. The government and volunteers face multiple barriers. They are heroes amidst critics and observers. They are doing more than we are. Let us salute them for their tireless efforts that go way beyond their job description. May we practice solidarity in this regard.

For everything that has and will happen, let us keep our faith strong. Let us continue praying and helping in anyway we can. It is written in Deuteronomy 31:6, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” With this let us pray, “Lead the way Lord, I trust you and please heal our land. Amen.”

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